John Pordage -A Treatise on Eternal Nature
Her Seven Essential Forms,
Original Working Properties.
Ezek. 1. 16. Their appearance and their Work was as it were a Wheel in the midst of a Wheel.
Ezek. 1. 21. For the Spirit of the living Creature was in the Wheels.
Rev. 5. 1. And I saw in the right Hand of him that sat on the Throne, a book written within, and on the back side, sealed with Seven Seals.
James 3. 6. And setteth on Fire the Wheel of Nature.
London, Printed, Anno Dom. 1681.
The Author to the Reader.
I here present you with a little Tract of Eternal Nature with her seven Original Essential forms: there is multum in parvo, for this Orb of Eternal Nature, is the original Ground of all Worlds, but Visible and Invisible, of Heaven and Angels, of Hell and Devils, of all Spirits whether good or bad, and indeed of all Created Essences. Hence originally spring Light and Darkness, Good and Evil, Life and Death, Joy and Sorrow, Wrath and Love, Blessing and Curse, Happiness and Misery, and Unity and Contrariety. It is indeed a grand Mystery, and not made known to former Ages; for in this , all Secrets and Mysteries belonging to our salvation do originally subsist, being the Ground, or Womb, from whence all Worlds have their Birth. In coming to know the Mysteries of this Eternal Nature, we shall come to know and comprehend the deep Mysteries of God, for the triune Deity has brought forth himself into Eternal Nature, as into a ground whereby he might be the better manifested to the intellectual creatures, who without the Eternal Nature, would not be able to know or understand anything of his Majesty, Greatness, Omnipotency, Clarity, Love, Holiness, Righteousness, Purity and Glory. By it is also manifested the true knowledge of Things, which without this we do but grope after as in the Dark. In a word, 'tis the first original and true ground of all created beings and so of all true knowledge. By the right understanding of the Nature of this, we shall come to know and understand, the secret meaning of many mystical scriptures. It is a Library, and Academy of it self, and can teach us the original ground of all Arts and Sciences: It is worth our Labour and Study, to read, peruse, and consider this little Book, which will teach the [cry] of true Wisdom and Knowledge. The number Seven is a number of perfection, which is here to be found, with the number ten, the number one hundred, and the number one thousand, and so ad infinitum, for beyond this we cannot go. I may seem to write in the dark to many, and this perhaps will seem a new and strange paradox to others, but it has been before revealed by the Holy Spirit, to that enlightened Philosopher Jacob Behme, he first indeed manifested this mystery to the World; which was, I say, a very great manifestation, though received by few, who could understand the writings of that deep Philosopher, which had many Veils and Coverings; but I have in this Tract, endeavoured to show you Eternal Nature, as she is in her original Creation, and to lay open to your view, all her seven working forms or properties, being the original ground of all things, without any coverings, and in as plain Words and Terms as I could invent, that the meanest capacity, who is willing to Learn, and who is not thorough pride, envy, and high-mindedness, prejudiced against the teachings of the Spirit, may be taught and benefited: for the time of the Lily is at hand, and the Morning-Star is already risen, and the Sun of the Eternal Gospel is about to rise, its dawn or day-break already strikes our Eyes, with glimmering of that glorious Light whose splendour rejoices the Hearts of the faithful, who wait for this glorious day. The Eternal Gospel shall then be preached, and all mysteries revealed. I say the day is at hand, even at the door. In the mean time, I desire thee Reader to accept of this small Tract of Eternal Nature, as a preparative to the opening of other mysteries, and that thou will consider it seriously, and without prejudice: Speak not against that thou doest not understand, and judge not others that you be not judged. I have many years studied this little Book, not little for the value, but that it contains but seven leaves, which are the seven properties of Nature, locked up under seven Seals, all which I have found opened in my Soul's Essence, and [...] I have not repented me of my study; for I have experimented the excellency thereof. Have a care of vain Philosophy, and the rudiments of Men, it is St. Paul's advice, who was acquainted with the Teachings of the Spirit; outward notions and academical knowledge, have devoured the Spirit of God, and have served only to make Men high-minded and proud, and to despise their Brothers, and to cry out all is fancy and delusion, that agrees not with their Tenants; I am not against humane learning, I have known what it is; but I would not have it set above the Spirit of God; nor the teachings of the Spirit to truckle under it: For God has said, He will destroy the wisdom of the Wise, and he will make himself known to babes, and such who in a childlike Innocency wait for the teaching of the most high, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. The wisdom of this World is indeed but folly at the best. I confess my self the least of all Saints, and not worthy of the knowledge of those deep mysteries, which God hath revealed to me, and which hath been manifested to my Eternal Spirit, but God hath thought Good to use me as an Instrument in his Hand; the effect of which I leave to God, desiring to be serviceable to thee, in my generation, and remain
Yours in the Love of Jesus
[ illustration of circle]
The Explication of this Figure.
This Circle represents the Principle of Eternal Nature, which is the Subject of this discourse.
The Black spot in the midst of the Circle, represents God's Eternal Eye, and types out the Trinity in their Eternal Unity, who have placed them selves in the midst of Eternal Nature's Principle, for the ordering and governing of it. And also the Holy Trinity's introducing of themselves into Eternal Nature.
The wide space within the Circle types forth the Chaos or the Abyssal nothing; the ground of all Essences and yet no Essence to be seen in it.
Now because I have in the foregoing discourse oft made mention of the word Principle, without having anywhere declared what I meant by it, I think it proper in this place to give you the signification of it, according to the sense in which I take it.
And in the first place, I shall tell you negatively, in what sense it is not in this place taken by me. By the work Principle, I do not understand the first constituitive beginnings of things, whereof they consist, and from whence they take their Being, in the same sense, in which the Four Elements by some, and Salt, Sulphur and Mercury, by others, are called the Principles of all things.
But by a Principle, I mean an Original Source, and Fountain-Essence, formed by an Agent, into a Spherical Circumference, by which it is distinguished form all others.
1. To explain this definition a little, I say, in the first place, that a Principle is an Original and Fountain-Essence: for it is not every Essence doth make a Principle, but such a one only, as is the fruitful Mother of all the Essences contained within its own Circumference and Kingdom, and affords them being and sustenance from its own Bowels.
2. In the second place, it is said to be formed by an Agent, because a Principle of it self is a Passive, considered without the Active Spirit in the Center, which is the Mover of it.
3. In the third place, you have the form and figure of a Principle, a Spherical Circumference, which is the common form of all Principles.
4. In the last place, you have the end, why a Principle is formed into a Spherical enclosure, viz. that thereby it might be distinguished from all other Principles, Worlds and Centers: for all these are the same with me in this place, and therefore many times one of these is put for the other.
Having thus given you the Definition of a Principle in general, I shall now subjoin the particular definition of Eternal Nature, in these words:
Eternal Nature is a Principle created by God out of the Abyssal Chaos, containing the seven operative powers, for the production of all things.
The Genus or general Notion of this definition is the word Principle, which but just now we have explained to you.
The difference of this definition contains the four Causes of Eternal Nature, viz. the efficient, material , formal and final.
The efficient Cause, which is God, is expressed in these words of the definition, created by God.
The material which is the Abyssal Chaos is expressed in these words, out of the Abyssal Chaos.
The formal Cause are the seven operative Powers, which the definition tells you, that Eternal Nature doth contain.
The final Cause of Eternal Nature is, that it might be the
fruitful Mother of all things: which the definition expresseth in these words,
for the production of all things.
The Third Head,
(Which makes the third Part of this Discourse)
What Eternal Nature is.
I. The subject of this Part is concerning Eternal Nature's Essence, it is a most noble subject to look into. I acknowledge that none could lay a deeper ground, as to this subject, than divine Behme hath done; yet I find withal that he hath brought it forth something obscurely, so that he is understood by few, and misunderstood by most: This hath moved me to search into the Nature of this subject for my own private satisfaction, according to the innate light of my own intellect, and the inward discoveries of the Triune Deity to the Spirit of my Soul.
In this Third Part I shall confine my discourse to these two general Heads;
The First, What Eternal Nature is in its first original purity?
The Second, What kind of Essence, or Principle pure Eternal Nature is?
I begin with the first of these.
II. Quest. What is Eternal Nature's Essence, in its first original, birth and being, as it came out of Wisdom's hand?
Answer. Eternal Nature was a pure Essence, and then called pure Nature, being free from sin and evil and all mixture of imperfection: she was then all fair, clear, spotless, faultless and sinless. Now for the manifestation of this great mystery of Eternal Nature, what it is, I will open it in the original Causes of it, viz. the efficient, material, formal and final.
III. Concerning the efficient Cause of Eternal Nature, Who can be the Author and Creator of Eternal Nature, but the Triune Deity? The Father, Son and Spirit must be the Creator of Eternal Nature, not the Father without the Son and Spirit, nor the Son without the Father and Spirit, nor the Spirit without the Father and Son, but the Triune Deity in joint Co-operation. Therefore the Triune Deity in the Globe of Eternity, subsisting in their own pure Deity, must be before Eternal Nature by way of efficiency, as the Cause is before the Effect, and are distinct as the Cause and Effect. God therefore is not Eternal Nature, nor Eternal Nature God, because Eternal Nature is formed by God, as the efficient. And thus we see that God can subsist without Nature, but Eternal Nature's Essence cannot subsist without the Triune Deity: God comprehends Eternal Nature, but Eternal Nature cannot comprehend him, who as being the efficient cause of Eternal Nature, is higher essenced in his own Eternal Unity and Simplicity. Now that God is the Creator of Eternal Nature Scripture teacheth us, when it tells us, That by the Word all things were created, and that without him nothing was made that was made. Now if the Triune Deity was the Creator of Eternal Nature, he must needs in order of Nature be fore it, and distinct from it, and subsist in a far higher graduated Essence, than Eternal Nature's Essence is. For if any should ask me what is above, before and beyond Eternal Nature's Essence? I can only reply the Triune Deity, in the Globe of Eternity, who is the efficient Cause of Eternal Nature, and here we must stop, for we cannot go beyond the first cause of all things.
IV. We proceed to speak of the efficient Cause of Eternal Nature, which is God, and will briefly declare how God doth not only create Eternal Nature by way of efficiency, but also that he creates it out of and from himself by way of Essentiality. Thus the Divine Philosophy instructs us, Rom. 8.36. Of him, and from him and to him are all things. That is, all things proceed essentially from him; and if all, then Eternal Nature must proceed materially and essentially out of God's Essence; I. Cor.8.6. To us there is but one God, by whom are all things, efficiently, and of whom are all things, essentially. Neither can it be otherwise, for when God was to create Eternal Nature, there was nothing besides Himself out of, or from which he might create it; wherefore it follows that Eternal Nature must proceed essentially and substantially from God. And indeed God could not be the first original Essence of all Essences, if there were any Essence which was not created out of God's Essence. Wherefore we must conclude that Eternal Nature's Essence did proceed from God's Essence by way of essentiality, as well as by that of efficiency.
