John Pordage - Theologia Mystica
Transcribed by Adam McLean
The Mystic Divinitie
The Archetypous Globe, or the
Original Globe, or World of all Globes,
Worlds, Essences, Centres, Elements, Principles
and Creations whatsoever.
A Work never Existant before.
Isa. LVII.15. Thus saith the High, &c. who
inhabiteth ĘTERNITIE, &c.
Rev. I.8. I am ALPHA and OMEGA, &c.
By a Person of Qualitie
J P M D
London, Printed, Anno Dom. 1683.
The Author to the Reader.
So I would have you to be. Read, then weigh and seriously consider what you read, and then judge, and then reject what thou dost not like. But yet not rashly condemn what thou in thy present state cannest not comprehend. Let it lie by thee, it may be better understood in another state. Because the author's philosophy proceeds, note that, from the centre, and not from others. And so writes in an unknown way and unusual method. And therefore at first reading the style and the expressions of it may seem something unpleasant; but let patience be thy companion to carry thee in reading it, from the beginning to the end, and then the bitterness and harshness of it may be turned into a sweet pleasantness, and may cause a delight in your reading it over the second time. I only court your appetite to read it over with judgment, and then judge what you please. I write not to gain disciples, nor to make a sect or party, nor to make divisions in the world. There are too many sects, schisms, and divisions in the world already; but only to declare the interest of truth, who is able to preserve herself from all the falsities of this present age. Therefore do not blind your own mind with prejudices before you read, for how then should you understand, or perceive what you read? So I rest.
In the Love of Jesus,
J P M D.
An Explanation of the Scheme of the Eight Worlds, Globes, Centers, and their Situation.
A. Affordeth the view of the Archetypal Globe or World which is the first and containeth the other in its circumference; as the figure demonstrateth.
B. Would have you behold Eternal Nature: whose circle, see, doth enclose all the worlds.
C. Carrieth you to the Angelical World.
D. Declareth the Dark Fire-World.
E. Entreth you into the Fire-Light-World.
F. Pointeth forth the Light-Fire-World.
G. Giveth you the sight of the four Elementary World.
H. Holdeth out the Light Fireless-World.
We may further observe from this figure that all the worlds, or principles, are comprehended in the first which is the Eternal World; because it is the first of all worlds, containing all, itself contained of none, and the beginning and end of all worlds, principles and creations.
Another thing to be observed is that Eternal Nature
[incomplete - difficult to read off microfilm.]
This first Treatise is concerning these four general Heads.
The first is, what is God in the primary being of himself before the Globe of Eternity was in existence?
The second is, what is God in the original being of himself, in the Globe of Eternity before Eternal Nature was in being?
The third is, what is pure Eternal Nature with all her working forms, elements, principles and inseparable essences?
The fourth is, what is God in pure Eternal Nature's essence.
All these four particulars are handled in order to a second treatise, which is to speak of those many particular and distinct principles which were extracted out of the eternal principle of pure Nature; according to Jacob Behmen's philosophical hypotheses and his theological maxims, in order to take off that veil of obscurity, that seems to spread itself over and through all his deep and mystical writings.
The First Head
What God is before the Globe of Eternity.
The subject of this chapter is, what God is in the primary and original being of himself, before the Globe of Eternity did exist.
Question: If you ask me, what this God is, that was before the Globe of Eternity was brought into manifestation?
Answer: I answer, that by God in this place I understand the Spirit of Eternity himself, as he is an Eternal unity and simplicity. But what this Eternal unity and simplicity of himself is, who can tell but himself, it being unknowable to any besides himself. For no creature can comprehend an infinite, unsearchable and incomprehensible Creator: therefore none can know what the Spirit of Eternity is, out of the Globe of Eternity, but himself alone. The first manifestation of himself is in the Globe of Eternity, there he first becomes knowable to intellectual creatures: but without and beyond it, he is as a nothing to all created understandings, being hid and wrapped up in his own unsearchable mystery. Wherefore we conclude, That God, considered as existing before the Globe of Eternity, is absolutely unknowable to all creatures; and this leads me to the second head or particular which is handled in the next following chapter.
The Second Head, which makes the second part of this Treatise.
What God is in the primary, and original being of himself, in the Globe of Eternity, before Eternal Nature's principle was in being.
