Fludd Mosaical Philosophy Book 1, Chapter 1.Back to Mosaical Philosophy page
In this Chapter it is demonstrated that God is that pure and catholic Unity, which includes and comprehends in itself all multiplicity.
As there is no man, be he never so highly exalted in the sphere of Mathematical perfection, or profoundly dived into the mystical bowels of the abstrutest Arithmetic, that can with the quick eye-sight of his ripest understanding, observe or descry any thing, either by order or antiquity, to challenge justly unto itself, a place or rank before Unity (and for this reason, the wisest philosophers do ingenuously confess that it is the only principle or root of all number and multitude. So also ought each person of judgment to acknowledge, that this radical Identity, as it is considered in its pure and absolute nature and condition, cannot be limited by any quantitative dimension, nor yet included or comprehended by any member, nor divided into distinct portions, nor yet defined by any substantial quiddity or entity. And hereupon it has been judiciously concluded by wise men, that Unity is the most ancient and radical principle of all others, for as much as it comprehends in itself all substances, qualities, and quantities no otherwise than the Geometric prick or point, being considered in its naked simplicity, is observed to be indivisible, and scarcely to be perceived as if it were nothing to be determined, and yet nevertheless, the prick or point is evidently known to be the infallible beginning, not only of every Geometrical line, but also of all other continuated Mathematical dimensions whatsoever, seeing that it comprehends all magnitudes, and is not comprehended by any.
These two principles of all dimensions whatsoever, since that they in order, rank, and antiquity, do precede and excel all others, did the expert Mathematicians invent, after the typical imitation or image of the most internal central, and abstruse point of Divinity, or divinest and brightest Unity, remaining in that very estate in which it stood before the creation of the world, namely when it reserved itself within itself, and remained occult and hidden from all potential creatures, which it was pleased afterward, by revealing of itself, or emission of its vivifying light, to enact and make manifest for its abode in its simple and absolute nature of unity, without having any respect or consideration to things which it would create.
So that in this manner of this Unity's being and existence, it could not be esteemed for God, for as much as hitherto it had not produced any creature, by which it might be adorned or acknowledged as God. Neither could it rightfully be styled or termed a Father, for it did not appear to have thought on any Son or issue, either Archetypal and ideal, or typical and mundane. Neither could it be refuted as the Sumum Bonum, or highest goodness, being that the deformed matter or dark Chaos, or rather Hyle, did not as yet taste of that his bright and all-enacting blessing, which was concealed and hidden in its potential darkness and obscurity, which was therefore void of all form. Neither could it be entitled fair, for as much as it did not hitherto impart its beauty, for the decoration or enacting of any creature. For could it rightly be said to be eternity, being that in this manner of its occultation within itself, it seemed unto human capacity not to exist at all, and consequently not to have any reference or commerce with either eternity, or aeviality, or temporality. Moreover it could not assume or challenge unto itself the name of principle, because it had no relation as yet to any thing that did spring or issue from any beginning. To conclude, the nature of this simple Monadic existence, was before all created, so occult and obscure unto mortals apprehension, and in its order and antiquity so unknown, and so inscrutable and incomprehensible in its essence, that it could not in any way be concluded to be either substance, or quantity, or quality, but rather was conceived to be a certain transcendent entity or existence, reserved only in itself, and consisting of itself, not having any principle root or beginning to spring from, and exist by, but only from and of itself, in whose Divine Puissance as in a place without end or limits, all things which are now explicitly apparent, were then complicity contained, although in regard of our capacity, they were esteemed nothing.
And for this reason, such persons as were conversant in the laws of the true 'wisdom, have enacted in their never dying Registers, that this mystical infinity, when it was thus wrapped in the gloomy clew, or profound abyss of darkness, and remained as it were vacant, or resting in itself, without any action, or (as they say, having regard or respect unto nothing, was therefore termed in Hebrew, Ain, that is to say, Nihil, Non finis, Non Ens, and in plain English, nothing at all in our imagination, because the tenuity and poverty of man's capacity and ingenuity in the regard of Divine things is such that it is accustomed to judge and imagine that which appears not manifestly unto the sight, not to be or exist at all. For this reason, the wisest persons in the abstruse and hidden Cabal, have termed this original Unity in its secret disposition Aleph tenebrosum, or the obscure and dark Aleph, which Hebrew letter is received among the Jews and Cabalistical rabbis, as the figure of One in Arithmetic, and in consequence it is Hieroglyphically taken for God, as he is understood to be that absolute Monady or Unity, which only was in itself, and did abide and rest in itself, without any action of emanation, which afterwards he did use when he was pleased to operate in Creation. And therefore the wise Philosopher Hermes (not disagreeing in this from the Holy Scripture says,
"Unity or Identity did shine only to itself, and in itself, and not to any thing else." (Pimander 12)
And Moses confirms this saying of that wise Philosopher, "the darkness was on the face of the deep".
By this therefore may wise men discern and contemplate, though afar off, what the Potentia, or puissance divine was, before any creature did explicitly appear out of darkness, as also they may easily gather what is the true principle and foundation of Darkness, namely the enclosing or retaining of the actual beams or light of immortal life, and being in this bright fundamental unity, in which is no darkness, so that the Original Darkness can be reputed for nothing else, but the absence of the radical Unity's bright emanation, which is the fountain of all action. Neither can that Divine vivifying and creating light be present, when the will of that simple and absolute essence in Unity is not minded to send forth unto deformity the treasure of its informing beams.
And hereupon it follows of necessity, that darkness was upon the face of the abyss, and that the earth was void and without form, before the Divine 3ssence did shine forth, and that darkness was made the tabernacle of rest, and repose, because where the Divine act or sacred emanation is absent, all things are only potential, and consequently without actual verity, being as it were stark dead, and without life or motion, and that the property of coldness and stupidity had dominion during that private estate, because heat is engendered by motion only, and motion has its beginning from Light, and all brightness flows from this Unity, which is termed the Father and Fountain of all Light. Wherefore it follows, that if this Divine essence retain itself in itself, then the dark Chaos reserved only in the Divine Puissance, or Potentia Divine, must be deprived of motion, and that it is inclined to inspissation and condensation, by reason of its congealing and cold property, which does thicken and make gross by contraction, and that it is the fountain of all privation and an enemy unto the creatures life and being, because it is contrary to action, motion and heat, which are the hand-maids of the Divine emanation, and consequently it is the fountain of death, deformity, and non-entity.
To conclude, as Light is the origin of life, position, act, motion, and in a word, of the Volunty of God in his revealed nature, so also is this primordial darkness, the head and well-spring of death, privation, rest or vacancy, and in brief, of the Divine essence's Nolunty. And hereupon the Scriptures do Justify, that when God did send forth his salutiferous beams, and manifest unto his creatures the light of his countenance,
"they are refreshed with goodness and life. When he in part does hide his face, and withdraweth his lively and vivifying beams from them they grow sick and their spirits are troubled ; but if he totally withdraw his aspect of life from them, they do immediately expire and breath their last." (Psalm 104, 29)
Whereupon also Moses,
"God forsaketh the wicked and hideth his face from them, that much mischief may befall them." (Deuteronomy 31, 17)
"How long wilt thou hide thy face from me ? Make me glad with thy countenance, thy visitation doth conserve my spirit." (Psalm 13, 1)
Whereby it appears that this Divine essence, observes as well after his creation of the world as before it, both the action of his Nolunty and his Volunty. In the first whereof, he withdraws or withholds that virtue of life from the creature, which is the act of privation, in the last he gives life and preservation to it. For by this, his dilatative property, he created the world and all things therein.
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