A Preliminary Treatise
Transcribed by Adam McLean from MS. Rawlinson A. 405. 233 pages.
[on fly leaf]: "This copy was taken at my desire by the Rev. Mr. Valentin Nalson of York."
"This MS. was found amongst Dr. Keiths papers, a Philadelphian and Mystick."
A Preliminary Treatise
which may serve
The following Work
[of Dr. Pordage]
Of a Spirit in general: that there is such a thing : what it is: & some of its Essential Propertys.
1. Experience convinces us, that many Bodys are moved.
2. As certainly then as there is Motion, so there is a Power moving, and a thing moved.
3. To move is Action, to be moved is Passion.
4. The moving Power then is an Active thing, and the moved Body a passive one, with respect to one and the same motion.
5. Active and Passive are two contradictory qualities, and cannot therefore be in one and the same subject in the same sense, and with regard to the same motion.
6. Wherefore it is impossible that one and the same thing should be, at the same time, in the same respect, and in the same motion, at once both Active and Passive, both moving and moved.
7. It is evident then that the moving Power and the moved Body are two really and numerically distinct and different things.
8. Now though we have not yet declared what Matter is, and in what its Essence consists, yet no one can doubt but that the moved Bodys are Matter, and that Passiveness and to be moved belongs to matter.
9. Therefore the moving Power, as such, being the opposite to Passiveness, is also opposite to Matter, and by consequence really and numerically distinct from it; subsists by and in itself, or has its own peculiar and distinct subsistence, and so is a peculiar kind of Being, an Immaterial Substance.
10. Which immaterial Substance is that which is commonly understood by the name of Spirit.
11. Spirit then is a moving Power, and its very Nature is nothing else but to be a Power, a meer Act.
12. I find no word in any Language that expresses so well and so emphatically the Nature of a Spirit, as the Latin: Vis; and the German ---.
13. To doubt of the Existence of a Spirit or of its faculty to act upon Matter, is as great a folly, as to doubt of the Existence of Matter, and Motion.
14. As a Spirit is a Power acting from its own Center, by its intrinsical and constitutive activity; so there can be no doubt but that a Spirit is a Living Being; according to the common notion that everyone has and must have of Life. For if Life be not Active, and intrinsical Activity, pray tell me what you would have to be understood by Life.
15. As Spirit acts from its own Central activity or Life, so it acts by its own or self-determination. Which faculty of self-determination is that which must be understood by Will.
16. It is then an essential property of a Spirit, to have a Will in it's inmost Center of Life.
17. And not only a Will, but also a free-Will, or else there could be no Self-determination; and consequently no Will. So that it is a contradiction to imagine a Will that is not free, as to its natural, intrinsical constitution; although it may be hindered in the exercise of its Liberty.
18. As Spirit has Life or is Life, so it must necessarily have likewise a perception or sensibility. For insensibility is Death, and no body will ever beleive that which has no manner of sense at all, to be alive. Thus also the very notion of a Will involves that of perception or sense; it being impossible that the Will shoud determine it self to anything, if it has no manner of sense or perception at all of it.
19. Spirit then has a perceiving or sensible Will: and Will and perception are its inseparable most intrinsical and central constituent Facultys.
20. These two facultys Will and Perception are reciprocally predicated one of another. The Will is perceiving, and the Perception is willing: and both together make up but one simple Essence, which is the Center it self of the Spirit.
21. There is such an Oneness, such an inseparable Union between them, that they cannot be divided even by thought. That is, though I can think and speak of one without thinking directly upon the other; yet I cannot think the one to be, or act without the other.
22. For as the Will is the physical principle of mobility in general and also of its special actual determination; so the Perception is the moral principle of determining the motion to a certain Object, exhibiting to the Will the reason and motive of determining itself either this way, or that way. So that in every action these two concur equally and inseparably; yet thus, that the Will, in relation to its moving itself towards the object is Active, the Perceptions passive.
23. But here is to be observed, that there are many gradations of Wills and Perceptions, and of Libertys too: that it may not be thought that I make all Spirits to be of one Kind and degree; and the Spirit of a Plant, for example, to have an intelligence and Will of indifferent choice or election, as well as an Angel or humane Soul. But that even the Vegetables and Minerals have some sort of perceptions, Will, and election, proportionate to their Life, a Great and renowned Philosopher has proved by undoubted instances.
24. For no doubt there is great variety of Powers both as to Kind and Degree, one being stronger than another, and one overcoming another; yet so that the weaker, which is overcome by the stronger, does not thereby cease to be still a Power in itself: otherwise it would come to loose its very Being.
25. Wherefore the Degree of the Activity of these facultys, perception, Will, and Liberty, must needs be measured by the Degree of the Being of the Central Power: it being impossible that the activity of the facultys of a thing shoud exceed the degree of the Entity thereof.
26. This leads us to the Quantum or quantity of spirits. For more or less (magis et minus) cannot be conceived without a sort of greatness or quantity. And though there may be some doubt about the quantity of a Spirit; yet it can only be about that of extension. For we cannot deny that there is a diversity of degrees of reality amongst several Powers; which Degrees may properly be called quantity of Vertue or Intension. Therefore every spirit must have a certain quantity, if not of physical or essential Extension, yet at least of vertue or intension.
27. As to the quantity of extension , I confess that considering the mere Idea of Spirituality, (which is to be a Power) and the Spirit as abiding in its Central Being, I find there neither shape nor quantity.
28. But the Question is whether the Notion of a Substance dos not imply quantity of extension? and here I much doubt whethyer any body, that will consider the thing without prejudice, can truly affirm that He realy conceives a substance that has no extension at all. Lay aside the notion of Cogitation, and look only upon that of a thing which subsists in itself, consider it in its Essence, and not in its operations, and take away from it all manner of Extension: and then see if you can find there remains any being? For my part I coud never find it.
29. And having found that the Old Mysticks among the Hebrews, always represented God as an infinite extension of incomprehensible Light, and that our Author also says he saw it with a delightful astonishment, that without the bounds of the Eternal World, there was nothing but a boundless incomprehensible Deity: as also that the wonderfull and highly illuminated John Engelbrecht was introduced into that Eternal Wide of the Deity: and in fine that many Saints more assure us that God is present to every thing not only Virtually but Essentially or Substantially too, and that all things whatsoever are, live, and move in the very Essence of God: I cannot doubt but that Extension is a property not only of Matter, but of Spirits too created and uncreated.
30. Nor can I see that any absurdity follows from this Hypothesis. For it is not yet proved as it ought to be that Extension is the Essence or Formality of Matter. We will treat of the formality of Matter in its proper place.
31. Nor is that a right consequence which they pretend to draw from extension viz. that a Spirit and God himself woud be divisible and corruptible. For these two affections are consequences of Duality, not of Extension. Where Duality is, there is divisibility and corruptibility.
32. If it be said that Duality is inseperable from extension; that is begging the Question, and can never solidly be proved.
33. The Ground of indivisibility and incorruptibility is Oneness and Simplicity, for you can take nothing away from Unity or Oneness, but the Annihilation of the thing itself must immediately follow.
34. Now to say that Oneness is inconsistent with extension is another begging of the question and will never be proved by your saying that in Extension you can conceive partes extra partes; for this your conceiving is nothing else but a restriction of your view and consideration of the thing; which does not make the thing to have parts in itself conformable to your restrained thoughts.
25. Suppose, for instance, the Aether of this World was an Universal, simple Life and Power, penetrating all things, and not to be excluded by any thing: coud you divide it into real parts? Woud not its Life remain always entire and undivided in itself, able to exert its Power altogether in what parts of the World it pleased? Notwithstanding you might think now of this Region of the World, then of that, at another time how all the Planets swim in it, each in its particular orb, etc. could this particular or partial consideration in your mind make any alteration in the Aether itself? and make it of one Simple, Being, become a compounded one, made up of real parts, really to be separated one from another?
36. I know not whether this will be sufficient to communicate to another the view I have of this matter. But that true Simplicity and indivisibility is consistent with Extension is so clear to me, that I can't imagine how any one can find any difficulty or obscurity in it. I shall treat again of this Matter in the last Chapter of this discourse, and answer all the objections hitherto known to me: of which the principal reason I take to be this, that the Learned have undertaken to give a Definition of Extension, and said it is what has partes extra partes, parts beyond parts; which is a false description: as will be whatever they can give of it; for Extension being of itself so simple and manifest a notion to all mankind, that it is impossible to find any thing clearer to make it better understood by, that it is by itself; it is plain that all that can be said of it will rather darken than illustrate this most evident and natural Notion.
37. But however, as a Spirit utters or exerts itself in going forth to move Bodys, it is manifest that it dilates it self by a real extension of its power and strength till it has reached the moved Bodys: and thus, that it is a Spirits property to ejaculate from its essence real emanations. For let us suppose that the Spirit A moves at once the two bodys at both sides B and C in a circular motion; it cannot but be conceived that out of the Centre A flow forth on both sides real ejaculations of its own essential Power, which reach and move the two opposite bodys B and C.
38. And so it appears that a Spirit may at least generate itself by a real emanation or dilation of its own Being into a Quantity of Extension, and give itself a certain shape. And if extension be not inconsistent with the nature of a Spirit when enamated; neither can it be inconsistent with it when unemanated: for Emanation alters not the nature and constituitive propertys of the Being itself of a Spirit. Nay if a Spirit had no extension, the whole System of the World in general, and each body in particular would all be dead. For Life and Spirit is all one; where there is no Spirit there is no Life. But it being certain from experience, that living Bodys have life in all their parts; it follows that their Life must be coextended with their whole bodily Being; and thus their Spirit, in which their Life consists, must be coextended. This shews also that Bodys may be penetrated by higher graduated or subtiler essenced Beings; for if there were no penetration their could be no coextension, and consequently no Life.
39. The most simple, perfect and natural form or shape that a spirit can give itself, is the Spherical. For it being supposed that it is surrounded on all sides with bodys, it is plain that the central Spirit may break forth round about itself in a continued diffusion of its Being and Powerful Essence till it reach actuate and move all the bodys round about it; and so give itself an height, depth, length and breadth, making up together a Sphear or Globe. I speak of a Spirit in General, and of its most perfect and most natural figure which it can give itself: for so what I say is true. And I mention it for an introduction to what follows about the configuration of the Spirit of Eternity otherwise I know there may be Spirits of all manner of figures, and the Spirit of Eternity may produce Spirits of what kind of shapes he pleases.
40. Again supposing that the central Spirit ceaseth to move those bodys it is surrounded with, it appears that it may withdraw its outflown Powers, and contract itself into its own central Being and indivisible Oneness.
41. Let us yet suppose that in the foregoing figure the Spirit A moves the two bodys B and C towards D, joyns them there together in one Body D, and continues to move this multiplied or joyned Body D: you see that the outflown essential or real Powers AB and AC come to joyn also together and to be united in one Power AD which now alone is as strong as formerly were these two AB and AC.
42. Whence it appears that Spiritual Essences may be most intimately united in One Being.
43. And likewise that they may increase and decrease, unite and divide themselves as to their ourflowing strength. As also,
44. That they may be strengthened or weakned by an union or separation of another Spirit to or from them.
45. For though this instance speaks only of an uniting of emanated Powers; yet the emanated ones being the self same, only dilated Essence with the Central Power, that which may be done in those ejaculations, may happen also in the very Central Essence itself; and so be a most inward and substantial Union of Spirits.
46. Which may yet more fully appear from the very nature of a Spirit. For as we saw above that a Spirit has a perceiving or sensible will, so we must allow that it must have a tendence, longing or desire towards the Object of its will and perception, to unite with it: It being impossible to conceive a thing that wills, that does not will something, and if it wills something, then its desires and longs after that thing, to unite with it.
47. Thus we see, that the most intimate frame, affection, or quality of a perceiving Will, or willing perception, is a desiring and longing after a fit Object to unite with.
48. As this Central desire is called an hunger and thirst: so
49. The real uniting with the Object desired, is to be termed an Eating and feeding; and
50. The satisfying or contenting that Desire a filling and satiating, As
51. The strengthning and encreasing of Power and Life by the Object united properly bears the name of Nourishing; And
52. The Object united that of Nourishment food, meat and Drink.
53. Now as there is no Object fit for a Spirit, nor capable of an intimate and substantial Union with it but a Spirit; therefore No Spirit can be nourished but by Spiritual food.
54. The hunger and thirst of a Spirit cannot be satiated and quenched but by a total filling of all the capacity of the Will and perception.
55. And as long as this hunger and thirst is not fully satiated and quenched, the Spirit can never be contented, satisfied and at rest, nor consequently happy; but always wanting, discontented, searching, unquiet and consequently unhappy.
56. Wherefore the true and Essential happiness of a Spirit consists in an intimate and substantial Union with an adequate Spiritual Object, filling all its capacity.
57. For this being done, there must of necessity immediately result and proceed from thence a fully satisfying real joy diffusing itself through and penetrating and tincturing the whole Being of the Spirit.
58. There is then no perfection, nor happiness but in the number THREE united in ONE viz. (1) the desiring Subject, (2) the filling and satiating Object, and (3) a real joy proceeding from both, passing thro and tincturing the whole Being: All which together make up but One happy Spirit.
59. Wherefore if Spiritual Essences could not be united most realy and intimately in one Being, there could be no such thing as Eternal Beatitude (a); nay there coud not be the least relish or contentment (b); but all must be full of pain and anguish: which is contrary to Experience.
Of Spiritual Knowledge, experimental ideal, rational, of the brain and of the Heart. Duty about them all, as also about experiences of others. Ground of the Divine Authority of Holy Scripture.
1. This may teach us what a true lively and beatifying knowledge is viz. no other than that, which is generated in our Central Perception, essentially (a) one with the Will, by a real intimate union of the Object to it, filling and satiating our hunger and thirst by the real immediate influences of its good.
2. Such immediate reception of the real influences of the Object present, good or evil, into the perceptive Faculty in the Center of our Spirits, is that which is called in generall Experience, Sensation, or experimental knowledge.
3. And in our perceptive facultys, made for the reception of such real influences, we find two things, which though essentially one, yet as to their operations are distinguished from one another. (1) to be sensible of the said influences, and (2) to make a self-conscious reflexion upon them, to consider them, to weigh them, to compare them one with another, etc. and to take our free resolutions accordingly.
The first is called Sense, and is divided into various species, as every one knows: the other is called Intellect or Wisdom, the common speculator and censurer, of all that the senses deliver to her.
4. The senses must be proportioned to the Objects and their influences to be perceived. Thus we find even in this World, that several beasts, having much more refined Senses than Man, do hear, see, and smell many things which man cannot.
5. Wherefore there being, besides the material things of this World, many Spiritual Objects, as Angels, Devils, God, and what belongs to them; there must be in us besides the exterior Senses, other spiritual interior ones for the perception of Angelical and Divine Objects.
6. Further, there being diversely graduated senses in us (a); and the Senses in joynt union with their correspondent Intellect and Will making up but one Essence, and one compleat Spirit (b); we must conclude that there is in us also a different gradation of Intellect and Will; and consequently diversely graduated Spirits, proportioned respectively to the outward Visible; interior invisible; and Divine Objects.
7. There is then in us a threefold Spirit, a Natural one for this World; an Eternal Angelical Soul for the angelical Objects, that is all that in the Angelical Principal is manifested, and thus not only the Angels but even God too is introduced into the World; And a Divine Spirit, for the enjoyment of God and his most Sacred influences, with the Other Objects of the Eternal World.
8. For though we may allow that the higher graduated Spirit can perceive the lower and thicker essenced Objects; but not on the contrary (vice versa): yet it is certain, that the perceptions we have of the things of this world are not received immediately by our highest Spirit, but by a peculiar one fitted for it. Otherwise if it were our Supreme Spirit which sees, hears, smells, tasts, and feels the outward things; and that by consequence this Spirit had a full exercise of its senses: We must likewise have an experimental knowledge of God and Divine things. For God is essentially everywhere, and we are, live, and move in him that is in his Essence. If then the Supreme Spirit had now the free use of its senses, we must see God continually, and his Divine Perfections, as the Angels see Him always; which is contrary to experience, and yet there is hid in us a capacity to enjoy God and his goods immediately; for in this is founded the Promise of Eternal Life. Therefore there is in us a Divine Spirit, fitted particularly for this Beatifical knowledge; who now is banished out of his native Country, and whose senses are now suppressed; for which reason it is that so few have experience of Divine things. By the same argument it appears, that there is in us an Angelical Soul, and it is not by its senses we perceive the things of this World; but that for each Principle and the things therein contained we have a peculiar Spirit originated out of the same Principle.
9. Thus we find there is in us a triple Will, triple Senses, and a triple Intellect, in relation to the threefold Objects, outward, Angelical, and Divine.
10. And it is by experience only that each of these Spirits can get a lively, true and real knowledge of things as they actually are in themselves.
11. For they themselves vibrating their emanations into us; they cannot communicate them to us, nor we receive them into our selves, otherwise then they are indeed.
12. Hence we learn that the Intellect of each of these Spirits is wholly passive as to the Objects of its knowledge, and can alter nothing in them, but must meerly receive their influences, as they work upon the senses.
13. But as there is an infinite successive variety of experimental knowledges, and as the Objects are not always present; we observe there remains in us Images of experiences past and this Faculty which is the Armoury of images, we call Imagination.
14. All other knowledge then besides this experimental, is but a perception of the images or ideas of things absent, and not of the things themselves, and by consequence a dead knowledge, ineffectual, and subject to many errors.
15. And as, you see, we are speaking only of Spirits and not of Bodies; so it is evident from hence, that even as to spiritual Objects it is a most true, real, solid and fundamental distinction, rooted in the very nature of Spirits; when we distinguish Knowledge into esperimental, which is an enjoying of the things themselves present and acting upon us; and ideal knowledge, whose immediate Objects are only the images of absent things formed in our imagination.
16. There is a perfect Analogy between Spiritual and Corporeal things; seeing these are come of those, and are only a manifestation of them, as we learn from Scripture, and shall see more fully hereafter. Which if men had observed they woud have easily found out many important truths, which they how have missed of. Especially they could never have doubted of the great Truth we have been speaking of, the ignorance of which is the only cause of Idolizing that corrupted and blind Reason, which we see now almost universally adored, by the Learned of our days, instead of the Eternal Word of God.
17. I think it worth the while to insist a little upon this analogy of corporeal with Spiritual things in relation to Spiritual knowledge; though perhaps it may seem to some methodical Spirit to be out of its proper place.
18. When therefore we see the Sun and its lovely light, and feel its quickening warmth, we have an experimental, true, infallible, lively and effectual knowledge of the Sun itself.
19. When we think by night on the Sun, its light and warmth; we have only an image and idea there in our imagination. Which image gives us not the least reality of the Sun itself, we abide still as dark and cold as we were, whatever contention or violence we make use of in our thoughts: Therefore this ideal notion of the Sun is but a dead, cold and barren knowledge.
20. But yet as this idea of the Sun is left in us by a real impression and lively experience of the true qualitys of the Sun itself, hence it is that this image is true, and represents exactly to our mind the propertys of its original, whose passive expression it is. Stamped upon our mind by the original itself.
21. We find then that there is a sort of ideas which are wholly passive, and therefore exempt from error, as well as the experimental, but without vigour and Life.
22. Let us suppose a man who living in the utmost parts of the North had never seen the Sun, but only the Moon and Stars. This man meeting with one of our climate, and hearing him speak of the Sun, how wonderful a Star it is, far brighter and larger than the Moon or any of the Stars, warming and giving life and motion to all things etc., without doubt forms to himself an idea of the Sun in his imagination; the materials of which image he takes from the Moon, Stars and heat of the Fire.
23. It is plain that this Idea of the Sun is (1) all active as to the combination of several realities joyned together in one. (2) that it is yet far less lively and efficacious than that former passive idea. (3) that it is subject to many errors.
24. Thus we see there are in us three kinds of images of things absent from our minds; one is all passive, the other all active, and the third mixed of both, that is partly passive and partly active, when we add something to the passive impressions which we received from the objects themselves.
25. Further it appears hence and every body finds it in himself, that there is in us a faculty to form in our imagination an infinity of images and ideas, to compare them one with another, to divide and to compound them, to draw thence many conclusions, etc.
26. And this Faculty working so many things no body can doubt to be all activity even as to the objects of its knowledge themselves; and that it is an active Intellect.
27. Nor is there any scruple to be made of ascribing all these operations to REASON.
28. Reason then (even according to the common and universal acceptation of this word) is a mere Active Faculty, the Former of images, our inward Painter, in one more skilfull than in another, and thus I take it here in this Treatise, viz. for our active intellect, both of our eternal and natural Spirit, as they are and work together in conjunction; Though our Author understands for the most Part by Reason only our Natural Spirit in its whole Essence yet not denying that it is much exalted in its operations above all the Beasts by its union with the eternal Spirit. For the better explanation of this matter, remember that there is in us an eternal Divine Spirit, and also a temporary natural one whence arise two men in one, the inward and the outward, really distinct one from another, yet living and operating one in and with another in conjunction, and making up together one total man. Both these Spirits are sensible, knowing and thinking Beings, each in its sphere. Thus the eternal Spirit being a much higher graduated essence surpasses much in his knowledge the Natural Spirit. But this last by its most strict union with the eternal, is much exalted in his operations, because the eternal operates in, with and through the Natural, as if there were but one, though there are two really distinct. This distinction can hardly be known but by supernatural Light, therefore most part of the most Learned think there is but one knowing Spirit in us. But our Author (with whom J. Behm agrees) found by experience in his Divine transportations this real distinction of these two knowing spirits in us. The eternal he calls for distinctions sake an intellectual, and the Natural a Rational Spirit. This latter was occasioned by the Fall of Adam and Eve, and was produced in them by the Spirit of this visible World, which operated through the Sun and Stars. For they were created all Spiritual, having an eternal Spirit and Soul, and a Spiritual immortal Body. But turning their Love and desire from God to the Creatures, eating of the forbidden fruit, they came to loose the Power and Strength of God, they caused the Celestial Paradise, which penetrated throughout and covered this corporeal World and made it all glorious, to withdraw itself into its own Principle; and thus awakened the hidden Power of this outward World. Whose spirit, according to the magical attraction proper to each Principle or World, overpowered them and drew them into itself, and in the same instant cloathed them upon with a Body of gross Flesh, with a sensitive Soul, and with a Rational Spirit, fitted for and proportioned to this present world, which make up together the outward Natural or animal Man. Thus Adam became a twofold man, an inward spiritual and invisible, and an outward corporeal and visible Man. This last then was (by God's gracious ordination) the product, or the work of the Spirit of this World, particularly the rational Spirit drew its immediate origine from the Sun and Stars. Now, though this Rational Spirit comes into us not immediately from the Stars as it did into Adam and Eve, but by natural propagataion from our Parents, as well as the Body and Soul; yet its first original is from the Stars, to the constellation and influences of which it is also subjected. For this cause our Author and other Mysticks call this Rational Spirit or Reason a Child of the Stars, and an Astral Spirit. Which, if it were alone, without the eternal Spirit, woud differ very little or nothing at all from the Spirits of other Animals. But its prerogative is to be united to an eternal intellectual Spirit. The strongest then domineers over the other and draws him along with him; and so the weaker operates according to and after the desires, motions and dispositions of the stronger, and being all by Natural generation under the dominion of the Rational Spirit, all our knowledges are but Darkness, because by that Fall we have lost the true light of God, except some little sparks which God has left us for Christ's sake to recall us to him. There is then no true intellectual knowledge of Spiritual things, as being much higher essenced than Reason is, but in so far as our eternal Spirit by Regeneration gets the dominion over the Rational by the Power of God. Then our intellectual Spirit being enlightened and Reason in union with and obedience to him, it may be called in some sense enlightened Reason. But otherwise whatever knowledge we get by natural industry it is still Dark-Reason. For knowledge by itself, though true, imports not Light; else the Devils must be termed very luminous: because they have many true knowledges. This is our Author's Sense of Reason.
But because, all these truths are almost unknown,and accounted meer suppositions, and my design being to begin from undoubted Principles, and thence to shew what is salutary, solid and Essential Knowledge and what not; I must take Reason in the common sense, without distinguishing it from the Eternal Spirit, and shew that there is in us a real and ideal knowledge, as also a Passive and an active intellect; (which is true both of the Eternal and Natural Spirit) that which is commonly understood by Reason being indeed nothing else but our active intellect, because what is commonly ascribed to Reason is not suitable to the passive intellect: And that this our Reason or active intellect (either of the eternal or Natural Spirit) cannot produce any Salutary or Solid Knowledge in us, which I will go on to shew more particularly.
29. Now all this that has been said about different kinds of knowledge in us, is true, not only in relation to corporeal but to Spiritual things too.
For we have shewed already, that there is a real immediate perception of Spiritual Objects themselves, which gives relish, life, vigour and nourishment to the Spirit.
And that we have innumerable ideas of Spiritual things never tasted or experienced by us, and that these are therefore often far different from those images that others have drawn of the same Objects, no man in his senses will deny.
30. Reason's only work then is to draw images and representations of things absent; not only material but spiritual too; and to play variously with these poppets, which she hath made herself.
31. And as this Reason is common to all men and exerts itself even in the most corrupt and wicked; it is evident that Reason must be a part of the Animal Man, and that it is his active intellect, viz. principally; yet not excluding the cooperation of the eternal Spirit.
32. This they allow themselves by desining man to be a Rational Animal; of which consequently Reason must be a constitutive Part.
33. Hence follows a dreadfull conclusion for Madame Reason and all her Lovers, viz. that she is altogether blind in respect to the objects themselves, not only in Spiritual but even in natural things, that is, that she never perceives the things themselves present and acting by their influences upon us.
34. This is confirmed as to Spiritual things by the express Word of God, which must be sufficient for every one that has yet any sense of piety and veneration for that inestimable treasure of divine Truths.
35. But besides the contrary cannot be asserted without a manifest contradiction, for to say: Reason (or the forming-faculty of images, that is of representations of objects absent) sees or perceives the Objects themselves present: implys the greatest contradiction imaginable.
36. Further, to perceive the things themselves, is to receive passively the impressions they make immediately upon the faculty fitted for it. But Reason is all active and forms herself the pictures she plays with. If then she herself frames and figures her own notions, she cannot at the same instant receive passively the same by the real impressions that the objects themselves present make upon the correspondent facultys.
Wherefore Reason being active, she must needs be blind also. For if she did see, she would be passive, to receive the impressions from the Objects as they are in themselves, and to be modifyed by them, not by herself.
37. The same blindness of Reason is still further demonstrable, even clearer than by Mathematical demonstration, from the great and endless variety of ideas of the same things; which are not only as many as there are men (no two having the same ideas of all things) but yet change as often as every one passes through any considerable changes of Age, health, affection etc. For how often does a man change his sentiments about the same things? The infinite dissentions and controversys in all sciences, even in Divinity, and the great uncertainty about the works of Nature proclaim aloud the Vanity and blindness of their Master.
38. But it is quite otherwise with sensation or experimental knowledge. For all sensation is uniform, the same in every one, and constant and unchangeable, in all men that perceive the same things, and have their facultys well disposed.
39. Hence it is that there can never be any contest or dispute about these things. For that which one sees as a Circle, another does not see as a Triangle; what is red to one is not green to another; what is sweet to one is not bitter to another; though one may like the sweet, and another the bitter.
40. Having seen then that experimental knowledge is infallibly true, and that the passive ideas are also exempt from error: we find that though the first infinitely excells the second; yet both have this common quality that being passive they are true and not subject to error.
41. And that therefore Reason or the active intellect is the one productive cause of all error.
42. I think then we cannot but acknowledge that there is in us a passive intellect and a passive knowledge; and that they are as far above all active understanding, as Heaven is above Earth.
43. This shews us how vain and trifling all our Rational Knowledge is. For if the passive ideal notions, though true, generate but a dead, cold and barren knowledge; what are we to expect from Reason, subject to so many errors, and oftentimes to the greatest absurdity; as is evident from daily experience?
44. We can never be watchfull enough over our Reason; not only because it gives us barely an ideal knowledge, not able to communicate to us the least reality and happiness: but also because it generally corrupts our passive images, by adding many false things to them.
45. For our passive images are infallible only so far as they are passive. But Reason can seldom refrain from adding something of its own to the impressions we had received from the things themselves.
46. The passive impressions are not always so clear and so adequate as our Spirit desires them to be. And we are too curious and too impatient to live content with what we have received, and to expect till it pleases God to make us feel and tast more of those Objects: neither will our natural Pride permit us to depend wholly on the gracious pleasure of another. Whereupon Reason is quickly at hand; she takes the passive idea of what we had felt, compares it with other ideas which she has store of; and according to the agreement or disagreement she thinks she sees between them, she adds many things to that passive image, which never were contained in the impressions made by the objects themselves. And this is done by Reason sooner than we are aware of, nay when we think she is perfectly quiet and medles not at all with the matter, so great and dangerous is her activity, and so difficult it is to silence her.
47. Now as it is a great folly, and intolerable presumption, for Reason, that is wholly blind, and never perceives the things themselves, to undertake to mend the images or first draughts of them, drawn by an excellent Master.
48. So inexpressible is the damage done by it. For so far as our passive images are amplified by Reason, so far they are subject to error, and hence only arise all Disputes, Chimeras, Sects, and persecutions, to the great scandal both of Jews and Gentiles.
49. Now because we never can be absolutely certain that nothing of our Reason creeps in and mingles with our ideal passive knowledge; we must take great care never to be too confident of our Speculations, but always suspect them as images that may easily be falsified by our activity.
50. And in general all ideal knowledge, passive, and active, though it be true, ought to be valued very little.
51. For both kinds of these images being not the things themselves, we think of, but only the representations of things absent: they cannot communicate to our Spirit the least life, nourishment and vigour, nor satiate the facultys that are made for the enjoyment of the objects themselves.
52. And since all our Happiness consists in having each faculty filled really with the object which it is made for by God; it is evident, that all that ideas or images can contribute towards our felicity, is to excite us to search as we ought by proper means to obtain this real union with the objects themselves, which they are the pictures of. This is the only right use we can make of all ideal knowledge.
53. Thus you see they are not the means themselves by which we immediately and infallibly attain that real and beatifical union; but only an occasion exciting us to have recourse to the proper means.
54. Now the true beatifical object of our Spirit being only God himself (as shall be demonstrated hereafter) there can be no other means for Union with Him than to long after him, to trust in him, to give up and abandon our selves wholly to him, and to do his Will in all things to the utmost of our power, that is, in two words Faith and Love; that so He may take pleasure in us, and come himself into us, and unite himself with us most intimately and essentially in the deepest ground of our being, in the very Center of our Souls. For who can oblige him to unite with us, if He do it not of his free Love? and how can He Love him that has not Faith in Him nor Love to Him?
55. These two are of the immediate and infallible means to our Happiness. All other things are good or evil for us, as they help or hinder the increase of these dispositions.
56. Wherefore if our ideal knowledge has an influence upon our Heart or Will, and makes us square our Life and actions by it; it is of the highest consequence to us to have these images true; otherwise they would make us love what is evill, and hate what is good, and so by consequence be the occasion of our eternal damnation.
57. But if these images abide only in the brain, without any impression upon the heart (as it generally happens) so that our Life and behaviour is not regulated by them; it is manifest that it is of no importance whether our ideas be false or true. For it is only by loving that which is good, and hating that which is evil that we approach really to our End and beatifying Object.
58. And hence we may see, what great folly, nay what injustice, and impiety it is, to debate about these images, notwithstanding we see that a man by a godly life actually persues the true means to arrive at the real enjoyment of his beatifical Object.
59. All which is as clear as the Sun at Noon-day; nay it is so palpable that one would think the very blind themselves should feel it with both hands. Notwithstanding experience shews that men are realy bewitched in this point, and that for a just punishment of their sins God hath delivered them up to a Spirit of stupidity and folly. Yet I would fain try if possible to awaken them, and to make them sensible of the truth by a similitude taken from sensible things.
60. There were two men both born in deep cavitys of the Earth where they never saw the Day much less the Sun, and being in the very depth of the Earth they could not come out but by climbing up with great pains and labour a mighty high Ladder.
One of them was very poor; and consequently fared hardly, lived upon bread and water, and often wanted even that, suffered hanger, thirst and cold, and slept always upon the bare ground, etc. All which made him feel his misery and desire to be delivered out of it.
The other was Rich, had all manner of good accomodation, a Table well furnished, good attendance, good meat, good wine, and all maner of delicacys, a good Bed, good Chamber clean and warm.
Neither of them had ever seen the Sun, nor its delightfull Light. The Poor man upon hearing great praises of the Sun, and how great benefits every body received from it, was presently touched with it, and thought the Sun to be some great and excellent Man very gracious to every body. He formed thereupon a lively hope, that if he could but come to speak with that good man, Lord Sun, He would pitty him and deliver him out of all of his miserys. From hence there sprung up in him a strong desire to see Him whom he had conceived to be a mighty great and benificient Man. Upon this he begged of those that came sometimes to see him, that they would tell him the next time they saw the Sun, and would help him to see him too. And though they told himhe could not see the Sun till he had taken the pains to climb up that High Ladder, and so got into the free and open Air: (of which the poor man had as little experience of as the Sun, and consequently knew not what that open Air was, whether good or ill) yet He persisted in his design to see the Lord Sun, and resolved willingly to undertake all the pains required to attain that happiness.
The Rich man also is told that the Sun is a most wonderfull and beautifull Planet, of a prodigious and indeterminable bigness, all luminous above expression, in comparison of which, the Light of Candles which he had hitherto used was not worthy to be called Light, that it gives joy and satisfaction to all creatures, that they have all their Life, vegetation and beauty from it; that it manifests a thousand admirable things, which He in his darkness could perceive nothing of. He was told also how he might come to enjoy with all other men these great advantages.
But our Rich man contented with his good eating and drinking, good bed, good fires, and good attendance, and never having undertaken any fatigue; was nothing at all touched and moved with that just and good Idea of the Sun, and would not give himself the trouble to climb up that high Ladder; figuring to himself a thousand chimerical difficultys, that perhaps he should fall down and break his neck, and loose his beloved Life; and so never see those things he had heard so much of.
Whereupon word being brought him that now he might see the Sun if he woud but climb up with them; he had not faith enough to follow them effectually; but contented himself with the Speculative knowledge he already had of the Sun; nay and because he coud draw from that ideal Notion many particular conclusions, which they themselves that had seen that Planet knew not, he thought his knowledge surpassed that which others had of it by their Eyes, and their feeling.
But the other poor man, how false and ridiculous soever his idea was, which he had formed of the Sun, ran immediately to the Ladder as soon as ever he heard that the Sun was to be seen; he took all the pains necessary to get out of his deep cave into the open Air, without which he had heard it was impossible to enjoy the presence he longed after; and so having mounted in constant faith that he should see the Sun: he obtained what he had believed, and saw the Sun, and actually and really enjoyed its admirable and ravishing influences, which made him quickly forget his former idea, so that he thought no more of it, nor made any reflexion whether it had been true or false; but actually enjoyed the Light and walked in it.