V. But the Great Mystery lies here, to know how Eternal Nature doth proceed from God's Essence, and what God's Essence is, from whence Eternal Nature doth proceed: Now to this, I say, that Eternal Nature proceeds from God's Abyssal Essence, generated out of himself; for as was said before, there was no other Essence to generate it from. You will say, what is this Abyssal Essence, which is the original ground of all Essences? I answer, It is an immense, deep, empty space, a bottomless and boundless Abyss. Yet I do not say it is without beginning: for God generated this Abyssal Essence out of his own Eternal Essence, as was manifested to my sight by God's Spirit, else I could not write of it as I do, had I not seen the pattern in the Mount of Eternity. When, I say, God was the original of this Abyssal Essence, I mean the Triune Deity, in their Eternal Unity, for they are the joint co-operators in every created Essence; they work inseparably, one doth not work without the other. But the Mystery is yet in the manner how God doth generate this Abyssal Essence out of himself; to clear this, you must know, that in God there is an Eternal Will, and this Eternal desiring Will looketh into himself, and findeth nothing but himself, doth make a beginning and end to himself: and so the beginning entering into the end, and the end into the beginning of himself, there is formed out of himself this round Abyssal Globe. Thus you see, that the Will of God is the beginning and end of this Abyssal Essence. The materiality also of this Abyss is generated out of himself, because there was nothing besides himself to generate himself from, therefore the Eternal desiring Will must generate this Abyssal Essence out of it self. Last of all, you see the form or figure that God's Eternal Will formed this Abyss into, even into a Circle or Globe, and the manner how, viz. that the desiring Will looking into it self, and finding nothing but himself, doth put an end to himself; and so the beginning closing with the end there is formed a Round or Globe. Thus you see the highest ground that we can have of this Abyssal Essence, viz. the desiring Will of God, which Will is the first and last cause of all things, from which free, efficacious Will, God doth style himself the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End of all things; the Scripture teaching us, that from this Will, by this Will, and for this Will all things were created. And thus much shall suffice concerning the beginning of God's Abyssal Essence.
VI. Now we will proceed to consider the Nature of this Abyssal Essence, which, as was hinted before, is a deep, immense, boundless, empty space, and is therefore called the Abyssal Essence, or ground, without ground. When I say, this Abyssal Essence is without bounds, I do not mean in relation to God, by whose Will it is bounded and comprehended, but in relation to our Spirits. In this empty, immense space, there is nothing to be seen, no darkness, no fire, no light, no creature, but it is an unsearchable deep without any Essence, though indeed it be the ground of all Essence, and that from whence Eternal Nature's Essence doth proceed. And though the Spirit of the Creature sees no Essence in it, yet God's Eye sees all things in it: because it is the original ground of all Essences, yet is no visible Essence to be seen in it. This Abyssal Essence generated out of God, to be the ground of all Essences, is called by Mystical writers the Divine Chaos, and the original Essence of all Essences, from whence all created Essences, Principles and Centers do proceed. Thus I have brought you to the first original of all Essences, under the Triune Deity, which is the Abyssal ground or Essence; with respect to which Abyss, God calls himself the First and Last of all Essences. Concerning this subject Behme speaks thus, in his deep writings; If the Spirit of the Soul could come into the Eternal Nothing, then he would come into that Original ground, whence Eternal Nature and all Creatures did proceed. He also terms this Eternal Nothing, the Eternal Stillness, because as no Essence is to be seen in it, though it be the ground of all Essences; so there is no life, no motion, no working source to be found in it, but an Eternal Stillness, though indeed it be the ground whence all life, motion and working power doth proceed. This Divine Behme well understood, therefore he saith, If the Spirit of the Soul could sink down into this Eternal Nothing and Abyssal still Essence, then he would come into that ground, where God was when he brought forth Eternal Nature and Creatures, and from which he brought forth Eternal Nature. And thus I have led you to the original ground of Eternal Nature, even the Abyssal still Essence of Eternity.
VII. To recollect briefly what hath been said; I have told you that this Abyssal Essence is an immense, empty space, where no Essence is to be seen by us. Secondly, I have told you that it is the original ground of all Essences. Thirdly, That it is an Eternal stillness. Fourthly, That it had its birth from the Will of God. Fifthly, I have declared also the manner of its formation into a Globe, by the desiring of the Triune Deity. Sixthly, I have too manifested to you, that it is the original ground whence Eternal Nature's Essence doth proceed. Seventhly, That this Abyssal Essence is God's Divine Chaos, wherein God's Eternal Eye doth see all things lie hid, yet without Essence. All Eternal Essences, Centers, Principles, Worlds, Elements, Colours, and whole Eternal Nature with her seven working Powers are hid therein, and from whence are brought forth by the Wisdom of God.
VIII. If your searching mind do not rest satisfied with this, but be still enquiring what the Nature of this Abyssal Essence is; I say further, that this Abyssal Essence, is an Eternal Essence generated out of God's Essence; that is, out of himself, by himself and for the good pleasure of himself, and is himself. But if you will ask further, what this Essence is, which is thus generated out of himself? I can give no other answer, but that it is, what it is; and further than this none but the Triune Deity can tell. But I can tell you the end why God brought it out of himself, even that it might be the original ground of all Essences, this was the end why the Holy Trinity introduced themselves into this Eternal Beginning. God indeed is without any beginning, but the Will of the Trinity hath been pleased to generate it self into a beginning, which is the Abyssal Essence, the beginning of all Essences whatsoever, and particularly of Eternal Nature, as well as of the high and lofty Globe of Eternity.
We are to observe here that his Eternal World, where the Majestic Sovereignty of the Deity is manifested, called the still Eternity, is far different from the Eternal nothing, and Abyssal Essence of which we have been speaking.
Quest: If you now ask me, what is above and before this Abyssal Essence?
Answer. I answer, the All-seeing Eye, the Eternal Free-will of the Deity, in the still Eternity, in the original Globe of the High and lofty Eternity; where the Triune Deity manifests the bright flaming glances of his Majesty, and the Glory of his Sovereignty, with his Perfections, called Attributes, viz. his Infinity, All-sufficiency, Omnipotency; which are not manifested in this Abyssal still Essence. Wherefore it appears that the Original Globe of Eternity is above it, and distinct from it: this Divine Chaos being set by the Eternal Will of the Deity, as a middle Gulf between the Eternal World (where stands the still Eternity in all its Essential Goodness, viz. in its Eternal Unity, Simplicity and Pure Deity) and between Eternal Nature's Essence and her working Powers. You are likewise to distinguish the Globe of Eternity, from the Light World, or Light Eternity, in which Paradise, the Angelical World, the Glassy Sea, Mount Zion, and the New Jerusalem are placed; and though these be called by us the Heavenly World, as in Truth they are, yet they differ from the still Eternity, in the Globe of the High and Lofty Eternity. All these Worlds forementioned. Paradise, the Angelical World, etc., spring out of the Light Eternity, and the Light Eternity is born out of Eternal Nature's Essence, and therefore they are distinct: for the still Eternity in the Eternal World stands before, above and without Eternal Nature's Essence. These things being premised, we come to speak of Eternal Nature's Essence, which is generated out of the Abyssal Essence.
IX. Quest. If you ask me, what is Eternal Nature's Essence?
Answer. I answer, it is an Eternal Essence, generated out of the Divine Chaos, or Abyssal Essence, and reduced into matter and form for the good pleasure of his Will. Here you see the efficient Cause of Eternal Nature, God's Eternal Free-will, willing and defining it.
Secondly, You see out of what or from whence Eternal Nature is produced, viz. out of God's Divine Chaos, not out of the still Eternity, nor out of the Eternal Unity of the Triune Deity.
Thirdly, It is brought forth by God's Will out of this Eternal ground into matter and form, which I am now to speak of.
Fourthly, The final Cause is also signified, in these words, for the good pleasure of his Will. Now the Will of God was to bring forth Eternal Nature, with all her working Essences to be the original Essence, and ground of all created Essences whatsoever, nothing being created without it, but from it essentially and originally.
Quest. But you will say, what is the difference between the Abyssal Essence, which is the original Essence of all Essences, and Eternal Nature, which is the ground of all Essences?
Answer. There is a very great difference; the Triune Deity doth see that all things lie hid in his Divine Chaos, but without Essence: but in Eternal Nature's Ground he sees all things essentially, and that he hath actually all sufficiency of materials and instruments to bring forth all things from Eternal Nature's Ground. So that Eternal Nature is God's work-house, wherein he hath whatsoever materially are required to Creation. In the Eternal Nothing is no actual Essence, but in Eternal Nature, all Essences for Creation are actually brought forth by God's Wisdom and Power.
Again, In the Divine Chaos, there is nothing but an Eternal stillness, no life, no motion, no moving power; but in Eternal Nature, God sees an actual working Source, Power, Life and motion to create from and with; in the Abyssal Essence he sees indeed that all these lie hid, all life, all power but only potentially, not actually.
X. Now I proceed to the third Particular, to show the manner how God by his Eternal Will brought forth Eternal Nature, out of the Abyssal Essence into matter and form. Here I must open two Particulars - First, What is the Matter Eternal Nature is created of? And secondly, The manner how performed by God, and then pass to the formal Cause.
Concerning the Material Cause of Eternal Nature
If you ask me, What the Original matter of Eternal Nature is?
I answer, It is made up of Fire and Light with their essential properties belonging unto them, and the four Eternal Elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth, are the materials of Eternal Nature's Essence, for if these were taken away, Eternal Nature would cease to be.
Concerning the Eternal Element of Fire.
XI. This Element is the first matter and ground of Eternal Nature's Essence, and therefore we will speak of it in the first place.
If we would understand the nature of this Element, we must know the birth of it, and how it was brought forth by God. When it pleased the Eternal Will of God to move on the face of the deep Abyss-Essence; he from thence brought forth the four Eternal Elements, to be the first Principles of Eternal Nature, and the Element of Fire in the first place, together with its intrinsical and essential properties, to be the original beginning of Eternal Nature's Essence. Here you see the Creator of it, is the Eternal Will of the Triune Deity, Father, Son and Spirit, for they have but one will among them.
XII. In the second place, you see the ground whence the Will of God brought forth this Element of Fire, viz., out of the Divine Chaos or Abyssal nothing; I do not say it came immediately from the Deity in its Eternal Unity and Simplicity; for in the pure Deity there are no Eternal Elements, no duality, no contrariety, because the pure Deity is an Essential Unity in it self.
XIII. In the third place it is necessary to speak a word how the Eternal Will brought forth this Element of Fire, out of the Divine Chaos. The Eternal Element of Fire was brought forth from the Abyssal Essence by the Wisdom and Omnipotence of God, neither need we enquire further into the manner of its production, because a multitude of words will but darken the manner of its birth. The highly illuminated Behme hath set it forth from its deep ground, how this Eternal Element was brought into existency by, through and from, the Eternal Will of God; but there are but few that can understand him, and those that do, comprehend a great Mystery; for reason with all its Academical knowledge cannot comprehend it, it being only to be discerned by an intellectual sight. And though in the glass of Divine Wisdom I have seen how this Element out of Eternal Nothing was brought into an Eternal something, viz., to be essential Fire, not only by and from God's Will, but also through his Will; yet I do not find it necessary to explain it any further at this time.