If you ask me what God is, as he exists in the Globe of Eternity, without and before Eternal Nature's principle? I must, before I come to give you a more particular answer to this query, advise you, that the knowledge of God as he exists in the Globe of Eternity, without Eternal Nature, is a very deep and mystical knowledge, though it is true withal, that in the Globe of Eternity God is much more knowable, than without it in the solitary abstracted being of himself, for so he is altogether unknowable and incomprehensible. Having premised this, I now come to answer the foregoing question by explaining these two following particulars, viz.
1. What God is, with relation to the Globe of Eternity.
2. What the Globe of Eternity is, wherein God, the Spirit of Eternity, doth manifest himself.
Which particulars I intend to make the subject matters of two chapters, which are all to make up this second part.
Concerning what God is, in relation to his existence in the Globe of Eternity.
The Deity existing in the Globe of Eternity is nothing else but, first, a Spirit of Eternity; and this Spirit of Eternity is an uncreated essence: for he could not be a spirit, without being an essence, and were he not uncreated, he could not be the Spirit of Eternity.
Secondly, again the Spirit of Eternity, or God, as he is an uncreated essence, so he exists and subsists in himself and from himself; for there is nothing before him or above him, from whence he might receive his being; and if there was, he could not be God; for the notion of a God (in the sense in which it is here taken) implies a first original being or existence, that is before and gives existence to all other beings, being himself independent of them all. And therefore it is, that God styles himself the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Therefore we must conclude that all worlds and all creatures derive their being from this Spirit of Eternity, and consequently that the Globe of Eternity, or Eternal World, hath its existence from him: since there is nothing can be excepted from being the effect of this universal, all-comprehending cause. This the Scripture doth often inculcate to us, I. John 3. By him all things are made, and without him nothing was made. And again, Collossians 1, 16. All things were created by him and for him. Now if this be so, it follows that the Eternal World or Globe of Eternity was also created by him. And as the Spirit of Eternity is the creator of the Globe of Eternity; so by consequence he must be supposed to be before it, as the cause is before the effect, which neither may, nor can be confounded together.
In the third place, I say that the Spirit of Eternity is the Essence of all Essences, and the Cause of all Causes. For this Spirit of Eternity is the one only true God, from whom all other beings do at first derive their being, and in and by whom they are continued in their subsistence; neither could He otherwise be the first and the last, the beginning and end of all things.
Lastly, the Spirit of Eternity, is an eternal, incomprehensible, and unmeasurable Unity. Now this Eternal Unity is nothing else but pure Deity, and pure Deity is an Eternal Unity: for as an unity is the beginning of all numbers; so is this Eternal Unity the beginning of all beings. Now if God be an Eternal Unity, it follows, that there can be no more than one God, because a plurality of gods would destroy the nature of unity. Besides if there were a plurality of gods, there must be supposed to be many firsts and many beginnings, and so the one only God, the Spirit of Eternity, could not be this Alpha, or first and beginning of all things. But the Scriptures do peremptorily assert that there is but one God, so Deuteronomy 6.[ ] Here O Israel, the Lord our God is one God.
Concerning the Holy Trinity.
From this Eternal Unity, the Holy Trinity is manifested, of which I must speak somewhat in this place, because they subsisted in the Eternal Unity of themselves before the Globe of Eternity was manifested, and were manifesters of it, and therefore must needs be before it. Now we must know that the Holy Trinity are inseparably united, and do subsist in the Eternal Unity of themselves, and are co-operators in all generations and creations whatsoever.
Concerning the nature of the Holy Trinity as they subsist in the Globe of Eternity.
The nature of the Holy Trinity considered in themselves, as they exist in the Globe of Eternity, without and before Eternal Nature, is a very great mystery. Many disapprove that the word Person should be applied to the Trinity, because their spirits, in the sight of vision, and light of revelation, never could perceive any personality in the Holy Trinity. And indeed nothing is more true, than that there are no figurative persons in the Deity. Neither doth the Scripture in any place tell us of three persons in the Trinity, but when it speaks of the Trinity it expresses itself thus; There be three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one; I, John 5, 7. Hence it is that mystical writers instead of the word Person, make use of the words of number to signify the Trinity by, calling the Father Monas, the Word, Duas, and the Holy Ghost Trias, which may be interpreted the first, second and third number. And if all would keep to these expressions it would take away much contention about words.