Now pray tell me, what harm did the false idea do to this poor man, and what good did the true and just idea of the Sun do to then other? None at all, you will say, without doubt. And yet the one attained the happiness of enjoying with all other men the reviving light and warmth of nthe Sun, by faith, occasioned by a most absurd Idea; whilst the other notwithstanding he had a most just and true one, yet abode still in darkness and misery because of his incredulity.
61. All that has been said hitherto shews plainly that there is a knowledge of the Brain only, and another of the Heart, that is, that the one subsists in a meer speculation; and that is barren, cold and dead: the other touches the Heart, and moves it to act according to that persuasion; and this is a living, operative, and efficacious Knowledge.
62. That of the brain is only an ideal notion, and is busied only with the images and not with the things themselves.
63. The Knowledge of the Heart is generally real and experimental, coming from the objects themselves present and acting upon their correspondent facultys.
But yet the Heart may sometimes be touched and determined by an ideal Notion too. For which there are as many proofs, as there are men that act upon false suppositions.
64. Each of all these kinds of knowledges may be 1. either clear or obscure, 2. distinct and particular, or confused and general.
65. Now was we saw above, that the only true means for attaining the beatifical union with God, is the Love of, and Faith in Him: if we would see what knowledge is essential to our happiness and consequently worth our labour and industry; we must examine what knowledge is necessary to Love and by consequence to Faith: for Love cannot be without Faith.
66. But every one will easily read in his own Heart, that he can love nothing but he must have an impression and persuasion in his Heart of nits real goodness and excellence. And we no sooner have a contrary persuasion in our heart of a thing, and believe that it is not good, but we find it impossible to love it any longer.
67. It is then the Knowledge of the Heart that is necessary to Love, and without which Love cannot be. Which truth is still more evident from experience. Whence we see in fact that men may have a very high ideal notion in the Brain or meer speculation of things for which they have no Love at all. Witnessso many wicked learned men, and all the Devils, who know God very well speculatively but love him not.
68. And the same experience teaches us, that to love a thing it is enough to have our heart persuaded of its goodness in general and confusedly, without knowing at all its excellencys in particular: as thousands of instances convince us daily.
69. As to clearness and obscurity of knowledge: we find that the clearer it is, the livelier and stronger is the impression upon our heart of the excellency of the Object, and the more is our Love enkindled and exalted: and the more obscure it is, the weaker is the impression, and the Love more feeble and languid.
70. But, observe well, it is not necessary in order to Love, that our Knowledge of the object, and the persuasion of our heart concerning its goodness consequent thereupon, shoud be true in itself. For we see daily that men hold to be good, and do love things which are not good but very evil.
71. For the better understanding of which, remember, that as soon as our Heart is persuaded of the goodness of a thing, we cannot but love it; and on the contrary hate it, as soon as our heart looks upon it as evil.
72. It is of great importance then that our heart be not mistaken in this point, and take that for good which is not really so, and that for evil which is really good. It is This truth or Error which our Salvation or Damnation depend upon.
73. But it signifies nothing at all, under what particular representations false or true, that persuasion of the goodness and excellency of the object insinuate itself into our heart, provided what we take for good, and affect as such in our heart be good indeed.
74. Therefore the goodness and holiness of Love, depends wholly upon the verity and reality of the excellence of the object in general; so that when we love that which is really good, our Love is good, just and holy: and on the contrary, when we love things which are not really good, our Love is unjust, evil and sinfull.
75. But the actual determination of our Love to such or such an Object, and the Essential qualitys or propertys and characters of Love: (which are 1. complacency or delight in the Object, 2. tendency to unite with it, 3. endeavour to be pleasing to it, 4. joy when the union is obtained and when we are all acceptable to the beloved, 5. Affliction when we are short of that union, and displeasing to the beloved): depend not at all upon the verity and reality of the excellency of the object in itself, but only upon our being persuaded of it in our heart: as the daily practise of mankind proves more then it were to be wished.
76. Thus we see, that as all the knowledge of the Brain is a meer Vanity, and gives us not the least reality, but only puffs up our heart with Pride.
77. So the Knowledge of the Heart that makes us love that which is truly good, is always salutary; though as to its particularitys it may be mingled with many falsitys, which deserves well to be observed, particularly in these latter days, wherein all things are, and will be still more, in such confusion, as none shall know what part to choose.
78. Now as the one only lawfull and salutary Love is that of God alone in himself and for himself, and of other things in relation and subordination to Him only.
79. N.B. So ye only good and salutary knowledge is, to have in our heart a deep, lively and strong impression of the infinite excellency and Amiability of God.
80. For without this lively persuasion it is impossible to Love Him; and consequently to be saved; but with this efficacious impression we cannot but Love Him.
81. N.B. Therefore all that produces, or gives occasion to increase in our Heart this lively and efficacious persuasion of the infinite perfection of God, is good and Salutary for us, although it were in itself a false opinion.
82. And on the contrary all that dos not serve really and actualy to form in our heart this vivifical impression of the superexcellent goodness and amiability of God, is not good and salutary for us, and what hinders it, is the worst of evils for us, though it be never so true in itself.
83. The ignorance of these great and precious truths is the cause of unexpressible misfortunes in Christendom, and of all the persecutions that ever were, or will be.
84. And this is one reason why God says that those only who Love Him have a true knowledge of Him; and why Jesus Christ called the Scribes and Pharisees blind and foolish; viz., because they had not in themselves, in their own hearts, this living and efficacious knowledge of the all Surpassing Beauty and amability of God; which is inseparable from Love.
85. But besides this, it is yet true in the strictest sense of the Letter, that those only who Love God, have the true Light, and know the things of God in truth, and as they are in themselves: and that all others are in darkness, and know nothing as it is in Truth.
86. For to know a thing aright, we must have a light proportionate to the Object we would see. For the Light of the moon hides many things from us which we plainly discover by that of the Sun, and we see many little things in clear weather which we cannot discover in cloudy.
87. Therefore we must have a pure all Spiritual and Divine Light to know as we ought things wholly spiritual and divine. And there is nothing in Heaven and Earth that can make us know the things of God as they are in themselves, but this Divine Light. The very best Ideas can do nothing to it: I may posses them all in the highest Degree; and yet not have the least spark of true Light in me, as is evident not only from the ground of this matter already laid open, but from the Example of all the Devils, who surpass all men in speculative knowledge: and yet are destitute of all true Light.
88. Now the imparting of Divine Light is a special favour of God; of which those that love Him not, are not only unworthy, but wholly uncapable.
89. N.B. The only way then to be illuminated with the true divine Light; and so to know the things of God as they are indeed: is to Love Him much.
90. Consider therefore, I pray, what a vain and useless things it is, to be at great pains to have ones Brain filled with exact, clear and distinct notions? Is it not a great folly to weary ones self with things unprofitable, and that cannot give us the least reality; being nothing but images of things absent, to the reviving knowledge and enjoyment of which we cannot come but by quite another way, viz., by that of Love and quiet attendance upon God, till He please to fill us with Himself, who is the true Light as well as the thing itself to be experimentally known for our Eternal Happiness.
91. Besides this, we do an unexpressible dammage to our selves these speculations.
1. in trifling away our precious time, which we might and shoud employ in Loving God, and conversing sweetly with Him in our Heart; which is the Unum necessarium, the one only necessary thing to be truly illuminated.
2. in filling our Spirit with images which cleave to, mingle with, corrupt, and wrest into their own frames all that ever the Divine Light woud discover to us.
3. in giving us a disposition to reject and condemn what is not agreeable to our conceptions: which has been the practice of most of the Learned from the beginning of the World to this Day.
4. in puffing up our Heart with pride, persuading us that we are endued with great knowledge, when indeed we know nothing; depriving our selves thus of the Grace of God; and consequently precipitating our selves into the utmost darkness.
92. Now from what has been said, You may easily perceive, how to behave your self in relation to these ideal knowledges, considered in themselves. As
1. You must not strain your Brain much for the obtaining of them.
2. When you find this ideal knowledge either in hearing, reading, or in your own thoughts; You must not stay long, and bestow much pains and time upon it, in examining and esteeming it in itself: but look upon your Heart, and see if That be more enflamed with the true Love of God by such notions. And if you find this good effect (which is undoubtedly from God who is the Sole author of every good thought) you must then take your notions as from the Hand of God, and never trouble your self at all, whether they are in themselves true or no, but keep them, and make use of them faithfully as of motives furnished by Providence, to advance effectually and grow more and more in the Love of God; and this you must do as long as you find none that are better for you, that is, none that are more efficacious in you to enlarge and make more ardent, more solid, and more fruitfull in your Heart that impression of the infinite excellency and amability of God, without which His Love cannot subsist.
3. You must never for them with any body.
For all knowledge, how true soever it be in it self, is of no use at all, but so far as it is in us an efficacious motive to Love God.
Now whether such or such a notion dos indeed enkindle in my heart the true love of God, or not, no one can judge but my self: because that is not to be known but by ones own proper sense and experience; and the same notion may have contrary effects in different persons, according to the difference of their dispositions; nay and in the very same persons at different times, as is more than fully proved by sad experience, so many unhappy massacres having been committed for difference in opinions, the most trifling thing in the World.
4. And if you must not contest about them, much less must you persecute others that are of different sentiments from yours.
And to judge thus and act accordingly, I require not a true Christian, who must have a spirit of Love, sweetness, and tenderness for all men; but a man of common sense and equity, even a Heathen, that has not put off all Humanity, and essenced himself in cruelty more than any Wild Beast: Consider, I beg of you, is there any thing in the World tighter, more destitute of all Life and reality, and consequently more contemptible than a Sentiment, opinion or image, staying only in our Brain? And for such a trifle which can neither give you, nor take any thing from you, will you persecute and kill your fellow man, your Brother, who for the rest leads a holy Life? Is their any Barbarian so unnatural as to be guilty of such cruelty?
But if that fellow-man makes yet a good use of that trifle and takes thence occasion to love God more ardently, and consequently you too: is their any malice more Diabolical than to do any hurt to him for so good, so just, so innocent a thing? Surely if all men were not all darkness, and walked in darkness, and the Devil were not absolute Master of their Hearts, at least as to that point, they never could come to such a pitch of Barbarity.
93. And as this may suffice for our behaviour about ideas; so our Duty touching experimental knowledge is, to believe those who give us an account of their spiritual experiences, if they be pious and faithfull persons; and to make use of them for our advancement in Divine Love.
94. For either we must deny all spiritual experience and Divine Revelation; which cannot be done without impiety: or we must allow that the will and design of the divine Providence in making them publick is, to awaken by that means those that sleep in the Pleasures and Business of this Life, to draw them to Him to Love Him, and to encourage them against the temptations they are to be assaulted with, the trials to be undergone, and Battels to be fought.
95. To refuse then such relations, and not to make that good sue of them, we just now proposed, is manifestly to resist God's gracious designs towards us, and to reject frowardly the helps offered by our Lord and Master for our Salvation.
96. Which to do is not only the greatest folly imaginable, but yet a Malice so much more criminal, as we receive daily a thousand things upon the credit of others, who tell us what they saw and found in strange countrys, though the greatest part of these witnesses are men of no conscience.
And a Pious man, that serves God truely and faithfully; whose life we know and can find nothing to blame in: (if you will but examine it your self, and not rely upon the calumnys that may be cast upon it by others) one that never deceived any body; to whom a lye is a mortal sin, particularly in such matters; who receives not the least benefit from what he says, but rather contempt, scorn, injury and persecution; all which he endures patiently for the truth of his Testimony; who do hurt to no man, not even to his enemys and persecutors, but rather all the good he can; who prays for them, and wishes them all good; who loves all men most tenderly, even those that hate him; who has no other view in manifesting his experiences but the Honour of his Creator, and the Eternal Happiness of his Fellow-Creatures; who in the main exhorts you to nothing but to love indeed Him alone, who is the one only true Good, and to take care of your own salvation: such a man as this, I say, is not counted worthy to be believed in the accounts he gives you of your Native Country; (to which you are now a stranger, and know nothing of) and in things which he is an Eye-Witness of! Is not this unpardonable incredulity?
97. And what will you say in excuse for your self, when there is not the least danger in receiving such like messages, even though they were false.
98. For the one only good use you can make of all things whatever, is, to approach nearer and nearer to God by such means, enkindling thereby and strengthening more and more the True Love of God, and what is contained in it, particularly Faith and Hope in the deepest Humility.
99. If you make an other use of any thing how good and true soever it be in itself, you abuse it to the great dammage of your Soul.
100. But if you draw this advantage (viz. the increase of the true Love of God) out of a thing, be it never so false in itself, it is good for you, and this good effect is to you instead of the greatest truth; because you are realy lead by it into the one and only and essential Truth, which is God Himself.
101. There is then no danger at all in the accepting of a false revelation for a true one: but only in the misusing of it, be it false or true.
102. And this right or wrong use of a revelation depends only and totally upon your own Heart. No Devil, no Creature can draw you to the one or the other against your own Will.
103. All the danger therefore is in your self, and not in the Revelation: neither have you any need to trouble your head whether it be true or false, it is too dangerous to give a decision of it. Take but care, and take great care, that your Heart never be seduced under any pretence whatsoever to act any thing contrary to the true Love of God and deep Humility, and nothing in the world can do you any hurt.
104. And if you are in this good disposition and practice, be sure that God will never be wanting to give witness to what comes from Him indeed, by touching your Heart, and exciting it to his Love and all other vertues contained in it.
105. Thus it being very dangerous to reject and condemn a true Revelation coming indeed from God; and their being no danger at all in admitting perhaps a false one for a true; provided it be but done with a good Heart, which makes such use of it as is agreeable to the design God has in all manifestations: How will they excuse themselves who despise all Revelations to such a degree, as that they will not so much as hear of them, or read them, nay that mock at them, or persecute the Publishers, as well as those that make use of them; and so not reject knowingly and willingly the councel of God concerning them as to their own persons, but also bereave others of those means which they assure us they find to be good for them? Surely they will experience a great and terrible judgement in it's time. Is it not worth the while, when one speaks in the name of the Lord, or tell us marvellous things of his own spiritual experiences, to hear them, to read them, to ponder them, and so to dispose our selves as to consider how to make our spiritual advantage of them, and to examine the Life of the Author, whether he be a man worthy to be believed or no? How many hours do we throw away on our idle nay sinfull pastimes? And will it be too much for us, to think a little on the great work of our Salvation, upon occasion of such extraordinary excitements? And if upon examination we find it is not fit for us, shoud we not let others make use of it that think it fit for them, without troubling them by our Mockery or persecution? There is none that woud not be thus dealt by themselves, and therefore there is nothing more just than to do the same by others. Which principle is so deeply rooted in the nature of all men, that there is none so simple or stupid but what can easily and certainly know what they ought to do in such cases both in relation to themselves and others. Wherefore, whoever carries himself otherwise than he ought, is altogether inexcusable. And thus it becomesthe infinite Love and Wisdom of God to provide his poor Creature not only sufficiently but abundantly against all delusions, provided it will not delude itself.
106. It was for this reason that the Lord God ordained among the Jews the Paschal Lamb and other Ceremonys, and that they shoud tell their Offspring the great benefits their Fore Fathers had received from God. Exodus 12; 14, 26, 27: 13; 3, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16. Deuteronymy 6; 30 seq. Deuteronymy 31; 19, 21: 32; 7, 46. Josuah 4; 20.
Hence it was that our Saviour grounded his Doctrine and his new Church upon the Testimony of Himself and his Apostles. John 1; 7, 8, 15, 32, 34: 3; 11, 31, 32: 4; 39: 15; 27: 18; 37: 19; 35: 21; 24. Luke 24; 48. And that the Apostles and Disciples of Christ witnessed the things seen, heard, and experienced by them. Luke 1: 1, 2, 3, 4: Acts 22; 18……
107. Seeing then that all the Divine doctrine both of the Old and the New Testament is grounded upon the testimony of pious men; without doubt God in his Wisdom, justice and love judged this way to be the fittest and most proportionate for mankind to teach them the Divine truths, profitable and necessary to their salvation: and consequently they have all the reason imaginable to accept such testimonys, and to make use of them for returning to God which is the one and only end which all sound Doctrines aim at.
108. The Will of God then is that we shoud believe such witnessesin what they tell us of things experienced by themselves. And whoever rejects such testimonys, resists the design of God, and is inexcusable before God. Therefore it is that our Lord reproaches his Disciples with incredulity and hardness of Heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after he was risen, Mark 16; 14. And that He pronounces him blessed who hath not seen, and yet believes, John 20; 29.
109. And certainly if we depart from this truth, we open a door to Jews, Gentils, and Atheists to mock at the Holy Bible and the Christian Religion because the fundamental doctrine thereof , viz., the Redemption of mankind by the Death of the Son of God upon the Cross, is grounded only on the Testimony of his disciples, as is provided by all the passages above mentioned.
110. Nay if we do not admit the testimony of pious men in spiritual things experienced by them, we destroy the authority of the Holy Scriptures, even as to Christians themselves.
111. For let us consider seriously and without prejudice, whether there be one among a thousand, or ten thousand, that can say in truth He has an inward, divine, and infallible conviction, that the books ofd the Holy Writ were indeed written by those who names they bear in the title, that the authors were really the Disciples of Jesus Christ, and Prophets of God; that Jesus Christ did really speak and do all that they relate of him; that they were so particularly guided by the Spirit of God in these writings, that they did not miss in a word; and that those books still remain and are delivered down to us uncorrupted; nay and that the translations of them do express the true sense of the original? I am sure, that among hundreds of thousands there is not one that has a particular interior certainty of these things. And so we must acknowledge the faithfulness of the universal testimony of all ages; or we must admit as many particular Revelations as there are men who bear the name of Christians and believe these things; which would be ridiculous.
112. For though it be most certain, that every one finds readily and plainly in the Holy Bible, an universal spirit of piety, which derives all from God, and refers all to Him, and inculcates upon all occasions the Love, Faith and Fear of God: Yet there are many other books that commend the same things, and will not be admitted nor received for divine inspirations; and besides this, there are many more things in Scripture than the practical doctrines. Wherefore we ought to have a deeper foundation for the divine Authority of the Holy Bible; which is the Universal Testimony of all pious men in all Ages.
113. And this is sufficient to rely upon: The one only salutary use, and the sole End of the Holy Scripture as well as of all other means ordained by God for our Salvation, being to call us back again from the Creatures, and to help us to return to God in us by a true and hearty Love, that so at last we may get again to the experimental knowledge of Him. Which if we do we cannot be in the wrong; and if we do it not, all the rest will be of no advantage to us.
114. And if we reject the testimony of pious men concerning invisible things, experienced by them; pray what means are there left for God to draw the ignorant of those things out of their errors, and to give them any knowledge of the Truth. There can be no true and solid knowledge but by experience. They themselves have their spiritual senses shut up, and are not fitted to know spiritual things by their own experience; and those that by long and frequent use and exercise have at last attained this Happy state to see and taste the spiritual Objects are laughed at and rejected! unreasonable and impious!
Of the Spirit of Eternity: that there is such: what He is.
1. Let us now look into our selves. And first we cannot doubt but that we have a Spirit abiding in us; finding in us (as is said before) many Wills, desires and perceptions; which are the constituent propertys of a Spirit.
2. In like manner we know assuredly that we are not of our selves, that we our selves did not give our selves our own Being: for we know our Parents and the time of our first existence; and we daily see other fellow-Creatures like our selves come up anew in this World. So that we cannot doubt of our being made and formed by another.
3. In fine no body can say, that all his desires are fully satisfied, that he wants nothing, and consequently that He is in a state of perfect Happiness.
4. Nay we must every one of us allow, that we are subject to many vicissitudes, to many miserys, that we are too weak to help our selves; and therefore that we are not, and cannot be our own Felicity.
5. And if we look seriously into our selves, and search diligently to the very Bottom of our Nature, to know the reason of this our condition, we can't deny but that there is in the deepest ground of her Being, an unquenchable desire after an Infinite Good. If a man had the whole world, nay and ten thousand Worlds, and knew that there was yet something better than all that, it is impossible that there shoud not arise in him a longing after that better. Besides there is no one that dos not wish to possess and enjoy what is Good, for ever and ever.
6. Now as we find this desire after an Infinite Good to be the deepest root of our Being; so we find also that we are not our selves this infinite Good. And that therefore we must look elsewhere for our all filling infinite Object, if ever we would have our desire contented.
7. Seeing then the very Essence and Form of our Being is from another, it is manifest, that He who was the first and original Cause and maker of us, and formed in us this Central infinite Desire, must needs be that Infinite Good itself which we long after. For nothing else could form and fit us for an infinite Good, but that Infinite Good itself.
8. There is then certainly an Infinite Good really and actually existent.
9. This Infinite Good is called God, and by our Author particularly the SPIRIT OF ETERNITY.
10. The proper Notion then of God or the Spirit of Eternity is, that it is an Infinite Good, an infinite Perfection in itself.
11. And by an infinite Good we must understand such a Being as is All good, All perfection, All reality, All happiness, to itself and all other Beings whatsoever; an All simpliciter, All in All; above all other Beings, all other realitys, all other perfections, all other good, all other happiness; above all thoughts, all conceptions, all comprehensions; which is alone its own full comprehension and comprehends all other Beings, all other realitys, whatsoever and how many and how great soever; which suffers not any restriction, limitation, exclusion, in any manner, in any sense, in any regard; and which therefore is simply and absolutely without and above all bounds and limits whatsoever.
12. This is the notion we must have of the Infinity of our God and Summum Bonum, and it is manifest that this is a most real and positive and not a negative Idea; although the word Infinite seems to imply a negation.
13. But as experimental knowledge is incomparably better than Ideal; the best way to be infallibly convinced of the existence of God, is to procure Him to come Himself into us, and unite himself most intimately to our central perception. By which means we cannot fail of arriving at such a certainty of the existence of God, as woud make us rather doubt of the existence of any body, or of the whole World, than of the existence of God.
14. Now being sure from experience, that we cannot our selves produce, nor render present to our selves the Objects necessary to act upon and modify our Perception, which is wholly passive in that respect; and that our Will too can do nothing but apply its perceptive faculty to such or such Objects actually present and acting upon it: we see that all that man can do towards experiencing the real presence of God, the Soverain Good, is to turn away his heart,(his Will and perception) wholly and constantly from all particular things, loving, willing, or desiring none of them, nor thinking upon them, and to offer, give up and abandon his heart sincerely, absolutely, entirely, and confidently to that Soverain Good, Whoever and Whatever it may be, to deal with us according to it's pleasure; with an ardent desire that it may come into us to dwell there, and satiate our Hunger after it.
15. This if we do sincerely and constantly we shall certainly come to an experimental assurance of the existence of God, that is of an Infinite Good. For it is impossible that a man should keep his Heart free from and empty of all particular things, and not feel in himself a Quiet, Stillness, and Peace, and an entire and general acquiescence of his whole Being. Which could never be, if God, the only Soverain Good were not really and actually present in the inmost of him, and did satiate his hunger by a real communication of His Good.
16. And this practice does not suppose the existence of God. For in this act of abandoning your self, you do in effect nothing but say: if there be a God, come, take possession of me, fill and satiate my Hunger, and that thou mayst do it, behold, I am void of all particular things, which cannot be the Soverain Good.
17. If you will not venture so little, where there is nothing to be lost on the one side, and so much to be got on the other, you will be guilty of the greatest Folly, and even impiety.
18. Nor can you say, that is too difficult a thing to empty ones self of all particular Objects, nor to desire them, nor think any more of them. It is difficult for those only who are not sincere, who love the particular Goods, and will not part with them.
19. As to others, if there be any difficulty in the beginning, by reason of contrary custom; they shoud consider, that a Thing of so infinite importance deserves to have a little pains taken about it; seeing they take so muchfor follys and vanitys that perish in a moment. And that the longer they continue in the Practice we have been commending, the more the difficultys met with at the beginning diminish, and change into solid delights, proportionably as their certainty concerning that Soveraign Being increases.
20. This assurance and experimental knowledge of God increases always more and more, proportionably to our faithfullness in emptying our Heart of all Creatures and giving it up wholly to God alone. By this way the Existence of this Infinite Being becomes at last so clear to us, that we have a greater assurance of it than of our own, which we come to loose sight of, forgetting our selves, and being wholly taken up with this unfathomable Abyss of all reality.
21. And of all ways, that ever were or can be, of demonstrating the Existence of God, this absolutely the best. Because all other Demonstration whatsoever is of no use at all if it dos not lead us to this. But this alone is sufficient of itself; has no need of any other, and leads us immediately to our true happiness, which is inseparable from this experimental knowledge of God; not to mention that this way of demonstration is fit for everyone, Men and Women, Learned and Unlearned.
Of the Spirit of Eternity, considered and unmanifested.
1. Now till we come to have a fuller experience of God, let us in the meanwhile endeavour to get some further ideal knowledge of this our Highest Good, which is the Spirit of Eternity. And to this end let us always fix our Eyes upon that Good itself, and contemplate it under the notion now given of it, by which means we shall certainly find that He Himself will be our Light, and unfold his Infinity in more particulars after the good pleasure of his will.
2. When we therefore consider our Infinite Good, or the Spirit of Eternity, as abiding in itself, in its own infinite Being, not uttering or manifesting itself in any manner; then we cannot but call Him an Hidden God, a God that inhabits a thick impenetrable Darkness, who on this account to all other beings besides Himself is a perfect Nothing, as not to be known in any manner.
3. And although He is all Light in Himself and to Himself; yet transcending infinitely all things, as long as He abides wrapt up in his own Mystery, He is an unapproachable Light to all Creatures, which the Highest of them can never penetrate into.
4. And this is all we can say of the Spirit of Eternity, when considered as unmanifested.
Of the Spirit of Eternity as manifested, but as in itself, above and before all its works. Its common propertys. Holy Trinity. Sophia. Etc.
1. But supposing He streams forth his own Light and manifests Himself, we may indeed have a true and sound knowledge of Him; but yet He being Infinite and incomprehensible by any but Himself, all that ever all Creatures in all Eternity can come to know, and all that ever in all infinite Circles of duration of things, and in all revolutions of ever-springing new Revelations can be unfolded of his own wonderfull infinity, must still be very little in comparison of this infinite fullness in itself; which having poured out itself into an infinity of Creatures in an infinite Variety, and in an infinite infinity of Ages, is still as full as it was before, and abides still in an infinite eternal inexhaustible fullness, continually unfolding itself in infinite novelties or varieties without any End to all infinite Eternity. So that all our knowledge of God cannot but be very inadequate and imperfect; and He still for the most part an Hidden God, and an inexplicable Mystery.
2. Now to look a little into this Mystery, and to apprehend after our little measure some of its wonders, we will consider it first in itself as above and before all its works; and 2ndly in its works and by them.
3. Thus considered in its own abstractedness; the first of its divine Perfections we observe to be its Spirituality: for being all perfection above all that can be thought, He cannot want this, which being Life itself is the foundation of all other perfection. God then in Himself is a Spirit; and thence is called the Spirit of Eternity
4. Secondly. He is an infinite Spirit, an infinite Substance; and therefore an infinite quantity, both of intension and of extension too, but a quantity of Life, of meer Act not of matter.
5. Being infinite, He is thirdly without any shape, form or figure. For a certain shape or figure cannot be conceived without bounds and limits.
6. A fourth Property is his Oneness, God is but one God, there is but one Spirit of Eternity and no more: it being impossible and contradictory that there should be two or more Infinite Beings.
7. And for the same reason His Oneness consists not only in that there is but one God and no more; but also fifthly in this, that all that is in Him is but one Being and is Himself. Whatever can be known, whatever can be thought of Him, being altogether and every way infinite, our thoughts must needs come to an end and loose themselves at length in a most simple incomprehensible Oneness of all his Divine Perfections. In this Oneness of all that is in God does consist his Simplicity.
8. But this Oneness and Simplicity of God excludeth not Variety. For we cannot but conceive many divers attributes or perfections of God; and the several things that are said about them are no lies, but most solid truths, grounded upon the several realitys that are indeed in God. We cannot say that one of the Divine perfections is another formally; without destroying all manifestations of God by works and words, and crying down for cheats and follys all that ever has been said of God from the Beginning of the World: at this rate the Holy Trinity themselves would be a meer fancy of idle men.
9. Inquiring then into the formality of this divine oneness or simplicity, I think Unity or Simplicity dos not speak or imply a formal identity, but an indivisible totality of the subject, and communication of all its realitys to its whole Being.
10. Thus the Divine Oneness would consist in this, that all the Divine realitys, attributes, Perfections (or what you please to call them) are, in their mutual communication of their propertys one to another, altogether invisible and inseparable from Him, and from one another, and that they altogether make up but one only indivisible All or totality.
11. If this is not to be one, I confess I know not what to understand by that Word, and all that I can do in this case, is to say, God is one and simple in that perfect sense which He Himself hath of it, although I comprehend it not.
12. This divine simplicity is Sixthly the ground of his Immutability and immortality. He abides always the same, yesterday, today and forever.
13. Seventhly. He being One simple spirit, and consequently all spirit, is also all Power all Act, all Life, a meer infinite Power, infinite Act, infinite Life.
14. Eighthly. He is all immaterial, there is not the least shadow of any matter in Him.
15. Ninthly. Because this Spirit of Eternity is a perfect Oneness, He is also a thorough Love and Goodness.
16. For the Essential character of Love is Unity and Union, or Unification and communication. Where Love is there is also Unity and continual tendence to Unity. Love is an all concentrating Life, but where Division and separation is there is Hate.
17. Love then is the band of Oneness, and the very Nature or Ratio formalis of the Divine Essence; and the highest notion we can ever have thereof.
18. For it is impossible for any Creature to know what this Divine Essence is in itself; We therefore must content our selves with knowing the primary Operation and Property of it, in which the others are grounded, and upon which they depend.
19. Which primary of foundation Property or Perfection is that which we understand by the Nature of a thing.
20. Now that Love is such a Character of the Deity, cannot be denied: it being impossible that there shoud be any satisfaction, any joy, any rest, any Happiness, perfection or good without Love. Whatever perfections and excellencys you may suppose; take away the Unity and Oneness, and consequently the Love thereof, and so far will they be from making up an Infinite Good, or Highest Perfection and Happiness, that on the contrary from the division and contrariety thereof cannot but follow a misery so much the greater as the perfections are supposed to be greater and more numerous.
21. So that it is palpable, that Unity and Love is the root and also the Top of all perfection, Good, and Happiness; as division is the ground of all misery.
22. Let us never then forget this excellent Truth, that God is Love: He is Love itself; all Love thorough Love, the Essential Love.
23. He is Tenthly and Eternal Love, having its own being from itself without beginning or end.
24. He is Eleventhly, The First and last Being. All that ever can be besides this must necessarily have its original from this Love, and must tend again to this Love.
25. He is Twelfthly, an Infinite, immense, incomprehensible, inexhaustible Love, infinitely exalted above all thoughts, above all Beings but itself; above all manifestations; without any limits or bounds, in what sense, manner, time, subjects, or objects soever.
26. He is Thirteenthly, a Pure Love, Being all Simplicity, there is no mixture of any other thing in Him; nothing can reach Him, nothing can spot Him; and so He abides always in his own purity and perfection.
27. And in this infinite exaltation in itself, and untouchableness from any thing that is not Himself, I think in the Fourteenth place consist the true notion of his Holiness of Essence; which we may consider distinctly from the Holiness of Will.
28. He is Fifteenthly, an All Sufficient Love; and infinite fullness of all perfection and happiness in Himself, to Himself, and to an infinity of Creatures besides. He never can increase or decrease. The more he pours itself out, the more still it hath in itself. All Creatures whatsoever by all their Actions in all Eternity, can never add the least perfection or happiness to this infinite Store of all good and felicity.
29. He is then also Sixteenthly an independant Love depending upon nothing, and in no manner but in Himself.
30. He is Seventeenthly a Free Love, tied to nothing but Himself. He is free in all his motions and determinations to do or leave undone whatever He pleases. He Himself and His own free pleasure is the only motive of His Love.
31. He is Eighteenthly an Omniscient Love. He knows perfectly Himself and all His infinite Perfections. And this knowledge is necessary to Him; it being impossible that an infinite perfect Being shoud have this great imperfection, viz., to be ignorant of itself. His own Essence and what is really in it, is the full and adequate object of His Omniscience; and with this He is fully satisfyed and wants nothing besides it.
32. But what is not yet in Him, cannot be the object of His Knowledge. Therefore He foreknows not all the actual Resolutions and determinations of His Love, which He may freely form in Himself, and the Wonders which He may work to all infinite Eternity. He knows indeed that there may and will be an infinite Number and Variety of always new and fresh resolutions and wonders of Love suitable to the occasions that shall arise in all Eternity; that there cannot be any end or bounds in this; that they are all free, that is, that they may be or not be according to His pleasure; and that therefore it is a downright contradiction to see things that may be or not be, as certainly to be; free things as infallibly determined; infinity of Numbers all numbered; and infinity of variableness invariably to arrive.
33. And surely if God must foreknow all that He will ever do to all Eternity; we take away all Liberty from Him, and make Him to be a mere Stoical Fate. Which destroys not only his infinite Perfection, since Liberty cannot be denied to be a reality and Perfection, and that it is much better than Necessity; but also His Spirituality, because no spirit can be conceived without a free will, viz., as far as the Sphere of its activity reaches. And the spirit of Eternity being without all measure, and the Highest of all Beings, He must necessarily have an unmeasured, absolute, infinite Liberty.
34. If we now suppose, by way of a little digression, that God is pleased to bring forth any Creatures, it is manifest from his All-sufficiency and Liberty that His Omniscience in this respect consists in knowing all that he freely will know of them, and that He may also, according to his good pleasure, be ignorant of what He will not know.
35. For if the knowledge of the Creatures be necessary to Him, and He not free to take up and lay down when, and as much of it as He pleases, then He is not all sufficient to Himself, but wanteth something of the Creatures, viz., the knowledge of them, without which He is supposed not to be able to be. So in like manner His Liberty comes to be lost if any thing is necessary to Him without or beside Himself.
36. And that this is agreeable to Scripture will appear from the following passages (1) Genesis 18; 20, 21. I will see whether they have done, etc., and if not I will know. (2) Genesis 18; 26, 28, 30. If I find, etc. (3) Genesis 22; 1-12. God did tempt Abraham, etc. Now I know that thou fearest me. (4) Isaiah 5; 1, 2, 4, 7. Where God is said to have looked that his vineyard should bring forth grapes; to have looked for Judgement, but behold oppression. This expectation of God not answered by the Jews, supposes manifestly, that God would not foresee their Actions: for if He had certainly known that they would infallibly bring forth wild grapes, How could He have said in truth, that He looked for good grapes? (5) Jeremiah 26; 3. If so be, they will hearken, etc. (6) Jeremiah 32; 35. Which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, etc. (7) Luke 13; 6-9. If it bear fruit, well; if not, etc. (8) Luke 20; 9-10. It may be they will reverence Him. (9) May other passages where it is said, that God trieth his chosen ones; and that He will forget their Sins; and that He will forget the wicked.