XIV. In the next place let us consider, what is the Nature of Eternal Fire?
This Eternal Element is created by God to be a fierce, mighty, penetrating, consuming Essence, as appears from its essential and inseparable properties, it is created with all which do manifest the nature of this created Fire essence. The first of these properties is Darkness which consists in astringent harshness, from which dark harshness doth arise Bitterness with its prickliness, and out of this bitter prickliness doth arise the Eternal woe and tormenting Anguish, called the sting of the bitter Anguish, and from this bitter sting is born the fierce Fire-essence. Thus Behme sets it forth, to whom I subscribe; thus he makes the Fire-Essence the fourth form of Eternal Nature. The Dark astringent harshness is the first form to the bringing forth of the fire; the Bitter sting the second; the Anguish the third; and the fire-flash out of the Anguish the fourth form which completes this Eternal fire-essence. [This word Eternal when thus applied is only to be understood à parte post, and not à parte ante, as the Schoolmen distinguish, for so nothing is Eternal but the Triune Deity of the Holy Trinity.] But to make the Nature of this Fire-essence more plain, I will add to the former these following properties: To the Fire-essence do belong, Fierceness, Fieriness, Wrathfulness, Sternness, Sulphureousness, Salnitrousness, Consuming, Devouring, Flying up and elevating it self: these are the essential properties of the Eternal Anguishing Fire-spirit, because it cannot subsist without them, nor be separated from them. Now it is easy by these properties to give a Description of the Nature of this Fire-essence, viz., that it is a Dark, Harsh, Bitter, Anguishing, Fierce, Fiery, Wrathful, Stern, Brimstony, Salnitrous, Consuming, Elevating Fire-spirit: and the strength and force of this Essence consists in the forementioned properties, and more particularly in its Fierceness, Consumingness, and self-elevation; for without these it would be weak and feeble.
Quest. If you ask me wherein the Goodness of this Fire-essence doth consist?
Answer. I answer, in all its essential properties, for they are all good and serviceable to the end for which they were created, and the Eternal Fire-essence by means of them becomes a fit instrument for God to work with. Therefore there is no evil property to be found in this Fire-essence, for if there were, God must be the author of it, he being the Sole Creator of the Fire. But indeed God created it to be a good Servant, to serve his Eternal Will, not that it might Lord it and reign over the Deity, for this would not have suited with his Eternal Wisdom by which all things were brought forth: since therefore it was created by God, it must needs be good, for no evil can proceed from God by way of efficiency.
XV. We will now proceed to the Element of Eternal Water.
This Element is the next matter of Eternal Nature's Essence, and consequently to be handled next to the Fire. Its efficient Cause is the same with that of the Fire-essence, viz., the Eternal Will of God; the Center from whence it is produced, is the same, viz. the Eternal Nothing, or Abyssal Essence; and the manner how, is also the same, viz., by the Divine Power and Wisdom; wherefore we refer you to that which hath been said before concerning the Eternal Element of Fire. But our present work is to consider -
What the Nature of this Eternal Element of Water is.
The Eternal Element of Water is a Meek, Mild, Soft, Gentle Essence: for as the Fire-essence is the ground of Fierceness, so the Water is the ground of Meekness: and this will appear, if we consider the essential Properties of it: The first of which is Meekness, the next Sweetness, then Softness, Mildness, Gentleness, Coldness, Refreshingness, Sinking down, Heaviness: so that we see from these properties that the Water must needs be a Meek and Mild Essence: and this Meek Essence is the Ground of Eternal Light, it is the Womb of the Meek Light, from whence springs Pleasantness, Delightfulness, Joyfulness, and Gladness.
All which properties are in one another inseparably and make up but one Meek Essence, as the several properties of the Fire make up one fierce Essence: which Meek Essence we may call the Meek Water-Essence, the Meek Light-Essence, or the Meek Love-fire-Essence. This Essence Divine Behme makes to be the fifth form of Eternal Nature and so it is. But I would have you further to consider the end of its production, which is to mitigate and allay the fierceness of the Fire-Essence, and so to be its Antagonist: So to the fierce, fiery, harsh, darkness, the Water opposeth its meek, soft, gentle and pleasant Light; to the bitterness and prickliness of the Fire, it opposeth its sweetness and pleasantness; to the anguish, wrathfulness and devouring property of the Fire, it opposeth the joyfulness of its Love-fire-Essence; and to the Mounting elevation of the Fire, it opposeth its ponderosity and sinking down.
Here you see that the Beauty, Excellence and Strength of the Water consists in its Meekness, Mildness, Softness, Gentleness, Sweetness. Its riches are the Meek Light, and the triumphing joy of the Love-fire's-Essence, which stops the fury of the devouring, anguishing Fire. Its goodness consists in this, that it is a serviceable instrument in the Hand of its Creator, to stop the pride and flying up of the Fire by its ponderosity: and thus it appears that both these Essences are good in their kind, as proceeding both from God's Will, and from one ground, viz., the Divine Chaos or Abyssal Essence. And thus much concerning the Element of Water.
XVI. We now proceed to the third Element, of which Eternal Nature doth consist, viz., the Element of Fire.
Its efficient Cause, its ground from whence, and manner of production are the same with those of the two former Elements. But if you would know the Nature of this Eternal Air; I say, it is a Brisk, Cooling, Refreshing, Reviving, Quickening, Pleasant Essence, Breath or Wind. It is very useful and serviceable in Eternal Nature's Essence; to blow up the Fire, lest it should be suffocated; and therefore it is appointed by God to blow up the Fire, to give motion to the Water, and to drive away the dark clouds from the Light-Essence, when need requires. It is a necessary Instrument to blow up the Love-Fire-Essence, that so it may penetrate through all Properties; when it is too weak and passive it maketh it blossom and break forth; it is the food of all the Properties; it is also the Chariot of the Spirit of God, who rides upon wings of this wind, and is a good separator in his hand to separate between the precious and the vile, between the wheat and the chaff: Its essential properties are Clarity, Transparency, Volatility, Levity, Celerity, and Penetrability. Behme refers this Air-Essence to the sixth Property, to which we assent.
XVII. We now proceed to the last Element, viz., Eternal Earth.
To know what this Element is, we may consider the efficient of it, the ground whence it proceeded, the manner how it was brought forth, and the end for which it was produced, which are the same with those which are mentioned in the Element of Fire. The essential properties of this Earth are Ponderosity, Corporeity and Transparency. For you must know that this Eternal Earth, is not like the outward Elementary Earth, so gross and opaceous, but that it is a transparent Crystalline Earth; yet it gave essentiality and Corporeity to the three forementioned Elements: and it was therefore created by God to make Eternal Nature's Essence substantial. For Fire, Water and Air must have one ground or substance to subsist in, and to move in and through one another, which substance is the Element of Earth. This Element Behme makes the seventh property, in which, he saith, all the six do move, in one only ground, as the Soul in the Body, which is very well expressed by him. And thus much concerning the matter of which Eternal Nature doth consist, viz., Fire, Water, Air and Earth.
XVIII. Concerning the formal Cause of Eternal Nature.
The formal Cause of Eternal Nature's Essence, is nothing else but the mixture, and harmonical composition of the four Eternal Elements; for they are one in another, and flow one through another. Let us now consider who is the mixer of these Eternal Elements, and their properties, for they would never mix of themselves to all Eternity, because of the Contrariety of their natures; wherefore we must conclude that the Divine Wisdom, is the Artist who mingles these Elements together.
XIX. In the mixture of these Eternal Elements observe with me these following Particulars.
First, Wisdom's Art appears in the manner of their mixture, they are mixed one with another, and one through another; Fire with Water. Light with Darkness, and penetrate through and through one another, neither can their contrariety hinder or oppose the Art and Power of Wisdom.
Secondly, the Art of Wisdom appears not only in mixing them, but in reducing them to a harmony and equal temperament, she doth proportion them to an equality in Number, Weight and Measure.
Thirdly, Wisdom's Art appears in that being thus proportionally tempered together, they qualify act and move in and through one another, and that in the greatest harmony and friendship, as the members of one body: the fierceness of the fire is mitigated and allayed by the Water, the harsh astringency of the Darkness, is dissolved in the meekness of the Light, and so of the rest.
Fourthly, Wisdom's Art appears, in this, that in the harmonising of these Four Eternal Elements, she hath made all their contrary properties to be useful one to another: The Harsh Darkness is serviceable to the Meek Light, for Darkness is the subject through which Light displays itself; were there no Darkness, there would be no Light: the fierceness of the Fire, gives strength to the Meek Water-Essence, and meekness of the Water allays the fierceness of the Fire: so Air is very useful to the Fire to keep it from being suffocated; and the Earth is useful to them all, because it gives them a Body to act and move in: We may yet further consider the usefulness of the Elements to one another, as they stand harmonised and tempered together by the Hand of Wisdom. The Fire gave Life, Mobility and Strength to the Meek Water, and the Water gives Food and Nourishment to the Fire, and thereby allays the fierce hunger of the Fire: so that Darkness subsists in the Light, and the Light in the Darkness, and satisfieth the harsh bitter hunger of the Darkness, being as food unto it: and in this their serviceableness to one another consists their Natural Goodness: for how can any evil be in them; since they all serve the Will of their Creator, and are useful to one another; the Darkness is as useful as the Light, and the Fire as the Water, and consequently they are all good, their contrarieties being harmonized, and reconciled by the skilful hand of omnipotent Wisdom.
Fifthly, Wisdom's Art appears in that, in this temperature of the Eternal Elements, she makes them qualify and serve one another in triumphing joyfulness, and to rejoice in each others qualifying: for though these Eternal Elements are not understanding Spirits, yet they have an innate hunger in themselves (which is their intrinsical form) which makes them desire each other: thus the Fire-Essence hungers after the Meekness of the Water, as its daily food, wherewith its ravenous fierceness may be satisfied and allayed; and again the Water hungers after the Fire, as its Life, Strength and Motion. The astringent Darkness hungers after the Meek Light, and the Light after the Darkness, that it may shine through it, and subsist in it. And from this inbred Hunger it is that they rejoice to qualify one with another; it is as their sport and past time to penetrate one through another, and to be sometimes above and sometimes under another in this wrestling wheel of Nature. For you must know that all these qualifying powers of Nature have sensibility and mobility in themselves, whereby they can feel and taste one another's properties, and are sensible of the pleasure and satisfaction they receive from one another, which continually awakens the hunger in every property, to qualify one with another. So the Fire is sensible that the Meek Water doth allay its fierceness, and therefore it doth hunger after it; the anguishing Darkness is sensible, that the amiable pleasantness of the Light is a refreshment to it; and thus each property feels and tastes the other's goodness, and this makes them still to hunger after one another, and to penetrate one another with all triumphing Joyfulness. 'Oh let us for ever admire this unsearchable Art of the Divine Wisdom! who alone can perform this Masterpiece.'