There are others who are so far displeased with the word Person that they would only have the Trinity to be three denominations of one and the same thing: but this is too short to express the essential distinction of Father, Son and Spirit, and is as much in one extreme, as the word Person is in the other.
I now proceed to open the mystery of the Holy Trinity which consists in two particulars, viz. Unity in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.
And first concerning Unity in Trinity.
The essential Unity varies forth itself into an eternal Trinity: were there no Unity, there could be no Trinity, because from the Unity, the Holy Trinity doth proceed, as from its eternal ground.
Objection: But you will say, if the Eternal Unity be the ground whence the Holy Trinity doth proceed, then there is a quaternity in the God-Head.
Answer: This is a mistake, for the Eternal Unity, is the Father; were there no Father, there would be no Son, nor Holy Ghost, therefore here is no quaternity, but a trinity. Thus you see the Father hath varied forth himself into the Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son, nor the Son the Father, and the Holy Ghost is neither the Father nor the Son, but they are distinct in themselves. This distinction of the Holy Trinity, the scripture teacheth us in the place cited, I. John 5, 7, where they are distinguished.
First, by their names, Father, Word and Spirit.
Secondly, by their order, the Father first, the Son second, and then the Spirit.
Thirdly, in their number; as one, two and three.
Fourthly, by their relative properties which are included in their names of Father, Son and Spirit. Were there no Father, there could be no Son, and if no Son, neither could there be a Father: and if neither Father nor Son were, there could be no Spirit proceeding from them both.
The Trinity being thus distinguished, let us speak briefly of each of them asunder.
Question: What is God the Father?
Answer: God the Father is the first original beginning of the Trinity: were there no beginning, there could be no end; were there no first number, there could be no second or third in the Trinity. God the Father therefore is the Eternal beginning of the Holy Trinity. God the Father must be either from himself, that is from his own Divine Essence, or else from the Eternal World, or Eternal Nature's Essence; but neither of them were yet existent; therefore we must conclude that except the Father had taken his beginning from his own Eternal Unity, he could not have been the first beginning of the Trinity.
In the second place, I say that God the Father, is the eternal generator of the Son or Word who is the second person in the Holy Trinity.
Question: What is God the Son?
Answer: God the Son is the second number of the Trinity, were there no Son, there would be no Father. He is the centre and heart of the Trinity. He is generated of the Father before the Eternal World, or Eternal Nature were in being. He is the only begotten Son of the Father, and is co-eternal, co-essential, and co-equal with him. He is the essential Word of the Father. He is the delight of the Father, and his well beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased.
Question: What is the Holy Ghost?
He is the third and completing number of the Trinity. He is an out-flowing breath, life, or power, which proceeds from the Father through the Son, and doth execute the will of the Father. This outflowing life and acting power proceeds from the divine essence of the Father and the Son, and therefore is co-eternal, co-essential and co-equal with the Father and Son.
Question: Why is not the Holy Ghost said to be begotten of, but to proceed from, the Father?
Answer: If the Holy Ghost were begotten of the Father, then the Son could not have been the only begotten of the Father, and so the Father would have had more sons than one; neither would there have been a distinction between the Son and the Holy Ghost. Therefore the Holy Ghost is not said to be generated of the Father, but to proceed from the Father and Son, as an out-flowing breath of Life and Power. The Holy Ghost doth complete the Trinity, and make up the number three, so as nothing can be added thereto, or diminished: the Father cannot be without the Son, nor the Son without the Father, nor the Holy Ghost without both Father and Son.
Question: How is the Unity in Trinity distinguished in the Eternal World?