37. It is of no force against this, to reply that God speaks here after an humane manner. For that is yet in question, and must be proved.
I grant indeed that If this free and willing ignorance of what concerns the Creatures were contrary to the propertys of an infinite Being, then it woud be just to understand these scriptures not properly but metaphorically and as the subject could bear. But since the Voluntary ignorance is a consequence of the infinite everblessed Perfection and self-sufficiency of our God, we must keep close to the Letter of the Sacred Writ, and not weaken the truth by the Glosses of our own Fancy.
38. Our God is Nineteenthly an Omnipotent Love. He can do all that He will. His omnipotence has no other bounds but His own free Will. And all that He does is done by a real emanation of the idea or internal Word, formed in His imagination, in a moment and with all ease, either with or without all precedent Matter, according to His pleasure. And this is what some Mystical Writers understand by the Divine Magia, and which real omnipotent efflux of His idea or internal Word, I believe is what J. Behm calls the Divine Fiat.
39. Therefore no Body can assert an impossibility, unless he shew, that the thing woud come to fall into a Will and no-Will of God at the same instant.
40. He is Twentiethly a Wise Love, ordering all His motions, and carrying on all His purposes and Counsels most wisely; never failing of means proper to attain his ends.
41. He is Twenty Firstly a most constant Love; not changeable at all: His resolutions are all firm and stable; He cannot repent of whatever his Love has done.
42. He is Twenty Secondly a Just Love. He never acts otherwise, but as it is just and decent to Himself, that is, to an infinite perfect Love. This constant suitableness and decency of all his motions and actions to his infinite Love, is the proper Character of the Divine Justice, which is in Him Essentially; which He neither will nor can ever break or violate, because He cannot deny Himself. No other Justice is or can be in Him.
43. He is Twenty Thirdly a most Beautifull Love; of infinite Beauty, which involves two things. 1. A ravishing excellency and admirable accord and harmony of all the ingredient perfections. 2. A manifestation and displaying of all those excellencys: for there can be no Beauty where there is no Shining Lustre of it.
44. Thus this incomprehensible Beauty discovers all its infinite excellencys and Perfections, and displays all its treasures perfectly to itself; and to others when, and as far as it pleases Him.
45. This displaying and manifestation of all his perfections, is performed Twenty Fourthly by His Light; so that He is a most bright Luminous Love in Himself.
46. And this bright shining Lustre dos consist Twenty Fifthly His Glory, and so He is a most Glorious Love.
47. Thus God glorifys Himself essentially and eternally, by shewing, unfolding and displaying all His infinite Beautys unto Himself, and admiring, relishing, loving them, and delighting in them eternally.
48. But He may yet in another way glorify Himself, viz. by the works of His hands, bringing forth as many representations of his inward wonders as He pleases.
49. Which may be a new argument to convince us, that God cannot but Love all His Works; because they all bear the Characters of his own love perfections.
50. The Creatures glorify God their Creator (1) by contemplating in themselves His glory, beauty, and perfections, and by admiring, praising, loving, relishing them, and delighting in them; as God Himself doth in Himself. (2) by shewing, publishing, and manifesting to others the same Glory of God, partly by Words, but much more really and efficaciously by Works, shewing indeed that we have the Divine qualitys derived and really transfused into us.
51. Again God glorifys Himself in the Creature, not only by giving it a peculiar Being in the likeness of Himself, but also by filling and nourishing it continually with his goods, and making it to feed and live upon them as He himself doth.
52. And this lead us to a twenty-sixth Perfection of the Divine Love. It is a communicative Liberal Love. It communicates freely, largely, without any restraint, all its goodnesses to itself, and to all that ever can be besides itself according to all the receptibility of each Being. It never fails on its part, if every Being enjoys not with it the same Happiness in the full capacity of each one.
53. Which communicativeness presupposes in part (as to other Beings) a twenty-seventh Perfection, viz., Fruitfulness or Fecundity. The Divine Love is not a barren, but a most fruitfull Mother, capable of bringing forth a numberless Offspring of infinite variety; of which we will speak more in the next Chapter. Here it is enough to have given this quality its proper place among the divine Perfections which flow all immediately from the notion of infinite Perfection. For I think that no Body will deny that fruitfulness is a real perfection, and therefore must needs be attributed to God, who comprehends all perfection in the Highest degree.
54. I shall conclude the wonderfull common Propertysof this Soverain Good with this, that although it be a most High and exalted Love above all, yet it is altogether twenty-eighthly a most Humble Love in itself. It is Humility itself and the Original Humility.
55. This Divine Vertue of Humility consists in this that all infinite Perfections flowing forth continually from the Central Oneness, to what height soever they are exalted, sink down back again into the same, and as it were loose themselves in the simplicity of it; refer all to it and depend wholly upon it.
56. For as the proper Character of Love is union and communication, so the formal and radical Notion of Humility is a voluntary disappropriation and divesting of oneself and submission to another.
57. Now God being all Oneness and all Love, and so all communicativeness, He must necessarily be all disappropriativeness too: Seeing He cannot communicate Himself, that is give all that He has to another, without a kind of divesting Himself of what He has, viz., as to His Will, and as far as it is consistent with His Nature to be divested. Thus God being an infinite Love, is for the same reason an infinite Humility.
58. For Love and Humility are two inseparable companions: one can never be without the other. As much Love we have for any Object, so much true Humility and deference we have for it too.
59. And that God in Himself is such a deep Humility, He Himself was pleased to manifest to a very holy Person, viz., Angela de Foligny. Else probably it would never have entered into my mind.
60. It is not then the vilifying of oneself which is the constitutive character of Humility. For we find the deepest Humility in Jesus Christ, not only towards his Father, but even towards Sinners themselves. Now Our Lord could not think Himself more vile and abject than sinners; He knew the contrary. He was then Humble by pure Love, which made Him as it were forget his own excellency and dignity, to be wholly for others. See here a most noble, generous, admirable, and ravishing Humility most agreeable to Divine Perfection. If God was not Humble in Himself, how could he have any communication with man, that poor earth-worm, that unthankfull Creature, and most despicable Sinner?
61. And though some enlightned Persons, speaking of this Vertue, have insisted on upon the base sentiment we ought to have of ourselves; yet this dos not contradict what is here advanced. For they spoke of Sinners and to Sinners, in order to bring them to true Humility, and so it was necessary for them to write as they did. Because a sinner is infinitely to be despised, He ought in all justice to have a low and contemptible opinion of Himself, He can never have one low and contemptible enough; and he has the greater reason to do so, as corrupted Nature has laid in him a deep root of self-exaltation. This contempt of himself then is of absolute necessity to make him go out of himself and sink down into God.
62. Let us well observe this Essential Character and Original Divine Pattern of true Humility. He that sinks all and always down into his true Center may be called really Humble of heart.
63. But He that stands still in his own elevation, or is yet aspiring after higher degrees without returning and referring all to his Original Center, He is proud indeed; and being thus divided from the Unity, as standing is hos own Heights, he cannot but fall into the depth of all misery beyond all imagination or conception. Of which we will speak more hereafter.
64. In the mean time we may here see the reason why Our Blessed Lord saith that whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
65. Thus Humility is the only true ground of all perfection and happiness; as Pride is the root of all endless misery.
Of the most Holy Trinity.
66. In this Divine Love Essence, which is meer infinite Life, there is a Central infinite perceiving Will, or willing Perception.
67. Which Perception or perceptive Power, may be called the MIND; and in this Mind may be distinguished the Senses from the Intellect; and This Divine Intellect is the Wisdom of God, in the first and deepest sense; and we will term it for distinctions sake the subjective, ungenerated, unoriginal Wisdome.
68. The infinite Will of God must have an infinite Desire and longing after a fit, that is an infinite Object to unite with.
69. And there being no other infinite but the Spirit of Eternity itself; He hath an infinite desire and hunger after Himself, as the only Object which can satisfy all his infinite desires, and fill and satiate all his Hunger.
70. Therefore He stirs up all His Essence and turns and acts it into itself, into its Central desiring Mind.
71. And thus the Eternal Will generates (by such an impression of its total Essence upon its Center in its Eternal Mind) an Eternal, infinite most real, living, lively, all-filling, all satiating, experimental Notion and knowledge of Himself, and the satisfying immediate Object of all his Desires.
72. In which Generation we may observe the concurrence of two things, or qualitys or Perfections, the one active and the other passive, viz., 1. The strong and fiery Desire of the Divine Will, moving, acting, and concentrating all its Essence and ejaculating all its Rays as a divine seed towards its own Center; 2. The Passive Mind (which though it be all Life, Power and Act in itself, yet is passive in regard to this Will and impregnation) receiving all these Divine Powers vibrated into it; and fixing them, giving them as it were a consistence, and forming them into an Eternal Birth of ever blessed substantial knowledge.
73. This may perhaps be the deep root of the two Tinctures of Male and Female, in Nature concurring in the formation of every production.
74. And though these two (the Desire and Mind) in God are distinct as to their formalitys, one being not the other; yet they make up but one Number, one numerical Substantial Will, endued with these two qualitys or perfections.
75. From these Two (the infinite desiring Subject, and the infinite all filling Object), there infallibly arises and proceeds a Third, viz., an infinite most real and triumphing Joy, flowing through and tincturing the whole Essence with an infinite, all transcending, inconceivably delicious tast of Himself, the accomplishment of its own infinite Happiness. For by reason of the Divine simplicity each reality in God communicates itself to all the rest. Which can't be done but by acting one upon another, and consequently by each ones vibrating forth their real emanations into one another. And thus all the powers of the satisfyed Subject by intimate union with the all satiating Object, must communicate their joy and relish to one another, by real emanations into one another. Which most sacred mutual irradiations make up a kind of Divine Air, breath or Spirit, penetrating the whole Divine Being.
76. The Spirit of Eternity then is in itself and in its own most simple and indivisible Oneness a perfectly happy TRIUNE Being.
77. I will not contend that This is the Holy TRINITY treated of in Holy Scripture, viz., Father, Word and Holy Ghost: But this is an infallible truth, that this TRIUNITY here mentioned, is indeed and most really in God, and that no Perfection and infinite Good can be conceived without these THREE united inseparably in ONE.
78. In like manner, it is evident that these THREE are indeed very distinct one from another, and that they subsist really in One Divine Essence inseparably; and deserve therefore to be termed THREE divine subsistences in one Divine Essence. As also
79. That there are more than three Affections or Attributes; being three substantial Relations of the whole Divine Being to the whole Being, or three universal Substantial Powers, each one comprehending all the Divine Perfections, with a mutual and indissolvable relation to one another.
Here I think it proper to shew what difference there is betwixt an Hypostasis or Subsistence, and a Substance.
1. Hypostasis is opposed to a transient operation, and is a subsisting permanent energy or Power, and Principle of operation, a Fountain Power.
2. And in this is Essence often taken by our Author.
3. Hypostasis then is not a mode of a thing, but some what more, and yet neither is it a substance properly so called.
4. There are in the Divine Essence three Hypostases, but not three Substances.
5. For the notion of a substance implys a compleat absolute Being in itself, that can exist alone and apart from all others.
6. But to assert three such beings in one Divine Essence, is plainly to assert three Gods.
7. Hypostasis therefore signifys some substantial energy or Power, which together with other Powers make a singular substance or a compleat Being existing by itself, separately and apart from all others.
8. Now, although there be many such Powers in God, Yet it has generally obtained amongst Divines to give the title of Hypostases only to those three universal and relative ones of the whole Godhead, which make the most Holy Trinity.
9. Yet I shall hence take occasion to observe that Faith is by the Apostle called Hypostasis, Hebrew 11, 1, viz., a divine energy or substantial Power, fixt and residing in the Heart, a fountain-Power of good works, not a persuasion of the Brain.
10. But whether such Hypostasis in God may fitly be a called the Person, may admit of some dispute; especially if God be considered in the state of his Eternity before any manifestation of Himself by his most sacred Emanations. For the Scripture never uses the Word Person when it speaks of God; and it is certain that when we speak of Persons in the Godhead, we must understand that word something very different from what is signifys in common speech. But since words have their currency like monet we shoud neither trouble ourselves or others for the impropriety of a word.
11. And we shoud so much the rather yeild to custom, because the divine Emanations (which are Powers sallying out of the hidden substance into a state of manifestations of them selves, not by a bare [transient] operation, but by a continued and constant efflux, protension, or modification of their Essence or Being, yet so as to abide in an indivisible Unity inseparably joyned to the substance itself, as the Bows of a Tree to the Root. Because the Divine emanations, I say, may in a manner be considered as substances (as being equivalent to substances) and in that respect be called Persons, and the same things said of them as usually are of Persons.
12. And since the Holy Scripture does for the most part describe God to us in the state of manifestation, or as he has manifested Himself it is not so much to be wondered at, that Divines have fallen into the Notion of three Persons in one Essence or Substance, since the Hebrew Wisemen also stiled their Sephiras Persons.
13. Which is the rather to be admitted in this state of manifestation, because the Blessed Thomas Bromley in his vision of the invisible Mansions expressly saw the Father and the Holy Spirit, as well as Christ, shewing themselves in a humane form to the Blessed Spirits. See his Revel. Printed in High Dutch with the Blessed Jane Leade's last hours p. 49, 52, 54, and so St John saw The Father in a humane form sitting upon a Throne, Revelations 4: 2, 9, and chapter 5: 6, 7, 13.
80. Now there can be no doubt, but that these three numbers which I find in the Divine Being are co-eternal, co-equal and co-essential: as being together but one Divine Essence or Substance, which never was nor ever can be without these Three.
81. In this number THREE in Oneness is the accomplishment of Gods infinite compleat perfection and happiness in itself, independent of all other Being. These THREE in ONE are their own perfect all-sufficient infinite Felicity in themselves, and they want nothing besides themselves.
82. All the Divine Perfections and Attributes are common to this TRINITY.
83. The Eternal Will as the everspringing center of Life, in the DEITY, may fitly be called the FATHER.
84. This Central Will in conjunction with its Mind, may fitly also be called the Living EYE OF ETERNITY, the Central Eye of God, the Magical Eye; lookinf round about itself; and peircing into all things, and performing all things magically, that is by a meer Act of its Almighty Will, in a moment, and with the greatest ease.
85. The Objective experimental Real Notion and Perception of Himself, His Essential Image, may bear very well the name of the Son of God, or of God the Son; because it is formed and produced as it were in the Womb of the inmost Perceptive Faculty by a Concentration or General impression and influx of the whole Divine Essence, ejaculating all its infinite Life and Power as a Divine Seed into that Divine Center or Ground. Which action of the Deity into itself, if it be not to be termed a begetting, I know not what to call it, nor what to understand by that Word when it is applied to the Deity.
86. But if this be the true Notion of a Begetting,as I dont at all doubt, it is manifest, that of this SON onely it can be said, in this high sense, that He is begotten of the FATHER; and so that He is the ONELY BEGOTTEN SON.
87. On the contrary, we cannot say of the THIRD number of this TRINITY, that that Real and Essential Joy is begotten of the Father and the Son; because it is not produced and formed by a concentration, influx, vibration, and fixation of all the Fathers Powers into and in His own Bosom; which is the formal notion of begetting. But it must be said to proceed from Both, from the Father and Son in conjunction, and more particularly, from the Father through the Son into the whole Divine Essence. For it is a springing Life from the Central Desire of the Father fully satisfied, by the real enjoying of His Son, and dilating itself as a tincturing Virtue throughout the whole Divine Essence.
88. The Second Number of this TRINITY we are speaking of, may also be called the SON OF HIS LOVE, viz., of the Fathers. For the very Nature of the Divine Essence is Love, as shewed before. Wherefore the First Number or the Eternal Will, as the Spring-Life, may be termed the Fountain- or Begetting-Love; the Eternal Living Image of the Father, as the Second Number, the Begotten-Love, and the Third Number, the Outgoing-Love, proceeding from and common to them Both.
89. This Son of Love may also be termed the BRIGHTNESS OF THE GLORY, and the EXPRESS IMAGE OF THE SUBSTANCE of the Father. The first; because He is the Result of the joint irradiations of all the infinite Virtues and Perfections of the Father into their own Bottom: The second, because this total fixed irradiation of the Divine Being into its own Center cannot but exactly express and represent to the Father, or knowing Will, all that was hid in its substance.
90. And as the Father comes to know Himself by the Son, which is the manifestation of the Father to Himself; and That Mean by which we discover things before unknown, is commonly understood by the word Light: it is evident that this Second Number of the TRINITY here treated of, may justly bear the name of the LIGHT OF THE DEITY, or the DIVINE LIGHT, and the Essential Light of God, because he can never be without it. Which Divine Light may also be said to go forth from of old, from everlasting (see Mich. 5, 2.) (1) because it is begotten of the Father's Essence, and is His issue; (2) because it enlightens the whole Deity, being communicated from the Father to the infinite Abyss of the whole Divine Being, (3) because it goes forth from the Father, into His Creatures and communicates to them its Life and Glory: see John 1; 3, 4, 9. But the manner of its going forth is different. It's first going forth, by which it comes to have its Birth in the Father's Bosom, is done by way of concentration and irradiation from the Circumference to the Central Mind. The two other goings forth are done by way of eradiation or emanation from the Center to the Circumference.
91. But the Father or first Number, being considered as without and before the Son: (although He never really was, or can be without Him) He cannot but be thought a meer thick DARKNESS. For abstracting from his Eternal Generation by an introversion of his own Essence into His Perspective Center, He must necessarily appear to us as knowing nothing at all, And void of all Light; supposing nothing strikes upon His Mind.
92. And so it may properly be said that the Light is generated out of the Darkness, and shines in and throughout the Darkness of the Father.
93. And yet, considering God in His totality, as He is Light, we may also say that the Second Number of the Triunity is LIGHT OF LIGHT: in as much as the whole Divine Essence vibrating all the irradiations of its Divine Perfections into the Central Mind of the Father, may be called a LIGHT, and the UNREGENERATED Light of God.
94. Thus this Generated Light illuminating the Eternal Mind of The Father, and being the discovery and full knowledge of Himself to Himself, it may be termed in a second sense the WISDOM of God; which we call the Objective, generated, originated, Archetypal Wisdom.
95. In like manner this Divine Light, discovering the hidden things in God as they are in themselves, or rather being the things themselves, manifesting themselves to the Father, it is Properly called the TRUTH, the substantial Truth it self.
96. By the same reason it may be called the WORD of God; the Eternal, Substantial, Essential, Living Word.
97. For words either uttered to others or conceived in our own Mind, are nothing else but the manifestation of what was hidden in our deepest Ground when we are introverted into our selves, the perceptions and thoughts arising in our Minds are the immediate manifestations of the things which lay hid in us, unto our selves; and from this Center flow forth in a further manifestation unto others uttering and forming themselves in certain sounds, which being the same things with the first, but in a second modification; and these being called Words; the first as the Original of these last may with greater justice bear the same Name.
98. And without doubt there is in Words and their formation a very deep Mystery, not yet known to any, or at least to very few, which if it came to be displayed to us, we shoud then see, that Words, Speeches and Languages depend not upon the fancy of Men, nor are invented and established by a common arbitrary agreement of certain familys or people: But that they have the Deepest Ground in the inmost Nature of things, and are originally very exact expressions and pourtraitures of them, and of the disposition of the mind towards them, how it looks on them, and stands affected towards them.
99. Of this Eternal Word of God, we may truly say: In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. For the first thing done in God from all Eternity was the eternal Generation of His Son, or the inspeaking of this Word into Himself. Which Word then was with God, for He cannot be without it. And this Word was God Himself, as being a Divine Subsistence, an immanation of the total Divine Essence into itself, and therefore can be nothing but God.
100. And all things were made by this Word. For this Word is the Original and Central Knowledge and Wisdom of God, in which and by which He knows and sees perfectly Himself, and nothing but Himself; because before He made any thing, there was nothing but He Himself alone. In this Wisdom then He took His counsel, determined His resolutions, and formed the pattern of things to be made; and these Divine Patterns He spoke forth from His Central Eternal Word in order to a further manifestation of them.
101. In fine this second Number of this Trinity, we are speaking of, may be termed the HEART of God; as being His Central Birth, the Center and Seat of His Love, and whence this Love springs forth again and sheds itself abroad into the whole Divine Being, and all that ever can be besides it.
102. The Third Number of this TRINITY, may fitly be called an Holy SPIRIT; because it is a Divine Spiritual Subsistence a GHOST, SPIRATION or BREATH of God: there being no expression that coud better represent to our mind the ineffable, spiritual, living outflowing of the Triumphant Joy from the Divine Heart into and throughout the whole Essence of God.
103. It may be termed also the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, and the SPIRIT OF WISDOM; because it is a Power proceeding from the Truth and Wisdom of God, and bears its character; and is one with it, and acts and performs all in Truth and Wisdom.
104. Now these Three Numbers of this TRINITY may not improperly be termed the THREE PRINCIPLES OF THE DIVINE BEING: and if others will call them Three Divine PERSONS, I shall not be against it.
105. And as God is all Love, that is, as all that is in Him tends to Unity, and all His Perfections communicate all their realitys one to another; let us now look into that Wonder; and see how these Three Divine Numbers are all Love to one another.
The FIRST Number gives itself all to the Second; it's Life, its Power, its Strength, its Eternity, its Fecundity, etc.
The SECOND Number gives all to the First, its Beauty, Glory, Light, Knowledge, etc.
BOTH these in conjunction bring forth the Third, and give Him their Being, Life, Strength, Eternity, Fecundity, Beauty, Light, Wisdom, Goodness, Truth, Justice, etc.
The THIRD Number in its turn gives all it hath to the two former, its Joy and infinite Delights.
106. Thus all that is in God, is communicative of its all to all: not the least appropriation or reservation for itself is to be found in Him.
107. These Three Divine Numbers are the Essential all sufficient constitutives of the Highest Perfection and Felicity, and withall the Deepest Center, and Highest Top of the Deity. All that may be considered in God besides these, is beneath them, more exteriour, and approaching, as it were, more to the Circumference, and depends upon Them.
Of Divine Sophia.
108. And of this latter rank is what I now go on to consider of God. We know that God is the first Fountain-Being of all that ever can be. And therefore that there can be no reality, no perfection in, nor thought of by any Creature, which has not its first Original in a Divine Excellency in The Creator.
109. Now we find a twofold most real manner of perception in us; an experimental one of the things themselves, and an Ideal one of their Images and Representations.
110. Therefore we must conclude that there is also in God after a divine and perfect manner such a twofold perception of Himself. The one is the immediate reception of a real immanation of the Divine Essence into its own Central Mind, in which is formed the Substantial Living Image of the Father, the Second Number of the Sacred TRI-UNE, hitherto spoken of.
111. The other Sort of Perception in God is a view of a pure perfect Ideal or representative Notion of the Whole Trinity.
112. This Divine copy or ectypal Images of the Holy Trinity presupposes besides the Senses, yet another perceptive Faculty, which I may term the Divine Imagination: because in it as in an unspotted Mirrour the reflected Rays of the eternal Essential Light of God are fixed, and form this representation of the HOLY TRINITY, who in this Divine Mirrour and Image speculate and contemplate themselves, and all their infinite perfections, with all the infinite various combinations thereof.
113. This Idea of God in God Himself is not so intrinsical, central, essential, and constitutive of the full and infinite happiness of God, and the former experimental and substantial Perception of His Whole Essence.
114. For the Essential Felicity of God must necessarily consist in the real, living and all satiating enjoying, and not in meer speculation of Himself. Which last woud never satiate and quench His infinite hunger and thirst after an infinite Perfect Object.
115. And therefore this Ideal Notion is not an absolute necessary ingredient of the constitutive essential Happiness of an infinite Good, but only consequential to it; formed by way of repercussion of the Eternal Essential Word, which is generated eternally from the unoriginated Divine Essence by an immanation and concentrated direct irradiation into its own Central Mind.
116. This Divine Idea by which God knows Himself speculatively, deserves also to bear in a third sense the name of the Divine (objective too, but Ectypal) Wisdom.
117. This Wisdom then in this third sense, must not be said to be coequal with the Holy TRINITY, but a little lower, and next to them, as being formed by them immediately in joint co-operation, as a perfect Image or Pourtraiture of them.
118. We are then far from making a Quaternity in God, because we shew this Divine Wisdom to be inferior to and depending upon the Holy Trinity, as its Luminous Stamp upon the Fathers Imagination. You may be said with equal justice to assert a Centernity in God: because you say that all that is in God is God Himself, and yet must allow that all the Divine attributes have each one their own peculiar formal reality.
119. Hitherto we have considered God alone in Himself without relation to Creatures. Let us now suppose He designs to manifest Himself by Works; we cannot doubt but He woud form first in His Imagination an exact Design and delineation of all He woud make.
120. Which Divine previous Idea of things to be created, because it depends wholly upon His free Will, as we shall see more fully hereafter, we may term God's Arbitrary Conception.
121. In regard to which the Divine Intellect is all Active, not only in it self, but as to its objects too.
122. In and by this Arbitrary Conception, God knows perfectly and most adequately a priori all the Creatures, and sees all their relations one to another, their ends, means, etc., how to govern them most wisely.
123. And therefore this Arbitrary Idea of the Creatures may yet in the fourth and last sense be called a Divine WISDOM; Objective too, as the two former immediately preceding, but for distinctions sake be termed the Sciagraphical Wisdom.
124. This Sciagraphical Wisdom is yet much more inferior to the HOLY TRIUNITY, than the former Ectypal.
125. And although there be a great distinction between them; yet being both seated in the Divine Imagination, and made up of Ideas, that is of representations of things, not of the things themselves; we may comprehend them both under the name of SOPHIA, or of Wisdom simpliciter, when it is spoken in contradistinction to the Eternal Word or Son. For these terms Wisdom and Word of God, must be interpreted according to the matter spoken of. Because as the Eternal Son is called the Wisdom, so the Ectypal and Sciagraphical Wisdom also may be and is sometimes understood by the Word of God: seeing the Greek word Logos which we translate Word, comprehends all internal speech, or thoughts and ideas of the Mind.
126. Of this SOPHIA it may be said that the LORD, (the HOLY TRINITY) possessed Her in the beginning of His Way (of his going out), before his works of old: That She was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the Earth was: that she was brought forth when there were no depths: that She was by Him as one brought up with Him: and that She was daily his delight, rejoycing always before Him: When He prepared the Heavens, when He set a compass upon the face of the Depth, etc.
127. Also, that This Wisdom was created before all things: that God created her in the Holy Ghost (secundum vulgat) and saw Her and numbered Her and poured Her out upon all his works: That the Fountain of this Wisdom is the Word of the most High.
128. Also, that She is the Breath of the Power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the Glory (which is the Eternal Word) of the Almighty. For She is the Brightness of the everlasting Light; the unspotted Mirrour of the Power of God and the Image of His Goodness.
129. This Divine Sophia though it be inferior and posterior to the Blessed TRIUNITY; yet is it a Divine Substantiality, and in the Divine Essence, as all the Divine Attributes are.
130. Being a Divine Substantiality it must be all Power and Life in itself. But yet in respect to the Holy Trinity it is all Passive and never acts from and by itself, but as it is acted and moved by the Holy Trinity.
131. In regard to this passivity and total dependance upon the HOLY TRINITY; and that by the acting of the Holy Trinity in and by this Divine Idea: and according to it, all emanations, generations and creations are performed; she is properly said to be of a female Nature.
132. And because She is pure Deity not mixed with any thing beneath herself, or undecent for her, She justly deserves the Name of a Pure, Eternal Virgin, and yet withall the Mother of all things.
133. I hope no one will hence take occasion to calumniate me, as if I asserted a diversity of sex in the Deity, as we Gentiles and Gnosticks did, for it is easily seen that my design is to shew, how the metaphorical expressions used by our Author and some others, may be taken in a sound and sober sense; and what reason they had to write in such a manner.
134. The union of our spirits with Sophia is not the highest degree of our perfection and felicity, but preparatory to it; which consists in the substantial Union with and being absorpt by the Eternal Word itself, nay by the whole most sacred TRINITY themselves.
Recapitulation. Essential Propertys distinct from the Divine Vertues.
135. Thus we have seen in God the FATHER or the first Number i.e. in the infinite Desiring Subject or Will-Power, (1) the Divine Senses, (2) the Divine Intellect, all passive as to the objects of its knowledge; which I call the Subjective unoriginated Wisdom, and others perhaps may mean the same by the word Magia; (3) a capacity of infinite Joy and Delight. Which are as it were the inmost Bowels of the Deity, and the constitutive foundations of an infinite felicity. There follows (4) the Divine Imagination as a more exterior faculty, which is not a constitutive ingredient of the formality of an infinite happiness; and (5) the meer accessory all active architectronical exercise of the Divine Intellect.
136. So that the FATHER may be said to be the System of Divine Facultys; and the SON with the HOLY GHOST, to be their eternal inseparable and full satiety and happiness: But SOPHIA to be the common divertisement and entertainment of the whole most Sacred Trinity.
137. In fine we may distinguish in God, the Divine Essence from its Form.
By His Essence I understand all the subjective esse or being of the Deity, and (if I may have leave to express my mind thus) its Metaphysical Matter. And this comprehends the Father with all His propertys and facultys.
The Form of God, as is already said, consists in that common and joint influence of all the Subjective Reality into its own Center, and in the universal, entire and indivisible communication of the whole Divine Being to its Central perception, and of all the Divine perfections, mutually to one another: which is Love, and by which God is God, who without this woud be to Himself and infinite Torment.
138. But don't be startled, Kind Reader, and cry out that I make God to be a compound Being; which is much further from my mind than Heaven is from Earth.
Composition is a joining of two or more things, each one of which has a numerically distinct particular existence in itself. And this composition involves an imperfection, inconsistent with God the Soverain Good. For this Duality is the ground of Composition, but no such Duality is to be found in God, who is all Oneness and Simplicity.
I know the Schoolmen make the first kind of composition to be of matter with its form, and though this is true in some sense of Creatures, perhaps unknown to most part of the Learned themselves; yet it is not any way applicable to the present case.
139. Looking then upon God with a view only to His Essence, the excellencys we meet with there, may bear the name of Essential Propertys; and are His Spirituality, Simplicity, Immutability, Immortality, meer Life and Act, Immateriality, Eternity, Infinity, Purity and Holiness of Essence, Independency, Liberty, Omnipotence, Fecundity, All-Sufficiency, all the Facultys of the Father, and in fine all Subjective Reality to infinity.
140. But considering God as He is all Love; the Realitys we discover in Him from this view, may be termed the Divine Perfections in a more limited and restrained sense; because in that Love, of which they are the consequences, consists His Perfection.
We may call them Divine Vertues, because they concern the morality and government or behaviour of His Will.
141. These are His Omniscience; Wisdom; Luminosity; Glory; Beauty; Justice; Truth or Veracity; Goodness; Communicativeness and Liberality; Humility; Purity and Holiness of Will; by which He wills nothing but what is good and pure; Constancy; Peace and Tranquillity; Order in doing all in fit time, measure and place, without precipitation; Joy and Delight, etc.
A further Consideration of the Spirit of Eternity in order to its manifestation by real Emanation, Generation, and Creation: & first of an Unemanated Divine World, its possibility, variety, & creatures therein contained.
1. Hitherto we have seen God only in his most simple, naked, primordial and solitary being. And we found one of His Essential Propertys to be an infinite Fruitfulness.
2. The reason by which we proved it was that fecundity is a real perfection. And indeed we cannot doubt but that a fruitfull things has a reality more and is consequently more perfect, than a barren thing, which has not what the other has, viz., fruitfullness. Now it is a plain contradiction to say that God is an infinite Good and Perfection, and yet that there is some Good, some reality, some perfection which He has not, and is consequently out of His Limits: that He is more perfect than any thought can ever reach; and yet that we can conceive a thing that would be more prefect than He, viz., such a one as was fruitfull in itself.
3. Besides we see that there is a fruitfullness in the Creatures, which produce daily each one theire like: by which way we our selves came into this world. Let it now be the Soul, or the Body alone, which multiplies itself by a real production of its like out of its own bowels; for we will not here examine the absurdity of the last opinion: yet it is not to be denied, that fecundity is really found by daily experience to be in the Creatures. Which being allowed, it necessarily follows, that this fecundity must have its Original in Him, who is the onely First of all Being, Nothing but Himself being from itself, all the rest having their Essence and existence from this first and ever flowing Fountain.
4. Thus the Lord argued against the Jews and attributed fruitfullness to Himself. Isaiah 66, 9 in the vulgar Latin.
5. Fruitfulness then being in God as He is in Himself, that is, as He is a pure, simple and naked spirit, all Spirit without any Matter: who can doubt, that He may generate out of Himself pure and simple Spirits, as many millions of millions as He pleases, all without any matter, really and numerically distinct and distinct and separately existent from Him and from Him and from each other; being each one a particular Power and Life in itself, having its own proper existence Will and Mind; as so many Sons of God, bearing every one the likeness and Image of His Father, as so many little Deitys?
6. Nay what can be more absurd, than to allow that He can produce Spirits embodied; and yet to deny that He can bring forth Spirits without Bodys? Seeing in the Order of Nature Spirit must necessarily be before Matter, this being nothing else but an encrassation of Spirit; as we shall see by and by more at large.
7. But supposing there were no fecundity in God, yet surely none woud be so rash as to deny, that He can by the Omnipotence of His Will create out of nothing simple pure spirits as well as such as are clothed with matter.
8. This may suffice for the Possibility in general of simple naked Spirits, having each one their particular Essence and Existence numerically distinct both from the Spirit of Eternity and from one another, who all may be, live and move immediately in the very primary Essence of the Deity. For as yet we consider God without all Locality formed by Him.
9. As to their variety; we know there is in God an infinity of perfections and realitys distinct from one another as to their formalitys; and yet that He is altogether all simplicity and Oneness, and that consequently each perfection in particular dos in an incomprehensible manner partake of all the rest. Each Divine Perfection or Reality then is living, Powerfull, and fruitfull, etc.
10. God may then move and actuate such or such a Reality in Him and made it fructify and multiply itself in what degree of quantity He pleases, according to the Idea formed of it in His Wisdom.
11. And thus you see how an infinite variety may gush forth from the Eternal Unity.
12. But He may not only thus multiply each one of His Essential Powers; but He may combine them together in what number and in what equal or unequal proportion of quantity and order He pleases, and bring them forth out of his Bowels by one Act of Generation.
13. Which is again a new source of an infinite Variety of simple generated spirits.
14. For all that is produced from God by one Act of such an immediate generation, whatever realitys may be combined together is all indivisibly one in himself, even as it is in God.