Sixthly, Wisdom's Art appears in nothing more than in the orderly placing of these Elements: for Wisdom makes the Fire, with all its Harsh, Bitter, Dark, Anguishing and Brimstony properties to descend, and makes its elevating pride to buckle, bow and become a servant to the Water-Essence; and causeth the Water with its Meekness, Gentleness and Ponderosity to ascend and command the Fire; the Light to rule over the Darkness; the Meekness over the Fierceness; and the joyfulness of the Light over the Anguish. For Divine Wisdom well understood the force of self elevating Fire, and therefore she caused it to sink down, and become a Servant to the Meek Light: she foresaw that the Fire-life with its fierce properties would be but an ill Governor, therefore she made the elder, viz., the Fire-Spirit, to serve the younger, viz., the Water and Light-Essence, which could be done by no other hand but that of Omnipotent Wisdom. If we proceed to consider of this order how incomprehensible will the Skill of Wisdom appear! For the Darkness was hid in the Light, and though it was there with all its properties, yet nothing of it was to be seen or felt; for it was swallowed up of the Light, as the Night is swallowed up of the Day; so the fierceness, bitterness and Anguish of the Fire were perfectly dissolved in and swallowed up of the meekness, mildness, softness and pleasantness of the Water, and nothing remained but the pleasant glances of the Fire arising from the mixture of Fire and Water. This was the Beauty and excellence of Eternal Nature, that all her divided, contrary properties were united into one undivided property in the Eternal Earth, where all their contraries were reduced to the most perfect union, agreement and harmony.
XX. Quest. If you further ask me what Eternal Nature's Essence is in relation to her formal being, as she stood in her original Purity and Beauty.
Answer. I thus define Eternal Nature; Eternal Nature is an Eternal Essence subsisting in a six fold working property, inseparable one from the other. For the Darkness generates the Harshness, the Harshness the Bitterness; this the Anguish, the Anguish the Fire; this the Water, the Water the Light; this the Love-Fire, and the Love-Fire the Air; thus they generate one another, and qualify one in another, and through one another inseparably and undivided; but in the seventh they all rest as in one only ground. So that Eternal Nature subsists of six working properties in one only ground or substance. And all the properties of Eternal Nature considered in relation to this one ground, are all equally Eternal, none of them can be accounted before another; they all have but one beginning, one Mother, and subsist in one ground; and in this their Union they constitute the wrestling wheel of Eternal Nature, wherein sometimes one is uppermost, sometimes another, sometimes Darkness, sometimes Light, sometimes Anguish, sometimes Joy. Yet notwithstanding though they be all undivided, and none before the other, for distinction sake, we may place the Darkness and Harshness in the first place, as being the root of the dark Fire-Essence, which Fire-Essence is the Center of Eternal Nature; the Prickly Stinging Bitterness in the second place, the Brimstony Anguish in the third place, the Fire in the fourth place: From which Fire the Water is generated, together with the Light and Love-Fire, which belong to the fifth form of Nature; and in the sixth place out of the Light and Love-Fire the Eternal Element of Air, from which Air proceeds the seventh and last viz., the Eternal Element of Earth, in which the six foregoing properties subsist in perfect Unity and Harmony. Now according to this order we can better understand the e beginning and end of Eternal Nature's Essence, and how it is distinct from God's Eternal Unity and pure Deity; though indeed in it self be an Eternal indissoluble band, in which property is distinct from or before another; but all co-equal and co-eternal in one only ground and substance. So that we conclude that the original beauty and excellency of Eternal Nature did consist in this, that the six working properties were Harmonized into a perfect Unity, and triumphing joyfulness in the seventh form: which Harmony, Peace and Unity is the true form or formal Cause of Eternal Nature.
XXI. But me thinks I hear somebody object against what hath been said, that I seem clearly to contradict Behme, who places Darkness and Light back to back, as opposite to one another, and makes the Fire, a distinct Centre from the Light; speaking of a Cross birth in Eternal Nature, which divides the fourth form of the Fire, from the firth of the Light?
To which I answer, that what Behme saith is most true, but it must be noted that he speaks of this of Eternal Nature in its fallen and degenerate state, whereas I speak of it, in its spotless purity. Behme speaks of God in Nature, but I speak of Eternal Nature's birth in order to God's introducing himself into Nature's Essence. So it appears that I do not in the least contradict Behme's writings.
XXII. Concerning the final Cause of Eternal Nature.
Though it be true (to speak in general) that the final cause and end for which all creatures, and consequently Eternal Nature was brought forth, is the Good pleasure and will of God, according as the Holy Scripture in many places teacheth. Ephes.1.9. According to the good pleasure of his will purposed in himself: again verse the 11. Who worketh all things according to the pleasure of his own will; Rev.4.11. And for thy pleasure all things were created. Yet where it pleaseth God to reveal the grounds and reasons of his creating will, we may then look into them, and consider of them.
XXIII. The first end why Eternal Nature was produced, was for manifestation, that the Triune Deity might manifest themselves, and together with themselves the still Eternity; this was the reason why the Trinity raised in themselves an Eternal Will, for the production of Eternal Nature, that they might no longer be hid in their abstracted Nature of pure spirit and naked Deity.
A second end why Eternal Nature was created, is that all the glorious attributes of God, his All-sufficiency, Omnipotency, Wisdom, Goodness and Immmensity might be displayed, and made known.
A third end was, that all the wonders of the Deity might be manifested and brought into act.
Fourthly, Eternal Nature was produced, that it might be the Subject matter out of which all Creations, and all Worlds should be brought forth: Eternal Nature being the store House of the Holy Trinity wherein all sufficiency of instruments and materials required to Creation are treasured up. So that if Eternal Nature, with its Eternal Elements, forms and working Essences, had not been brought forth by the Trinity, then no Worlds or Creatures had ever been, nor any thing besides the still Eternity, which was contrary to the Will which the Holy Trinity had raised in themselves, to manifest themselves by Creation; for the accomplishing of which will, Eternal Nature's Essence was produced.
Quest. If you ask me, what moved the Eternal Will of the Trinity to bring forth Eternal Nature to Creation?
Answer. I answer, that it was the Eternal desire of their mind, for from the desiring mind the Eternal Will proceeds.
Quest. If you enquire, what moves the Eternal Mind of the Trinity to desire?
Answer. I answer, the Spirit of Eternity it self.
Quest. But you will say what awakened the first thought in the Spirit of Eternity to create Eternal Nature?
Answer. I answer the Divine Magia moved and awakened the spirit of Eternity to desire; from the desiring mind proceeded the will, and from the will it came to be brought forth into existence by the creating fiat; which being placed in the Divine Omnipotence brought forth Eternal Nature's Essence out of the Divine Chaos.
Quest. If you ask further, what moved the Eternal Magia of the Holy Trinity to awaken the first motion in the Eternal Spirit to create Eternal Nature with her Elements and working Properties?
Answer. I answer, that none can tell this, but the Spirit of Eternity it self: and therefore here we must rest: because we cannot go beyond the first. Hence we may learn that the Spirit of the Holy Trinity is Magical. viz., and that is acts magical. Thus God brought forth the Eternal World, viz., the still Eternity, with all its wonders out of Himself, by Himself and for Himself to dwell in Magically; and after the same manner the Divine Chaos and Eternal Nature were brought forth. The Spirit of the Holy Trinity doth will, desire and act from nothing else but from its pure Magia; for it is not a rational Spirit, but a wise, intelligent Spirit, which wisdom and intelligence is grou7nded in the Divine Magia. There is no use of Reason in the still Eternity; for the Divine Magia supplies its room; neither is reason made use of in Paradise, nor in the Angelical World, nor in the New Jerusalem, because reason belongs only to the Spirit of this outward World: and however enlightened Reason may be exalted by some, yet my Spirit knows it to be an Eternal infallible Truth, that there is no use of Reason but in this Babylonish Principle, and the Kingdom of the beast.
Sixthly, Eternal Nature was brought forth, that it might be a garment of the Holy Trinity, and a vesture wherewith their pure naked Deity might be clothed upon: for as the Soul is hid and wrapped in the Body, and the Body in its clothes; so the Holy Trinity is covered and wrapped up in Eternal Nature's Essence, and in the Creatures thence proceeding. Blessed are they who through all these wiles and disguisements can find him, who is the desire of all nations, who in this Rubbish can find the pearl of price; which yet if we can search deep enough we cannot fail of, for the Holy Trinity in their pure Deity is the innermost kernel of all things, being hid under Eternal Nature's Essence and all her working forms and Elements.
Seventhly, Eternal Nature was to be an Habitation for the Holy Trinity. For though the Eternal World be the most glorious Palace of the Deity and the most Holy place, yet it was the will of the Holy Trinity to have the outward Court of Eternal Nature added to it, in which they might dwell, as the Soul in the Body.
Eighthly, Eternal Nature was produced, that it might be a Medium between two extremes, God and the Creature, whereby God might communicate himself to Creatures, and Creatures might have fellowship with him.
Ninthly, Eternal Nature was brought forth, that the Eternal Unity of the Deity might be displayed in variety, diversity and multiplicity.
Object. But you will say, was there not a variety of properties and attributes in the Deity, even before the birth of Eternal Nature, viz., his Power, Wisdom, Goodness, Mercy, Truth, &c.?
Solution:. I answer, that all these perfections are all one in the Deity and make up but one most simple Essence, for else God would be divided in himself, and could not be the supreme Unity and Simplicity, as before hath been proved at large.
But by the Elements and working forms of Eternal Nature, this Unity displays and as it were dissolves and dilates it self into an infinite variety and diversity of Creations, according to the purpose of his Will.
Tenthly, A tenth end was, that the still Divine Essence by entering into the contrariety of Eternal Nature might bring forth the Glory of the Majesty, and triumphing and exulting joy, which were not to be found in the still Eternity, before the working properties of Eternal Nature were brought forth.
Eleventhly, Eternal Nature was brought forth, that it might be the true Primum Mobile, or the first source and spring of all motion and action. For this end it pleased the Trinity to produce this Eternal turning wheel, and indissolvable band of the seven forms of Eternal Nature: for in the still Eternity is nothing but stillness, quiet and rest: and as such as passeth all the though and conceptions of Man; and that Spirit only knows it, who hath been taken up into it.
Twelfthly, Eternal Nature was produced, that the one single Essence of the Holy Trinity might be manifested in distinction, according to the distinct Essences and properties of Eternal Nature. Thus the Father is manifest in Fire, the Son in Water, the Holy Ghost in Air. Thus you see how the Holy Trinity may be distinguished from one another in Eternal Nature's Essence.
Thirteenthly and lastly, Eternal Nature was produced, that all the Ideas forms and patterns in the Divine Mind might become actual and substantial, which could not be brought to pass in the still Eternity, nor without the working properties of Eternal Nature, which do bring all that into act and existence which in the Divine Will and Mind, is only in purpose and Idea. And thus much concerning the ends for which Eternal Nature was created by God.
Having hitherto discoursed of what Eternal Nature is, I shall next come to show you (according to my method propounded at the beginning of this third part) -
What kind of Principle Eternal Nature is?
Quest. If it be asked what kind of Essence Eternal Nature is?
Answer. 1. I answer, first, that it is a Created Essence, as hath been sufficiently declared before.