Answer: I have told you before that the Trinity is distinguishable by their names, number, order, and by their relative properties, but not by their natures, because they have but one nature and essence; in which oneness of their nature their Eternal Unity doth consist. Therefore they that would distinguish the Holy Trinity in the Eternal World, otherwise than before expressed, do run into great confusion. The Father is an Eternal Unity, and so is the Son and Spirit; the Son is pure Deity, and so is the Father and Spirit: the Holy Ghost is an Eternal Liberty and so is the Father and Son. Therefore these are no distinguishing properties of the Holy Trinity in the Eternal World. Some do thus distinguish the Trinity, they say that the Father is Light, the Son Life, and the Holy Spirit Love: but these cannot be the distinguishing features of the Trinity, because the Father is Light, Life and Love, and so likewise the Son and the Holy Ghost. Others would have the Father to be Light, the Son Love, and the Holy Ghost Power, but all these belong to every one of the Trinity, and therefore cannot be the distinguishing characters of them. Others again would have the Father Fire, the Son Light, and the Holy Ghost Air: but these are elements which are rooted in Eternal Nature's principle, and are not to be found in the Globe of Eternity. Others distinguish the Father by the severity of divine justice, the Son by love and mercifulness; whereas in the Eternal World there is no severity of vindictive justice known, nor anything of anger or wrath; because the Holy Trinity stands wholly in the unity of love. The only distinction of the Holy Trinity in the Eternal World is this, That the Father manifesteth himself as a wonderful all-seeing Eye, the Son manifests himself as the centre of the Eye, and Heart of the Father; and the Holy Ghost as an out-flowing power proceeding from the Father's Eye, and the Son's Heart, effecting whatsoever the will of the Father in the Eye, through the Love-essence, seated in the Heart of the Son, would have done. And thus the Holy Trinity do manifest themselves distinctly in the Eternal World, though they all stand in the Eternal Unity, and are not only three denominations, as will be clearly manifested in the third chapter of this following discourse, to which I refer you.
Now I come to speak of the other particular in the mystery of the Holy Trinity, viz. Trinity in Unity. This mystery I will endeavour to open, as I have seen it with the eye of my enlightened mind, and show how the Holy Trinity do subsist as one in one only ground, or Divine Essence.
Objection: You will say if three do subsist in only essence, that seems to make a quaternity and not a trinity.
Answer: This is an ill drawn consequence and a mere mistake which may easily be rectified thus. The one only ground or essence in which the Holy Trinity do subsist, is the Eternal Unity; and this Eternal Unity in the Father, and the Son, and Holy Ghost, subsists in the Father's unity: so that the Holy Trinity is one with the Eternal Unity, from whence they flow forth: and as they have their beginning from the Unity, so they end in the same. The Holy Scripture teacheth us this fundamental truth, that the Holy Trinity are one, and yet three in that oneness, I. Joh. 5.7. There are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. They are all one in the Eternal Unity, the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, and the Holy Ghost in the Father and Son; so that one cannot be without the other, and are but one ever blessed God, though distinguished in their goings forth, and the manifestations of themselves.
Now if it be asked what the nature of the Holy Trinity is? I answer, it is pure Unity, and pure Unity is pure Deity; and this is the nature of the Father, Son and Spirit, they are all Unity and pure Deity. And as they have but one undivided nature, so they have but one eye, one understanding, one will. But if any one inquire further what this Eternal Unity and Deity is which is the nature of the Holy Trinity? I answer, that none knows this, but the unsearchable Trinity. Neither is it any further knowable by Angels or men, but that it is what it is.
But notwithstanding that we say, that the Unity is unknowable in itself to Angels and men; yet it may be known, forasmuch as it relates to the Trinity, and as it is the one ground in which they subsist; and in this respect we say, that the Eternal Unity, is a most simple essence free from all duality and contrariety. It is most true that variety may consist with unity, but contrariety destroys its nature, which admits of no mixture whatsoever. Now if the nature of the Trinity be Eternal Unity and simplicity, free from all contrariety and mixture, it follows that Light and Darkness, Love and Anger cannot be in the Holy Trinity, as they exist in the Globe of Eternity; because these contrarieties would necessarily destroy the nature of Unity.
But you say that God is styled in Scripture, a God that is angry, and a consuming fire, and in other places he is said to be Light and Love, which implies that there is a mixture of contrarieties in the Essence of the Holy Trinity.
I answer, that these Scriptures speak of God as he hath introduced himself into apostatised and impure Nature's essence after the Fall, whereas I in this place speak of God as he exists in the Eternal World, before Eternal Nature was divided by the Fall; and in this state the Holy Trinity is nothing but Eternal Unity, free from any contrariety or mixture whatsoever.
And thus the nature of the Trinity, if well understood, manifests clearly how Father, Son and Spirit are distinct, and yet are but one Eternal Unity. And thus much concerning the Trinity in Unity.
Now I will further treat of the nature of the Holy Trinity. The Triune God, considered in himself in the Globe of Eternity, is pure Deity; which pure Deity is the highest purity, clarity and brightness of glory beyond all imagination. This high purity of the Trinity is free from all impurity and imperfection whatsoever: and in this high purity consists the righteousness and holiness of God. This bright purity is the nature of the Trinity in the Globe of Eternity, which they equally partake of; for as the Father is all purity, so is the Son and Spirit, and from this purity of their nature are called the Holy Trinity.