15. Because Generation or fructification is nothing else but the Multiplication of the same Essence.
16. Wherefore the fruit must necessarily have the same Essential Propertys with the Mother Essence.
17. These Powers then, which we suppose to multiply themselves by the moving of God, being all indivisibly in one in God, and concurring all together in this their Essential Oneness to the reproduction of them selves out of God by one simple Act; the product must of necessity be an alltogether one simple Essence, though containing many perfections or Realitys.
18. Now we may form in our minds TEN principal considerations of God, as so many chief combinations of His infinite Realitys for looking on Him.
(1) As He is in the fullness and compleatness of His infinite perfections and Happiness; we find the THREE Divine Numbers.
(2) Methodo genetica, as if this same most sacred Trinity did form itself successively before our Eyes; We meet with SEVEN principal Powers or Spirits of the Divine Being, and Seven principal forms or states as so many degrees till we reach to the full and perfect Formality of the Holy Trinity.
19. But before I go on to declare these seven principal Powers or Spirits of God, I must premise some things for the better understanding of what shall follow.
(1) That the visible things are born and come forth out of the invisible ones; according to the express testimony of St Paul. Hebrews 11; 3, Through Faith we understand that the Worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were born out of things which do not appear. For thus the original ought to be expressed.
(2) That these invisible things, out of which are born the things visible, are originally the Essential Powers of God Himself, Romans 11; 36. For out of Him (after the Greek), and through Him, and to Him are all things. I Corinthians 8; 6. But to us there is but one God, The Father, out of whom (after the Greek) are all things. And all things are said to be out of God in the same manner as the Woman is out of the Man. I Corinthians 11; 12. For as the Woman is out of the Man (after the Greek) even so is the Man by the Woman; but all things out of God, that is, the subjective and constituitive esse of all things was originally brought forth out of the Essential Powers of God, even as the Being or Subjective esse of which the Woman was built up, was taken out of the substance of the Man. How the Subjective esse or matter (in an universal Metaphysical sense) of all things is brought forth out of God shall be showed more at large in the following discourse. Here I only desire it may be considered that all things are out of God, not immediately, but originally, by many steps and gradations, and variations thence arising.
(3) Hence it is that all the Essential powers and propertys of the Creatures are, in divers gradations and variations, poutraitures, images and copys of those that are in God Himself; and that all the realitys which are in the Creatures in a creaturely and imperfect manner, are in God in a spiritual, living, powerfull, infinite, Divine, and perfect manner. From hence the Apostle reproves the Gentiles and says they are inexcusable Romans 1; 20, For the invisible things of God from the Creation of the World are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His Etrenal Power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
(4) Hence it is that we find so often in Holy Writ, things of this visible World and perceivable by our outward senses attributed to God. Thus for instance it is said, that God is a consuming fire, that He is the fountain of living Waters; that he is a Spirit; and the Spirit of God is frequently spoken of. Now the word Spirit is taken from the blowing of the wind. And the Holy Ghost came upon the Apostles as a rushing mighty Wind. The terms also of oyl and ointment are applyed to The Holy Ghost. God, thy God hath anointed thee with the oyl of gladness above they fellows, says David speaking of Jesus Christ as St Peter testifys also God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with Power. God is also called a Rock: with many more expressions of the like nature. Which are not meer allegorys, but realitys found really in God after a spiritual and most perfect manner; and understood by none aright but those that are favoured with the experience thereof. Others that have not yet experienced these divine perfections as they are in God, must content themselves with this general notion, that there are most perfect realitys in God which answer those in the Creatures.
(5) And this is to be observed in general with reagrd to all that men can speak of God, for all our positive Words (some few perhaps excepted) signify directly the things of this World, and can naturally excite no other ideas in us but of things experienced by us. Wherefore the words appertaining to this World can't be applied to Divine and other Spiritual Objects but by Analogy: and when we speak of such Spiritual Matters we must never stop at the words and their low and natural signification, but take them always in a sense proper to the Subject, removing all imperfection from them.
6. Now I hope you will not quarrel, or be angry with me, when in the following discourse you find me mentioning harshness, bitterness, anguish, anger, fire, water, Oyl, Darkness, Light, Air, Earth, or such like as being in God. For our author and J. Behm, found no other words to express their high and divine experiences by. You must then take all such expressions in an high and Divine Sense, far from all imperfection.
7. And particularly you ought to observe, that though I must consider all these Powers and propertys separately, and one after another, yet they are not really separated in God; but tempered by the indivisible qualification of all the Divine Powers with one another. And therefore though, for instance, the Power of Anguish be really in God, and woud produce all infinite torment if it coud be alone and separated from the influence of the other Divine realitys; yet God cannot feel any such thing as torment or anguish in Himself, because by reason of His Simplicity it is impossible, that it should not be quenched and transmuted into an inexpressible Ease and delight, by the unspeakable participation of all the rest of the Divine Perfections. But notwithstanding this, God may manifest his hidden wonders in such a manner as that this or that property may be predominent.
8. Lastly it ought to be observed, that these seven spirits of God, being a sevenfold combination of all His infinite perfections, The names which I shall give to each one, can't express their whole natures, but that there is in every one an unsearchable Depth, unutterable and inconceivable: and that therefore another may express the same things by other names.
20. This premised, let us now consider the Holy Trinity methodo genetica; as the mathematicians call it.
(1) We find the Center of the Divine Being to be an Eternal Will. This Will has an infinite desire and longing after a fit Object. This Longing or Hunger and thirst consists in a continual eager attraction or harsh Astringency.
(2) Out of this springs forth a troublesome agitation, a stirring up, and piercing through its whole Essence to find what may satisfy its most pressing Hunger. This is called by our Author the prickling stinging Bitterness; which increases proportionably to the augmentation of the strength of the attraction.
(3) Hence cannot but arise a great anguish, a most painfull sensation and feeling of that violent agitation, pierceing, digging and searching into its own bowels, and setting upon all it meets with to satisfy its insatiable Hunger.
(4) And finding nothing which were able to quench its aking thirst, it inflames itself into rage, and fury, breaking forth as a fire-flash, to consume all it meets with, in order to free itself from that anguishing painfull sensation.
These are the four forms of the FATHER, and as long as we sit down here and go no further, we find nothing but Darkness, a dark anguishing fire Spirit. And such He woud be, if he could be without the following Powers and their qualifying with the former.
(5) But this is impossible for Him to be without; and therefore this flaming wrath-fire-Spirit searching into the Whole Divine Essence, it finds in its Center another Power of a passive fixing nature, viz., the Divine Mind; in which the fiery motions and vibrations come to be settled, mitigated and quieted. By which the burning thirst is quenched, as by a quickening refreshing Water, and mild and soft Oyl, capable of nourishing eternally the flamesof the fiery desire of the Deity.
Now from this acting of the fiery Desire upon the oily Water is born the gentle, charming, bright shining LIGHT; illustrating all the Powers of the Father, and giving thus a fifth form or state to the Divine Being. This Light is the Eternal SON of the Father. And this soft, meek, gentle and pleasant Light shining and qualifying in, through, and with all the Powers of the Father, dos so temper them, that there is no harshness, bitterness, anguish, nor wrath-fire felt in Him; but they are all changed into most delightfull divine Propertys, and make up together an incomprehensibly delicious Light- and Love-fire.
(6) From out of both these, the Father and Son, goes forth and proceeds a most joyfull SPIRIT, as a Divine Air or soft wind, blowing up and exalting the Divine Love-Fire. This is the Holy-Ghost, the moving, flowing, triumphant Life and Love of the Father and Son; and gives the Sixth form to the Godhead.
(7) But all these subsist, live, move and qualify together in one common Ground, in one Essence, which makes them to be altogether but one substance, one total compleat self-subsisting Being; which is the seventh form of the Holy Trinity, viz., to be one total Love-Substance. And this totality and compleat subsistency is called essentiality and corporeity in an high and metaphysical sense. This Power, which is the common band of all, and causes all to subsist in one, to live and move together, and to make up together one total self-subsisting Being, may be called the Divine Earth.
21. Thus we find in the Holy Trinity Seven Principal Essential Powers or Spirits, viz., 1. The Spirit of harshness, 2. The Spirit of Bitterness. 3. The Spirit of Anguish. 4. The Spirit of Wrath-Fire. 5. The meek oily Water in union with the pleasant Light springing up out of the water and one with it, which transforming the four former makes out of harshness, mildness; out of bitterness, sweetness; out of anguish, Ease and joy; and out of wrath, Love. 6. The Divine Air or Spirit. 7. The Divine Earth or Essentiality.
22. These Seven Spirits of God are continually working and qualifying in, with and through one another in an endless variation; now this, then another being in its exaltation above the rest; now these then others mingling immediately; now in one then in another proportion: all according to the Pleasure of the most Sacred Trinity. By which wrestling, as it were, and sporting together of the Seven Spirits of God, there are wrought in Him infinite inconceivable wonders from Etrenity to Eternity.
23. Pardon me O God, for speaking of thee in so imperfect a manner. I coud not do it better, yet coud not be altogether silent, thinking it necessary to try what I coud do to make the language of some of thy servants more intelligible.
24. Now if God had been pleased to consider Himself in this manner, and to generate out of Himself so many great and Chief Spirits, and so many representations of Himself under these different considerations; I can't see what coud hinder Him to effect his Will.
25. Supposing then that this has been the pleasure of God, He will then have generated out of Himself THREE KINGS, representing the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, under each of these Kings SEVEN PRINCES, answering to the Seven Spirits of God: yet so, as that in each order of these Princes, the quality of their King be predominant, and under each of these Princes a great number of lesser Spirits representing the infinite variety of the divine perfections; each Principality qualifying in the quality of their Prince and King.
26. Whether this be actually done, I will not contend; but this much I see, that it is altogether possible; and that if it be, it must be a most glorious, admirable, ravishing variation of the simple productions of the one Spirit of Eternity. Which makes it appear very profitable to me, that it is really and actually so. Because I can't believe, that we can have any distinct and clear notions of God, that are really good, wonderfull, beautifull and glorious, if they were not really existent in Him.
27. And thus we have found at least the possibility, if not more, of a whole World, all of most simple, pure and naked Spirits, even in the very primordial unoriginated, unemanated Divine Essence, as it is the uppermost and first Principle of all Principles or Worlds. We have found therein (1) The Holy Trinity, (2) Divine Sophia, (3) The Seven Spirits of God, (4) the generated Three Kings, (5) the Seven Princes under each of these Kings, (6) an innumerable number of lesser spirits under each of these Princes.
How God doth manifest Himself by his most sacred emanations in this uppermost Principle of His primordial Divine Essence to all these generated simple Spirits, we shall see presently in this chapter.
28.This uppermost Divine Principle, if these supposed generations are in fact brought forth by God, would properly bear the name of the Unemanated Divine World; not as if there were no emanations to be found in it; for there can be no manifestation but by emanation or eradiation of the Divine Powers: but because the ground and place of this World is not an emanated and lower garduated, but the highest and very primordial Essence of God.
29. Concerning its configuration, though the Divine Essence in its primordial original state, which is the ground and locality of this World, being all infinite on all sides can't have any figure: yet the Creatures being finite in number and measure, and without doubt in a certain order, and the divine manifestations attempered to the receptibility of its inhabitants, it is probable that God has determined a certain round space, wherein they live and move, and the divine wonders are manifested to them.
30. And as to the generated Spirits, they being all finite essences, I can't conceive them but under certain limits, and consequently figures.
31. And there being no figure more simple, more perfect, more natural for a spirit and more representative of the original state of the Divine Essence, then the Spherical: we think of the forementioned generated simple spirits to be so many living globes.
32. These productions now being supposed, we must conclude thence, that God is pleased to manifest Himself to them, by acting upon and filling and satiating all their faculties.
33. This manifestation of God is performed by an ejaculation of His Powers out of their own Central Essence and insinuation of them into the faculties of these produced Spirits.
34. Which out-going of his Central Being, or quickening manifestation of God to these spirits, is no less a free grace of God, than the generation of them was, by which they got their subjective and constitutive being.
35. For although they exist, live and move in the very primordial essence of God; yet God coud , if He woud, abide still unmanifested and unknown to them, and hide Himself in Himself.
36. We must then distinguish the vibrations in general of all the Divine Powers, into those that tend to one another and to their own Center, by which God comes to know and possess Himself beatifically; and into those that strike from the Divine Essence upon other distinct Beings, by which God is manifested to others besides Himself.
The first may be called Immanations; and the other Emanations.
37. These Emanations of the Divine Essence are not different and distinct, nor separated numerically from the Central and Ground-Being, whence they flow forth (as the above mentioned generated simple spirits are) they abide still the self same one Divine, but emanated, Essence: and therefore may bear the name of the Secundary and emanated, originated Divine Essence.
38.This is a new ground of an infinite variety of manifestation in quantity and quality, figured and unfigured of the one most Simple God. Hence alone all different gradations and subordinations of things, and exaltations, glorifications, and transformations of lower beings by the higher, do proceed; as shall be shewed sucessively but breifly.
39. First then as the Spirit of Eternity is an infinite fullness of Power; and altogether a perfect Liberty, so He may exert Himself in an infinite variety and dilate his most sacred Emanations as little and as far as He will, even to Infinity.
40. We must be content, considering the narrowness of our spirits, If we can but look only into some manners of this endless variety. And so we see, that the Spirit of Eternity may manifest either his Whole Essence, or some of its perfections, either each in particular, or in certain great combinations, all according to His free Pleasure.
41. His whole Essence again He may dilate either by a most simple Emanation of His Oneness; which may be termed the simple originated, or emanated Divine Essence.
42. Or by an effusion of all His Divine Perfections in their distinction; and so gush forth out of his Central simple Oneness an infinite Ocean of infinite variety of Divine Powers, fitly to be called the Harmonious emanated Eseence, or Divine emanated Nature, because all these emanated Powers are of one accord, and in the universal Harmony of all the Divine Perfections consists in the Nature or formality of God.
43. Oneness is the Root spring and foundation of this Divine Variety; and this Divine Variety dos continually and totally depend upon the Central oneness of the Simple Spirit of Eternity in its primary being; from which it flows forth and into which it returns again; as the Rays of Light go forth from the Sun, and are still inseparably rooted in and united with it.
44. Hence arises the Divine Harmony of all the various Powers, flowing forth continually from the inexhaustible Spring of the Divine Central Oneness: Harmony being nothing else but variety tending to and joyning in Unity and thus the Nature of Harmony being the same with that of Love; we may say that the Harmonious emanated Divine Essence, or emanated Divine Nature is really the emanated Love Essence.
45. This Divine Harmony can never be broken or altered in the least manner or degree: because it is immediately grounded in the one Central primary Essence of the Spirit of Eternity, depends wholly upon it, and subsists in it; having no existence distinct and separate from its root.
46. As to the Emanations of some Perfections we saw above, The Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, and the Seven Spirit of God, all which God may manifest by peculiar emanations.
47. These may be the Original of the Ten Sephirahs of the ancient Jews, which are the foundation of all their Theology and Philosophy; distinguished into the 3 uppermost, which may be applied to the Three Numbers of the Holy Trinity; and the 7 Lower emanations answering the Seven Spirits of God.
48. For that in the first and deepest sense they spoke under the names of these Sephirahs, not of 10 general Heads of Predicates, which we may run through in discoursing upon any Subject; nor of ten uppermost Predicaments or classes of subjects to one of which every thing in the world might be reduced as to its proper head; but of Divine substantialitys or Numbers; may appear from the Divine Names they attributed to them. Though perhaps afterwards either through ignorance of the true sense of them; or because all things in the world are poutraitures of some Divine Perfections, and must therefore bear witness in their manner to these i.e. Numbers, they were applied to such a general Philosophical Use.
49. Surely if it be true that the Book Jezirah was written by the Patriarch Abraham, as they commonly believe, we cannot but conclude, that this Great Saint did not apply His mind, so full of God, to such Philosophical nicetys; but that he treated of the Highest, most solid and substantial Divine things: And that therefore we have more reason to complain, that such a Doctrine is so deformed and darkened by Human Glosses, than to contemn it in itself.
50. But of these Ten Sephirahs and of the old Cabalistical Doctrine of God, I shall speak at large in the 12th Chapter 143-146.
Of the first emanated Divine World, called the Globe of Eternity; and the Variety of Creatures therein. Matter. Life. Death.
1. Hitherto we have seen a whole World all spiritual, in the highest gradation of Essence that can be, even in that of the primordial unoriginated Essence of the Spirit of Eternity. For all that immediately flows from Him in this primordial state, by way of enamation and generation, cannot but be of the self same subtility and elevation of Essence.
2. Now supposing God would produce Creatures of a lower gradation, and manifest Himself to them proportionably, and that that Lower World shoud be a representation of the uppermost: We shall find, that the first thing to be done is to fix a Center, and to form an indefinite (in relation to us) Globe round about it.
3. For God in his primordial being is justly said to be an Infinite Circle or Globe, whose circumference is nowhere, and the Center everywhere. Indeed God being all Infinite; and all oneness; He can have neither Circumference nor Center as to a certain Locality. But He has a Center of Life which is His Perceptive Will and this is everywhere, and may be likened to an Eye.
4. But this Secundary World cannot be infinite in itself, and in relation to God; though it may be, and indeed is so with respect to us. Therefore this Secundary world cannot be without all figure.
5. And there being none which can so well represent the Perfection, Eternity, Simplicity, Infinity in which all things exist, live and move, omnipresence, etc., of the Divine Being, and the care which He takes of all his offspring, as the spherical: We may conclude that He has chosen for the manifestation of His whole Being, the figure of a Vast immense Globe with an all circumspecting Eye in the Center of it.
6. Now this fixation and formation of this Central Eye cannot be conceived to be done but by a Concentration of His emanated Simple Essence, acting its eradiations together from all sides, coagulating and complicating them with ona another, contexing and fixing them together, and so forming a certain figurative appearance.
At least no body will deny it to be possible for God to do this. And this is the Ground of so many different apparitions of God to the Old Patriarchs and others, mentioned in the Holy Bible.
7. This is the first production of an Essence lower graduated, and thicker constituted or qualified than the Primary Divine Essence.
8. This lower graduated Essence being nothing but the Emanated Divine Essence coagulated, and of consequence all Life in itself; it may again ejaculate its coagulated vibrations as far as it pleases, and coagulate them again in a yet lower gradation and thicker constitution: and so go on successively till it comes at last to produce a most thick and compacted Essence.
Thus we see a new Field for an infinite variation of the Divine Essence itself.
9. And such a thick and compacted Essence being by all men understood by the Name of Matter; you see that the formality of Matter consists in nothing but in the coagulation and fixation of the vibrated Powers of a Spirit: and that Matter is nothing else but a spiritual emanated Essence coagulated and increased.
10. You see further that Matter is but the vehicle and clothing of a Spirit, and is never without some Spirit.
11. You see, how a Spirit may materialize, corporify, and clothe itself with Matter.
12. Hence also it appears how matter may be generated from and by a Spirit, so as that Matter may have its own separate existence apart from the generating spirit.
13. For God being fruitfull and multiplicative in His pure nakedness; He must be so in like manner, when embodied in His own Matter of lower and higher gradation, and consequently can give to his coagulated Emanations, to have their own existence in themselves, as fruit broken off from the Tree.
14. Wherefore He may produce, generate and bring forth numberless material beings all of different degrees and kinds, of the first, second, etc., gradation, all different from one another in number, quantity and quality according to the good Pleasure of His Will, and the Ideas formed thereof in his Wisdom.
15. These first generated Powers, distinct from their fountain, and from one another, are fruitfull also themselves, and can again produce other beings after their own kind.
For fecundity is an Essential Property of the Divine Being, and therefore what is generated out of it, must necessarily partake of the same quality.
16. These Generated Powers, either of the first, second, or another generation, may be mingled together, and so in joint cooperation generate beings of a third kind, partaking of all the Natures of those that concur to their production, and no less fruitfull than those from whom they sprung.
And thus a new source of an infinite variety of different productions is opened.
17. This mixing may be done by Divine Wisdom and Power in an endless variety of proportion, measure, number, strength, order, etc., and framed into particular kinds of Beings.
18. Such a mingling together of derived and numerically distinct Powers, and forming thence new kinds of Beings, is that, I think, which may properly and in a strict sense be called Creation, as opposed to Emanation or Generation, which is an immediate flowing forth of a Being in its compleat State and form, from the fountain-Essence. Though Generation also is often in a stricter and more peculiar sense opposed to emanation, and then it signifys such an emanation as gives to the thing a really and numerically separate existence from the fountain Essence. And so Creation is a mixing and joyning of two or more generated Essences into one Whole.
19. This leads us to a new distinction of things, viz., of simple and compounded ones.
20. Simplicity implys one indivisible totality. Wherefore whatever comes immediately from God by an Act of Generation, whatever realitys are comprehended in its constitution, be it a meer naked spiritual or embodied Power, must necessarily be a simple one.
21. For though Materiality supposes compactedness of Essences; yet it implys not duality and composition; neither consequently divisibility into real Parts; but only reducibility by a sufficient Power into its first spirituality.
22. Simplicity therefore is not incompatible with Materiality, and there are as well simple Bodys, and simple Spirits.
23. It is not true then that all Bodys are divisible into real parts; for this belongs only to compounded ones.
24. For Composition is a joining together in one Whole, two or more things, that have each one their own and numerically distinct Essence, and existence.
25. And therefore all that is compounded be it a body or a Spirit may be divided again by a sufficient Power.
26. I say Body, not matter; because there is no matter existent without particular bodys, for no matter can be without figure; it being impossible to conceive a condensation, coagulation, and limitation without Configuration.
27. But figurated Matter is Body; wherefore there can't be an Universal, Abstracted, unshapen Matter really existent without any determinate Body.
28. Where then Matter is, there is also a certain figured Body.
29. And this shape or figure is partly an image or representation of the inward qualitys of the indwelling spirit.
30. For the shape or figure of a Body arises from the Combination and complication of vibrated spiritual Powers, coagulated into one Whole. And the same combination and complication cannot but be of great moment for the interior temper and aptitude of the inward spirit.
31. The root therefore of all outward figures is to be searched for in the deep ground of the spiritual Nature. And if we did but know the true and compleat signification of each figure, with the constitution and nature of colours, we might read out of the outward signature of every thing, as out of a book, the inmost nature of it.
32. Now there may be compounded (1) Spirits with Spirits, (2) Spirits with Bodys, (3) Bodys with Bodys. And in the composition of Spirits with Spirits, or of bodys with bodys, the ingredients may be of the same or of different Natures or qualifications. In the first case the Product is called homogenial; and heterogenial when they are of different qualitys.
33. We speak of a Composition by an internal radical living mixtion, that is, where there is a mutual communication of qualitys, tempering each one anothers propertys, so that there springs thence another kind of qualitys belonging to the whole Compound, from what are to be found in each ingredient asunder. Thus what I am here saying, is not to be applied to that Composition which is nothing else but a meer juxta-position.
34. The ground of this natural Composition is to be searched for, in the inmost root of a Spirit; which is a desiring and longing for, or tendency to a fit Object to unite with two or more Powers then fit for one another meeting together, they embrace one another, and so go together in a most intimate union, and if it were not so, there coud be no Natural Union at all.
35. Thus Love is the one and only ground of all natural Composition, and consequently of all generation of mixed things.
36. And according to the strength and vehemence or weakness of this Love of the constituent parts to one another, the durableness of the whole system of each thing is to be measured.
37. The cessation therefore of this Love of the constituent parts to one another, and turning it away for joyning with some other Object is the Cause of Natural Dissolution.
38. But remember, as there are many gradations of Spirits, so there are of Love too: that that false opinion may not give you any trouble, which supposes that all Love must have the quality of a self conscious and deliberate motion: for that is only proper to an high Intellectual all Luminous Spirit.
39. And therefore is so far from being common to all Spirits, that even in our natural Spirit, though it be endued with an intellect, yet there are many motions and operations of which it is not conscious.
40. The reason of which ignorance I take to be thus, that the faculty of Intellect is appropriated to the five Natural Senses, through which all things pass that make an impression upon it. But these senses being now tyed to our gross and corporeal sensitive organs, it is no wonder that the motions of its own spiritual subtil being, in this darkness we now live under, can't be seen nor felt by its own senses, and consequently not observed and reflected upon by its own Intellect. But if we were all diaphanous and Luminous, we shoud certainly know all the wonderfull motions and operation of our spirit.
41. All which alters not at all the nature of Love in general, which is a self-tendency to Union and communication with a good object.
42. And this is put into act and determined as to its meer natural motions, (that is those that depend not upon a self conscious deliberation) by the impression of the Object upon the Central perception. Which for the most part our Intellect knows nothing of.
43. This is the one only true ground of, and way to all chymical solutions, compositions and regenerations, of all curing of distempers, and of all Natural Magick, viz., to know the Natural Love and Hate, or if you like these names better, Sympathy and Antipathy of the things of this World to one another. For all natural Effects are brought about only by this way.
44. Nay this shews us the one only gate to the spiritual regeneration of our inward man. For if ever we are freed from our corruption, our free will must depart from all objects, that are not fit or good for it, and turn itself to its one only good, which is God.
45. Hence we may see the absolute and indispensible necessity of that Evangelical Doctrine, that we must forsake all things and hate even our natural Life, and follow only Christ, who followed and clave to God alone in all things.
46. Now I think it will be no longer any difficulty to acknowledge, that not only Spirits may unite with Spirits, but also that Spirits may be joined with bodys so intrinsically as to make up together but one whole.
47. For all Bodys hide in their ground a Spirit, and with this Spirit may mix another pure and naked Spirit and communicate to one another their affections, actions and passions.
48. There is then no difficulty in comprehending the communion betwixt our uppermost Spirit and our gross body; and how the first partakes of the good and bad state of the latter; and how on the contrary our bodys diseases and health may be caused by the passions and refreshments of the Spirit.
49. Nay it is plain to be seen hence, how easily many distempers and natural Death itself may be inflicted by spiritual influences, natural and supernatural.
50. For we must not think that Matter is a dead thing. Fot although matter considered in its precise and abstracted notion of Materiality is all passive and meer passiveness; yet for as much as no matter is without a Spirit, nor without being determined into a certain body; we must acknowledge that Matter in sensu physico and conjuncto is a living thing in itself, or that all Bodys have a life in their inmost ground.
51. This Central Spirit of each Body perceives the impressions made upon its materiality, and conveys them over to the naked spirit joined with and residing in it.
52. And vice versa this Central Spirit receives immediately the spiritual influences of that simple spirit joined to it, and as it is affected by them, so is its materiality accordingly.
53. Thus there is nothing in the world more remote from all truth, than the Cartesian Mechanical Physicks.
54. Perhaps you will say, though it be granted that God originally did create no dead matter, yet now in this present state of corruption we cannot doubt but there is such, and the Spirit thereof gone entirely away.
55.But for my part, I cannot but believe that even now in this Shadow of Death there is still no matter totally and entirely dead.
56. For matter being nothing but Spiritual Vertues coagulated; If all these powers were entirely taken away, I can't see what would be left to make up the being of matter.
57. Every one knows what excellent Spirits, Essences, Tinctures, Salts, and other Medicines, are extracted out of all bodys, all of great Efficacy and vertue.
58. And although they have ordinarily left a caput mortuum or terram damnatam as the Chymists call it, or a dead relick which they can make no further use of; Yet it is not to be beleived, that the Great Artist falls so short in His operations, as a frail Man: but rather that He has always experience and skill enough to unlock the hidden treasures we must pass by; nay to convert any kind of matter again into a pure spiritual Power, resolving it entirely into its first Being.
59. But that we see that many dye before our Eyes, and that things lye under Death and Corruption and therefore we must see what Death is, what kind of things may be said to die, and in what sense.
60. We commonly and properly understand by Death a Separation of Life from that subject or thing which we say now to be dead and to have lived before.
61. But for as much as Life in intrinsical activity, and we are used to judge of appearances: we say, but improperly, all that to be dead which we see not to move and act any more.
62. We may distinguish Life, into Natural and Supernatural, into Subjective and Objective.
63. The natural Life can't be but Subjective, and tis the subjects own intrinsical constituent Activity.
64. The Supernatural Life is that which is not constitutive of the subjects own Natural Esse, but is only superadded to it for its bene Esse. This is the Life of Grace.
(a) The Objective Life is the possession and enjoyment of that filling, satiating and quickening Object, which all things, spiritual and material long after by their inmost Nature. Which that is the Divine emanated Essence itself, we will shew hereafter. This then cannot be but supernatural.
(b) But there is a Subjective Supernatural Life too: (1) when the original idea of each production, contained in the divine Wisdom, unites subjectively to its total intrinsical constitutive form: which is the Union with Sophia. (2) When the first Number of the Holy Trinity unites Subjectively its Desire and its Mind with the Central Desire and Mind of the Creature, inflaming and enlarging them, to make them enjoy the more deliciously the Objective influences of the Divine Perfections; by which the Father generates his Son in the Creature. (3) When the Second Number of the Holy Trinity unites itself subjectively with, and exalts thereby the Creatures Lustre and Glory. (4) When the Third Number of the Holy Trinity joyns subjectively with the Joy and delicious tast which the Creature has of the Divine influences and blessings; and exalts the creaturely delights and makes them thus participate according to their capacity of the Divine Joy and Happiness itself.
(c) Thus there is a fivefold Supernatural Life: (1) The Subjective Union with Sophia. (2) The Subjective Union with the Father. (3) The Subjective Union with the Son. (4) The Subjective Union with the Holy Ghost. (5) The Objective Union of the Divine emanated Essence, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and of all their infinite perfections with out facultys.
(d) I will endeavour to make the distinction of objective and subjective union clear from examples of external Nature. When I lay hold upon a thing with my hand to lift it up, the thing is objectively united with my Hand. But if this thing were too heavy for me alone and another coud communicate his strength and influence it into my arm, so as that I had then not only my own strength, but anothers also, then it woud be a subjective union of these two strengths or Powers. Or, if I were hungry, and another coud influence his hunger besides into my stomach, so that I had then a double Hunger, this woud be a Subjective Union of these two hungers. But when O eat and allay my hunger, then it is an Objective Union of the Meat with my hungering Faculty.
(e) Thus the Objective union is when the Object come to joyn with its correspondent facultys in our Spirit. But the Subjective is when two subjects, two Spiritual Powers or facultys, one being not the object of the other unite together.
65. Now Death is accordingly Natural or Suprnatural.
66. The Natural Life again is twofold, one of a simple subject, the other of a compounded one.
67. The Natural Life of a Simple Spirit can be nothing but its Spirituality itself seeing Life is activity; and activity is nature and form of a Simple Spirit.
68. No pure Simple Spirit then can ever die in the first and proper Sense; that is, it can never come to loose its Simple Natural Life. And so it is not subject to Natural Death unless we suppose a total annihilation of it.
69. The same we must say of Simple Bodys; because in their ground they are nothing but Spirits and consequently cannot be absolutely deprived of their intrinsic Activity.
70. But this activity may happen to be bound and shut up within itself, and may not exert itself for a while: and so far it may improperly be called a dead Body.
71. As to a Compounded Subject, in as much as it is a compounded Whole, it Natural Life must consist in the Form of Union of all the ingredient or constituent parts, that is, in that which keeps them all together in their joint System, and acts and moves them alltogether, and in them and through them.
72. Now what this uniting form may be I will endeavour to declare. For which end I must first of all enquire what the specifical form of all productions is.
73. As then no Creature is made by God, but by a certain wise counsel for certain good ends, no doubt He hath first formed in His Wisdom a perfect Idea of it, comprehending all its ends and uses, and all the aptitudes necessary for the attainment of those Ends.
74. And these Ideas of Divine Wisdom are the Patterns upon which all Creatures are modelled, and by which they are distinguished one from another.
75. Thus we may say that in general the conformity of the Creatures to their Original Ideas in the Divine Wisdom, is the distinguishing specifical form of every kind of Things.
76. Whence it is true that God poured out His Wisdom upon all His Works.
77. As to the simple productions in particular, they being brought forth by an act of generation; we may conceive it to be done in this manner. God considering such or such an Idea, and resolving thereupon to bring forth out of Himself a thing conformable to it, having its own existence apart; He moves all His prolific, essential, central Powers in the same combination of quality, measure and order, etc. as is contained representatively in his Idea, and makes them thus in this joint constitution generate and bring forth actually at once the thing designed; which thus passing as it were through Wisdom's hands can't but be perfectly like and exactly answerable to its original pattern.
78. Thus the specifical Form of all simple productions is all one with and inseparable from their matter, that is from their Subjective Essences.
79. As to Compounded Beings I said before Love was the ground of their Union. And this disposition to composition is in all simple things. For they all coming from God, and consequently partaking of His Essential Propertys; and all Powers in God being gathered up or united in His Oneness: it necessarily follows that all things proceeding from Him must tend naturally to union with what comes from the same source.
(1) this disposition is general, and susceptible of an infinite variety of particular detreminations.
(2) there is yet an endless variability by mixing Powers of different (1) quantity, (2) quality, and (3) degrees of Subtilty.
(3) there is to be observed in the composition of things a due order. Because (1) all Powers are not capable of being mixed immediately; as we see daily before our Eyes; for instance, we can't mix Oil and Water, the liquor of the fixed Nitre with the Spirit of Wine etc. (2) and if they were, yet all mixtions are not answerable to the various ends and destinations of every compounded Creature.
81. There must then necessarily be another specifying thing, by which each specifical mixing, answerable to the Creator's intention, may be effected.
82. I find but three ways for the most simple God to tie together numerically different Powers, by the band of Love in a just proportion, according to the Idea formed thereof in His Wisdom.
(1) Either God must in the very act of generation of the Simples give to each constituent part its peculiar quantity and destination of order and situation in regard to the whole Symmetry; by which all the parts concurring, each of them takes itself its proper place and office.
(2) Or all the Simples being produced in their generality without such peculiar destination, He must impress in the very Center of each the idea of its peculiar destination to such a whole and to such a situation in that whole.
(3) Or He must impregnate His Idea (of the whole to be produced, formed in His Wisdom) with the acting Power of His Word, and make it so generate out of itself an Idea perfectly like to its Divine Original; which generated Idea seizes upon such simples and so much of each as it ought, and ranges and keeps them together each one in its proper place.
83. Now though possibly God may have made use of the first or second way in some simple mixtures of some few and great constituent parts; as for example in the Creation of Eternal Nature by mingling its four Eternal Elements; or in joining a free unorganical spirit to an organical Body; or two spirits together.
84. Yet are these two ways altogether unfit for the most skilfull and marvelous structures of the organical Bodys of Animals and Vegetables; the stupendous variety and incomprehesible symmetry and contexture of which surpasses all humane and it may be all Angelical understandings.
85. For they all can be resolved into innumerable little atoms, of which each one in particular cannot have received even in their immediate generation from the beginning of the World, nor afterwards by a central impression its particular destination to a certain individual and to a certain place and situation in that individual. I think that no body will lay claim to such a fancy.