Answer. 2. Eternal Nature is an Eternal Essence, for whatsoever is immediately created by God out of the Divine Chaos, is Eternal, because it proceeds from an Eternal root; now since Eternal Nature is immediately brought forth from the Abyssal Chaos it must consequently be Eternal.
Answer. 3. Eternal Nature is an Original Essence, that is, it is the first created Essence out of whose fruitful womb all created Essences do proceed: it is the first Essence of all Essences, and the ground and source of them. There is nothing above, before or beyond it, but the Holy Trinity in the still Eternity. All Essences proceed from it whether Temporal, or Eternal; for time it self is rooted in Eternity.
Object. But it will be objected, how can Eternal Nature be the first Original Essence, since the Eternal World and the Divine Chaos are before it?
Answer. The answer is obvious, for I do not say that Eternal Nature is the first Essence, but the first created Essence; now the Eternal World and Divine Chaos were not created by God, but generated out of him: therefore it remains unshaken, that Eternal Nature is the first Original Created Essence.
Object: But you will object again, that God himself is the Essence of all Essences, and the original Cause and first matter of all things; which I own to be true but with distinction.
Ans. For first, God is the original Essence of all Essences, as he is the efficient Cause, and Creator of Eternal Nature's Essence, out of the Divine Chaos.
Secondly, I say, God is the Essence of all Essences remotely, but not immediately, for all created Essences do immediately proceed from Eternal Nature, and not from God; because both the Divine Chaos and Eternal Nature stand between them and God. Now that created Essences did not immediately proceed from God, will appear by these following reasons.
First, If all creatures had immediately proceeded from God, they must have been a perfect Unity, without all duality, diversity, or contrariety; because God's Essence from which they immediately proceeded was such: But we find that all created Essences are not a perfect unity, but that diversity and duality are found in them, which is not in the Divine Essence; therefore we must necessarily conclude that they did not immediately proceed from God's Essence.
Secondly, If all created Essences do immediately proceed from God, it will follow, that God's Divine Essence is not unintelligible and incomprehensible; but may be easily known from the nature of those Essences which immediately proceed from him, for such as their Essence is, such must God's be, if we allow this immediate procession; because whatsoever doth immediately proceed from any Essence, is of the same Essence with that, from whence it proceeds. We conclude therefore that Light, Fire, Darkness, &c. are not in God, nor do they immediately proceed from him, for if they did, we might then know what God's Nature and Essence is, viz. that it is Light, Fire, Darkness, &c.
Answer. 4. Eternal Nature is a distinct Essence from the Divine Chaos out of which it was created by God: which appears
First, Because that which is brought forth differs, and distinct from that which is brought forth, as the fruit is distinct from the tree, the Son from his Father; wherefore Eternal Nature being created out of the Divine Chaos must needs be distinct from it.
Secondly, Eternal Nature is distinct from the Divine Chaos, because in Eternal Nature, the Elements and the working powers of Nature are essentially and actually; whereas in the Divine Chaos they are only potentially and remotely.
Thirdly, In Eternal Nature there is order and distinction; there we find the four Eternal Elements and seven working forms of Nature; whereas in the Divine Chaos all things lie hid without any order or distinction; and therefore this Principle is called a Chaos or confused mixture, Gen. 1.2. because in this Principle there is no Essences to be found, but all things are in it in a hidden dark confused manner.
Answer. 5. Eternal Nature is a middle Essence, because it is placed by God between the Eternal World and the Angelical, and this visible Creation, and is the original ground from whence all middle Worlds and Creations do proceed. Were not Eternal Nature a middle Essence there would be no middle Worlds, no middle States, nothing but the still Eternity. But the Scripture tells us of Worlds in the plural number, Heb. 1.2., which must be these middle Worlds of which here I have spoken.
Answer. 6. Eternal Nature is in it self an invisible Essence, for it is the ground from whence all invisible Worlds and Creations do proceed, and we are taught that even this outward visible World was made of an invisible matter, viz., Eternal Nature's Essence, Heb. 11. 3. The things which are seen, were not made of the things that do appear.
Answer. 7. Eternal Nature's Essence, is a mixed and compounded Essence, it is mixed and compounded of the four Eternal Elements and their essential forms; and thus it is an Essence compounded of multiplicity, variety and contrariety, and therefore must needs be distinct from the Divine Essence, which is an Eternal Unity and Simplicity, which cannot admit of any mixture or composition whatsoever. Now we must further know that this mixture and composition of the Eternal Elements in Eternal Nature is wrought by the Art of Divine Wisdom in such a manner, that all their contrarieties are reduced to the greatest harmony and agreement; insomuch that they qualify in and through another, with the greatest concord and amity, as brethren and members of the same body. This harmonious mixture and composition of the Elements in Eternal Nature is the beauty and perfection of Eternal Nature; and that whereby it is fitted to become the fruitful Mother of all things. If we consider Eternal Nature only as made up of fighting contrarities, we shall find nothing but deformity and disorder, in her; but if we regard her as she is mixed and compounded by the hand of Eternal Wisdom to a perfect temperature harmony and concord, so she appears and is indeed all beautiful and lovely.
Answer. 8. Eternal Nature is a Good Essence: there is no evil in it, notwithstanding it is made up of Contarieties; for God who is Eternal Goodness, could not make that evil, which he designed to be the original matter of all created Essences: for so he would have entailed evil upon all his Creatures, which were to proceed out of its womb. Neither was it partly good, and partly evil; for this is a mixture that God declares against, and therefore would never be a cause of it himself. Neither can we say, that evil is in Eternal Nature's Essence, but that it is swallowed up of the good, because nothing can proceed from God, but what is wholly good. The Darkness in Eternal Nature is as good as the Light, and the Fire as the Water. All the forms of Eternal Nature must needs be alike good for these following reasons;
First, Because they have one efficient cause, one Creator even God.
Secondly, Because they all have but one Mother, viz. the Abyssal Chaos out of whose womb they proceed.
Thirdly, Because God hath implanted in them all an hunger and desire to answer the end of their Creation: Now whatsoever answers the end for which it is made, that we may truly say is good.
Fourthly, All the forms of Eternal Nature are equally good, because they obey the Will of their Creator.
Fifthly, Because they are all serviceable and helpful to one another; as appears by their qualifying together, and union in the sixth form, where the Darkness is serviceable to the Light, and the Light to the Darkness, the Fire to the Water, and the Water to the Fire.
But here it is to be observed, That when I say that all the forms of Eternal Nature are good, I do not mean that they are the chiefest good; for that is only to be found in the Divine Essence; but that they are endowed by God with a Natural Goodness, suitable to their kind, and such as they are capable of, and free from Evil.
Object. You'll say, evil is not in God, therefore it must be in Eternal Nature?
Solution:. Yet the inconsequence of this argument doth appear, in that it may be so easily retorted, for say I, because evil is not in God, therefore neither can it be in Eternal Nature, which was created by him; for such as the cause is, such must the effect be: no evil is in the Cause of Eternal Nature, therefore neither can there be any evil in Eternal Nature, which is the effect.
Quest. But you'll question further, if evil be not in God, nor in Eternal Nature, where then will you place it? What will you make the ground and source of evil?
Answer. I answer, that the mutability of the Creature is the Cause of evil. For though all things be created good by God, yet they are not immutably so: but may become evil. But we will speak no further of this matter, because this is not the proper place to speak of the original of evil and sin, for we are here only a treating of Eternal Nature, as it came out of God's hand, and before any Creatures were created or brought forth out of it.
Object. It may well be you'll object, that Jacob Behme makes Eternal Nature the ground of Good and Evil.
Solution:. To which I answer, that what Jacob Behme writes concerning Eternal Nature is very true, for he does not make it the ground of evil, in its state of purity, as it came out of God's hand: but the cause of this mistake is, that Behme is not well understood, because sometimes he speaks of Eternal Nature in its state of original purity, and presently after speaks of it, with reference to its fallen state, and this being not sufficiently distinguished by unwary readers, makes them conclude that Jacob Behme makes Eternal Nature in its original purity to be the ground of evil; which indeed is contrary to the whole scope of his writings. Behme was very sensible that many would be apt thus to mistake his writings, which made him say that there was a veil upon his writings which would hinder all those who were not born again, from having a right understanding of them. Jacob Behme, whensoever he attributes evil to Eternal Nature, considers it, in its fallen state, as it became infected by the fall of Lucifer, in this second or hellish Principle, and so I do fully agree with him; but I am a speaking of Eternal Nature in its pure and undefiled state, as it came out of the hands of God.
Object. But you will say that Darkness is an Evil Essence: but say I, how can that be evil, which is the cause of the Light?
Solution:. For Darkness is the root of the Fire, and from the Fire proceeds the Light, so that if there were no Darkness, there would be no Light; wherefore Darkness is no evil Essence.
Neither is the bitterness and sting of the Anguish evil in itself, because they are the cause of the triumphing joy. Nor the Fire though it be a fierce and devouring Essence, because its fierceness and wrathfulness is the strength of Eternal Nature: and when these qualities of the Fire come to be penetrated by the Water they are changed, and become the cause of pleasure and triumphing joy. Therefore you see that Fire as it was originally in Eternal Nature is no Evil Essence.
Neither can it be said that the contrariety which is found in the forms and properties of Eternal Nature makes them to be evil; because all the six forms of Nature are united and harmonized in the seventh, where no strife contrariety or opposition is to be found, nor any thing from whence they might with truth be denominated evil. In this harmony and agreement of all the essential forms of Eternal Nature doth the essential and intrinsical goodness of Eternal Nature consist. This was the beautiful garment wherewith she was arrayed when she first came out of the hand of her great and wise Creator: for the Darkness was not at odds with the Light, nor the Light with the Fire, nor the Fire with the Water; but all the forms in the greatest Harmony qualified in and through one another; this I say was the state and condition of Eternal Nature, as she came out of the hand of God, she was all pleasing and beautiful, for all her appearing contrarities were swallowed up of Harmony and Unity.
Answer. 9. Eternal Nature's Essence is a perfect and complete Essence. She is perfect in the perfect number of her seven forms and properties, nothing can be added to her, neither can any thing be taken from her; because in the forementioned seven forms she contains whatsoever is required to her completing and perfection. And these forms are in one another and through one another, they generate one another, and are generated from one another, so that none can be without the other, but all make up one Essence in the seventh form: and in this unity and inseparability of the forms of Eternal Nature doth her perfection consist. All the forms of Eternal Nature are co-essential and co-eternal with her self and with one another; none is before the other, because all are one and make up but one Essence which is Eternal Nature her self.
Object. But you will object, that this seems to contradict your former discourse, wherein you have spoken of the 1, 2, 3 &c. forms of Nature, distinct from one another?