But to proceed to a further opening of the nature of the Trinity. God is said to be Good, and the one only Good, the chiefest Good wherein Eternal Bliss and happiness doth consist; in which ground of Eternal Goodness the Father, Son and Spirit are all one. The Father is all Goodness, and so likewise is the Son and Spirit; and consequently Good and Evil cannot be in God; for so there would be a mixture of contrary natures in the Divine Essence, which as hath been said, is all Eternal Goodness.
Evil of sin cannot be in God, because sin is an imperfection; now no imperfection can be found in the Divine Essence which is perfection itself.
Neither is the evil of punishment to be found in the Trinity: for if the nature of God be all goodness, mercy, pity and compassion, where shall severity, fierceness or bitterness be found? Or any vindictive justice? From whence proceeds the evil of punishment? I say, none of these are to be found in the nature of the Holy Trinity, as they subsist in the Globe of Eternity.
If you ask me further, what the nature of the Holy Trinity is? I answer, That the Holy Trinity are in themselves a free Eternal Liberty: The Father is an Eternal Liberty, and so is the Son and Spirit. But what is this Eternal Liberty, which is the nature of the Holy Trinity? I answer, It is their subsisting in their own Eternal Unity, simplicity and pure Deity; free from all other essences, neither touching them, nor being touched by them. For as they exist in the Eternal World, before and without Eternal Nature they are free from all essences whatsoever and exist in their own Eternal Liberty.
If you inquire further what the nature of the Holy Trinity is? I answer, that their nature is all happiness and blessedness; no misery, torment, or anguish is to be found in them, or proceeds from them: wherefore Hell, Death and the Curse never proceeded from the Holy Trinity; because their nature being all happiness, no such thing can be found in them or proceed from them: because such a mixture would necessarily destroy the happy and blessed nature of the Holy Trinity.
I say further, that the nature of the Holy Trinity is all perfection in the abstract, and therefore at an infinite distance from all imperfection whatsoever: Which perfection of the Holy Trinity results from the unity and simplicity of their nature, which admits not of any mixture of contrariety. By means of this perfection, the Holy Trinity are complete in themselves, so as nothing can be added to it, or taken from it; forasmuch as it is the nature of absolute perfection to be complete and entire in itself, lacking nothing. The Father is the beginning, the Son the centre, and the Holy Ghost the end and consummation of the Holy Trinity. Thus they are complete and entire in themselves, rejoicing from Eternity to Eternity in their own eternal fullness, completeness and absolute perfection. They wanted not the Eternal World, nor the Essences of Eternal Nature, nor the Angelical Creation, for they were complete in their own enjoyments without them. Wherefore the Eternal World and Eternal Nature were not created out of necessity, as if the Holy Trinity had stood in need of them; for they were completely perfect and happy before they were, and would continue so, if they were no more.
To finish this particular concerning the nature of the Holy Trinity, I shall add these few lines, for a farther explanation of what the nature of the Holy Trinity is. I have formerly told you that the essence of the Trinity is Eternal Unity, which Eternal Unity is pure Deity; and now come to tell you, that this unity of the Divine nature, is nothing else but Love: in which Love the Holy Trinity stand united, and are nothing else but Divine Love. And therefore in the Eternal World, in pure Eternal Nature, and in the Angelical World, there is no other manifestation but that of Love: because the Holy Trinity who manifest themselves in these World's principles are themselves nothing but Love. Thus we can see that the Holy Trinity have exalted the Love to be the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending Essence of all Essences. We cannot ascend higher than this Love, because there is no Essence above, before or beyond it. For as in number we cannot pass beyond an unity, which is first of numbers; so neither can we, when we speak of essences, go beyond the Love-Essence; which is all in all in the Eternal World, which is the first and the beginning of all worlds. Oh wonderful, unsearchable and incomprehensible Love! Who can find out thy originality? Who can declare thy generation? Thou was before all, and wilt be the last of all: and blessed, yea thrice blessed are they who have found thee and enjoy thee! We conclude then that the nature of the Holy Trinity consists in the Divine Unity of the Love-Essence.