86. Besides we see by daily experience that the little constituent parts of plants and animals are susceptible of infinite different compositions, since the Plants are transformed into animals, and one animal into another, by being eaten and digested; and these again are changed into Earth, in an endless circulation.
87. We see also that men suddenly loose their lives without any Hurt (at least no remarkable one) of their Bodys. And on the contrary many continue to live notwithstanding they have lost an Arm or Foot or other considerable part. So that Life cannot consist in the meer cohesion of the Parts of the Body.
88. Nor is their any greater probability that Minerals were generated by the two former ways; viz., by a peculiar destination which each ingredient atom received either in the very act of its first generation, or by a determinative idea impressed afterwards upon its ground.
89. It remains therefore that all natural Compounded Bodys are formed by the third way, viz., by a generated, compleat, peculiar, constituitive Idea, sent down into a fit Matter; which derived Idea being all Spirits, Life and Power, unites to itself, and forms and fits a body for all the ends and purposes God had in his counsel and fixed in the original Idea thereof, which He first formed in his Wisdom.
90. This derived constitutive Idea then is both the specifying and uniting form, the Band of Union, the maintainer as well as the first immediate formator of the system of all compounded Bodys; and therefore also the Natural Life thereof, which flows through all the subject and moves all its powers.
91. In this sense it is true, that it is a kind of composition, when Matter and Form are joyned. For this Informing Idea is a thing in itself numerically distinct from The Matter.
92. And for this reason it may very properly be termed the Substantial Form of each compounded Body. Which therefore is not so ridiculous a notion and ens rationalis or meer fancy as the new Philosophers would make us believe. For it is indeed a substance, a true spiritual being, a real Power and Life; and it is also the distinguishing form of that thing from all others.
93. This informing Life of each natural compounded Body may also justly bear the name of the Spirit of that thing. For the proper Character of Spirit is Life. What then is the Life of a thing, the same also is its Spirit.
94. It may also very well be called the Soul of that thing; because it animates, moves, and acts in harmony all the constitutive essences of the Body.
Though this word perhaps may be taken by some in a stricter sense and in contradistinction to the substantial Form.
95. And I believe that Helmont and others understand nothing else by their Archaeus, but this very Soul, Substantial Form, Life, Spirit or constitutive Idea of every compounded thing.
96. The band by which this Substantial Life is tied to its body, is, as I said before, nothing but it's Love towards such a body. And it gets this Love and tendency to a convenient body, in the very act of its first generation; this destination being contained in the original Idea thereof in the wisdom of God.
97. Whence this Love to a convenient Body is a constitutive unextinguishable Property of the Soul; which cannot perish but by the dissolution of the Soul itself, if there be any that are dissolvable.
98. But yet whatever endeavour the Soul may use to keep its body; it may be separated again from it, either by Violence, or by a natural aversion, occasioned by something that happens either to the Soul or Body.
99. And this separation ariving, the compounded whole comes thereby to die and to be dissolved.
100. Thus the Natural Death of all natural compounded Bodys consists in the Separation of their Substantial Forms or Souls from the rest.
101. And if these Souls have also another spirit joined to them (as men have a Divine Spirit); Death imports also a Separation of this Spirit too from the Body, at least as to its natural and vital motion.
102. For as to its local abiding, it is very possible, that a Spirit that has greatly loved it's body, finding no rest elsewhere, or obliged by Divine Justice may abide still in its dead body for a considerable time after the Soul is gone away: of which notable instances might be given.
103. Now I think we may understand that distinction of things into immortal and mortal.
104. All Simples, Spirits and Bodys are immortal in themselves.
105. All Compounds may die; but yet there may be some that have an Eternal root in themselves, and therefore may live for ever: and others that have but a temporary mortal root, and therefore cannot live for ever, but must die, or at least be swallowed up by the immortal. The first we will call Eternal things; and the last, Temporary.
106. The root and Life of all compounded Bodys is their substantial Form. We must then inquire, whether these specifying Forms are eternal and immortal, or mortal and temporary.
107. All those that in their first originality are immediately derived from Divine Wisdom by a real efflux out of the Divine Essence are undoubtedly simple beings, and therefore immortal and Eternal with all their offspring.
108. Whatever then hath such an immortal Soul must live for ever.
109. And if it shoud come to loose its body for a time, it must regain a new one, and better than the first.
110. For this relation of the Soul to a peculiar body is unextinguishable; and that by the will of God, who generated her for that end. And the Will of God cannot be frustrated for ever, but must have its full accomplishment in its due season.
111. Till this be done, the Eternal Soul, living in a separate state, whatever pleasures she may enjoy, is still wanting something, and has not attained its full perfection; but by its natural intrinsical tendency not yet satisfied, desires God continually to give her again a suitable body.
112. This I take to be the true ground of the Resurrection of the Dead. Which is not so incomprehensible, as it has been thought by many.
113. For the Eternal Soul is never dissolved, but abides still in its intireness; and therefore being furnished again with pure and suitable matter, She forms herself in a moment a Body fit for all her ends.
114. And so comes to rise again the self-same individual Man, that lived before in this world; although his risen body be not made up of the self-same individual infinite atoms, as his mortal body was.
115. Which latter opinion is so much the more improbable, as even in this temporary life our terrestrial body is subject to a continual alteration and revolution; so that in a little time, probably in three months or something more, there is not left in us one atom of what we were before: as may easily be judged by what we eat and drink daily, to supply the room of what goes off by insensible perspiration. And yet no one is so foolish as to say that one becomes every three months another Man.
116. The reason is, that although the Body alters, yet the Soul abides still the same; which is the foundation of our humanity and subsistency, and not the Body, which is but the clothing of the Soul, and changes our individuality no more than the clothes we put upon our Body.
117. Yet the Idea of the Resurrection which supposes that all the self same individual atoms, which now make up our Body, must come to be restored again in the same order as at present, has been a stumbling block to very many.
118. Now let us see whether, and how, there may be also Souls that are mortal and temporary; because we cannot think that all things whatsoever shall come to rise again.
119. We saw before that all that is come from God is fruitfull; and that Spirits may be intimately united together in one whole. All the actions then and productions of a compounded spirit partake of the natures of all the constituent parts, and are compounded too. Wherefore all the ideas which a compounded Spirit forms in its imagination and brings forth out of it into suitable matter for the formation of new beings; must needs be compounded in themselves; and consequently dissolvable mortal and temporary. And that it is possible, that a compounded spirit shoud have an imaginative faculty and form ideas thereby, we experience daily in Beasts, which all allow to have compounded mortal Souls, and yet they have memory and dreams, and passions; which coud not be if they had no imaginations.
120. If then there be under God a Compounded Spirit, which hath brought forth immediately out of itself, the substantial forms of any Creatures; we have found the Origine of Mortal Souls.
121. Now that there is such a subordinate Creating Spirit, and that all the first individuals of all kinds of Creatures were not created immediately by God, appears from the daily destruction of infinite vegetables, and animals; of which we cannot say without the greatest absurdity, that there shall be an individual resurrection. Which yet must follow if they had immortal souls. They have then mortal ones; and if mortal, then compounded: and if compounded; then not originally by immediate generation from Divine Wisdom. Therefore their first immediate origination is from a compounded Spirit. To which Creating Spirit as to its principle, such a mortal Soul after its separation from the body does return again, and is swallowed up thereby.
122. And such a mediate and subordinate Creation, is much more glorious to God, then if there were no such thing.
123. Neither is it dissonant from Scripture, for we find that God Himself created Man particularly his Spirit. But as to the beasts, fishes, fowls, reptiles and all plants, He did not create them immediately, but He commanded the Earth and Sea to bring them forth.
124. Whence we see also that there are more such subordinate Creating Powers than one, and that as here to Earth and Water such a Power is expressly granted, so we may conclude there is to Fire and Air too: there being no reason why it shoud be denied to them.
125. Nay I see no reason to doubt why the Angels, good and bad, shoud not have that power, to form new ideas in their imaginations, to impregnate by them a suitable Matter, and so to bring forth new compounded living Bodys; supposing God will permit it, or not hinder it.
126. Nothing is more certain than that sorcerers have produced mice, locusts, fleas, etc. We are assured that in former times they made Dragons or Serpents, they changed water into blood, and made frogs.
127. Hence now arises again an infinite variety of Beings. For these substantial forms do not only differ from one another in respect to the degree of subtilty of their Essence, as there are many gradations of Creating Spirits.
128. But those too of the same gradation may differ infinitely from one another in respect to the kinds, number and order of the realitys, which the Creating Spirit combines in the Idea for the attainment of his purposes.
129. And all these different kinds of souls or specifical forms in the forming of their own bodys receive yet a great variety from the qualifications of the matter which they meet with.
130. For although they are the deepest constitutive ground and Center of each compounded Body, whence all its vertues and efficacys radically derive.
131. Yet they do not operate but through the Bodily powers as by so many instruments, and they appear under the covering of the Body; which therefore cannot but be conditioned according to the peculiar qualitys of its constituent parts, besides those that are contained in and flow from the Substantial Form itself.
132. Hence arise the defects and exuberancys of Nature: Those, when the matter is unable to undergo all the folds, windings and turnings required, or includes a Spirit contrary to the Ends and designs of the Substantial Form; These, when two or more Substantial Forms of the same or different kinds concur and fall into the same matter, and that one cannot intirely overcome and expell the other.
133. Now as to the variety of matter, we shewed before, that we can put or determine no bounds either to the diverse gradations, nor to the different internal qualifications thereof, which may be as various as the Spiritual powers themselves and their manifold combinations are, Matter being nothing else but these very powers coagulated.
134. And although for the better understanding this matter, I have represented the generation of the Lower graduated matter by a new coagulation of the material vibrations of the Spirit already embodied in an higher graduated matter; yet seeing God is an infinite Liberty and Power, I can see nothing that can oblige Him to hold this Method, and hinder Him from bringing forth, if He please, the lower graduated matter in the first place, and then fill it with a matter of an higher degree of subtilty.
135. For the Matter of a lower gradation is or always may be penetrated by that of an higher degree. Thus we see even in this visible Nature the Water penetrated by the Air; the Air by the Æther; the Æther by the Light.
136. And as a Spirit embodied in an higher graduated matter doth penetrate in an hidden manner the lower graduated matter; so that higher can manifest itself in this lower, and swallow it up in itself: But the Lower cannot penetrate and swallow up the Higher.
137. From what has been said it appears that there is a Divine Matter, and also a Creaturely. Which latter is of an infinite variety, but at this time cheifly to be distinguished into uncorrupted and corrupted.
138. And having considered some general heads of variation of Creatures; we will now return to the Mother-Essence of all, viz., the Divine Materiality, with which God hath or may have been pleased to clothe Himself.
139. The first thing we observed of it, was the concentration and formation of His emanated Essence into an Eye.
140. The materialisation them of God, is not of His primary, hidden, immanent Essence; (for that is all pure naked Spirit and cannot be corporified) but only of His emanated, secundary, manifested Essence.
141. This corporisation of the Deity by his His own pleasure, imports not the least imperfection. It is all pure Deity, all infinite Life and Power, but modified in a certain fashion by His own free Will.
142. God may contract His emanated Essence into an indivisible point. And yet in this point is hid the universal or Whole Deity. For He is all indivisibility and oneness; and therefore this point must necessarily have an indivisible connection with the total Divine Essence. Thus it is said that in Christ dwells all the Fullness of the Godhead.
143. This Central Eye being the foundation of the emanated World, called by our Author the Globe of Eternity; we may say with the Eastern Philosophers that this World is formed by a contraction of the Divine Light, and that the rather, as without doubt the Splendor of the emanated Divine Essence is attempered to the receptibility of the Creatures.
144. As to this Globe formed round about the Eye, its generation may easily be conceived to be by a dilatation of the Eye, or by a real emanation from the Eye on all sides, which our Author expresses by a looking upwards and downwards, and on both sides; and this very properly. For the Sight of God is really performed by an ejaculation of its rays; and these rays are most real effluences from that Divine Eye.
145. This Globe, though it hath its limits and circumference in regard to the primary Divine Essence; yet it is not so circumscribed that He cannot extend it more if he would. For all the infinite fullness of the Spirit of Eternity dwells in the Eye; and therefore there can never be want of extensive power. And in this sense it may justly be called an infinite World, much more is it so in respect to Creatures.
146. This Divine Essence, thus extended from the Central Eye, may again vibrate forth its emanations in a somewhat lower gradation than the first, flown forth immediately from the first Eye. The Spirit of Eternity may again concentrate these second Emanations, and fix them into a Central Eye. This Second Eye may form again round about it a sphere by dilatation of itself. From this Second Sphere may again flow forth new emanations lower graduated than the former and to be concentrated in a third Eye; and from thence again a third Sphere be formed.
147. Thus you see three Eyes and three Spheres which may be called three Courts of one and the same Divine Emanated World. For although they be three diversely graduated Spheres; yet are they but the one self same numerical Divine Essence varied forth in different manner and gradations. And therefore they altogether make up but one Eternal World; and these three Spheres are to be considered as so many mansions and Courts of the same Kingly Palace: as the three Eyes are indeed but one Eye in a diversified manifestation.
148. This I think the easiest way to conceive in some measure the generation of this World. But I cannot say, whether God did not form the outward Court first, as a foundation, and then the inward and inmost as superstructures upon the first.
149.This whole World when considered absolutely in itself and without the Creatures living therein; being nothing but the Divine Emanated Essence variously modified; may be said to be God Himself, and from Himself. I say when considered in itself and without the Creatures, that you may not confound God with His Creatures nor ascribe any Divinity to them.
150. For as I think the formation of this Divine World in itself was effected by adversely graduated materialised or embodied emanation of His Simple Oneness.
151. So there is no doubt but He may fill this emanated and figured World with innumerable inhabitants really and numerically distinct from that World in itself, and generated immediately out of His embodied Essence, which live and move therein; as we saw before He might do in the primary unmaterialised Divine Essence too.
152. And to look upon this Eternal World, as it is an habitation and abode of Creatures living therein, we may say that more particularly God is the Eye; that He manifests Himself in and from this Eye; that the Eye is the Throne of God; that it is the Seat of the Holy Trinity, etc.
153. It is therefore from this Central Eye that the manifestations of God to His Creatures living in that World do flow forth.
154. Thus He may manifest I. His Whole Essence (1) as it is a simple Oneness, or (2) as it is an harmonious Love-Essence. II. His Ten Divine Numbers, or III. His Attributes, as under, or combined and fill therewith that Whole World; or model them into certain figurative appearances, in a numberless variety, according to His good Pleasure, all most significant and expressive. For there is an infinity of Perfections in Him. And although one number is not the other, nor one Attribute another formally; yet by reason of the Divine Simplicity and Unity; there is in each of them an incomprehensible participation of them all. So that it is impossible to find any bounds or limits of the figurative manifestations of them.
155. If then He be pleased to manifest the FATHER as the black of an Eye centred in a heart; the SON, as a living flaming heart, in which the Father's Eye is fixed; and the HOLY GHOST, as a breath flowing from the Eye through the Heart, and filling the Whole Globe of Eternity: I say If He will thus manifest His most sacred Trinity, and His Wisdom as a pure glance from the Father's Eye, enlightening that Divine World; Who can hinder Him?
156. We find in the Holy Records the FATHER manifested and represented under the figure of one that sitteth on the Throne (a): The SON under that of a Lamb and of a Lion (b): The HOLY GHOST, under that of a Dove (c), of a strong wind, and of fiery Tongues (d): the Divine SOPHIA under that of a female personality; as we may see in the Proverbs, Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom, Gospel, and Revelation, and by the frequent experiences of some Pious Persons in these days, to whom she has appeared as a glorious virgin.
157. Hence so many propertys of Corporeal things so often ascribed to God in Holy Writ. And if He would manifest Himself in the same figures to the Eye, as he dos to the Ear; who could forbid Him?
158. The whole Bible is full of various figurative apparitions of God, see for example Genesis III 8; XII 7; XVII 1; XVIII 1; XXVI 2, 23, 24; XXVIII 12, 13, 16; XXXII 24, 25, 26, 28, 30; XXXV 1, 7, 9, 11, 13; XLVIII 3, Exodus XXIV 15, 16, 17, 18; XXXIII 9, 10-23; XXXIV 5-9; XL 32, 33-36; Numbers XII 5-10; etc.
159. God may not only manifest Himself in an infinity of manners; but also where ever He pleases, At different times or at once.
160. And in each one of all the manifestations the total Deity is hidden. Wherever then God manifests Himself, there the Whole Deity is present. Therefore we may say without absurdity, God in His totality is present all over the whole World, and yet also at the same time in all parts of it in particular, wherever He manifests Himself: totus in toto, and totus in qualibet parte.
161. Thus every Creature that enjoys God in its Center, has and possesses the whole Deity abiding in it as in His Temple. Though the Measure of manifestation and enjoying is determined by the Pleasure of God and the capacity of the Creatures.
162. Though all these manifestations with all the Whole Globe of Eternity are in themselves matreialised, as flowing forth from the Central Eye; and so, in respect to the primary Divine Essence in its unoriginated subtility, and its first uncoagulated emanations, are clothed with matter: yet for as much as they are embodied only in their own materiality, and not covered with any foreign matter really and numerically distinct from the Divine Essence; they may be said to be all pure Naked Deity.
163. In like manner all the Inhabitants of this Globe of Eternity are not without all materiality, but are corporised or coagulated essences in themselves, and in respect to those that live in the primary Divine Essence itself.
164. But because (as our Author asserts) they are in their Native Constitution, and not wrapt up in any matter different from their Beings; they are justly termed pure naked Spirits, with regard to the Angelical and Humane Spirits, each of which is joyned to a peculiar Soul and Body.
165. And for as much as they are brought forth into their compleat being by an Act of generation; they are altogether Simple Spirits.
166. As to the name of Spirits; they are so called because of their Simplicity, Intelligence, and free Activity, great power, and high Subtility; which are all qualitys commonly attributed to Spirits.
167. But now if we consider this Globe of Eternity as void of all Creatures and manifestations, it presents itself to our Mind as an immense deep empty space, bottomless and boundless, and therefore may justly be called the Abyss; and the Eye in the midst of it, the Abyssal Eye. And the one simple emanated Divine Essence of which this Globe is made up, the Abyssal Essence. See Eternal World B. II. chapter 1, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, seq. Chapter 3, 1, 11.
168. which being supposed to be an Emanation of the Divine Essence in the State, or under the formality of a perfect unity and simplicity; We cannot see in it any variety of distinct Essences.
169. For though there is really an infinity of Powers contained in it, all perfectly known to God; yet they are manifested in their State of indivisible communication to and participation of one another: and therefore it cannot present to our view this or that in distinction, but an universal Oneness, which contains all variety and distinction potentially.
170. And in this respect and with regard to us this Abyssal Essence may be termed the Eternal Nothing; as also the Divine Chaos, all powers being therein mixed together in one undistinguishable Whole.
171. This undistinguishable Oneness I think implies also an immobility and quiet from all actual working, as to our apprehension; though in itself it is all Life and Act, and thus considered it may be called the Eternal Stillness.
172. Thus these names may in different respects, bet attributed to the Whole Globe of Eternity, or to either of its three Courts, or to another manifestation of his Simple Essence, with which He fills either of these Courts. And indeed I find our Author dos not always use these terms in the same sense.
173. But because he represents the inward and inmost Courts as filled with Creatures and Divine manifestations, and the outward Court as empty; I think when He Speaks of the Divine Chaos as of the immediate ground whence Eternal Nature was brought forth, and as of a middle gulf between the Eternal Globe of the Still Eternity (which he makes to be the third Court) and Eternal Nature's Essence: that He must be understood of the Outward Court; as being the next to Eternal Nature, and nothing between them both, but they distinguished one from another by their own constitutive Essentiality peculiar to each of them. And so the Outward Court being betwixt the Still Eternity and Eternal Nature, it may be termed a middle Gulf and Partition-Wall between them both.
Of Eternal Nature and other Succeeding Worlds.
1. Being now arrived at the Confines of Eternal Nature, I will touch a little upon it, and say something also of the Worlds derived from it.
2. I think then that according to our Author Eternal Nature is a Principle, that is, a Spiritual Globe or Spherical Spirit, having its own local Center, created after the Similitude of the Globe of Eternity and next to it.
3. The matter out of which it is created, or of which it si made up, is the four Eternal Elements, viz., Fire, Water, Air and Earth but in an high and refined gradation.
4. These Elements are homogeneal Substances in themselves numerically distinct from one another, and are generated each in particular immediately out of the Divine Chaos or Abyssal Divine Essence. I call them homogeneal substances i.e. all whose particles are of the same Nature or quality. Though notwithstanding this, each one of them partakes in some measure of all the rest, because of the Divine Simplicity, by which all the Divine Powers are one in another after an incomprehensible manner.
5. This generation may be conceived in this manner. God seeing in His Idea of Eternal Nature formed in His Wisdom, what Powers He must make use of to build up this great Mansion; and finding all powers whatsoever hid in His Divine Chaos: He moved these necessary Powers of His Abyssal Essence by His acting Word, and made them so generate actually out of them each asunder a Power like to itself, in a sufficient quantity, with a peculiar destination to unite with the others in the order designed and determined in the Wisdom of God.
6. As to the Three Principles of Nature, Salt, Mercury and Sulphur, It seems Behm and perhaps our Author too, makes them to be the three first Forms of Nature, which are the three first working qualitys or Powers of Fire, of which we will now speak a little.
7. The Fire is the first Element, the ground of Eternal Nature, an homogeneal Substance in itself. Our Author expounds its Essential propertys methodo genetica, as the mathematicians call it, i.e. as if they came up one after another, and as they are the reason and ground one od another.
8. The Fire being a Spiritual Power (for of such a Fire we speak); it must have essentially, in its measure and degree, a sensible Will and a desiring and longing after a fit Object to unite with. This most intimate hunger consists in a continual eager attraction or harsh astringency, which is the first Form of Nature, and the first working property of the Fire-Spirit.
9. Out of this springs forth a troublesome agitation, a stirring up and peircing through its whole essence to find something to satisfy its most urgent hunger. This is the second Form of Nature, and the second working property of the Fire; and is called by our Author the prickling stinging Bitterness; which encreases proportionably to the augmentation of the strength of the attraction.
10. Hence can't but arise a great Anguish, a most painfull sensation and feeling of that violent stirring, peircing, digging, and searching into its own bowels, and setting upon all it meets with to satisfy its unsatiable Hunger. And this Anguish is the third Form of Nature, and the third working property of Fire.
11. But finding nothing which is able to quench its aking thirst, it enflames itself in rage, and breaking out it furiously falls upon all it meets with, to consume and feed on it. This is the fourth Form of Nature and the fourth working property of the Fire-Essence: It is its fieriness, hotness, burningness, wrathfullness, consuming and devouringness, flying up or fire-flash. In this the Fire Spirit finds its compleatness and becomes a peculiar indivisible substance in itself. And hitherto this Fire is all Darkness: wherefore it is called the Dark wrath-fire.
12. It is true (as is said already), that by reason of the Divine Oneness, each divine Power dos is an incomprehensible manner partake of the qualitys of all the other fellow Powers (if I may use that expression), and therefore all the Productions of God must in their Natural or Subjective Esse partake in some measure of these forementioned four first Forms of Nature.
13. But yet the peculiar and proper qualitys of that Divine Power, which directly and particularly multiplys itself in generating and bringing forth a creaturely Being out of God, can't but be predominant; and they alone manifestly to be found in that Production.
14. Thus it is with the Fire as well as the other Elements. We find in the Center of the Deity a strong and fiery Desire; which considered abstractly in itself, bears directly and exactly the aforesaid Forms. And thus we may believe the Fire to be the direct Production of the fiery Desire of the Father.
15. Again we find in the same Center of the Deity, another Divine Power of a passive, meek, cooling, refreshing, fixing nature. I think I should not be much out, if I said that the second Spiritual Element, viz., The Eternal Water might be the outbirth of that Divine Power. For our Author represents to us the essential propertys of this Water to be meekness, sweetness, softness, mildness, coldness, refreshingness, sinking down, heaviness, ponderosity. Out of which softness and mildness, according to J. Behm is born in the Center of the Water a certain Oiliness; whence when mingled with fire in just proportion spring forth the Light, which appeases the furious strife and enmity of the wrath-fire propertys, and makes them to acquiesce together in harmony in the Light; and become thus a Light- and Love-Fire.
16. Thus the Fire may be the representative of the Father; and the pleasant Light springing from the centring of the Fire in the Water, may figure out in Nature the Son of God.
17. But as in the Deity from the Father and Son proceeds the Holy Ghost, as a living Breath, filling the whole Divine Essence with triumphing Love joys: so in Nature there is a third Element of Eternal Air, to blow up the Love-Fire, to exalt its ravishing joys, and to communicate them to all the powers of Nature throughout its whole Sphere.
18. This Analogy makes me believe, that this Element of Air is the direct production and representation of the Holy Ghost in Nature.
19. Our Author says the intrinsical propertys of this Air are clarity, transparency, volatility, sublimity, celerity, and penetrability.
20. Now as the three Persons of the most sacred Trinity do subsist in one only Essence; so in Nature God hath brought forth a fourth Element of Eternal Earth, to be a common band to the three former, and the one Ground in which they subsist, are fixed, and do qualify in, with and through one another.
21. This makes me think that the Eternal Earth is the direct outbirth and Figure of the Divine Essence as one, and as the ground of the Holy Trinity.
22. It keeps the three former eternal Elements together in one Body, in one joint subsistency, and makes them to abide in one whole: est coagulum caeterorum as our Author calls it, it gives essentiality and corporeity. And therefore He makes the essential propertys of this eternal Earth to be essentiality, corporeity, ponderosity and transparency.
Thus I found in some loose papers of the Author: "Then was opened to me, how the Sacred Trinity did bear record, or did manifest themselves in the propertys of Eternal Nature, thus. The Father bears record through the Fire; The Son through the Water; The Spirit manifests itself in the eternal Air. Thus the Fire in the Water with the Air coagulating themselves into a transparent Earth through the Fiat by Wisdom's art, was made up Eternal Nature".
23. Now these four Eternal Elements are mixed radically in just proportion and harmony by Wisdom's Art and Power. From which central mixtion there arises a compounded matter, which is neither Fire, nor Water, nor Air, nor Earth; but has its own peculiar qualitys resulting from and springing out of the mingling of them all together. And then the matter of Eternal Nature considered in this state of intimate mixture and composition, is called the One Pure Element, the Quintessence.
a. This one compleat Substance, made up of the four Elements radically mixt together contains in itself seven constituent inamissible substantial Powers: viz., 1. The Spirit of Harshness and astringency, (which with the following three makes up the Element of Fire). 2. The Spirit of agitation and prickling Stinging Bitterness. 3. The Spirit of Anguish. 4. The Fire-Spirit. 5. The Water. 6. The Air. 7. The Earth, as the common ground for all the rest to subsist in, which gives esssentiality, or substantiality or corporeity to the whole Being, making it to subsist in and by itself and so to be a true substance.
b. These seven powers are to be found in every natural thing whatsoever, they cannot be lost as long as the thing itself is not destroyed and dissolved. They are then the natural being and Life of every thing that proceeds out of Eternal Nature's Womb: and they may be called the meer natural Powers or Spirits of all things, or the seven constituent or Essential Powers or Spirits of the natural being of things.
c. Of every natural thing the Fire-Spirit is the Soul; because The Fire is the originality of Life sense, and motion. In this sense J. Behm says very well, that the Soul is born in the fourth form of Nature; because in the fourth form of Nature the Fire is born and gets its compleatness, and then the Body is the rest of the natural powers in conjunction.
d. These seven essential or constituent Powers being in a just order and proportion, there is born thence from the mingling of the fire with the water an eighth power, viz., the Light, which subsists in the water united with the fire and makes this to be a Light- and Love-Fire, and passes with it through all the other essential Powers. And meeting and mixing most intimately with the air there goes out thence the 9th and last Power, which is the Spirit of Joy and Jubilation, or triumphant Love; which last our Author usually understands by the name of Love or Love-Fire.
e. These two Powers Light and Love, are not essential to the Nature of a thing, so as that they cannot be lost without the destruction of the thing itself: but they may be extinguished and lost, and yet the natural being itself of the thing remain still compleat and intire. For they arise only from the good order and temperature of the meer natural powers, and consequently from the inhabiting of God's most sacred influences in them: it being impossible that they should abide in order and harmony if God did not feed them with his own good; as shall be demonstrated in the following chapter.
f. Therefore in these two Powers, Light and Love, consists the Life of Grace in Nature: as being the immediate receptacle and Temple of the Deity in Nature.
g. I think J.Behm might understand by the Spirit, which he says is born after the fourth form of Nature, nothing else but this Power of Light, or both of Light and Love together.
h. But if this be so, I must advertise you, that in this sense the Spirit, Soul and Body are not three distinct substances, dwelling one in another, able to subsist each one by itself apart; but only three substantial Powers making up all together but one substance: and therefore that our Author when He speaks of the Spirit, Soul and Body of Angels and Men takes these words in a quite different sense, viz., for three distinct substances, one higher graduated than the other, and subsisting one in another, working one through another, and making up together one compleat whole; as will appear most evidently from the following Treatises.
i. Now Eternal Nature, and all her uncorrupted offspring, considered in this State of Light and Love, may thus be compared to the Holy Trinity: The meer natural Being with its 7 constituent Powers, may be referred to the Father; the Light to the Son; and the Love to the Holy Ghost.
24. Thus Eternal Nature is a Copy of the Deity itself. And in this consists its internal Formality or State, viz., in the proportionable union of the three first Elements in the fourth, as in one essence, and in the blessed harmony of all qualitys thence arising.
25. To understand this more exactly we will consider this formality in the same generative method (methodo genetica vel genitiva) as we did in treating of the materiality. In this process, we shall find seven degrees of principal or fountain-qualitys or states in which Eternal Nature may be considered, till we come to the full perfection of it; one being always the ground, reason, or cause of the following. The tincturing Powers which cause these Seven Principal or Fountain-qualitys or States of Eternal Natures Essence, are called by Our Author the Seven Forms, the 7 working Propertys, the 7 working Qualitys, the 7 Spirits, the 7 working Spirits, the seven Fountain-Spirits, the 7 working Powers, the 7 Qualifying Powers, the seven generating Powers of Nature: all which names signify the same thing, viz., not meer qualitys or modes, or modifications of things, nor peculiar substances in themselves, but, as is said, principal vertues, energys, powers subsisting in the substance, and tincturing it with their qualitys, giving thus to it a certain form or state, according to which all the things Life and activity is qualified.
26. Now the four first of these Forms we saw a little before, to be rooted in the Fire-Spirit; they are the Forms of Darkness. The fifth Form or State is the Light and Love Fire for as soon as the Light springs up and shines through the Darkness, all the wrath Fire Forms, come to be at quiet, peace and concord in the Light, by which and by the Water whence it ariseth, they are tempered, mitigated and put in to harmony which is Love. The Water is comprehended in this fifth Form and not distinguished from the Light: because from the Water is born the Light, and this qualifys in and through the Water, and the Water in and through the Light, in incorrupted Nature, which gets from both one state of bright shining Lustre in all its constituent Powers.
27. The sixth Form or state arises from the Air Spirits mingling with the Love-fire, and consists in the triumphing Joyfull Sensation of Loves quickening sweetness in all the Powers and facultys of Nature. For the Air exalts the activity of Loves qualitys, and makes them penetrate into the Center of each Power, and nourishes them with its ravishing tasts, throughout the Whole Sphere. The Air is comprehended in this sixth form and not distinguished from the triumphing joy, for the same reason that the Water is comprehended in the fifth Form, for the Air is the immediate vehicle of this joyfull Love, and both together give Eternal Nature one form or state of joyfull sensation.
28. Thus our Author differs not from J. Behm, who considers the Love in its nativity, as it arises immediately out of the Light; and thus it belongs to the fifth form. But our Author considers it in its exalted and triumphant state, as it is the blessed nourishment and delicious Life of all the Powers of Nature; and then it belongs to the sixth Form.
29. Now there wants nothing but the constant Cementation, as it were, of them all together into one indissoluble Whole; which state of Union our Author calls essentiality, corporeity; And this is the seventh and last Form, when we begin our consideration from the inmost Life and carry it on to the outmost, the common ground and receptacle of the other forms. But when we consider Etrenal Nature as a making, and go on to its perfection and accomplishment, where it is wholly finished and done, then corporeity or essentiality is the first form and the triumphant Love is the Seventh and Last. For because all the six forms must have a common ground to subsist in, which is the Earth; this foundation must first of all be laid, as the first beginning of the work to be done. Which coud not be carried on, and much less brought to perfection, if the Earth had not been brought forth first for an unmoveable ground to build upon. For it is the Earth alone which gives subsistency and substantiality to all the rest. Now this Earth is Dark, and tinctures all the rest with Darkness till the Light comes to spring up, which then is the sixth Form; whereupon the joyfull Love is born as the last Form and ultimate perfection of the whole work. See Eternal Nature book I, chapter 7 per tot.
30. Thus according to the first manner of considering Eternal Nature, The four first forms comprehended under the common name of Darkness, represents the Father considered abstractly without the Son; the fifth, the Son; the sixth, the Holy Spirit; the seventh, the whole indivisible Deity in one Essence. But according to the second manner of considering it, the five first forms represent the Divine Essence together with the Father; the sixth, the Son; the seventh, the Holy Ghost with the Total Deity,
31. This Generation and mingling of the four eternal Elements and thence arising seven Forms of Nature, and the formation of that great, and to us unmeasurable Principle, was done in a moment, and at once as to time, and it is but one Principle, not two.
32. But being not generated in this form and conjunction by one joint and indivisible act of generation of the origibal Powers in the Abyssal Essence, as they are an indivisible oneness in themselves; it is not a simple but a Compounded Essence: and as one form is the ground of the other, there is order of the first and second etc., to be observed in it.
33. Wherefore if you take the word Principle (as the Author doth for the most part) for a great Globe, which is the Mother-Essence of particular things, contained in its circumference, giving them by a true generation out of its bowels essentiality, subsistence, locality and nourishment; of which consequently is not a constituent part of the proper being of these things, but only the Fountain and Mother, furnishing out of its fruitfull womb each thing with its peculiar constitutive materiality; keeping always its proper numerically distinct essence, form and existence in itself.
34. Then we must say there is but one Principle of Eternal Nature; or Eternal Nature is a Principle, and is one not divided; in harmony and not in strife.
35. But if you understand by a Principle whatever is a constitutive ingredient of the proper subjective esse of things, either of their materiality or formality; as also of their bene esse.
36. Then you may say in regard to its formality, that there are Seven Principles of Eternal Nature, viz., the Seven Forms of which it is built up.
37. Or you may say that there are two Principles of Eternal Nature, viz., Darkness and Light; because all the seven forms are reducible either to Darkness or to Light.