Solution:. I answer that when I spoke of the forms of Eternal Nature under a distinction of order and number, I considered them as they were a making and forming under God's hand, and not as already made into an ever circling wheel, and fixed in an indissoluble band in the seventh form, for so they are but one Essence and have neither beginning nor end, nor can they be said to be one before the other in number and order. In this full and perfect Union of the six forms in the seventh, consists the perfection of Eternal Nature: for if we consider the six forms apart and distinct from one another, we shall find them all wanting and imperfect, and plainly discern that Eternal Nature's perfection consists not in any one of the forms, as distinct from the others, but only in the Union and fixation of them all in the seventh, which is the common body and receptacle of them. The truth of this will appear by taking a view of all Eternal Nature's forms, in which prospect we shall clearly discern, that the perfection of Eternal Nature doth not consist in any one, or more of her forms apart; but in the joint Union and fixation of them all in the seventh form.
First, We will begin with the Darkness, and the Essences which pertain to it, viz. harshness, bitterness and the sting of Anguish, which make the three first properties of Eternal Nature, and are the beginning and root of it: if these were not, there would be no Fire, if no Fire, no Light, and if no Light, no Love-fire-essence. But we cannot say that God intended to place perfection in this root of Darkness, as being only the foundation of that complete structure which God hath raised upon it. This Eternal Darkness was extracted by God out of the Abyssal Chaos, the hidden root of all things: and is the beginning and ground of Eternal Nature and her forms, and is made up of Harshness, Bitterness and Anguish; and therefore this darkness of which we treat here, is not a mere privation or non-entity; for if it were so, God could not be said to create the Darkness, as the Scripture expressly tells us: therefore we lay this as a ground that this darkness is essential, as being the root and ground of Eternal Nature's Essence: but perfection not being found here, God proceeds, and
In the second place, God out of the forementioned Darkness, brings forth the Fire, being the fourth form of Eternal Nature: it properties are Fierceness, Elevation, Consuming and Devouring all things that cannot endure its trial, it contains Sulphur, Sal-Nitre and Mercury; it was no sooner added to that Darkness, but it was communicated to it (as it were) Life, Sense and Motion, so that they embraced each other most willingly. The Fire said to the Darkness, I cannot subsist without thee, for if I were not preserved in thy Essence, as in a furnace, I should perish and vanish away. The Darkness replied, Dear Fire-spirit, live for ever in my Center, for without thee I am as Dead, thou art my Life and givest me sensibility and mobility; let us live together as members of Eternal Nature in Love and Unity for ever.
We will now take into consideration the nature of this Fire, and whence it burns and flames continually, without ever being extinguished. God, the most wise Artist and great Chemist, took great care that the Fire might neber go out, for then he knew that Eternal Darkness would become a Deead Essence; and therefore he placed in the bowels of this fire its Eternal food of Sulphur, Mercury and Sal-Nitre, which is the fuel that maintains its everlasting burnings.
Quest. If you ask me from whence this Eternal Fire doth proceed?
Answer. I answer, not immediately from the Divine Essence, for in it no Fire is to be found; but out of the Abyssal Chaos, by the eternal speaking word of power. The Essence and Nature of this Fire-spirit is nothing else but an Eternal hunger and a dry painful thirst in it self; and from this hunger it attracts eagerly and earnestly, and yet it finds nothing in itself to attract, but its own burning Sulphur, poisonful Mercury, and infected Sal-Nitre, and the more it attracts, the more it hungers; and the more it hungers, the more it preys on its own fuel. But God doth not stop here, because perfection is not found in the Fire: for the great Artist knew very well, that if this eager attraction of the Fire-spirit were not allayed and pacified, it would bring itself into anguish and pain, as having nothing to feed upon and refresh it self with, but its own burning Sulphur, poisonful Mercury, and infected Sal-Nitre. Wherefore that the Fire-spirit might have no reason to complain of its being so fierce, wrathful and anguishing, the great Artist resolve's to palliate, cover and allay the harshness and bitterness of the Fire-spirit, so that it might never know them, nor perceive its own burning Sulphur, Mercury and Sal-Nitre. God knew that the Fire in the elevation of its might and power would devour all that come in its way, if once it should be inflamed with his own Sulphur, Mercury and Sal-Nitre, and so spoil the work which he intended to bring forth.
In the third place, God brings forth the Water-essence, being the root of the fifth form, viz., the Light-essence. This Water is the food of the Fire, whereby its eager hunger is allayed, and its painful attraction stilled, and the effects of its Sulphureous, Mercurial and Salnitrous properties, palliated and concealed. This Water-spirit is placed at the bottom of the Fire-root, where the Fire finds its own Eternal refreshment in it self, and needs not to seek it elsewhere: yet the Fire-spirit cannot reach it by flying upwards, but by sinking down deep into his own root. Thus God brings down the pride of the Fire, by placing its food and refreshment into the deeps below it. No sooner had the Fire-spirit by sinking down into its own root, allayed its fierce hunger, and quenched its dry and insatiable thirst in the Water-essence, but it became as transported with joy, and said, O Blessed Element! How camest thou to be so near me, even in my very root and center and I not aware of thee? Behold! I have drunk deep of thy fountain and am satisfied: I have tasted thy sweetness, and am refreshed. O come and mingle thy softness and meekness with my strength and fierceness, that my anguishing hunger and painful thirst may no more be felt by me, but be swallowed up in satisfaction and delight! Thus you see how the Fire, by sinking down into its own root, mingles with the Water, and the Water raising it self penetrates the Fire, by which means the hunger and thirst of the Fire are mitigated and assuaged; not that they are quite taken away, but the attraction being more moderate, the thirst and hunger, which before were painful and anguishing, now become pleasing and delightful. "It is worth our observing here how all this is brought about, viz., by the Descent of the proud and self-elevating Fire-spirit, and the Ascent of the meek and humble Water-spirit: thus the Great Creator is pleased to abase the proud, and to exalt the humble and the meek."
Question. If you ask me whence this Water-essence derives its Original?
Answer. I answer, not immediately from the Divine Essence, but from the Abyssal Chaos, as hath been said before concerning the Darkness and Fire.
But in the fourth place, how excellent soever this Water-spirit is, yet it is not the full perfection of Eternal Nature; wherefore the Great Artist doth not stop here, but to the Water-essence supperadds the Light-essence, which is the fifth form: for God knowing that the Wrath-fire desired the Light, as a further step to its complete joy and satisfaction, he said, Let there be Light, and there was Light, which immediately darted its lustre and brightness through all the preceding forms of Eternal Nature; it made the Water clear and transparent, the Fire bright and luminous, and hid the Darkness in its own glory. Thus we see how useful and pleasing the Light is, to all the forms of Nature, causing them to move and penetrate in and through one another with great joy and delight. Here the Wrath-fire thus salutes the Eternal Light: Oh dear and precious Light, how welcome art thou unto me? Thy pleasantness, meekness and soft sweetness have fully satisfied all my longing desires. Again the Light embraceth the Fire and in the Fire the Darkness, and saith, Ye are both most dear unto me: thou Fire art my strength and might, thy fierceness is my Life, as my softness and pleasantness is thy food, wherefore let us delight to dwell in one another for ever.
Do you desire to be further informed concerning the nature and properties of this Eternal Light? You must know that words are not able to express the gladding sweetness, and meek softness of its nature, the Fire-spirit only can feel it, and is thoroughly sensible of it; for it transmutes its sullen darkness into smiling brightness, and its anguishing stinging property into a reviving and quickening warmth, such as the Sun gave forth in Paradise before the strife of contraries was known. Such is the blessed state of the Fire, when the Light comes to rule over it, when it sinks down and resigns it self to the Light, that its fierceness may be qualified with the soft meekness of the Light. O the wonderful pleasant birth of Light! Which by penetrating the Essences of Eternal Nature makes them wholly meek, sweet, soft and delightful, so that nothing but a pleasant sight, sweet small, delightful taste, ravishing sound, and soft pleasant feeling is to be found amongst them. Here the Darkness becomes lustrous, the Fire loseth its burning and scorching property, and becomes mild, luminous and quickening, and the Water clear and refreshing.
This Light (if we further enquire into its originality) doth immediately proceed from the Divine Essence, which is an increated Light, but this is created by that, and brought forth out of the Abyssal Chaos, as the Darkness, Fire and Water were before. It is placed by God in the root of the Water-essence, and from thence it shineth forth; and with its meek bright virtue penetrates and tinctures all the forms of Nature.
In the fifth place, God brings forth the Air, which blows up the Love-fire-essence, and together with it constitutes the sixth form of Eternal Nature. The Creator of all things knew, that the Fire-essence was placed between two dangerous enemies, the Darkness on the one hand, and the Water on the other; either the thick smoke of the Darkness might stifle and smother it, or the Water might overwhelm and drown it: wherefore that the Fire of his Eternal furnace might never be in danger of being extinguished, he brought forth the Air-essence to blow up the Fire that it might not go out. It si this Air-spirit that keeps the Wrath-fire in its due bounds, that it may neither bee too strong, nor too weak: for when it is too strong, it is in danger of drying up the Water, and when too weak, its attractive hunger will not be great enough to maintain its own being; for the hunger of the Fire is the cause and source of the Fire-life, in the Fire-essence. If the moderate thirst and hunger of the Wrath-fire were not preserved, the cause of Life, Sensibility and Mobility would be taken away, and there would remain nothing but an inactive dead Darkness, the Fire being extinguished.
This Air-spirit doth not only moderate the Wrath-fire, but it also blows up the Love-fire-essence, with which being united it constitutes the sixth form of Eternal Nature. This Love-fire hath its root in the Meek-water, from whence it springeth, as the Fierce-fire from the harsh astringent Darkness. It rises up through the Meek-light, as the Wrath-fire through the Darkness, and id blown up and preserved by the Air. This Love-fire doth not immediately proceed from the Divine Essence, which is an increated Fire-life, but this is created and brought forth out of the Abyssal Chaos. But the Love-fire, which proceeds immediately from the Divine-Essence, is the loveliest, pleasantest and sweetest birth of all, as Jacob Behme saith, for it makes all the forms of Nature joyful, pleasant and lovely. As soon as this Child of Love is born the whole birth of Eternal Nature stands in great Triumph of Divine Joy; all its Powers and Essences become substantial, and they do see, hear, smell, taste and feel one another in the most ravishing joyfulness beyond words and this pen's expression. For the Love-fire giveth forth it self for food to all the properties of Nature, it become unto them Eternal Bread and Wine, wherewith they are fed and refreshed for ever; which makes them all cry out, O Love! thou hast satisfied our hunger and quenched out thirst, nay thou hast stilled us with the highest exulting Joys; behold, we desire no longer to have any will of our own, but that all our wills may be thine, and so thy will may be our will; thou shalt have the dominion over us, only feed us with thy Heavenly food, and give us thy Wine to drink Eternally. When this Love-essence mingles with the Spirit it begets in him a Divine and Spiritual understanding, and opens his spiritual senses of Seeing, Hearing, Tasting, Smelling and Feeling: thus the blind properties of Nature come to see Spiritually and Intellectually, the Deaf to Hear, the Dumb to Sing, and the Barren to become Fruitful. This is the feeling Life of Nature, and proceeds from the Love-fire's-dominion in and over all its properties. When this Love-fire-tincture enters into the Dark-fire-forms, and comes to penetrate the burning Sulphur, poisonous Mercury and Sal-Nitre of the Fire-spirit, and to change them into its own Nature, there ariseth such triumphing Joy, charming Pleasure, ravishing Exstacy and Exultation, as none can imagine but those that have felt them, and tinctures them with such variety of beautiful sparkling colours, as surpasseth all the precious Stones and Gems of this visible Creation. This Love-fire-Tincture (as Jacob Behme declares) proceeds from the union of the Fire and Light, and it is the joy and end of Eternal Nature; neither is there any birth to be looked for or enjoyed, beyond this birth of Love; in which the Eternal beginning hath found the end of its own hand work, and is indeed the perfection and accomplishment of the five preceding forms of Eternal Nature.