38. And then Darkness is the first Principle; because it is the constituent ground of Nature. But Light is the Second Principle, because it subsists in and shines through the Darkness of Eternal Nature, and is its Glory, beauty, perfection and happiness.
39. The Three Principles of Nature, commonly so called; Salt, Mercury and Sulphur, may be rather said to be the 3 Principles of Eternal Fire; when we speak of the Constitution of Eternal Nature itself. But there may be brought forth out of Eternal Nature three such essences to be the constituent parts of other particular beings and productions of Eternal Nature: in which sense I take them below paragraph 68.
40. You may say also with respect to its materiality, that there are four Principles of Eternal Nature; viz., the 4 Eternal Elements, Fire, Water, Air and Earth: or Seven, or Nine Principles of Eternal Nature.
41. Thus many seeming contradictions may be reconciled, when we look on the different respects of the Authors, and the different sense they took the terms in, which they made use of.
42. The Band by which the Principles of Eternal Nature are tied together in the Eternal Earth, is the innate peculiar destination of each to unite with the others in the designed order.
43. This band is fortified by the indwelling of Divine Sophia, passing through, penetrating and maintaining the whole system and all its powers in the designed order, and of the total Deity, that hath united itself most intimately with the Center of Eternal Nature; and thence sends forth its most sacred, nourishing and reviving influences, throughout the whole Principle, and through all its forms, which it has taken up as a garment, and animates them as the soul doth its body. As we see in this visible World the Sun in the Center of it, filling and animating it and all that is in it by its quickening Light.
44. From what has been said, it is evident, that Eternal Nature, though its Principles are generated immediately out of its Abyssal Essence, yet considered in its compleat state, is not generated but created.
45. And further that God in Nature is not to be known in his naked Deity, but under the covering of Natures forms, with which He has been pleased to clothe Himself.
46. Now considering the Whole Principle of Eternal Nature in its full and compleat Sense, I think it is formed upon the Pattern of the Eternal World; as the Angelical and even this visible outward Principle is upon that of Eternal Nature. Whence the Globe of Eternity is called the Archetypal World. Thus comparing all together, Eternal Nature is (1) a vast Globe or World; it hath (2) its inmost and finest part, the foundation of it, which supports the whole system; its universal Life which is the immediate Former of it, and passes throughout the whole Principle and through every essence of it; the fountain-Essence out of which all the rest of that Principle is brought forth: Which the Author calls the Spirit of Eternal Nature, or Only Eternal Nature, and answers to the Spirit of Eternity in its primordial being.
47. This Spirit of Eternal Nature is made up of the 4 Eternal Elements and of the 7 forms of Nature hitherto described.
48. This Spirit, the Author says, is an Understanding Spirit, endowed with an Eternal Mind (or Intellect) Will and Senses; to which I add the imagination: which are his own constituent Facultys.
49. To this Spirit the Holy Trinity with Divine Sophia have united themselves immediately, to dwell in him eternally, and through him in the other essences brought forth out of him.
50. This Spirit, I think, is the fountain-essence of the eternal souls of Angels and Men; and perhaps that which the Old Mysticks called the great heavenly Soul of the Messias; And when Eternal Nature is called by our Author ye Eternal Humanity, I think he means particularly this Spirit of Eternal Nature's Principle.
51. This Spirit in and by the cooperation of God, brought forth out of itself a Globe of incomprehensible Glory, in the midst of the whole Principle, like the Sun in our visible Heaven.
52. Into this Glorious Globe the Holy Trinity in Unity hath introduced it self; and seated itself in.
53. In this Cloud of Glory is hid a Central Eye, Heart and Exit flowing forth from them both, into which is introduced the Eye, Heart and Exit of Eternity, and with them the Holy Trinity in distinction. Which are to be seen when the Cloud of Glory opens.
54. This Central Eye, Heart and Exit of Eternal Nature in one Being of Glory, is not God Himself, but His Glorious Throne in Nature, whence He influences His good throughout that whole Principle.
55. In the Central Eye of Eternal Nature exert themselves the eternal Essential facultys, The Intellect, Will, Senses and Imagination of the Spirit of Nature; as the Divine Facultys in the Eye of Eternity; and as these facultys of Men and Angels are seated in the head.
56. It may be questioned, how the Spirit of Eternal Nature, a Being compounded out of the 4 Elements, can be capable of these eternal facultys, which seem altogether immaterial; thinking and self-consciousness appearing to be consistent with a pure and simple spirit only? I answer: We know not the nature of the eternal elements thoroughly; and therefore we can't prove that thinking and self-consciousness are inconsistent with them. That these facultys, though in a lower degree, are found in compounded subjects, ir proved in the 12th Chapter of this Treatise from the instance of Beasts. I have shewed above that Matter is nothing but Spiritual Powers coagulated. Pure and simple Spirits then, and not compounded of the four elements, do yet in their Essence or Subjective constituent being contain the same powers, only in amore refined degree of essentiality, and indivisibly, as are in the four eternal Elements. If then simple spirits be endowed with these facultys, as indeed they are, the eternal Elements may be so too. Whether this depends only upon the gradation of Essentiality, or if it be (as I think it is) a peculiar perfection which God bestows on some of his Creatures, when others, though of the same degree of Subtility, are left without it; and whether every element be a suitable subject for these facultys. I cannot demonstrate.
But this I am satisfied of, that even in this gift of thinking and self-consciousness there may be yet many degrees: and that they who tell us from experimental manifestation that such or such a Being is endowed with these facultys, deserve to be beleived. Now they tell us, If I comprehend them aright, that the Spiritual Element of Fire or the fire-Spirit is the immediate Subject of these facultys, supposing God will bestow them upon any Creature. And as this fire spirit is a simple uncompounded Essence there can be no ground to doubt but God may endow it (and by consequence the Spirit of Eternal Nature also, of which the fire-spirit is a constituent part) with this faculty of thinking and self conscious deliberation. Thus I believe, every thinking self-conscious spirit is a fire-spirit, but not that every fire-spirit is thinking and self-conscious.
57. As then the Natural inamissible Facultys of intellect, will, senses and imagination, and thus natural wit, cunning and craftiness, are immediately rooted in the fire spirit in the fourth form of Nature; so Wisdom, the true actual knowledge and fundamental understanding of things, their true nature, ends, good and evil, means and ways to attain the good, is born out of the fifth form of Nature, out of the Light.
58. Hence it is that the Author says, Eternal Nature and the Angelical World are Wise and understanding Principles; and the Dark World a subtle and crafty one, but that there is not one grain of Wisdom or understanding in it.
59. These natural Facultys and Wisdom of the Spirit of Eternal Nature, as also of the Spirit of the Angelical Principle are much exalted by the inhabitation and cooperation of the Divine Facultys and Wisdom in and through them.
60. This intimate Union of God with the Spirit of Eternal Nature, and with that of the Angelical Principle is typed out in the Microcosm, by the intimate union of our supreme simple Spirit with our eternal Soul; whose facultys of Mind, Will, Senses and Imagination (as I think she has) are also much exalted in their operations by the union and cooperation of the supreme Spirit, who works in and through them.
61. The Central Heart of Eternal Nature and the Cloud of Glory also, is formed out of the Love-fire in Nature, as the Heart of Eternity is out of the Divine Love-Essence.
62. This flaming heart of Love, is the Soul and as it were the Sun of Eternal Nature's Principle, animating the whole sphere and all that is in it, by its outbeaming quickening Warmth.
63. Whether by a further emanation from this Central Globe there be yet a peculiar Globe in this Principle, wherein and whereby Divine Wisdom manifests Her self in Eternal Nature, as there is in the Angelical World, and which might be compared to the Moon, I am uncertain: because I don't find such a Globe mentioned in the Eternal World; though the Author says that this Globe in the Angelical Principle is introduced from the Eternal World.
64. But the Seven Spirits of God, which are the seven lower Divine Emanations, are I think, descended down from Eternity, into Eternal Nature, and manifested in it by seven distinct peculiar Globes circling about the Center or Throne of God in Nature; which are so many different combinations of the Seven Powers of Nature every one being predominant in his peculiar Globe. To which answer the seven Planets of this outward World.
65. But whether these seven Spirits of God in Eternal Nature's Principle be Seven Intelligences or Spirits endowed with a proper Mind or intellect, will, senses and imagination; or whether they are only Seven Divine Powers operating necessarily according to their innate propertys: I cannot apprehend. For though the Author attributes to them intellectual operations, yet I am not certain whether he speaks properly or metaphorically.
66. Finding also, that in the Angelical Heaven, there are placed Divine Powers, (without intellect, will and senses) like Stars, and that they are introduced from the Eternal World; I think there must be such in Eternal Nature's Principle too.
67. After this I doubt not, but out of the Spirit of Eternal Nature are brought forth and manifested the four eternal Elements in distinction. This I am persuaded of from the Analogy of this Outward Visible Principle, and of the Angelical too, according to some Revelations of it made to some elected Souls, in which I find Water and Air and Earth as under and this also I take to be the reason why the Author treats of the introduction of God into the four Eternal Elements of Eternal Nature in a particular Chapter. And in this sense it is true, what the Author says in some of his Manuscripts, that the four eternal elements are the immediate product of the seven working propertys of Eternal Nature, i.e. as these 7 are in a joint Union and make up the Spirit of Eternal Nature, out of which are born the four Elements in distinction.
68. Out of these elements there may be brought forth the three principles of Eternal Nature, Salt, Mercury and Sulphur, in distinction too; and out of these many other essences or peculiar compounded beings. But then they ought to be termed the three principles, not of Eternal Nature itself, but of all natural things and particular productions of Nature. And in this sense I find the Chymical Philosophers take them. For thus says Sendivogius in his treatise of Sulphur: "The three principles of all things are thus brought forth out of the Elements. God ordained the four elements to work one upon another without cessation. Therefore the fire did work upon the air, and thence was brought forth the Sulphur: The Air did work upon the Water, and brought forth the Salt: and the Water mingling with the Earth generated the Mercury. But the Earth having nothing to work upon, brought forth nothing, but what was brought forth (by the others) abode in it; wherefore there were created but three principles, and the Earth became the Womb and nurse of them all". Thus I found also in some loose papers of the Author: "The Chymical philosophers say, that God by Wisdom's Art out of the four elements hath brought forth three eternal principles, which are to be found in all created essence, viz., Sulphur, Mercury and Salt. And indeed these three philosophical principles spring immediately from the ground of the four Elements.
69. All the Whole Sphere which surround the Central Globe of Glory, and is encompassed with the one Element as with a skin, the Author calls the Body of Eternal Nature.
70. This Idea I have drawn of Eternal Nature's Principleout of the Author's Treatises; and this I hope will do for the better understanding of his Writings.
71. All the other worlds, as the Anglical World, the Dark World or Hell, the Fire World, Paradise, and this visible World, mentioned by our Author, are offsprings of Eternal Nature, as to their Matter, but they received their Formality from the inmost framing Spirit or Archaeus peculiar to each Principle, according to the pattern or idea taken up into the mind of that Spirit.
72. Which Archaeatial Spirits (except that of the Dark World, which in its formality is the production of Lucifer and his Angels; as out of the treatise of that World will appear) were brought forth by God out of Eternal Nature's Spirit, or out of another matter thence derived, and had impressed upon them in the very Act of their birth which God intended each one not only should frame upon its own Principle, but also maintain it, and bring forth continually new Wonders in it.
73. The inmost Nature then of these Spirits is a strong instinct to work according to the idea ingrafted in the very ground of each.
74. Now to speak something more particularly of this Visible World, the Spirit of it was brought forth by God out of a part of that Matter which Lucifer had corrupted. And the Author as well as many others say this Spirit is a Rational Spirit. But I think they don't mean that its Rationality is equal to the Humane Reason: Because this has united to it and cooperating with it the Supreme Simple and intellectual Spirit descended down from Eternity, by which our Reason is much exalted in its operations; but the Spirit of this World has no such high graduated simple Spirit united to it. And if the Spirit of this World were as rational as Men are, it must be capable of Virtue and Guilt, of reward and punishment in a proper sense. And certainly God would not have subjected this great and mighty Spirit, without any fault of his, to vanity, disorder, and to the influences of the Dark World, only for the fault of Man; if it had a free self-conscious deliberation, a reflected knowledge of God and of His Will, with a Liberty of election and self determination, as men have.
The meaning then of these Authors cannot be, that the Rationality of the Spirit of this World, is such a capacity of reasoning and thinking as we find in our selves.
75. Wherefore I think the Rationality of the Spirit of this World must be like that, or somewhat higher than that, which we find to be in the most cunning Beasts of this World, which are no doubt endowed as with all the senses, imagination and memory, so also with some degree of liberty, and thoughts or knowledge proportionable to their Sphere of Activity, to the Ends of their destination, and to the means fit for their conservation.
76. And such degree of Rationality we cannot deny to the Spirit of this World. For the Beasts are a meer product of this Spirit; and if this had not such a reason, how could he impart this to the Beasts?
77. The Rationality then of the Spirit of this World will be nothing else but an impregnation with the Sense and Idea of its own System, and with an instinct for the means fit for its conservation, and for the end of its destination; without the capacity of forming to himself abstracted Ideas, of combining them, and drawing conclusions from them; also without self-consciousness and reflecting upon itself. Thus the Spirit of This World, as the beasts do, knows, thinks, wills, imagines, sees, hears, smells, tastes, and feels and operates accordingly: but he knows not that he knows, thinks, etc.
78. But as to the Humane Reason, there is in us, as I said before, (1) The Spirit of our outward man, which Spirit is a Child and under the Dominion of the Spirit of this World which Spirit of our outward man has its own facultys of Mind, Will, Senses and imagination; He is only made for this World, his facultys are only proportionate to it; he is impregnated with the Idea of the outward System belonging to the outward Man, of the Ends of his destination, and of the means fit for his conservation and the attaining those ends, and with an instinct and desire and strong tendency to act accordingly; he receives influences, ideas, and impressions from the Spirit of this World and from all the objects which he meets with; these he perceives and determines himself freely, or takes his resolutions according to the circumstances and ability of his own particular and individual constitution. And in this consists his bruitish knowledge and Rationality. But being (2) in the most strict union with our supreme immortal and intellectual spirit, all his perceptions and determinations or tendencys are communicated and delivered over to this intellectual Spirit. Who then is self conscious thereof by reflecting upon himself; he ponders them, he deliberates thereupon, he forms thereof by his Active intellect more spiritual and abstracted ideas, he handles them, he joins and disjoins them, draws thence conclusions and forms new ideas and discourses, as we know we do, with much more liberty, activity and sublimity than the meer Astral rational Spirit could do alone; and then after this takes his resolutions freely, determines himself with a liberty of Election or Choice either to follow the representations and impulses of the Astral Reason, or to reject them, as it pleases him. And it is from this liberty that Man is capable of vertue and of Guilt, or reward and punishment.
79. Thus Humane Reason in its totality, or the Rationality of Man both inward and outward in conjunction, is a compounded faculty or the Astral and Divine Spirit in us.
80. Now as I said before, such a Rationality in its totality, cannot be attributed to the Spirit of this World. And therefore our Author calls it the Apocalyptic Beast, as the Spirit of the Dark World He calls the Dragon whose cunning and Craftiness aslo can be nothing but such a bruitish Rationality.
81. The Spirit of this World, which perhaps may be the Light created the first day, brought forth by God's command the body of this Visible Sun, Moon and Stars. And it is through these constellations that the Spirit of this World exerts it operations throughout the whole Principle.
82. Particularly the Sun is a Body of Light-fire, in which the fire and Light are predominant; and is the Center, Heart and Soul of this World. The Spirit has seated therein its faculty of Mind and Will, and consequently its rationality; governs this whole Principle through it, and animates every thing in it by its quickening beams. Therefore J. Behm calls it by Similitude The Nature-God ( ) or natural God of this World.
83. And because the Sun could have and give forth no light, if God did not dwell in it by his blessed influences from the Light-World, Behm has good reason to say, that the brightness of the Sun has a deeper ground and root than this outward World in itself. And King David says : In sole posuit [Deus] tabernaculum sum, God hath pitched his tabernacle in the Sun. Thus it is the Throne of God in this outward Nature, and the chanell through which He communicates temporal good to all Creatures which have their origination from it.
84. The Wise Heathens knew something of this, but not knowing the true God out of Nature dwelling in Himself, they adored the Sun for God, taking His Throne for Himself, and the Channell of natural good, for the Fountain itself of all Good; and so were Idolaters.
85. Whether the six other Planets are also endowed with some degree of rationality, I know not. This I find, that J. Behm calls them 6 Counsellors, which God ordained to be fellow helpers to the Sun; as Dr Pordage says the Seven Spirits of God are the privy counsellours of the Holy Trinity in the Still Eternity.
86. But the other Stars are I think meer Powers manifested out of the Spirit of this World, because Our Author says that the Stars in the Angelical World are meer Divine Powers without Intellect, Will and Senses.
87. Besides there were brought forth the four Elements in distinction: of which according to J. Behm, our terrestrial Globe is the Center, as the Sun is the Center of the Stars.
88. And if we may believe Paracelsus every Element is filled with many kinds of living, even of Rational Creatures, besides Men.
89. Thus also our Author in the Manuscripts of the Dark World says that there are a midle sort of Spirits. His own words are the following: "I confess according to the Philosophy of the Antients, and according to Natural Magick that belong to this Visible World, there are a midle sort of Spirits born from the Spirit of this Macrocosm, that are mortal Spirits and have no eternal Souls, and are different from the Apostate Angels, and from the Holy Angels, and also differ from the race of mankind that have immortal Souls, and for whom Christ died, but not for these mortal Spirits. Now the Antient Philosophers according to their Natural Magick did find out that of this sort there were some Good, loving and very kind, and some were evil, subtle, and hurtfull to mankind. The good they called good Genii; the bad and hurtfull they called evil Genii. And Socrates with many others had good Genii, and many others had bad Genii for their guides. But this is not the proper place to treat of this Thesis of Natural Magick in relation to this Visible Creation: which requires to be judiciously handled in its own proper place to which I refer you, where this Probleme shall be largely discussed, concerning the names, natures, originality of these midle Spirits, with their effects and operations and familiarity with Mankind". This was the Treatise which he designed to write of this Visible World, but has not been found since his Death.
90. This I think may suffice for a short view of the Authors Theory of the several Worlds to facilitate the Apprehension thereof.
Of the Divine Likeness and Image in Creatures: Their Fall: Origination, Nature and Kinds of Evil.
1. That which is common to all generated or created Productions, distinct from the Essence of God, is, as we have already hinted, that all the Simple Powers have the self same essential Propertys and qualitys (but not in the same quantity either of intention or extension) as the Original Powers in the Divine Essence, whence they sprung forth at first, have in them. For a Production or generation is nothing else but a multiplication of the fountain-Power itself.
2. Wherefore these Essential Qualitys or all derived Simple Powers are eternal, and immutable, even as in their Fountain Powers; and there cannot be the least alteration or loss of these essential qualitys, without an entire annihilation of the Power itself.
3. In this resemblance of the essential Propertys of the derived Powers, with those of the originals in the Divine Essence, doth consist of the Divine Likeness or Similitude in the Creature, or the Likeness which the Creature has to its Creator.
4. All creatures, every one in its degree, bear this character of Divine Likeness, and it is so essential to them, that it is impossible it should ever be lost, in what state or condition soever they happen to be, as long as their very Beings are not totally dissolved and destroyed, and so reduced into nothing.
5. One of these Essential Propertys common to all particular Powers, Original and Divine, as well as derived thence, is a Desire or hunger after an infinite Good.
6. For the deepest ground and Center of the Spirit of Eternity itself is an intimate, infinitely strong and ardent longing after an Infinite Good, which being no where but in Himself and He always present to Himself, He must necessarily have all His infinite Desire filled and satisfied, and so be nourished continually with his own Essence, in perfect infinite Joy and Happiness.
7. All Powers then that flow forth from this Central Fountain-Spirit must necessarily partake in some measure of this hunger after an infinite Good , and tend to it continually.
8. But this Treasure being not in themselves, their Hunger can never be satiated, nor consequently the derived Powers satisfied, happy and at rest, unless they be filled to the full measure of their capacity with the Divine influences of the Spirit of Eternity, either pure and naked, or clothed in their own Divine or forreign creaturely Matter of the first, second, third, etc., gradation, according to the Receptibility of each Power.
9. All Happiness then of the Creatures consists onely in the real participation of the Divine Essence, by which they must be nourished continually.
10. Nay it is impossible that any Creature should find any real good, tast, relish, satisfaction and pleasure in anything, if the Effluences of the Divine Being were not realy conveyed to it, through that thing as a vehicle.
11. And in this Sense it is most true, what some enlightened Men have said, that in all Creatures, we feed upon, and eat and drink really God Himself, that is, the most sacred emanations of his own Essence, hidden in all Beings of this World.
12. When it appears upon what solid foundation they have grounded their earnest and heart exhortations to make a sober use of all God's Creatures.
13. As also, how true it is, what our Blessed Lord saith, that Man liveth not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the Mouth of God.
14. For these divine Influences are Words and Blessings spoken into things; and which give us properly all the nourishment, refreshment, joy, pleasure, etc., which are commonly by a strange and sacrilegious blindness and ungratefullness ascribe to the Craeture itself.
15. We may hence also see, how true it is which Our Blessed Lord says: except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no Life in thee.
16. And also, how carefull we should be to rely only and wholly upon God and all things we meet with, and to go out entirely from all Creatures whatsoever as considered in themselves: they not being able all of them together to give us the least relief in any of our Wants.
17. In fine it is clear from these great truths, why it is that no Creature (by which I understand all Beings derived and distinct from God) be it never so perfect, can have beatitude and happiness in itself, but only in God: And
18. That it was not out of Caprice, pride, interest or ambition, that God ordered all things to Himself, that all things should come to Him, bow under Him, submit to His Laws, and expect all of His Grace; But that according to the Nature of God and of the Creature, it was impossible, but that God, as He was the first, so must be the last, as the Beginning so the End of all things, the Alpha and Omega, and at the end, when all shall be made perfect, All in All.
19. These Divine Benedictions then or at most sacred insinuations of God's own emanated Essence are the Objective Life, which we all want by Nature; and therefore they are the Life of Grace, the Supernatural Life, the Life of Life, the Soul of the Soul, the Beauty, ornament, Glory and Perfection of every thing.
20. And on the Contrary the withdrawing of this Blessed Life of God from the Creature, is the Curse that falls upon it, and can't but be followed by misery, anguish and torment, etc., according to the measure of the withdrawing of the Divine Influences.
21. The total privation of this Divine Life is Death, Spiritual Death, supernatural Death, the original of all other Deaths; which are but as the branches of that wretched Stock.
22. Into which if a Creature falls, its natural Life, being then separated from that other, is but a dreadful feeling, and continual augmentation of this tremendous Death, and all its dismal fruits.
23. It is then an absolutely necessary and indispensible Law, founded in the very Nature and Essence both of God and of the Creature; that every Creature, if it would attain to the perfection and happiness, which it is destinated to by its Creation, must turn all its Powers constantly to God and open as it were their mouths to Him to satiate them with His own Divine Essence.
24. If this be not done, if the Creature be not in such a manner turned to its Creator; The Fountain of all Bliss and happiness is immediately stopt as to it, the Divine influences are shut out of it, and cease to flow into it; and so eo ipso the Divine Order and harmony is broken, both with regard to each one in itself in particular, and to the whole System of the Creation in general; The Divine Image defaced and spoiled, and an unfathomable Abyss of all miserys opened.
25. For the better understanding of which, and what this Image is, how it comes to be lost, and how all miserys immediately follow thereupon, we must remember that the Divine Variety flowing forth from the Divine Oneness, being rooted in it, depending wholly upon it, and tending continually towards or sinking down into it, there cannot be a perfect agreement and Harmony of the various Divine Powers, which make up the emanated Nature of God.
26. And since the derived powers have all an Essential tendency to one Sovereign Good, and consequently are all naturally disposed to unite themselves and join together with one accord in the pursuing their common end; besides
27. As all Creatures are manifestations and representations of what is hidden in God; and He cannot make any false copy of Himself: Therefore
28. It is impossible but that all, whatever came from Him must be made and formed by Him in an entire and perfect concord and harmony of all its constitutive Powers, in a joint tendency to Him, both as to every Creature in itself, and as to the whole Body of them all together.
29. And this admirable Harmonious, unanimous and concordant tendency of all the powers of each Creature in particular, and of them all in generall, to God as the only true Summum Bonum or Highest Good; and the Blessed Influence of this Good into all their powers, infallibly following thereupon, as their nourishment, Lustre, Beauty and Glory; and the maintaining this Union and Harmony: This, I say, is that which is termed the Divine Image.
30. Now it is easy to see, that although this Harmony in the Creatures is built upon the immoveable Rock of the Eternal Oneness, and so may be an everlasting harmony, union and happiness; yet it is not necessarily and absolutely unchangeable in itself.
31. Because the Powers of Creatures are not (as the emanated Harmonious Essence of God is) immediately connected to, and indistinctly existent in the Eternal Oneness, essentially united to it, and one with it, making up together but one and the same numerical thing; but are really and numerically distinct and separated from their fountain as well as from each other, and are but joined together in just proportion and order by Divine Wisdom and Power.
32. Wherefore it may happen by the own free Will of the Creature, that it may cease to turn all its Powers and facultys to the true highest and Essential Good, which is God alone, may seek its good, its pleasure, content and satisfaction in other things, either in itself and in its own strength, or in other fellow Creatures. By which, when it happens, the instituted order, harmony, and joint concurrence of all the Powers is broken ipso facto, the influence of the Divine Essence immediately Stopt, and so the Glorious Image of God in the Creature extinguished and destroyed.
33. And then all the Powers wanting their all-satiating food, their hunger must needs increase and stirr up their natural vivacity. But as this by all its activity cannot produce in them the infinite Good they want; and yet they can never cease to move and turn themselves continually with the greatest vehemence: It is impossible but that the disorder once introduced must continually augment, and degenerate into a perfect Contrariety, one acting contrary to another, and inflicting on one another (besides the most painfull everlasting hunger itself) most dreadfull and inconceivable torments.
34. Thus we come to see what is the Evil and Fall of Angels as well as Men, and whence it took its origine. We see the Evil (1) of Sin, (2) of fault, (3) of privation, (4) of corruption, (5) of painfull sensation.
35. Evil in general consists in a contrariety to the Will of God.
36. For He is all Good, in all senses, in all manners, to all Beings, and so must necessarily be His Will and all that is conformable to it.
37. God then cannot be the Author of evil in any sense whatever.
38. It must then have its original from the Creature. And all motion and variation proceeding from the Will, it must be from the own free Will of the Creature acting contrary to the Will of God, that Evil was introduced.
39. It must come from the uppermost Will, subjected to none but God alone, and which could be violated or forced by none to do any thing against its Will.
40. It must besides be a Will endowed by God with such a Liberty, as that it should not be Subject even to God but by the Law of Love.
41. You can take away nothing from these assertions, without destroying the First origine of contrariety and Guilt.
For if the will which is supposed to be the first original of evil, had been forced by any higher will of greater strength to act contrary to the Will of God, then the Will supposed was not the first contrariety nor the first guilt, but that other superior will that forced it. Much less can you say that God Himself would necessitate this Will in any way whatever: for then you take away the very notion of Evil, which is, a contrariety to the Will of God.
42. Wherefore That Will which was the first unhappy Cause of Evil was of such a nature, as that it could not be determined but by its own free Love.
43. It is then That free Love, which is contrary of the Will of God, that is the first original of all Evil.
44. Now God having ordained all things to Himself, as to their only true good; That uppermost free Will of the Creature subjected to none but to Him by a free Love, should according to the Will of God, adhere immediately, constantly, and in all things to God alone, should seek him alone as the only Summum Bonum, and take all its pleasure, contentment and satisfaction in Him alone, acquiesce in Him alone, refer all to Him, depend wholly on Hid Good Pleasure, and loose it self in Him, that is, in a word, Love him alone.
45. This, and nothing but this, was (and shall be, and must be eternally) the Duty of Angels and Men. Which might be largely proved by many Arguments taken both from the Nature of things, and from the Scriptures; if the consideration, that I write but a preliminary Treatise, did not oblige me to be as short as possible.
46. If Angels and Men had loved God alone both as He is in Himself, and as He is in His Creatures; and not the Creature in itself: all the other Creatures under them would have been maintained eternally in that primitive happy order instituted by God; and no evil could ever have got any eixistency.
47. Now all men understanding by Sin a breach of Duty; it is evident that Sin is no other thing but to love by ones supreme free will, a thing which is not God Himself. I say, to love; that is to take our pleasure and satisfaction, to place our Happiness and delight in, and cleave finally to anything that is not God Himself, to rest in it, and not to go further through all even unto God as He is in Himself.
48. Therefore Sin is the first Evil and the root of all the rest. And Sin is not a meer transient act; but a Love, that is, an inward, inherent disposition of the Heart, that is of the supreme free Will; abiding continually in it, till it is entirely effaced and blotted out, that is, till this disposition and love contrary to the Love of God is expelled and rooted out of the Soul, and all its love turned again towards God alone as He is in Himself.
49. From this first evil of Sin is distinct the second evil of simple fault or frailty; which is nothing but an unseasonable Act, unfit for the circumstances of time, place, persons, etc., and consequently contrary to the Will of God, who doth all things in due order, season and manner; but yet that flows from a heart loving God alone and acting really from that love, but fails through innocent ignorance in the said circumstances.
50. Which ignorance is an effect of the third evil, viz., of Privation: which follows immediately upon the Sin.
51. For God being an infinite Liberty, nothing but his own good pleasure can determine Him. It is then only the pleasure He takes in His Creatures, that can move Him to communicate to them His most sacred emanations, in which consists all our happiness. But the Creature, as is supposed, acting contrary to God's Will, it is impossible and contradictory that God should have pleasure in a Creature that is disposed and acts contrary to His Pleasure. And thus the communication of His beatifical light must come to cease, upon the violating the instituted primitive order.
52. And although He may fro a while out of His tender and compassionate Love, cast His beams from without upon such a Creature in order to make it turn back again and embrace it's true good; (as without doubt God does; else there could be no repairing or restoring of sinfull man at all) yet so long, and so far as the Creature abides in this contrary disposition, it is impossible there should be any intimate and beatifical Union between God and that Creature, it being supposed to have a Will divided from that of God. Neither can God cast his pearls before swine, nor Angels or Men find satisfaction in what is contrary to their inclination.
53. Upon this cessation of the Divine irradiation there cannot but follow immediately the fourth Evil, namely corruption, that is, darkness, ignorance, weakness, hnager, emptiness, disorder and contrariety not only of the constitutive Powers of each being, but of the compleat beings themselves, first of the sinners, and next of all Creatures subordinate and subjected to them.
54. Thus Sin spoils the works of God, and makes them quite different from what they were when they first came out of His hands.
55. For though the essential propertys of the Simples are unchangeable, yet they may be corrupted by evil habits and dispositions, which they take up; and so become uncapable of receiving the Divine influences and uniting with them most intimately.
56. And as to the Compounded Creatures, their corruption is yet more easy to be conceived. For the ground of composition is the mutual communicatio of the realitys of all the ingredients to one another; so that the compounded whole comes by the mixing and tempering of all the parts together to get other propertys than each part hath in particular. The primitive order and temper then being altered and broken by Sin; all the propertys and qualitys of the whole must be changed also.
57. In which alteration, that part which is the strongest subdues the weakest, and makes it qualify in the qualitys of the conqueror.
58. This exaltation of one form above the rest depends upon the uppermost free Will of the first sinner, first in his own Person, and then in his whole Principle. If he be the Supreme Ruler thereof and his fellow Inhabitants join with Him.
59. For this uppermost free Will-Spirit ordained by God to be the Governour of his own Kingdom, or the Region Subjected to Him, was of an inconceivable strength. This Strength then joiningwith one of the Seven Forms of Nature, it could not fail of getting the upper hand of all the rest; and tincturing them with all its qualitys: which breach of the Divine Harmony could not but be followed by the fifth Evil, viz. that of painfull sensation.
60. Now Lucifer, abandoning the Love of God, took pleasure and satisfaction in his own strength, and would rule in Sovereignty without any Subordination under God: and thus in the might of his free Will harmonizing with the Dark fire form, whose property is self elevation and flying up, and is naturally the strongest of all the rest, He exalted the fire-qualitys first in his Soul and Body, and consequently in all his Principle and in all his Subjects that held with him.
61. Thus by the Pride of Lucifer, He and all his company, together with his whole habitation, who were at first by the hand of God made glorious Angels, and had a most blessed Kingdom for a dwelling place; fell into the anguishing tormenting fire-qualitys, and were penetrated and tinctured with them throughout; which may have been done in a moment after their full resolution to withdraw themselves from depending upon God.
62. And by this means one Region of the Angelical World through the Sin of Lucifer and his fellow Angels was turned into Hell.
63. Concerning Man, who was to supply the room of Lucifer, God created for his habitation Celestial Paradise.
64. And designing to prevent his fall as far as it was consistent with Man's Liberty or free Will, God took also of the Matter, which Lucifer had corrupted, and created this visible World in which the earthly propertys did prevail over the other forms of Nature, that is man would not abide in the Love of God, yet He might fall rather into the Earthly than into the fire propertys; and so his fall would not be so greivous and desperate as that of Lucifer.
65. This Visible World was penetrated every whereby the Celestial Paradise, and became thereby a terrestrial Paradise. There was no curse in it, but all Bliss and Happiness and Glory throughout; but yet in a lower and weaker degree, than in the Celestial.
66. This preexistence of the Celestial Paradise before this Earthly Paradise, seems expressly owned by Esdras, who says thus to God: Thou broughtest him (Adam) into Paradise which they right hand planted, before the Earth came to have existence.
67. Into this Terrestrial Paradise did God put Adam after he created Him, to cultivate and guard it, by keeping Himself and all the Powers of that Principle in a due subordination to God. But Adam beginning to turn his love from God to the Creatures under him, God in order to recall him to his first love forbad him to eat of a certain fruit, under communication of Death in case of disobedience.
68. He created moreover Eve out of Adam, for a suitable conversation for him, since he had deprived himself of the continual presence of the Lord; and also for the maintaining of the band of Love among men by the natural propension of the two sexes to one another for generations sake.
69. But all these means proving ineffectual through mans fault; and they (instead of tending, by faithfull obedience and continual adherence to God, towards the primitive state, the pure Love of God) transgressing impudently the commandment of God by eating of the forbidden fruit. The Paradisical glory and lustre came to be extinguished and the Image of God lost, first in their own persons, which was the Spiritual Death threatned to them.
70. Thus they, seeing their gross terrestrial bestial bodys, were ashamed of them.
71. In the Second place the Celestial Paradise withdrew itself into its own Principle; and thus Man was cast out of Paradise into this Present World, which is the same with the forementioned Visible World, as to its substance; but quite different as to its qualitys introduced by Sin. By which it is now become wholly terrestrial and made up of Good and Evil, of blessings and the Curse.