And now in the last place, for a conclusion of all, the Creator beings forth the seventh form, in which the six forementioned working forms and properties do act and qualify, as the Soul in the Body. It is the House and dwelling place, and is the Eternal Earth, which gives the Eternal Substantiality and Corporeity to them all. Here they dwell in triumphant Joy; here they are all fed, with the Eternal food which the Love-essence gives forth unto them, and circle in and through one another, in the greatest Unity and Harmony in the triumphant joy of the Love-essence, which pierceth through them all. Thus you see the birth of Eternal Nature, full complete and perfect; you see her in comely garments wherewith she was arrayed when she came out of the hands of her great Creator: you see all her Variety and Diversity centred in Love's Harmony, all contrariety and strife banished from her Court.
But before we leave this prospect of Eternal Nature's excellence and perfection, Let us consider,
First, That amongst all her distinct forms there is no disorder or confusion.
Secondly, That the variety and diversity of forms which are in her do not produce the least strife or contrariety, but are all reduced to a perfect agreement in Love's Harmony. All the seven have but one will, one desire, and one joy and pleasure: And indeed how could it be otherwise? Since the God of Love, Peace, and Unity could not be the Author of contrariety in Eternal Nature's Essence. out of which he was to bring forth his whole Host of Creatures; and thus much concerning the perfection of Eternal Nature's Essence.
10. Answer. In the tenth place, Eternal Nature's Essence is a Blessed and Happy Essence; I do not mean that she is the Summum Bonum, the most High and Sovereign happiness, for that is only to be found in the Divine Essence; but that he is so far happy and blessed as a created Essence is capable of being. This happiness of Eternal Nature consists in this, that she is free form al, contrariety, strife, misery and anguish, as hath been but even now declared at large.
Neither indeed could it be otherwise, except we will make God to be the Author of contrariety, misery, pain and death, which is directly contrary to his nature, and even to what the Holy Scriptures testify concerning him; No, Eternal Nature as she came out of the hand of her great Creator was all beautiful, all spotless, all happy; no strife, misery, or death to be found in any borders of her dominion. Neither do I in this assertion contradict Jacob Behme, because he speaks of Eternal Nature in her divided properties, as she was after the fall of Angels; but I speak of her as she came out of God's hand, all good, harmonious, perfect and blessed.
Now since it hath been declared before, that the perfection, happiness and triumphant joyfulness of Eternal Nature is chiefly placed in her sixth and last active form (the seventh being only as the body, or house, wherein they operate) viz., in the Love-essence, the question may be put.
Question. Why God placed the happiness of Eternal Nature neither in the beginning, nor middle, but in the end of it?
Answer. To which I answer, That the Holy Trinity created Eternal Nature to be a Palace for them to dwell in; now as in a Royal Palace we must pass through many rooms and apartments, before we come to the Presence-chamber of the Prince; so in Eternal Nature the forms of darkness must be passed through and after these the Fire and Water, before we can come to the Love-fire, which the Holy Trinity hath chosen for his Presence-chamber, out of all the forms of Eternal Nature. God will not have his creatures to rush in of a sudden into his all-glorious presence, and therefore hath so ordered it that many doors must be passed by them, and many locks opened, before they can come to His Presence, whom to see and know is Eternal bliss and happiness. Wherefore thrice happy is the man, who by walking this path of pure Nature, hath passed the Gates of Darkness, Bitterness and Anguish, and after them the Gate of the Fierce-fire, and at length through Water, Light and Air, hath made his way to the Love-fire-essence; where he meets with Eternal Rest, Liberty and triumphant Joy, as being come to that point where the end hath found the beginning and where the beginning and the end are joined together never to be parted again for ever.
Answer 11. The Principle of Eternal Nature, is a Passive Principle, the Active power of it being derived from the Holy Trinity, who have introduced themselves to act and work in the same, and to bring forth Creatures out of it. She is indeed the Mother of all beings, but as a Woman cannot bring forth without a Man; so Eternal Nature would have continued barren for ever, without the Active power of the Deity had impregnated her, to the end she might be the fruitful Mother of all things.
Answer 12. The Principle of Eternal Nature is a subjected and subordinating Principle, as appears, because she is created by God, and therefore cannot be co-equal with the Deity, not more than the Creature can be with the Creator: she is placed below the Globe of Eternity, is influenced from the same, and doth depend upon it: therefore must needs be a subjected and subordinated Principle. We may hence gather the absurdity of that Atheihical Principle which makes All-mighty Matter to be the Cause of all things; for we see here clearly that Eternal Nature, the matter of all things, is wholly Passive and subordinate to the will and power of her Great Creator, in whose Hand she is as clay in the hand of the Potter.
Answer 13. In the last place if it be asked, what kind of Principle Eternal Nature is? I answer, that it is a useful and serviceable Principle, and that because it fully answers to all those ends for which it was created by God: but more especially the usefulness thereof appears in these following particulars.
First, Because the Principle of Eternal Nature, is as it were the body of the Holy Trinity wherein they live, act and move; as the Soul doth in our Bodies, and is therefore called the Eternal Humanity, and Eternal pure substantiality: for without this Principle of pure Nature, the Holy Trinity is all pure Deity, without any covering whatsoever; whereas in this Principle, the Deity is clothed upon with Eternal Humanity; which conjunction of the Deity with Humanity is the greatest mystery, next to that of the Holy Trinity; by means of which the Holy Trinity convey their pure Deity, which is all Life, Power and Virtue through the Principle of Eternal Nature.
Secondly, The usefulness of Eternal Nature's Principle appears, in that it is become the Palace and Habitation. God's first and most glorious Palace is the still Eternity, or the Eternal World which he generated out of himself, that it might be the first and most proper habitation for himself; but his second Palace, or dwelling place is the Principle of Eternal Nature.
Thirdly, In the third place, the usefulness of Eternal Nature's Principle appears, in that it is God's workhouse wherein the great and wonderful Potter hath laid up not only a sufficiency of Materials, but also of tools and instruments for all Creations. Here is the great and Universal treasury of that Clay of which all things are made; and here is the Eternal turning wheel with which they are framed and fashioned.
Fourthly, Eternal Nature's Principle is the Wardrobe of the Deity, where all the variety of vestures and clothing, wherewith the Holy Trinity are pleased at any time to cover themselves, are laid up. All the forms of Eternal Nature, Darkness, Fire, Light, Water, &c. , are but so many vehicles, or rather vestures of the Deity, wherewith he veileth his pure-naked essential Glory. Wherefore he is also termed a God that hideth himself, even his pure Deity with and under the forms of Eternal Nature.
Fifthly, In the fifth place, the usefulness of Eternal Nature's Principle appears, in that it is the Conduit-pipe through which the golden oil and water of Life, together with the Divine Virtue of the Heavenly Tincture, is conveyed to the Creature. Pure Nature's Principle is the silver-pipe through which the Golden oil of the Holy Tincture, which flows from the Union of Fire and Light, is conveyed, and is the mean by which the Holy Trinity, with the wonders of Eternity, come to be manifested, felt, tasted and enjoyed; and therefore must needs be a very useful and necessary Principle.
Sixthly, In the sixth and last place, Eternal Nature's Principle is the field wherein is hid the inestimable Pearl of the Holy Trinity: It is the Cabinet wherein is contained the Jewel of wonder, viz., the Deity in pure Humanity: whosoever it is that finds this Pearl doth, together with it, find all the wonders of the Holy Trinity. The Pearl indeed is one thing and the field, or rich Cabinet another, yet is both field and Cabinet very useful to keep and conceal the precious stone of Eternal Wisdom, which is fast locked up in this Cabinet, and lies deep buried in this field, and whosoever will find it must dig deep for it.
But you will say, where shall I find this field? I answer the field is in thy self: if thou canst find in thy self the Union of Fire and Light, and these two qualifying together in one Essence, then thou hast met with the place where this noble stone is hid, and thou needest seek no further. And thus much shall suffice to have spoken concerning the Principle of Eternal Nature. I shall now proceed to the fourth general head, or the last part of this discourse, concerning God's introducing of himself into Eternal Nature.
The end of the Third Part.
Soli sapienti Deo Gloria.
The Fourth Part.
Concerning God in Eternal Nature.
The Mystical Divines do make mention of two great Mysteries in the Divine Nature; the first is the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity, which respects the Deity in their single, solitary and abstracted Essence: the second Mystery, is the Deity in Humanity and Humanity in the Deity, which concerns God as being introduced and subsisting in Eternal Nature. I have in the former part of this discourse treated of the first of these; and do now intend in this Chapter to speak of the Matter, and that by opening this proposition, that God hath introduced himself into the principle of Eternal Nature.
Which Proposition you will find explained in these following particulars.
1. In the first place, when I say that God hath introduced himself into Eternal Nature, I understand that the Blessed Trinity, Father Son and Holy Ghost, have introduced themselves into Eternal Nature. The Father with his intellectual, all seeing Eye, the Son with his flaming Heart of Love, and the Holy Ghost with his out-flowing acting Power.
2. Secondly, when I say that God introduced himself, &c. I do include the Eternal Wisdom which God introduced together with himself into the principle of Eternal Nature.
3. In the third place, God introduced himself into Eternal Nature together with his essential Love, which is the holy Nature of the Trinity, according to that of the Apostle John, God is Love.
Objection. But some may object, That the Divine Nature doth not only consist in Love, but also in Light and Life, which are attributed to the Holy Trinity as well as Love.
Solution. To which I answer, That Love, in the sense I take it, doth include both Light and Life, for this essential Love, is all Light and all Life; so that neither death, nor darkness can come near it. Now we must know that this essential Love is the unchangeable Nature of the Trinity, and therefore we must not think that the Divine Nature is changed by being brought into and clothed upon with Eternal Nature, and from Love turned to Wrath, or from Meekness to Severity. No, by no means: for as God is all Love in himself, so he is the same in Eternal Nature.
Quest. But you will say, how can this be reconciled with Scripture which attributes Wrath, Anger, Severity and Justice to God.
Answer. I answer, that when the Scripture speaks of God's Anger, Wrath and Severity, it hath regard to God's manifesting of himself in and through Eternal Nature as it is infected and defiled by sin. Whereas when I say, that the manifestation of God in Nature is all Love, I speak of Nature in its purity, before it was infected by the fall of Lucifer, and when all its forms and properties were harmonised to the most perfect concord and Unity: for in this state nothing but Love, which is the unchangeable Nature of God, was to be found in Eternal Nature's principle.