72. The Curse entred immediately upon the Sin; and had without doubt turned this whole Principle into an Hellish State; had not God hindered it, by continuing in some measure the influences of His Good; that Men might still have opportunity of converting themselves again to God by true penitence, and so of recovering their first Paradisical State.
73. This I take to be in general the Theory of the fall of Angels and Men. In all which we cannot find the least concurrence of God to evil, which shall be the Subject of the next chapter.
That God did not permit the Fall for the manifestation of his Justice and Mercy.
1. To say that Evil was permitted by God for the manifestation of His Justice and Mercy: to me seems to overthrow His boundless and infinite Love and Goodness.
2. He is all Love and goodness, an infinite goodness, not only to Himself, but also to all his creatures whatever. And all his Propertys are one; so there can be no one but what is love and goodness without limits.
3. Therefore I cannot think that there is, properly speaking, any punitive Justice in God; (that is, which stops and acquiesces entirely in the punishment and infliction of pains, as in its last end, without any further subordination to the good of the Creature) but that His Justice as it is a real Perfection in Him, cannot be less Love and Goodness, than it is Justice. When I consider this Divine Justice, I find it so tinctured with Love; so that truly I must say, that Justice and Love are one and the same in God.
4. This being so, as undoubtedly it is, and meer punitive Justice not being in God, How can He be said to have permitted Sin and Evil for the manifesting of the what is not in Him, and at the greatest distance from Him?
5. It is most certain that there is not the least evil unpunished: but this is no ways the positive object of the Will of God; who Wills nothing, but that the things should act or work according to their inherent and natural Propertys: Which are very good; so that He would neither be just nor good, if he willed that these propertys shouls ever come to fail.
6. Therefore strictly speaking Punitive Justice is only in the Creature, and is nothing else but the painfull sensation of its own violent and contrary acting Propertys, caused by its own fault, without any permission of God; nay wholly contrary to His Will, Yea I dare say contrary to all his thoughts.
7. Moreover punitive Justice, as it is in fallen Angels and Men, being only a disorderly acting of the Eternal Powers of Nature, and the painfull sensation consequent thereupon, and there being no disorder in God; it is impossible that God should intend to manifest a divine perfection in Him, by a thing that is quite contrary to all that is in Him, and so make a false representation of Himself.
8. Further it is absolutely impossible, that by a positive act of the Will of God, either commanding or permitting, anything should happen that would be painfull, hurtfull, or not good in any sense, in any manner, at any time, and to any thing.
9. For God being infinitely Good; He cannot will any thing that is not good to any Creature, etc. and being infinitely WISE; He knows how to dispose all things in such a manner, that such a perfect good must arise: and by His infinite POWER. He can also put into effect what He wills and knows to be absolutely good. And if it were not so, Man would be able to reach and comprehend with his mind a higher Perfection than would really be in God; which is the greatest absurdity and contradiction; God being an infinitely infinite Perfection, infinitely exalted above all, that all the most perfect Creatures can ever imagine.
10. As to the Divine Mercy, it is nothing else but Love acting upon a guilty and miserable Subject, as the Divine Justice is nothing but the selfsame Love acting according to what is fit and decent for it and becomes it.
11. Upon which I leave you to judge, whether it is becoming or decent for an infinite Love, to permit a Creature, that is a production of its own bowels, to become guilty of so many enormous Sins, blasphemys, and violations of all the propertys of Love and its Divine Laws, and to run by this means into all sorts of inconceivable miserys for so many thousands of years; only that it (the Divine Love) may at last have matter to display its wonders upon such unhappy Subjects. And still much less decent and becoming is it for infinite Love actively to permit Sin, upon supposition that the greatest part of sinners shall remain in a state of Damnation to all Eternity of Eternitys without any end.
12. And what are these Wonders to be displayed upon fallen Creatures; but Love varied in the Creatures according to their receptability? For God is nothing but Love, and all His Acts are Acts of Love.
13. And as Love is an infinite unfathomable Abyss in itself, where God Himself finds no bottom and no bounds, there being none; will there not be seen in all Eternity new Wonders of Love, and yet Love in itself, in its unsearchable riches, abide still unknown, uncomprehended and incomprehensible to all Eternity? I cannot but think that after infinite ages of manifestation, God will always be as hidden and unknown a God (as to his fullness) to all other beings but Himself, as He was at the first moment of His manifestation.
14. Thus presupposed, all that has been or shall be manifested and known of God, how excellent and amazing so ever it be, yet is to be reckoned as very little, when compared to what can yet be manifested as well with respect to the number as the kinds of wonders to all Eternity of Eternitys.
15. And therefore though the Mercy of God towards His Creatures is of an incomprehensible depth, and an amazing wonder to Heavn and Earth, yet in comparison of what otherwise is, and shall and can be manifested unto all Eternitys, and above all that, in comparison of what God is in Himself, it must be acknowledged to be a very little ray of the infinite Glory of that incomprehensibly transcending Light of all boundless perfection.
16. To which by all that can ever be manifested in all infinity of duration, cannot accrew the least grain of happiness or glory in it self: all manifestations whatsoever being only for the good and happiness of the Creature.
17. Now consider I pray, whether it be decent for and becoming such an inconceivable height of an all sufficient and independent perfection and happiness as the Divine Love is, that God for the manifestation of such a little ray (comparatively speaking) the room of which might by easily supplyed by others as bright, if not brighter than that, should consent willingly to such an unhappy breach of the branch from its tree, (the Creature from God) out of which it sprung; by which separation it must necessarily fall into an Abyss of all miserys surpassing all imagination?
18. Can such a permission be any ways reconciled with Love? Dos it not rather utterly destroy it? And such a Mercy is it not more properly called Cruelty?
19. Wherefore I cannot but think there is a manifest contradiction in this supposition, that God permitted Sin for the manifestation of His Mercy and Justice. This Mercy being in effect or in its true ground the most barbarous cruelty imaginable; directly opposite to Love, of which true Mercy is only a branch, and particular manifestation: And as to Justice, this Notion turns upside down that Justice which undoubtedly is in God, viz. that Divine Property of acting always as it is just, fit and decent for His infinite and perfect Love and Truth. Consequently that Mercy which is supposed to be the End and Aim of the divine permission of Evil, is indeed no mercy; and that justice is no justice.
20. Again as it is an eternal and immoveable truth, that all manifestation whatever must be only for the good and happiness of the Creature, and not at all for God's advantage, who gains nothing at all for Himself by it: So we must hence necessarily conclude, that if Evil were permitted by a positive design of God, to manifest by that means his Justice and Mercy or any other Property, the very end of it must be the greater good and happiness of the Creature, either of that which should fall, or of that which should not fall.
21. If you say it was for the benefit of the latter, consider I pray, whether it be decent and congruent for an impartial Love, such as God must necessarily have for all His Creatures, to sacrifice so many millions for so many thousand years, to unimaginable pains and sufferings; only for the sake of other fellow Creatures? Besides what happiness can be added to the one from the misery of the other?
22. It must then be (if it can) for the greater happiness even of the fallen Creature itself, that Evil was permitted. But this would give the strangest idea of God imaginable.
23. Is it not very strange that God should through Justice or Wisdom, antecedently and before the fall happened, design to make the Creature for the sake of its disloyalty, sins, resistences, contempts, blasphemys, etc., more happy and Glorious, than He would or could have done, had it continued and stood firm in fidelity and obedience?
24. If He would not have glorified his Creatures in case of fidelity as much as they say He will now do after the fall, then He must take pleasure in these horrible crimes and consequent sufferings; because nothing can determine His Will, but His own good pleasure.
25. Which as it is a thought to be trembled at; so it is contradictory to itself: for Crime involves in its very notion a contradiction to the Will and pleasure of God; but if Sin were committed with the good liking of God, how could it be contrary to his Will? At this rate Sin would cease to be Sin; and not only so, but vice would change its nature and become Vertue. For if the Will of God be, as indeed it is, Good, and the only fountain of all good, then whatever is agreable to His Will must of necessity be good also; and Sin being, according to this Hypothesis, permitted by the positive Will of God, must be agreable to it, and so not evil but good.
26. And if He could not make His Creatures so happy without these foregoing Crimes and Sufferings; then it must follow, that God wanted something without Him, (viz., the Crimes and sufferings of the Creature) to exalt the Creature to so high a degree of glory as that which is supposed shall now be given to it. Which is destructive of the infinite all-sufficiency of our God, who has no need of any thing without Himself, to act and do as much Good as he pleases, and is likewise inconsistent with itself.
27. For the glory and felicity of the Creature can consist in nothing but in the real communion with and participation of God. But sin, wickedness, and all manner of moral and physical Evil can't produce or promote this communion, and pouring out, as it were, of God into the Creature: nor can Evil (because it is a disorder, corruption, and destruction rather of the natural facultys) enlarge its capacitys for a fuller reception of those blessed and Divine Influences.
28. If any should instance in the exaltation of Men after their fall above the Angels themselves, as an objection against what I have been proving. I answer. (1) that we know not what God might have done, had Man continued faithfull. (2) It is not proved that God had this exaltation in view before the fall happened, and that it was the cause of His permitting the Fall. (3) That which moved God thus to exalt Man, was the consideration of Jesus Christ, and not fallen Man. (4) There is also an other most glorious and lovely reason for it. Man was seduced by the Devil, the Enemy of God; who thought to frustrate the design of God, and to mock at His creating Man instead of him, who was cast out of Heaven. Therefore it was most just and glorious that God should not only repair this breach, but also should turn that which the Devil intended for Evil, into a greater Good, and so confound his Enemy.
29. These then are my grounds why I cannot believe that God permitted positively the arrival of Evil, or that He had any design before it came to pass, to manifest by such dreadfull means either His Justice or His Mercy, or that Evil would not have happened but in consequence of this Divine design.
That God is entirely innocent of the fall, and all Evil, and that He hath done, and still doth all He can to hinder it.
1. From what has been said, I think it is very evident that the original of Evil is not to be sought for in the Divine permission, but only in the very nature of the Creature, of which mutability is an inseperable property; as on the contrary immutability is a proper and incommunicable Character of the Divine Being.
2. I have shewed above that all infinite Divine Variety not only of the Subjective Essential Propertys, but also of the objective perfections and thence proceeding essential happiness are joyned together by the absolute simplicity of the Divine Nature in a perfect Unity, so that all together make up by one simple infinitely perfect Being; the infinite Divine Multiplicity standing all undivided and indivisibly in the most simple Oneness. Which is the reason why the Divine Harmony of all God's acting Powers can never be broken, and that there cannot happen the least alteration whatsoever in the Divine Being.
3. And this simple Oneness of all that is in God is such a prerogative of God, and so inseparably annexed to an infinitely perfect Being, that it is impossible to communicate it to any creature. It is possible to put the Creature either by generation or Creation into a perfect Harmony and agreement of all its acting Subjective and constituent Powers; it is possible to keep them all in unity, satiety and happiness for ever and ever by the continual influence of the supreme uncreated Oneness, as the one only beatifying Object: But it is impossible in any Creature, first in the Compounded ones that the subjective Powers should make with one another an indivisible constitutive oneness. All Creatures then by their very nature are changeable in themselves.
4. Let us now consider what the behaviour of God towards Creatures may be in general. We have seen already that the essential propertys of all the simple generated Powers are as unchangeable and inseparable from themselves as they are in the uncreated Original Powers in God Himself, out of which they are flown forth: and they can never fail or be lost, whatever variation or alteration may happen in the combination, order, proportion and harmony of them in the Creature.
5. Neither can God ever disapprove of or disown these essential Propertys: they being very good in themselves, and the foundation of all the happiness, the Creature can ever be capable of.
6. This then is the only Act of God's positive permission, as well as of his Justice, in relation to Evil: viz. that He consents, wills and permits, that all created Powers in whatsoever state, mixture, combination, harmony or contrariety with or to one another they may happen to be, should act always and to all eternity according to their essential Propertys, and that He will never violate them in any manner.
7. Which is a most glorious, good and lovely permission and Justice, the immoveable foundation of all our Eternal Joys and triumphs; an universal, general, impartial, one, simple, constant and everlasting act of Divine Love, not a particular act to be repeated at every moment, and upon every particular demeanour of the Creatures; universally good, in all senses, at all times, in all manners in it self, and towards all other Beings, which can never of itself (per se et vi naturae suae) produce the least evil to any one: and therefore to be universally acknowledged, owned, loved, praised, admired wished for and submitted to by all Creatures.
8. This is all that God ever did, or still doth in relation to the permission of Evil. Which is a behaviour so pure, so innocent, so full of Love, so far from all causality, (in what sense soever this word may be taken) and from all permission (as it is commonly and properly understood of a thing that we foresee would, and will positively should come to pass) that there is not the least shadow of either to be found in it.
9. Nay it is impossible, that an infinite and thorough Love, which is all Love, and has nothing that is not Love, an infinitely perfect Love, a Love all sufficient to itself and to an innumerable number of Creatures; that such a Love I say, seeing its dear offspring running into all manner of inconceivable miserys by transgressing its good Laws and breaking the established happy order and harmony, should not have done all that was possible without destroying the forementioned eternal, inseparable property of his Creatures, to hinder and prevent so great an Evil. We must lay aside all notion of Love, if we deny this excellent and most lovely truth.
10. But you will say then, could Evil have happened If God had never permitted it, nay if He had done all He coud to prevent it?
11. I have shown already that one of the essential, inseparable, eternal propertys of the created Will in Angels and Men is the Liberty of it, to behave itself itself according to its own pleasure, to turn itself with its own joint facultys to what Object it pleases of all those that are present, and to apply itself freely and without any constraint to what it likes best of all that which it is surrounded with.
12. This Liberty is the best and noblest Gift, the most excellent Features of our likeness to the Divine Essence; the foundation of a boundless and illimited happiness; The Center of a noble, generous, Divine Love, conversation, commerce and friendship betwixt God and us; the Splendor and the very mark of our Kingly Dominion over other created Beings; in short the greatest benefitwhich an immensely superabundant, omnipotent Love could ever endow our Nature and Essence with. Which therefore should be the strongest motive to keep us in our duty, Love and submission to, and in the deepest veneration of so great a Benefactor.
13. This Liberty then being essential to the Will of Angels and Men, can never be revoked, retracted or violated in any manner by God; but all that is done or can be done by Him, must be consistent with this Liberty: because He is just, immutable, and can't take away with one hand what he had given before with the other.
14. Wherefore though God seeing his beloved Creatures a falling did all that was consistent with their Liberty to keep them in their duty, order and Unity; yet they listning not to his Love drawings and sollicitations, but turning themselves resolutely by their free Will, from God and His Good Will, He could not (according to Justice, and it being impossible for Him to will, and not to will the same thing at the same time) but leave them to themselves. And so eo ipso (as was said before) was the Unity and harmony broken and changed into plurality and contrariety, and Evil by that means brought into existence, and the door opened to all following dismal scenes of it.
15. These are my sentiments of the Cause and Source of Evil, how it came to infect the Creature, and how God has behaved Himself always in relation to it. I offer them all up to the Eternal Truth. I hope to have spoken nothing but what is conformable to it; and I think there is no better way to shew the Purity and innocence of God in all this matter, and how infinitely far He is from all permission, properly so called, and from designing any thing in it, before it came to pass, for the manifestation of His Glory.
16. Which cannot, if seriously considered, but inflame our Hearts with a burning Love, to such an all-Loving God, who truly and in the strictest sense never wills the Death of the sinner (much less the Sin itself) but that he return to Him and Live; and consequently much more that he should never turn away from Him, but always stay and abide with Him in perfect joy and happiness. To Him be Glory and Honour and Majesty for ever and ever.
17. From what has been hitherto deduced, it may appear, how improperly it is spoken, and yet how in a sound sense it may be understood, when some say, that Evil is rooted in God Himself. The truth is, that the created facultys or powers all have their eternal roots in God as being generated out of His Essential Powers. But Evil consisting not in the Being of these created powers, but in their disorder, confusion, discord, and contrary acting one against another; and such things as these not being in God, but all order, harmony, agreement and unity: how can Evil properly be said to have its roots in God? We ought never to use such expressions as may be so easily, nay can hardly avoid being mistaken, and turned to a sense most dishonourable to God.
Whether an universal Restoration of the whole lapsed Creation is to be looked for.
1. For my own part, I am of opinion This Happy Jubile will certainly arrive in its due time, and my reasons for it are these.
2. It is an inseperable property of Love to be well affected towards the beloved, to wish well to him, and to procure his greatest good to the utmost of its power, and to be glad of and rejoyce in his happiness. And as much as any one wants of these effectual dispositions, so much he wants of true Love.
3. When any one both can do a thing, and will do it, it will certainly be actually done.
4. I. Now if there is to be no Universal Restoration, it must proceed from hence, either that God will not, or cannot effect it.
If He will not, then He has no good Will for the lapsed Creature, and does not promote its good as much as He can; and consequently dos not love it: Hence it follows that there is something out of the bounds of His Love, and so His Love is not infinite; which destroys the notion of God. Further, if He will not restore his poor Creatures, then He must take pleasure in their torments; but this is to attribute to God the most barbarous and diabolical cruelty. It cannot be therefore for want of Good Will, If God does not repair the Fall.
If it be said He cannot repair this breach: it must be either for want of Wisdom, or of Power. And which soever of these two you affirm, you still limit and circumscribe these Divine Perfections; and so fall into the former inconvenience.
5. Again if God either will not or cannot restore Angels and Men, then we can apprehend a Being that has more Love, more Wisdom, and more Power than God: viz. such a Being as would and could effect and work this Wonder. But this would be contrary to the infinite Perfection of God.
6. Therefore to avoid contradictions, we must be obliged to say, that God both can and will reestablish fallen Angels and Men in their first state. And if He will and can then it will be done indeed.
7. II. Further, God being all Love, a thorough Love; whatever he does must be an Act of Love, and consequently tend to the good of the Creature.
8. And finding that God has prepared the Lake of Fire for the Devil and his Angels, and that this is their utmost and deepest Damnation.
9. We must conclude that even Damnation itself flows originally from Love, proportionate to the State of the Creature, and has no other end but the good of the Damned, viz. their correction and so subsequent Restitution.
10. Now God preparing the Lake of Fire with this very view of correction and Restitution; we cannot doubt but He saw this Correction to be possible: unless we would accuse infinite Wisdom of great ignorance and Error.
11. And this Lake of Fire being the last and utmost damnation of all; it must be the last and consequently a sufficient Remedy to restore whatever was not recovered by the foregoing dispensations.
12. And if this last remedy were not sufficient for that purpose, then we must say that God would be for ever frustrated of a great part of his designs. But this cannot be affirmed without the greatest indignity to infinite Perfection.
13. III. The being thrown into the Lake of Fire is called the Second Death. They then that come into that burning furnace must die.
14. Death imports a separation of the vital principle from the rest of the whole system.
15. It is not an absolute extinction and quenching of Life in itself. For this could not be without a total annihilation of that vital principle of which Life in the constitutive form, which annihilation is denyed by those of the contrary opinion, who hold the damnation is in itself eternal and without end.
16. There shall then be made in the Lake of Fire a Dissolution of the Systems therein confined.
17. This Dissolution cannot be ordained by God for the principles to remain separate, and each to be separately tormented to all infinite Eternity.
18. For (1) we find not the least shadow of this separate damnation of each principle in particular throughout the Whole Bible.
19. (2) God cannot be Himself the destroyer of his own works, and can never intend it, either with regard to the whole system, or to the constituent parts of it.
20. Because this would be contrary to His Wisdom, Justice, and Immutability; to which attributes it is owing that God never corrects Himself in his Works, and never takes away what He has once given absolutely.
21. Wherefore the Dissolution and separation of principles to be made in the Lake of Fire is prepared by God in order to a reconjunction of them into one System again.
22. This reconjunction of such a wonderfull and artfull system can be effected by no other but Him who was the Author of it.
But out of the hands of that great Artist nothing can comebut what is good, and exceeding good. And thus the final Restitution will be performed.
23. IV. The sentiment of the Universal Restitution is most glorious to God. Nothing can more highly exalt the Love, Wisdom, Power and Justice of God.
24. Can there be a greater Love conceived, than for God to Love his Creatures constantly, notwithstanding all their Rebellions, crimes and abominations; to labour continually to reduce them again to a better mind, and a due submission of their Wills to their Father; to pardon them all their sins, as soon as they return to Him indeed; To undertake and perform their Reparation, to heal them of all their Wounds, to purify them from all their corruptions, and to restore them again to perfect health; and then to crown them with Glory and Happiness to all Eternity, as if they had never sinned? Is not this a true Fatherly Love; an unfathomable Abyss in which all the thoughts of all Creatures put together must loose themselves?
25. And what a Wisdom and Power must that be which is sufficient to work out such a Wonder; to convert and restore so many thousand Millions of free-Will-Spirits, all of different dispositions and of different gradations of wickedness; to subdue them all, to make them all bow willingly under his Laws?
26. Which is the most glorious and lovely Effect of the Divine Justice. Nothing is more just, than that all that had departed from their duty should return to it again; that all should submit to God's Soverain Majesty, and that of Rebels they should become true obedient subjects and children: and that so in fine the first design of God which He had in their Creation, should be fully accomplished.
27. True Justice even in the Princes and Governors of this World can have no other ends in all the chastisements they are obliged to make use of, but the correction and amendment of their disloyal Subjects: else it would be an horrible Cruelty, taking pleasure in the painfull Sensations of others.
28. This Divine Virtue then must have the same good qualifications and the same aim (but in a transcendant height) in God, as it has in Men, who derive it only from Him.
29. And if it should not produce the intended effect; surely the Divine Justice would not be glorifyed as it ought to be: Seeing the malice of a weak Creature would still be invincible and glorify itself in its own strength against the Power of the Divine Justice.
30. V. Thus there would be many Infinites: an infinite Good, which is God; and as many infinite Evils as damned Angels and Men. For an invincible Evil or wickedness is an infinite strength. But many infinites, independent of, and opposite to one another, is a contradiction.
31. Wherefore there being but one Infinite which is God, whatever is not from Him, and subordinate to Him must be destroyed at last. But Evil is not from Him, and is contrary to His Will; it is not a substance but the Quality of a Substance, opposite and not submitted to the Will of God: therefore it must at length totally perish.
32. VI. Which being admitted it must produce naturally, or by its natural consequence a good effect in us, exciting us mightily to love and praise such an unmeasurable Love, quickly and effectually to return to Him by a true repentance, and so to do that in time and by little Chastisements, which after many Ages of Ages, and by unimaginable torments we must certainly come to at last. This is the natural practical conclusion that flows immediately from this Doctrine of Universal Restitution. The fruit then being good the Tree must be so too.
33. 'Tis true some may abuse it to security and negligence. But what is not, or may not be abused? It is sufficient that this Doctrine of itself dos not lead us at all to security. For this Restitution cannot be effected till there be first a true and real conversion, And it consists in an essential Purification and burning up all the corruption (which corruption increases continually and grows stronger the longer the creature continues in it); and then in the restoration of all Powers, to their primitive order, measure, place and proportion. And then and not sooner follows their Glorification. Now the greater and stronger the Corruption is in any one, the longer and more sensible must be the purification of it, is it not then the greatest folly and cruelty to ones self, to neglect and desert our conversion, to augment continually our corruption, together with the length and sharpness of our pain consequent thereupon? Which will never cease till all be consumed that is contrary to the order of God, which at last must be reestablished make what resistence you will.
34. And that Carelessness of Salvation is not a product of this Doctrine is more than sufficiently proved by daily experience. For has the contrary opinion of an everlasting infinite Damnation kept men hitherto from this lamentable negligence and security? Has not wickedness increased daily till it has arrived to its utmost height? And indeed when a Passion has once got the Victory so far as not to be restrained by the consideration of torments that shall last many hundreds or thousands of Ages, the persuasion of an everlasting damnation will be as insufficient a means as the first. But when the Tempter is at hand, and acting upon our Passion, meditations are of very little or no effect. The best thing we can do at that time is to fly immediately and directly to God, and to pray continually till the Storm be past. Experto crede.
35. VII. The Opinion of the universal Restoration is much more glorious to Jesus Christ, than the other of an everlasting rejection. For it is by Him alone that All things, whether they be in Earth or in Heaven, are reconciled unto God. And as his blood was shed for all, so it is just that it should not be ineffectual in any. And who can deny that is would be more glorious to His merits, to His Love, to His Kingdom, that He should at last be loved and praised by All, rather than by a few in comparison of those that shall be lost, who will continue still to blaspheme Him, and to despise all He has done for them, to all Eternity?
36. VIII. There is nothing in the Nature of things that can make this restoration impossible.
37. The greatest difficulty seems to lie in the Liberty of the Will: which being still free to determine itself to what it will; it seems a contradiction to say, that God can overcome it, and be sure they will ever be converted to Him.
38. But I think the overcoming of the Free Will and the certainty of its future self-determination is not altogether inconsistent with a created Liberty.
39. For a greater Power may overcome and prevail over a less Power, and yet this lesser Power not cease thereby to be a power in itself, nor to exert its efficacy in regard to inferior or equal Powers.
40. Liberty is a power of determining itself physically by an intrinsick constitutive property, to what it likes best of those things which it meets with in the Sphere of its Activity.
41. God is an infinite Power.
42. A created Spirit is a finite power.
43. The Liberty then of a created Spirit is a finite Power too.
44. Therefore it may be overcome and bowed by an infinite Power that is by God; and yet abide still a Liberty in itself and in the Sphere of its activity, and exert its efficacy towards inferior or equal Creatures.
45. It is not then absolutely inconsistent with a created Liberty to be overcome and bowed by another, nayI think I may venture to affirm, that it is not inconsistent in a due sense even with the uncreated Liberty to be determined by an outward principle; for we see it done daily by the prayers of his faithfull servants.
46. I find then there may be a twofold overcoming of Liberty; a Subjective or Physical, when a greater and stronger essential Power joyns subjectively with and acts immediately on the self determinative Property, not by way of an objective allurement, but by a physical overpowering it, swallowing it up and carrying it along with itself: and an objective or moral one, when an outward principle acts upon the Will by an objective and oral allurement, sollicitation, or Love-drawing.
47. The first can have no place but in a Creature, because it is finite; but is altogether incompatible with God, That infinite fullness of Power.
48. This first Subjective overcoming dos not take away The Liberty, either in itself, or for ever, but only with regard to that conquering Power, and only for so long as this overpowering lasts.
49. But the objective moral overcoming is not in the least contrary to Liberty in any respect; nay it is not indecent even for God Himself; who loves to be overcome this way by the love-sollicitations of His Children. And in truth the possibility of this objective overcoming is the onely Foundation of all Prayers; which would be a vain and ridiculous formality, if it were absolutely impossible to move and turn the Will of God to a thing, which without these prayers He would not have turned it to.
50. As to creatures, infinite examples are obvious of those who not only by benefits, prayers, caresses, but by pains and chastisements have forsaken their former evil Wills and intentions, and have realy and truly turned and changed, so as to become just, good and holy men.
51. And if Liberty were by no means to be bowed, and turned to an opposite Object, I can't see to what end, and upon what Foundation Magistrates were instituted.
52. What would also become of the Correction of Children, the use of which is so profitable and even necessary, that without it, it is impossible to produce good and virtuous dispositions in their Hearts.
53. To this I must not forgett to add the unhappy captivity under Sin. They that endeavour seriously to get out of a State of Sin, and to conquer their corruptions, know by wofull experience the truth of what St Paul says of the beginning State: The good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now there is no doing a thing without a full determination of our free-Will, and it would not otherwise be a sin: nay properly speaking, to do a thing is nothing else but the efficacious willing of it. Therefore what the Apostle says is in effect this: that in the beginning of our conversion our free will has indeed an aversion to Evil and resists it to a certain degree; but that notwithstanding it is often overcome by it, as it were forced to consent to it, and in this consists that wretched slavery to Sin.
54. Liberty then may be overcome, and turned another way than it chose at first; and yet not absolutely lose its nature; and cease to be a Liberty in itself.
55. The ground and reason of this overcoming of Liberty is this, that the Will cannot determine itself to any thing unless it has a lively impression and persuasion of its goodness; and therefore turns itself freely to what it likes best of those objects it meets with.
56. There must then be some proportion of the impression or persuasion of the goodness of the object, to the actual determination of the free Will. For we cannot resolve upon or choose any thing but what appears best to us, or what we like best.
57. The actual determination then of our free Will depends physically upon the constitutive self-determinative property; morally upon the relish we have of the motives that make us act.
58. Thus we may say there is a physical and a moral Liberty. The first is the subjective and constitutive self-determining power. The second is when the sollicitations and impressions of the several motivesare in such a proportionable strength to the Will, as well as to one another, that it is still in the free choice of the Will, which it will relish most, choose and stick to.
59. God possesses both these Libertys in an infinite degree; but the Creature as it has a limited being; so it must have but a limited Liberty, physical and moral too.
60. Hence there may be a natural and certain connexion between the strength of the objective impression and the actual determination of the Free-Will of the Creature; and thus the moral Liberty may be lost, though the Physical continues still in its Esse.
61. And so the same event may, or may not be, physically and absolutely; and yet be morally and undoubtedly certain.
62. This we see confirmed by the example of the Good Angels and beatifyed Men. Both are still and shall be eternally perfectly free physically. And in this respect, and absolutely speaking they may still turn away their Free-Wills from God to their own selves. Yet it is most infallibly sure that they never will do so: because the impression of the Good of the Will of God preponderates or outweighs in them their own Will. So that they have not a moral Liberty to turn away from the Good to the Evil; although in the Element of Good they have an undetermined moral Liberty, and may freely choose to apply themselves to what different Good they please. And thus though it is but a moral yet it is a most certain and infallible impossibility for them to fall again.
63. In like manner we may say of the Devils; that physically they may turn to God, and thus that their conversion in this very moment is possible; and yet it is infallibly though but morally certain that they will not do it as yet, and it is impossible for them to do it now; because in the present state their own will prevails in them above the Will of God.
64. Thus the Devils also have a moral Liberty in the Element of Evil; but they have none as yet to turn from Evil to Good.
65. He then that knows exactly the different degrees of Liberty and of the strength of Customs and Habits; and the strength and efficacy of the impressions of the alluring Motives, and sollicitations: He can most certainly foretell the event to come, though depending on the free physical self-determination of the Will.
66. And this I take to be the one only Ground of the certainty of the Divine Predications.
67. Thus God may certainly foresee, that the Devils and damned Men will themselves increase their own torments; that, whatever Obstinacy they may have, yet they will come at last to abhor and detest their own Wills, as the one only cause of all their miserys, and enter into a disposition, to submit to the Will of God, if He would receive them into grace: And then, and not till then, will He offer his Mercy to them: which being accepted there can be no doubt but their Renovation will be certainly and entirely wrought out, and they reinthroned in their Primitive Glory.
68. The great difficulty they will find in being brought to this point of Submission to God, The long time, and the inconceivable Torments, in and by which they must be reduced to it, proceed from and depend upon the natural might, strength and self-elevatingness of the dark Fire-Forms, and the firmness of its customs or dispositions, which they, the damned themselves have introduced into and exalted in themselves.
69. They who think that the Damned will by length of time become at last so essenced in Evil, as to feel no more torments in it, but rather rejoyce and please themselves in it, as the Blessed do in Heaven; and consequently that they never will be brought to hate their present state, and to turn to God for help, are in very great Error.
70. For the Damned, both Angels and Men, nay all creatures whatsoever, can have no true contentment and satisfaction but in the enjoying of the most sacred influences of God. But these are stopt in the damned and in their whole Principle or World, and they totally deprived of them. And therefore it is impossible from the very inmost ground of Nature, that the damned, as long as they are in that state, that is separated from the communication and participation of the Divine Good, should be at quiet, content and without anguish. Nay according to our Author, the Essential inseparable propertys of the Fire-Form itself, are nothing but harshness, bitterness, anguish, sulphureousness, consumingness, fierceness etc. These then being counter-balanced or allayed by the other Forms of Nature: (as they are not, but have entirely got the Ascendant in the damned). The Devils and all their companions cannot but feel these tormenting propertys, as long as they continue in this disorder of Nature.
71. And this is the reason why the Evil of the Damned may at last be overcome by Good, but the good of the Blessed can never be overcome by Evil; viz., That there can be no natural separation from an object which we are united to, but by turning the Will away from it; and the Will never acts but upon prospect of Good. Now when an intelligent Creature has known Evil, and has chosen the good, this increases continually to better, or greater good, and thus the Will can never repent itself for adhering to it; but rather joyns and unites itself to it more and more willingly, intimately, and strongly: and therefore can never come to loath Good and to relish and take pleasure in Evil, neither consequently depart from that, and turn to this.
But Evil also increases, and grows still worse and worse. Therefore the Will that at first looked upon it as a good, and for that reason chose it and adhered to it, must needs come at last to be disabused, and to know it to be evil; and when it does so, must necessarily loath and abhor it, and long after another Object that is realy Good. Then the Good presenting itself to the Will, it cannot but choose it and adhere to it. And thus Evil from the very nature of things must at last be abandoned by all Free-Will-Spirits, and thereupon be overcome by Good.
72. From what was said above that there may be such a proportion of the impression of the Motives to the Strength of Liberty, that from the Knowledge of that, may arise a most sure fore-knowledge of the future tho free determination of the Will: from hence I say it does not follow that God has predestinated all things, both good and evil.
73. For besides that Predestination to evil involves a contradiction: fore-ordering importing order and conformity to the Will of God; and Evil necessarily implying contrariety to the same order and Will of God.
74. God created Angels and Men in perfect Liberty, not only physical but moral too: tempering all things in such weight and measure that nothing could prevail upon their Free Will, but what it by a free choice admitted into itself and united with.
75. The Gift of such a perfect Liberty was an inestimable treasure, and the most excellent of all the natural constitutive perfections of our Essence.
76. Wherefore as it is evident from hence, that there was no such thing as Predestination necessitating the Will (neither physically nor morally) no not even to Good, (though Angels and men were all created in and for Good)much less to Evil.
77. So it appears also, why God could not hinder the Fall; though He knew very well in what measure to act upon the Will of Angels and Men, so as to keep them inseparably united to Him: viz., because He could not will to violate Himself neither physically nor morally the Liberty which he had for wise and good reasons once given to the Creature.
78. No surely, neither his Justice, by which He leaves to every one what He has once given him absolutely; nor His Wisdom; nor his Constancy; nor his Goodness could permit Him to make Himself this breach in the good Order of Nature instituted by Himself.
79. Therefore generally and regularly God cannot do, in order to the restoration, any other thing, but to offer his Grace in such a measure, as that the Creature shall be able freely to forsake the evil, and to turn to God, and yeild itself totally to his Mercy: And in this consists Universal preventing Grace.