4. In the last place, I say, God introduced the seven Spirits before the Throne together with himself into Eternal Nature; else these seven Spirits could never have been seen, or manifested in Eternal Nature's principle; but the Scripture oft makes mention of them as introduced into Eternal Nature; so they were represented to John, in the first Chapter of the Revelation as existing in Mount-Zion, or the New Jerusalem-principle, which was brought forth out of Eternal Nature.
And thus much shall suffice to have spoken of the first part, or subject of this proposition, which is God: we now proceed to the predicate which is Eternal Nature.
2. Now by Eternal Nature, into which it is said that God hath introduced himself, we are to understand Eternal Nature in its purity, not as defiled with sin; for the Holy Trinity would never of their own free-will have introduced themselves into any thing that was defiled or impure. Again, we are to understand that when God introduced himself into Eternal Nature, that she stood yet in her original Unity, Simplicity and Harmony, without any duality or contrariety: for the Holy Trinity would never have entered with their Divine Nature of Love, into that where division, disagreement and contrariety had taken place. No, Eternal Nature was without strife or contest, without any mixture of Good and Evil, or Light and Darkness, but was perfectly harmonized; or else the blessed Trinity could not have made it the habitation of their Divine Love-Essence. And thus we see in what sense we are to take Eternal Nature, when we speak of God's introducing himself into it.
3. I come now to the third and last particular in the foregoing proposition which may need some explication, which is the word introduced, how it is to be understood, and in what sense we are to take it in this place. 'When we say that the Holy Trinity have introduced themselves into Eternal Nature, we mean nothing else, but the Union of the Blessed Trinity with Eternal Nature, and Eternal Nature's Union with the Blessed Trinity, which is the full meaning of God's introduction of himself into Eternal Nature's principle.' Here the Deity subsists in its Eternal Humanity, and Eternal Humanity subsists in Union with the Deity: God in Nature, and Nature in God; and thus God and Nature are in one another, because God hath introduced his Divine Nature of Love into Eternal Nature's pure principle.
The Nature of which Union I shall explain and open to you in these following particulars.
1. First, then I say, that this Union of God with Eternal Nature is a true, real, essential and most intimate Union. In every Union these three things are to be found, and meet together, viz., the Uniter, the thing United, and the Union it self, which joins the Uniter and United together. In this Union of God with Eternal Nature the Uniter is the Blessed Trinity, the thing United is the principle of Eternal Nature; and the Union of them both is the Divine Nature of Love, 'now this Love, which is the link and tie of both the Uniter and United, is the essential Love of the Deity, wherefore this Union must needs be an essential and most intimate Union': It is a kind of incorporation, the Uniter and United penetrating and mixing with one another: and therefore this Union of God and Eternal Nature in Love's Essence is compared to a Nuptial Union, because God hath as it were espoused himself with Eternal Nature, as a pure, spotless and undefiled Virgin, in an indissoluble band, which is the band of Essential Love.
2. In the second place, this Union of God with Eternal Nature is an Eternal Union; for no sooner was the principle of Eternal Nature brought forth, but the Holy Trinity introduced themselves into it, and this was before the foundation of the Angelical World was laid, and consequently from Eternity Quo ad nos, so it must be understood by us.
3. In the third and last place, this Union is an unchangeable and inseparable Union; and that because the band and tie of this Union is the Eternal unchangeable Love of God.
Question. But you will say, that God's Love may be changed into anger, which is the bond of this Union, and consequently the Union itself may be changed?
Answer. To which I answer, by denying that God's Love can be changed into anger in Eternal Nature, as she stands in purity and perfection, before the coming in of sin; because in that state neither Eternal Nature, nor any thing in it could be the subject of God's Anger, Hatred, Severity, or Justice. Wherefore though in fallen Nature we perceive the effects of God's Love and Hatred, Mercy and Justice, Sweetness and Severity, yet in pure Nature, into which God hath introduced himself and concerning which we speak here, nothing can ever be found but the effects of an unchangeable Love: which unchangeable Love is that bond, which makes the inseparable Union between God and pure Nature, between the Deity and Humanity. This Love is that which after a vital manner doth pass through and penetrate all and every part of Eternal Nature, and Eternal Nature presseth into the Love, which makes the Union of them both most intimate, vital and inseparable; so that we may say, who shall, or who can separate God and pure Nature? Or who can disannul the Eternal Covenant between them? But yet notwithstanding all that hath been said concerning this Union between God and pure Nature's principle, we are to understand that this Union is not without confusion, so as God is not pure Nature, nor pure Nature God, for though one be in the other; yet God comprehends Nature, but Nature cannot comprehend the Deity.
Question. But here it may be enquired, what were the ends and motives why the Blessed Trinity introduce themselves and entred into so intimate a Union with pure Nature's Principle?
Answer. To which enquiry I shall answer with these following particulars.
1. Reason. Why the Trinity brought forth themselves into pure Nature's Principle, was for the manifestation of themselves in it and by it. For though they were manifested to themselves and simplified Spirits in the still Eternity, yet they desired a further manifestation of themselves to Creatures which lay hid in the Womb of Eternal Nature, and for this reason did they enter into Union with it.
2. Reason. A second motive or reason was, that the Holy Trinity might glorify and exalt their own Divine Nature of Eternal Love in those Worlds and Creatures, which were to be brought forth from the womb of Eternal Nature. In the still Eternity there were indeed an infinite number of simplified Spirits, who dwelling in the Centre of Love, did glorify and exalt the Divine Nature of Love, which was all in all to them. But the design of God was to have his Eternal Love glorified and exalted in an infinite variety of Creatures and beings, who might all in their several ranks, and according to their several capacities exalt and glorify Love; and so make up the Divine Consort and Harmony, which cannot be without variety.
3. Reason. Why the Holy Trinity have introduced themselves into Eternal Nature was, for the manifestation of their Sovereignty and Supremacy. For how could their Sovereignty be manifested without variety of Dominions and Subjects? Now both these were brought forth out of the womb of Eternal Nature by the Holy Trinity. The dominions were those several Worlds, which were created out of Nature's principle, and the Subjects were the numberless number of Creatures, which were the inhabitants of each of those Worlds and Principles, and by both of these, the Sovereignty of the Holy Trinity was fully declared and manifested; which was one reason why they introduced themselves into Eternal Nature.
4. Reason. Was for the manifestation of their Eternal Power, Wisdom and Goodness in the creating of so many Worlds, visible and invisible, together with such an infinite variety of creatures to store and replenish them. As also in the ordering, governing and disposing of them for the obtaining of those glorious ends for which they were created. Nothing can more expressly declare and manifest the divine Power, Wisdom and Goodness, than the Creating and Governing of so many Worlds and Creatures, as were brought forth from the womb of Eternal Nature.
5. Reason. Why the Holy Trinity introduced themselves into Eternal Nature, was, for the executing their Eternal Goodwill, decrees and purposes and bringing them into act. For the Eternal Goodwill and purpose of the Holy Trinity was to manifest their own Glory in the Creation of Worlds, and an infinite variety of Creatures which were to be the inhabitants of the same, out of Eternal Nature's Principle: wherefore for the effecting and bringing about of these designs they introduced themselves into Eternal Nature, that so it, being impregnated by the Divine Love-Essence might give a being to those Worlds and Creatures, which had been from all Eternity in the purpose and decree of the Holy Trinity.
6. Reason. The sixth reason why God introduced himself into Eternal Nature, was, for the glorification of Nature, by means of its union with the Divine Essence of Love. I told you before, that one main reason why the Trinity introduced themselves into Nature was for the manifesting of the Glory of their Divine Nature, and now I come to tell you, that it was for the Glorification of Nature; that Nature might be exalted to the highest degree of Glory it was capable of, by its union with the Deity. Eternal Nature indeed in its own Essence was pure and spotless, but its Glory is from the union it had with the Deity, who penetrates it through and through, and communicates of his own glory unto it, glorifying it in, with and through himself. Now to the end that Nature might thus be made partaker of the Divine Glory, it pleased the Holy Trinity to enter into and unite Eternal Nature to themselves.
7. Reason. The last reason, why the Holy Trinity united themselves to Eternal Nature, was, that they might be the supreme acting, governing and moving power in and throughout the pure principle of Nature, and thereby become the sole author, and the all in all of the motions of Nature. But I do not say that the Trinity is the sole mover in the principle of defiled and fallen Nature, for there the Dragon and the Beast have established their Dominions, and are very active in stirring in it. And though we cannot deny but God is in fallen Nature, yet not to the same end, for which he was pleased to introduce himself into pure Nature, that he might be the sole mover and actor in it, and thereby to keep and preserve it in its original purity: whereas the end why God entered into fallen Nature was that he might redeem it and restore it to its original purity, from whence it is fallen.
Question. But you will say, How can the high purity of the Divine Nature be preserved in the unclean vessel of defiled and corrupted Nature?
Answer. To which I answer, That if we consider what hath been said of the Divine Nature, we shall find this objection fully satisfied, for I told you that the Divine Nature is the highest unity and simplicity, and consequently cannot admit of any mixture or composition with any thing: and again I told you that the Divine Nature was an Eternal Liberty, being free from all; though being in and penetrating through all, like the beams of the Sun, which though they pierce the Air and Water, penetrating them throughout, yet are they not mixed, or jumbled with them, but abide in their perfect liberty and untouched from either of them.
And now for a conclusion, we may draw this corollary from what hath been said, that the Divine Nature and glory of the Deity is hid in Nature, as a Jewel in a Cabinet, or as a treasure hid in a field. Indeed in pure Nature this Jewel is easily found, for there it lies open, and sheds its lustre, whereby it discovers itself; but in impure Nature it lies deep hid and buried, and cannot be discovered, but with great pains and difficulty. Yet some holy souls have found this Pearl in their own fallen nature, and thereby have attained to the possession of the Blessed Trinity in themselves; and through their Baptism into the Nature of the Father, Son and Spirit, are arrived to perfection by the redemption, purification and transmutation of their impure natures, and so restored again to their Original purity. These were called in those days wise men, and Lovers of wisdom, and holy souls, from their high Union to and with the Divine Nature of Love.
Thus for a conclusion you see how God the Father hath introduced himself into the principle of pure Nature, as an Eternal Eye, to see through all Nature's Globe, and together with himself, his Eternal flaming Heart of Love, as an Eternal spring flowing continually through all the principle of Eternal Nature for its delight and refreshment, and his Spirit of Life to be the supreme moving motion throughout the whole Essence of pure Nature. Thus much may suffice to have been spoken of what God is in Pure Nature.
Having hitherto given you an account concerning the Principles of Eternal Nature, we are next to speak of the Generations of it, that is, the numerous off-spring of Worlds and Creatures which were manifested from her fruitful womb, which I intend shall be, and now have made it to be the Subject of my second Tract, Treatise or Book, namely of the Angels, and herewith shall put an end to the first, wherein I have endeavoured to declare these three Propositions:
1. What the Nature of the Holy Trinity is out of Eternal Nature
2. What Eternal Nature is.
3. What God is in pure Eternal Nature, cuius nullus:
Mf.98 Reel 847.
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