80. Which though it is not so forcible as to take away Liberty either moral or physical; yet cannot fail of prevailing at last and being accepted willingly even by the Devils themselves, when their own Wills shall have increased the Evil to such a height, that in the end they can hold out no longer, but sinking under it must come to acknowledge and to detest their own folly; and to long for a better Governour. Then more particularly will the Time of Grace for them begin: Then God will put his hand to their Restitution effectually, and never cease promoting it continually in proportion to their faithfull correspondence, till it be completed, and He be all in all.
81. This is also the Reason, viz., the inviolability of Liberty both physical and moral, why so many ages, revolutions and dispensations are required for the working out this great and stupendous Wonder of the Restitution of all things.
82. Hence also it is evident what an inconsiderable difficulty it would be, if any one should object against my Argument for the Restitution drawn from the Love and Goodness of God; that if it is not inconsistent with Love and Goodness to see creatures in misery for a time, neither is it inconsistent with those attributes, to suffer them to be so to Eternity.
83. For it being from the very Goodness of God that they received that good and excellent gift of Liberty irrevocably; and it being impossible that God should disapprove any good thing that ever came from Him: He could not design this good thing, nor hinder them in the use of it. Therefore the introducing of evil by the free Will of the Creature, is not inconsistent with the Goodness of God. Nay the absolute hindering it, would have been altogether inconsistent with it.
84. But if He were not inclined ever to redress this Fault by ways suitable to the Nature of Liberty; This indeed would be utterly inconsistent with Love.
85. This ordinary and universal way of God's acting in order to raise up again, his poor fallen offspring, dost not exclude Him from bestowing, upon just and good motives, some particular and extraordinary Graces upon some persons in such measure, that, as it seems to us, they could not resist his Love-drawings. For He being the Soverain Lord of Nature, why should He not in some particular cases do something above the common Order, freely instituted by Him? He being always good, why may He not be sometimes exceedingly good towards his Creatures: especially since there are none of those extraordinary Graces, which do not turn to the common Good of all; He as well as these Vessels of Election being infinitely far from all propriety and selfishness?
Besides it is very certain, that even in these extraordinary cases, He never Acts but from an impartial Love, Justice and Wisdom: though we, for want of sufficient light, cannot see the considerations that move Him to act in so uncommon a manner. We cannot tell whether such an extraordinary Grace did realy outweigh and overpower the moral Liberty of that Subject or no. And if it did, we don't know but there might be a foregoing Act of Liberty of such a value in the Sight of God, as might move Him justly to recompense it with such a great gift, which may tie it so fast and unite it so close to God, that it can no more depart from Him. And yet, if this were not the case with Him that receives these extraordinary Graces; God might do it for the sake of others. So that we cannot judge at all of these particular cases; but must adore the Wisdom, Justice and Goodness of God; and be assured He will never do anything contrary to or inconsistent with these attributes, nor consequently violate Himself the natural Order instituted by Himself. He can never be the destroyer of his own Work.
86. But Angels and Men may in some sort bereave themselves of this precious gift of Liberty, by turning from God, and making themselves by their own Will slaves to Sin and corruption, so as that they can no more morally choose the good which they have wholly quitted.
87. And because they have by their own fault brought this impossibility of conversion upon themselves, they are justly punished for it by the sufferings that naturally and necessarily follow it.
The Same Universal Restoration asserted by express Scripture.
I. Of the Restitution of All Men.
1. For if by one man's offence Death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in Life by one Jesus Christ.
Therefore as by the offence of one, judgement came upon all men to condemnation: even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto Justification of Life.
That as Sin hath reigned unto death; even so might Grace reign through righteousness unto eternal Life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
2. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Now Adam introduced not only the natural death but the spiritual too; and principally this, of which the first is but a consequence. Nay I don't see how we can be said to die corporally in Adam; but we are all dead in him spiritually. Thus also they who rise to Judgement, as long as they are in the condemnation, seem not to be alive in Christ, but rather thrown down from Him into the second death. Therefore this Passage of Scripture must if not only, yet principally be understood of the spiritual revification: and this it is affirmed shall come upon all men.
3. For there is one God, and one Mediation between God and men, The man Jesus Christ.
Who gave himself a ransom for all to be testifyed in due time.
But if all should not some time or other be realy saved, He would be frustrated of his designs and expectations; and the Devil his Enemy would have some reason to glory: which I think is very dishonourable to the merits, power and Wisdom of Christ for whatever you may alledge to solve this difficulty: it is still true, and the Scripture asserts it, that He realy wills that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance: which if it never be accomplished, surely it is not answerable to the Majesty of God and his Christ.
4. We trust in the living God, who is the saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
Here it is expressly said that He is the Saviour, not only of those that believe in Him during this Life: (though He is the Saviour specially of those, because of their great preeminence above others, both as to the time and degree of Glory) but also of all others.
II. Of the Restitution of all, even of the fallen Angels.
5. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.
And, having made peace through the Blood of his Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto himself, by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
By heaven, I think, cannot here be understood the Habitation of the Blessed Angels: for they never transgressed, and therefore needed no reconciliation. Reconciliation presupposes offence. The Apostles says then that all things lapsed are to be reconciled. And that there might be no doubt but that He spake absolutely of all, none excepted, He joyns the invisible things under the name of heaven, with the visible ones on Earth.
6. Christ says of himself, that He hath the Keys of Hell and death, that is, in my judgement, a sufficient power to dispose of them as He pleases. Which power also is expressly ascribed to Him according to the working, says the Apostle, whereby He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
Now as He wants not Power; so neither Good Will. For so says the Royal Prophet, The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger and of great Mercy. The Lord is good to all; and his tender mercys are over all his works.
7. The Author of the book of Wisdom joyns together with these two foundations of the universal Restitution, viz., the sufficient power, and mercy of God: Misereris omnium, quia omnia potes, et dissimulas peccata hominum propter paenitentiam. Diligis enim omnia quae sunt, et nihil odisti eorum quae fecisti.
8. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the Earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father.
Now I can't see how this can be understood of a violent dominion by which He rules by force over some against their Wills. For (1) The Apostle mentions here the celestial Spirits, as well as the infernal and hellish ones; and attributes to both the submission to and praises of God and Jesus Christ. From whence we may conclude that both are to live in the same kind of subjection, viz., that which proceeds from the Free Will, from the Heart and Love. (2). I think the expression of bowing the knees can be understood of no other but of a willing submission and reverence. Because I much question whether so much as one instance can be alledged where it signifies only a coactive compulsion and subduing of Rebels, who are supposed to continue still in their Refractoriness. And if such an instance could be given, yet it could not admit of that interpretation in this place, where it is affirmed, indistinctly both of heaven and hell. Which (3) is more confirmed from what the Apostle says immediately after, viz., that every tongue shall confess etc. Which the Devils, as long as they continue Devils, will never do, nor can they do it, supposing they continue still in their Rebellion and disobedience. Wherefore either it is not true, what the Apostle says; that every tongue, (consequently that of Devils too) shall confess to the Lord; or we must allow that in time the Devils will submit themselves willingly to Him, and if they do so, it would be blasphemy to think, that an obedient and humble creature should be tormented to all Eternity, from which cruelty an infinitely loving God must be infinitely far removed.
9. Whom (Jesus Christ) the Heaven must receive untill the times of restitution of all things, which (Restitution) God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy Prophets since the World began.
10. Having made known unto us the Mystery of his Will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in Himself; that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, He might gather together in one (the Latin Vulgate has restore) all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven and which are on Earth, even in Him.
I cannot see what could be said more expressly to this purpose. For if we render the Greek word by that of restore, or by that of gathering together under one Head; the sense is still the same. Sin being nothing else but a departing from one Head and a dividing into more heads; thereby going into diversity and contrariety, into as many sentiments as Heads; whereas at first all things were maintained in one most perfect and happy harmony and subordination under one Head and Governour, which was God. Now the gathering together under one head cannot be understood of the Blessed Angels, for they never divided nor were separated from their one Head: it must then be spoken of the lapsed and disobedient Creatures, both which are in heaven (in the invisible Principles, viz., the Devils) and which are on Earth (in this visible world, viz., mankind). And of all these it is said, that they shall be gathered together again under one head, that is be reduced to their Deity and Submission to Christ, and all contrariety be taken away. Which being done the Evil must come to an end, and cease eo ipso, and all things be restored.
11. Of this subjection of all things to Christ the same Apostle says, He hath put all things under his feet. And, thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all things in subjection under Him. He left nothing that is not put under Him: but now we see not yet all things put under Him. Observe, the Apostle speaks expressly not of the subjection to his absolute omnipotent power. For in that respect all things are now, and were then subjected to Him. This the Lord Himself assures us of, saying, All power is given unto me in Heaven and Earth. The Apostle says then, that all things shall be subject to Him by a willing obediential submission and owning his Authority and Dominion: and this being not yet accomplished, He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last Enemy that shall be destroyed is Death, not only the first but the second death too: for He speaks universally without restriction. Which Second Death is the Lake of Fire into which the first Death and hell are to be cast, and the Devil and the Beast and the false Prophet; and whatsoever by the last universal Judgement after the Reign of a thousand Years, shall not be found written in the book of Life. And when all things (and consequently this Second Death with all its prisoners too) shall be subdued unto him, then shalt the Son also Himself be subject unto him that put all things under him: that God may be all in all. Now when God shall be all in all, there can be nothing in all but everlasting bliss, glory and happiness.
12. And then shall be fulfilled that which St John had a prophetical foretaste of thus expressed: And every Creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth; and such as are in the Sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying: blessing, honour, glory and power be unto him that sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
13. These are the Passages which I have hitherto observed. Perhaps there are many more to the same purpose. In the mean time the foregoing are I think so clear, that I question whether any article of the Christian Religion can be proved by clearer and more express testimonies of sacred Writ.
How this Renovation or New Creation is effected, and of its several great periods in general, and of several Mansions of different Creatures.
1. You may remember that God made all things by and according to the previous ideas of them formed in his Divine Wisdom, which therefore is called the Universal Mother of all.
2. The Will of God was that they should be eternally most intimately and subjectively united to these divine patterns; which were to be their eternal foundations, the form of their form and the Life of their Life. This is the Marriage of the Creatures to Divine SOPHIA, which some speak of; and in which Adam, (and the Angels too) ought to have continued faithfully. Thus as Sophia was the Mother of All, so she was to be their Spouse too.
3. But they forsaking this Wife of their Youth became strangers to her, unlike and contrary to their divine patterns. This is the Corruption, and depravation of the Works of God.
4. Wherefore it is impossible for a Man (or other intelligent Creature) to enter into the Kingdom of God, except he enter the second time into his Mothers Womb, and be born again. That is, first of all the Original Idea in the Divine Wisdom must unite itself most intimately with the inmost ground and constitutive form of each thing, and swallowing it up, or taking it up into itself as the Womb doth the Seed., must expell and destroy by its divine power all that is contrary and unlike to it, and so put all again into its original proportion, order, temperature, qualitys, and primitive perfect conformity to its pattern. This is Regeneration, which being performed, and nor sooner, the regenerated Creature enters into the Kingdom of God, as a new born Child doth into this visible principle, that is, it comes to enjoy the three following degrees of the supernatural Life, in a most intrinsick, quickning, beatifying and perpetual union with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, which is the Kingdom of God.
5. Thus our Regeneration, renovation or new Creation, is as to the immediate effecting of it, justly ascribed to Divine Sophia, as our Author has done in a particular Treatise upon that Subject. And yet it may be said too, that we are regenerated by the Eternal Word, not only because that is the Archetype of Sophia, and the mover of her; but also because it is the Spiritual nourishment, which all things must feed upon, and without which no spiritual regenerated Life can subsist or increase.
6. The first operation to be performed in this great work, is the destruction of the old corrupted form, dispositions, customs, and habits; and the reduction of the matter to its original pliableness or flexibility, and susceptibility of another intimate form.
7. Which destruction of the old Form is called Death, Spiritual, or rather Mystical death, to distinguish it from the other spiritual or supernatural death.
8. This Mystical death is effected sometimes by, and sometimes without the natural death, according to the Nature and corruption of things.
9. Without this Mystical death there is no Regeneration, and no quickning and rising to our primitive Life.
10. It is effected not by a dispersion of the parts, but by a reduction of the Matter to its primordial flexibility and aptness to receive without any resistency all the operations of the reforming Spirit of Divine Wisdom.
11. Which flexibility and aptness is reintroduced cheifly, besides many preparatory and concomitant operations, by drowning the subject in a fit menstruum or penetrating fiery liquor to be washed therein and separated from all corruption and superfluity.
12. Thus our Lord says, that we must be born again of Water and of the Spirit.
13. This immersion into and washing with that purifying Water, may be called a Baptism.
14. In this Water may predominate the watery or fiery qualitys. And according to this distinction it may be called either Water more particularly, or Fire. Hence the Water and Fire Baptism. Thus we must pass through Fire and Water.
15. The third Baptism in the Holy Spirit may comprehend both the beginning and accomplishment of the new life of Grace; viz., the drowning in or swallowing up by the Divine Sophia, and by the Holy Ghost.
16. This whole dying process, with all its operations, from the beginning to the End, till all resistency and contrariety to the new form is entirely taken away, is comprehended under the single name of purification. As this increases, so the new Life proportionably augments.
17. As to the gross corporeal things of this world in particular, their matter cannot be reduced to its primitive flexibility, but by a dissolution and conversion of it into a liquid form; so as the menstruum being again separated from it, the whole substance of the thing remains changed into a liquor.
18. For liquidity or fluidity is the original external form of Matter, that is, of the four Elements, of which all natural bodys are composed. And it is plain, that without this fluidity, the specifying spiritual Idea could not freely frame its own body to answer all its ends.
19. This turning of a corporeal thing into a liquor not to be reduced into its first compacted form, is that I think, which Philosophers understand by their reduction ad primum materiam. But they might more properly have said, to the first external form of Matter.
20. But as to Angelical and Human Spirits, it has been observed already, that this work can't be wrought out in them by God immediately and positively, but in proportion to their free consent, and correspondence or cooperation. Though some preparatory and mediate operations may and must be done without nay against their will.
21. There is then a considerable time required for this purpose. Of which I think there are three great periods destined for the restitution of mankind. The first of which is only divided into two, and the last is common to the Devils also.
22. The first great Period is the duration of this present World.
The second period is the duration of the World to come.
The third Period is the duration of the Lake of Fire.
23. The duration of this present World, in regard to each man in particular, may be subdivided into two lesser periods. The first of which is the Time of every ones Life upon Earth.
The second is from our temporal death till the End of this present world.
24. During this Life every one may repent of all his sins and believe in the Son of God, and thereby get the pardon of all his sins whatsoever, even of the sin against the Holy Ghost. And being in a state of true repentance and Faith, He is actually entered into the Oeconomy of Restitution, which will still increase till it be accomplished either in this Life, or in that after the temporal death.
25. No body can prove, that there is any one sin excepted, of which a man cannot repent and believe in Jesus Christ, during this Life, if he Will. And it is undoubted that whatever Sin we repent of and believe in Jesus Christ, it shall be forgiven us and we saved.
26. As to those that dy in Sin without repentance, there is a distinction to be made between the Sins against the Father or Son; and the Sins against the Holy Ghost.
The Sins against the Father or Son may be pardoned either in this world or in the world to come.
The Sins against the Holy Ghost are unpardonable not only in this world but also in the world to come. And thus they that have been guilty of them are to be rejected into the third period into the Lake of Fire, to the Devils and to the Beast and to the False Prophet.
27. The End of this World and the Beginning of the World to come is the first Judgement and the first Resurrection of the Dead.
The duration of this World to come is the time of the glorious Reign of Jesus Christ on Earth, which is said to be a thousand years.
28. Whether these thousand years are to be computed after our common manner, or whether it is a certain number for an uncertain, or when they shall begin, or what other particularitys there may be, I pretend not to determine. It is sufficient that there is such a glorious Reign of Jesus Christ most expressly prophesied of, that it shall begin with the judgement and resurrection of the Dead, viz., of those that are Christ's at his coming, which is the Lord's first personal and external coming in Glory; thus described by St. John: "And I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse, and He that sat upon him was called faithfull and true, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on Hid head were many crowns, and He had a name written that no man knew but himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipt in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. And the Armys which were in Heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen white and clean. And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the Nations: and He shall rule them with a Rod of Iron: and He treadeth the wine press of the fierceness and Wrath of Allmighty God. And He hath on his Vesture, and on his Thigh a name written King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This is the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ in which He will come with all his Saints. For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the Trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall arise first; Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the Air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Which day shall come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed the Son of Perdition, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his Mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. Thus shall be the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ., which in his time He shall shew, who is the Blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. For Jesus Christ shall judge the Quick and the Dead at his appearing and his Kingdom: in that Day in which the Lord of Righteous Judge shall give a crown of Righteousness, to all them that love his appearing. To them I say that look for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
29. The things to be wrought out at this glorious coming, are the Lord's battel against and victory over his Enemys, the gathering of his people out of all Nations, the casting of the Beast and of the false Prophet into the Lake of Fire, the shutting up of the Dragon in the Bottomless Pit, the Judgement and first Resurrection, the blessed state.
30. Thus St. John prophesys of these things: "And I saw an Angel standing in the Sun, and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the Fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, come and gather your selves together into the Supper of The Great God: That ye may eat the flesh of Kings and the flesh of Captains and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the Kings of the Earth, and their armys gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his Armys and the Beast was taken and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which He deceives them that had received the Mark of the Beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a Lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the Sword of him that sat upon the horse, which Sword proceeded out of his Mouth: and all the Fowls were filled with their flesh."
31. "Then also shall the Lord consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, the man of sin, the Son of perdition."
32. This is the end of the Lords war against the Beast and the Kings of the Earth and their Armys, and against the great Anti-Christ: But the Lord not satisfied with this Victory, He besides binds the Dragon the Stirrer up of these Rebels.
"And I saw", says St. John, "an Angel come down from heaven , having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chin in his hand. And he laid hold on the Dragon that old Serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be full-filled: and after that he must be loosed a little season."
33. And Isaiah describes not only the War but the gathering of the People of God too.
"Thus saith the Lord, as the new Wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my Servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all. And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah, an inheritance of my Mountains: and mine Elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there, and Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my People that have sought me. But ye that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troup (in the Vulgate Latine it is, fortunae) and that furnish the drink offerings unto that number, I will number you to the Sword, and ye shall all bow down to the Slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake ye did not hear, but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not. Therefore thus saith The Lord God, Behold my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold my Servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold my Servants shall rejoyce, but ye shall be ashamed. Behold, my Servants shall sing for joy of heart, but shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of Spirit. And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord God shall slay thee, and call his Servants by another name: That he who blesseth himself in the Earth, shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth, shall swear by the God of Truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.
"Here the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word, your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my names sake, said, let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your Joy, and they shall be ashamed. A voice of noise from the City, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendreth recompense to his Enemys. For behold the Lord will come with fire and with his Chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the Slain of the Lord shall be many. They that sanctify themselves and purify themselves in the gardens, behind one Tree in the midst, eating swines flesh, and the abomination of the mouse, shall be consumed together saith the Lord. For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all Nations and tongues, and they shall come and see my Glory. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the Nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that drew the Bow to Tubal and Javan, to the Isles afar off; that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory, and they shall declare my glory among the gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord, out of all Nations, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy Mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the Children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel unto the house of the Lord. And I will also take of them for preists and for Levites saith the Lord. And it shall come to pass that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And in that Day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the People: to it shall the gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious, and it shall come to pass in that way, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time, to recover the remnant of his People which shall be left, from Assyria and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the Islands of the Sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the Nations and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the Earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines, towards the West, they shall spoil them of the East together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab, and the Children of Ammon shall obey them. And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian Sea, and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dry shod. And there shall be a high way for the remnant of his People which shall be left from Assyria, like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the Land of Egypt."
34. As to the Judgement and first Resurrection of the dead St. John writes thus "And I saw thrones, and they (the 12 Apostles) sat upon them, and judgement was given unto them: and I saw the Souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the Beast, neither his Image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand Years. But the rest of the dead lived not again untill the thousand years were finished. This is the first Resurrection."
Thus also St. Paul writes to the Corinthians, "As in Adam all die so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order, Christ the first fruits, afterwards they that are in Christ's at his coming." And again, in his Epistle to the Thessalonians: "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep: for the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel and with the Trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the Clouds to meet the Lord in the Air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
35. The blessed state of that time is thus described.
"Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first Resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be Priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years", viz., on this substantial but blessed and righteous earth; and after that for ever and ever in the Heavenly Jerusalem.
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the Mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all Nations shall flow into it. And many People shall go and say, come ye and let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his Ways, and we will walk in his paths, for out of Sion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the Nations and shall rebuke many people: And they shall beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O House of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the Light of the Lord.
"The wolf shall dwell with the Lamb, and the Leopard shall lie down with the Kid: and the Calf, and the young Lion, and the fatling together, and a little Child shall lead them. And the Cow and the Bear shall feed, their young ones shall lie down together: And the Lion shall eat straw like the Ox, and the suckling child shall play upon the hole of the Asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the Cockatrice den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy Mountain: for the Earth shall be full of the Knowledge of the Lord, as the Waters cover the Sea.
"Rejoice for Jerusalem, and be glad with her, and ye that Love her, rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her: That ye may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her Consolations: that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus saith the Lord, behold I will extend Peace to her like a River; and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be born upon her knees. As one whom his Mother comforts, so will I comfort you, and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoyce and your bones flourish like an herb: and the hand of the Lord shall be known towards his Servants, and his indignation towards his Enemys.
"But be ye glad and rejoyce for ever in that which I create: for behold I create Jerusalem a rejoycing and her people a joy. And I will rejoyce in Jerusalem, and Joy in my people, and the voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old, but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. And they shall build houses and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards , and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build and another inhabit: they shall not plant and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my People; and mine Elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain nor bring forth for Trouble: for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer, and whiles they are yet speaking I will hear. The Wolf and the Lamb shall feed together, and the Lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the Serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy, in all my Holy Mountain, saith the Lord."
And Jeremiah prophesying of the delivering of Judah and Israel out of their captivity, adds expressly: "In the latter days, ye shall consider it". And of Jerusalem built up again he says: "it shall not be plucked up nor thrown down any more forever. The Glory of Lebanon, says Isaiah, shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree and the box together, to beautify the place, of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my Feet glorious. And they shall call thee the City of the Lord, the Lion of the holy one of Israel. For brass I will bring gold, and for Iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones Iron: I will also make thy Officers peace, and thine Exactours righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in thy Land, wasting nor destruction within thy Borders, but thou shalt call thy walls salvation and thy gates praise. The Sun shall be no more thy Light by Day, neither for brightness shall the Moon give Light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting Light, and thy God they Glory. The Sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy Moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time.
"Thus saith the Lord, I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called a city of Truth, and the Mountain of the Lord of Hosts the holy Mountain. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts there shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, if it be marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvelous in mine eyes? Saith the Lord of Hosts. And the Lord my God shall come and all the Saints with thee. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Light shall not be clear or dark. But it shall be one day, which shall be known to the Lord, not day or night: but it shall came to pass, that at evening time it shall be light, and it shall be in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem: half of them toward the former sea, and half of them towards the hinder sea: in summer and in winter it shall be. And the Lord shall be King over all the Earth: in that day there shall be one Lord and his name one."
36. What wonder then that the Prophet calls this blessed State of Universal Nature and of all mankind, a Creation of new Heavens and of a new Earth, and of Jerusalem. Although it be still the self same visible world as to its substance; which shall not pass away till after the thousand years of the glorious Reign on Earth shall be finished, at the second glorious personal coming of the Lord, to the last universal Judgement, and resurrection of the rest of the dead, which did not arise and live again at the beginning of the Millenary Reign. It is in that second day of the Lord, that the substance itself of this world shall be dissolved, that, "The Heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the Earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up by that fire which shall come down from God out of Heaven and devour Gog and Magog. And when the first (substantial) Heaven and the first (substantial) earth shall be passed away, and the sea be no more, then shall appear a new (substantial) Heaven and a new (substantial) earth, and the Holy City, New Jerusalem, come doewn from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her Husband." And then shall follow that ever blessed state described in that whole Chapter and the following which is the State of Eternity for those that are with our Saviour.
37. It is no wonder, I say, that though this substantial new Heaven and new Earth of Eternity is not to take place till after the Millenary Reign on this present substantial temporary Earth; Yet notwithstanding the Prophet calls this World in that blessed and renewed state both physical and moral, a new heaven and a new Earth, and the City of the Lord in it the New Jerusalem. Since St. Peter calls the duration of this World from its beginning till the Flood, The Old World, and the World that then was and distinguishes it from the Heavens and the Earth which are now.
38. Wherefore when the Lord distinguishes this World from the World to come; the first is to understood of this present evil World, and the second of that which shall immediately follow it, viz., the glorious Reign of Christ on this substantial but renewed Earth.
39. Now that all that has been said of this glorious Reign, is not yet fulfilled I think no body can deny, who will seriously consider the descriptions given of it. And though some of them may admit a spiritual or mystical interpretation, yet that ought to be no prejudice to the truth of the literal sense. For one and the same prophecy may have several accomplishments, and the same passage of Scripture may have several senses, and all most true; all which shall be fullfilled, each one in its order and time. And it is certain that all literal sense which is not inconsistent with the propertys of God, must be accepted for true, and its accomplishment expected; else we should fall into the greatest absurditys and confusion, and make the whole Christian Religion uncertain.
40. And that all these things are not to be referred to the State of Eternity after the last Universal Resurrection and Judgement described by St. John, is most evident by comparing these two states with one another.
In the glorious Reign of Christ upon Earth there shall be particularly,
(I) War against Antichrist, the Beast, the false prophet, the Kings of the Earth and their Armys.
(II) Captains, mighty men, free and bond, Gentiles, Priests and Levites, sucking and weaned children, old men and women, boys and girls.
(IV) Teaching the Ways of the Lord.
(V) Building of Houses and planting of vineyards.
(VI) A certain period, viz., of a thousand years.
(VII) After that the Loosing of the Devil and Seduction of the Nations.
All which things and many more are not to be found in Eternity; particularly no difference of Sex. For thus our Lord says expressly. In the Resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are as the Angels of God in Heaven. Now I think no one will say that part of the Angels are Men or Male, and part Women or Female.
(VIII) Because in the glorious Reign on Earth there shall be male and female and little Children, there must then be some that marry and are given in marriage. But in Eternity after the thousand years none shall marry and be given in marriage; because they have all Resurrection-bodys, and consequently are equal to the Angels.
(IX) Hence arises another difference, viz., that in the Millenary Reign, some shall have got celestial spiritual Bodys by Resurrection, or transformation and meet the Lord in the Air; but some shall yet have terrestrial natural bodys, viz., those that shall yet marry and be given in marriage, and that shall yet be builders of houses, planters of vineyards, plowmen and vinedressers, etc.
(X) The New Jerusalem of the glorious Millenary shall be
built by men, and this is the beloved City on this Substantial Earth, which Gog and Magog shall encompass after the thousand years. But the New Jerusalem of Eternity shall not be built by men, but come down from God out of Heaven; and shall never be encompassed by any Enemys.
41. It is then certain that Christ's glorious, Millenary Reign is to be expected, and that it is not the last Period. For when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed again; The War of Gog and Magog against the Saints is to follow thereupon; The Devil is to be cast into the Lake of Fire; A Great White Throne and one sitting on it is to appear, and Heaven and Earth to flee away and no place to be found for them. The rest of the Dead which at the beginning of the Millenary Reign lived not again untill the thousand years were finished, are to arise; and every man of them to be judged according to his works, some of them to be taken into grace, the others that shall not be found written in the book of Life, are to be cast into the Lake of Fire, together with Death and Hell: Which is the Second Death.
42. This is the last Period of the Universal Restitution, viz., the duration of the damned in the Lake of Fire: and it is the last Enemy that shall be destroyed. For Christ "must reign till he hath put all Enemys under his feet, and when all Creatures shall be subdued unto him, and every Creature which is (now) in heaven, and on Earth, and under the Earth, and such as are in the Sea, and all that are in them, shall say, blessing, honour, glory, and Power be unto him that sitteth on the Throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever; then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be All in All. And then cometh the End, when He shall have thus delivered up the Kingdom to God even the Father, when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power."
43. I shall add a few lines more of the several places, mansions or receptacles of the several states and conditions of intelligent Creatures. For no doubt every one of them must be some where, and cannot be no where; and this place or mansion must be proportioned and suited to the state or condition of every one. And indeed we find the Scripture makes mention of many.
44. They may be ranked into two classes, viz., into joyfull and painfull, light and Dark; The Father's House, and the Devil's House: Heaven and Hell. Thus we may say that the Dead go either into heaven or hell.
45. But in the Father's house are many mansions; and no doubt there are many places of torment too.
46. To the Joyfull Mansions may be referred, Abraham's bosom; The bundle of Life; The place under the Altar; Paradise; Mount Sion; The heavenly Jerusalem; The Eternal emanated Divine World, and also the Unemanated unfigured, the highest top of all.
47. The mournfull Mansions are the nether parts of the Earthinto which Our Lord himself descended and lead captivity captive; The Pit; the pit wherein is no water; wherein are the prisioners of hope; the Grave; the Shadow of death; Utter darkness; The Prison; The Sea, Death, and Hell; The Lake of Fire.
Notwithstanding the Universal Restitution, it had yet been good for the Damned, if they had not been born.
1. I have shewed before that God is fruitfull; and that fruitfullness is also an essential property of all Creatures. The conclusion immediately following from thence is, that there shall be generation to all Eternity; a pure and holy generation, a multiplication of every one out of and by itself. For it is certain that in the resurrection there is neither male nor female, but they are as the Angels in Heaven; which distinction took its beginning only out of the fall of Adam.
2. This generation to all Eternity has been asserted from immediate divine Light, by a very highly illuminated Person in our days. And I think may justly apply the Prophecy of Isaiah to this case: "Sing O Barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud thou that didst not travel with child: for more are the children of the desolate, than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord." Which the Apostle himself interprets of the Jerusalem which is above, and denotes the State of Eternity. And although he seems to apply it only to the Spiritual or Mystical generation, yet the Physical is not excluded.
3. Now then the Inhabitants of the Heavenly Jerusalem being fruitfull, I say, that they which are not born in this Life, shall be born in the Blessed Eternity. It is then evident, that it had been good fro those that are damned if they had not been born in this Life it had certainly been better for them to have come into existence some thousand years later, than to have lived so long time in such tremendous torments.
4. But for those that have truly believed in Christ, during this life, it had not been better for them, if their Birth had been delayed to the blessed state of Eternity: because these short sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. It is a great happiness to have answered the designs of God, in confounding the Devil, His Enemy by a weak and frail Creature; and so to have been an instrument of glorifying the Power of the Grace and of the Blood of Christ. It is a great joy, consolation and honour too, for a loving Soul, to have shewn itself faithfull to its Beloved in many temptations. It is for this reason that many men shall be exalted above the Angels themselves. It is probable that the first fruits of Christ shall have to all Eternity a great prerogative above all others. At least they have this advantage, that they are the parents or Genitours of that blessed offspring, and the Canals through which the others, their children, receive their happiness, and to which these are tied eternally by a band of particular relation and veneration.
5. Perhaps you will say, supposing there will be an eternal generation, yet it may be doubted whether they that will be born in Eternity, shall be the same individuals that might have been born in this Life? For my own part I cannot doubt but they will be the same. For supposing, for example, that Judas the Traitor was the first born of his Father; if his Father had never generated in this life, his first born in the Blessed Eternity would have been the self same being in substance, though with other accidents, that Judas was in this World. Because Generation is nothing else but a multiplication of the Fountain Essence; and what the first multiplication is, ceaseth not to be such by reason of any delay that may happen,
The Conclusion of the first Book.
[Extract from the conclusion.]
1. Hitherto I have given you my own sentiments in my own words. I hope I have not mist the Truth: but if I have, I would be the first to condemn my errors. I am sensible that all that comes meerly from my own self, can do nothing but error and folly. I acknowledge and embrace what is purely from God, and nothing but what is from Him, and as far as it is from Him, known or unknown to me: All the rest be condemned and rejected for ever, it shall never have the least place in me by my will.
2. Henceforth I shall express my Author Dr. John Pordage's mind in his own words, most faithfully, without mixing any thing of mine. And if I add any thing it shall be included in 2 crochets . I mean I will give you the substance of his Doctrine in his own words, and as much as possible in its own order and construction. But as to the Disposition of the work and the connection of the parts, I have been obliged to follow in some measure my own Judgement. Because the Authour himself did not put his Manuscripts into that order which was necessary for publishing them: but set them down only for his memory, and he wrote at several times upon the same subject in a different manner, and left some pieces imperfect. Therefore the present Work is but an Abstract (but as full as possible) of his Manuscripts. Whether I have been enabled from Above to acquit myself well in this undertaking, you may judge yourself, Christian Reader, by the foregoing treatise. You have no need to fear any mistake. For here is nothing imposed upon your faith. The author gives you a sincere account of his experiences: and I have endeavoured to give you a Key to enter into his true sense. The rest is left to the blessed Unction from on high, by which the one only Author of all good and truth, will witness in all good minded hearts, (as far as is profitable for them) to what really comes from Him. Only refrain I beseech you from all rash judgement; and consider that what you understand not at one time, you may at another. I myself have experienced this, even in these writings. Many things were at first incomprehensible to me, which afterwards were opened to my Mind. The Light, without which there is no true understanding, increases ordinarily by little and little, in proportion as we grow more and more in the Regeneration: and must therefore must have its time to hasten before that time is only to spoil the works of God by our own dark activity. This true Light is the free gift of God: therefore we must endeavour to obtain it by constant and fervent prayer, and be content with the measure God is pleased to afford us. Wherefore what you may not at first understand, let alone, without condemning it. There will be others that understand it and make use of it to excite themselves to exalt and praise the Lord, who is the Author of all those mavellous works. Some obscurity may arise from the Author's inconstancy in the use of his terms: which may have been occasioned by his great age, and his writing at great intervals of many years. But I have endeavoured to dispell these little clouds by this preliminary treatise, as well as by the little notes inserted, where I thought necessary. In fine I must add, that in composing this Abstract, I did not so much as look at that Epitome of The Eternal World and of Eternal Nature which was published many years ago; but followed only the original manuscripts. If then there be found any difference between this and the former, be assured, Dear Reader, that what you find here is conformable to the Author's own hand and his true sense, which the former Epitomizer seems not to have been master of to such a degree as is necessary to make a just choice. Thus I leave you to the Leading-Star of Wisdom, which if you follow faithfully, it will bring you to the Child Jesus lying in the manger of your heart. There let Him be worshipped and praised, honoured and adored together with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. It is in his infantile simplicity and sincerity I wish and hope to be always.
Your fellow-traveller to the Land of Promise.
If you have problems understanding these alchemical texts, Adam McLean now provides a study course entitled How to read alchemical texts : a guide for the perplexed.