I shall conclude this chapter with this proposition, that the Trinity in union with the Eternal World is the first principle of all Principles: for there is none before it or beyond it. This Eternal World or Globe of Eternity is enclosed in its own circumference, and is therefore called a principle, according to the definition of a principle given hereafter in its proper place more fully.
Concerning the Eternal World, wherein the Holy Trinity do manifest themselves, as in a clear Crystalline Glass or mirror.
This Eternal World was called the Globe of Eternity, at the time when I was taken up to have a view of it. In which Globe of Eternity I then distinguished three distinct places, which yet make up but one undivided globe or sphere. The first of these places was called the Outward Court; the second, the Inward Court, or the Holy Place; and the third and last was called the inmost Court, or the Holiest of all. My Guide first led me into the Outward Court, concerning which accordingly, I do intend to speak in the first place.
In this Outward Court I took notice of two things, the first was the globe or circumference itself called the Outward Court; the second was the Eye placed in the centre of the said globe or circumference.
As concerning the globe itself, we are to take notice that it is the first and highest of all; not created by God, but generated out of himself: as also that it is substantial, though of a very refined and spiritual substance, for it is the Essence of Essences, and Substance of Substances.
Concerning the second thing which is the Eye placed in the Ccentre of this Globe, we must know that it represents the Spirit of Eternity, which is God himself, who is not only the efficient, but also the material, formal and final cause of the Globe, in the centre of which he manifests himself as an eye: which essential Eye of God, looking into itself, and finding nothing besides itself, by dilating itself, gives a beginning and end to itself; which beginning and end entering into, and joining with one another, do constitute and form the Globe of Eternity. So that the Globe of Eternity is nothing else, but the dilation of the Eye of Eternity, from the centre to the circumference.
But if any ask why this first emanation of the Spirit of Eternity, was formed into a round figure, rather than into any other? I answer, because a round is the most simple, perfect and comprehensive of all figures, and therefore most proper for him who is simplicity and perfection itself, and the wonderful all-comprehending All.
I have already told you that the final cause of this globe, is God himself; but to speak more particularly concerning the ends God proposed to himself in the generation of this globe.
1. I say that the first end, why God generated the Globe of Eternity, was, that he might dwell therein as in a house or mansion.
2. A second end, why God generated this globe out of himself, was, for the manifestation of himself to himself: for the Eye turning itself inward into itself, comes to know itself, and to see, feel and taste itself; and if it look outward it sees nothing but itself neither, because as the Eye is God, so is the globe nothing but the dilation of the Eye.
I now come to give you some properties or qualifications of this globe, from which it may appear what kind of principle this Globe of Eternity is.
1. The first property is, that it is the first of all globes in order of existence, nothing being before it but the Eye, by the dilation of which it was formed.
2. The second is, that this globe is the cause and original ground from whence all other principles do proceed.
3. The third is, that this globe was immediately formed by the Spirit of Eternity out of himself.
4. The fourth is, that this globe is an all-comprehensive globe, because it contains all other globes and principles whatsoever, but is itself uncomprehended of none. And it must needs be so, for this globe being nothing else, but the Spirit of Eternity's dilating itself, it will follow, that if there were anything out of the bounds of this globe, it must also be out of the reach and comprehension of the Spirit of Eternity, which cannot be, because this Spirit of Eternity is God himself, who is All in All, and contains all worlds, centres and creations whatsoever. And therefore it is that God calls himself the first and the last, the beginning and the end of all things; to signify that there is nothing besides him, nor beyond him; but that his wonderful immense being, doth contain and comprehend all other beings whatsoever.
This Globe of Eternity, to speak more particularly, doth contain seven several principles, globes or centres, of which we shall give you an account hereafter.
If any one asks, what if it should please God to make more worlds or principles than those already brought forth, where would he find room for them?
I answer, that the Globe of Eternity is of sufficient capacity to contain not only those worlds already formed, but also those that may be formed hereafter: for since the circumference of this globe is nothing else but a dilation of the Eye of Eternity, who can put bounds to the same? Or conclude that the Spirit of Eternity cannot at pleasure further dilate the same to those dimensions, which may be correspondent to his purpose and design?
The immense comprehensiveness of this Globe of Eternity doth yet further appear, in that it comprehends, quo ad nos, the incomprehensible Spirit of Eternity itself, which is far more than its comprehending all principles and worlds whatsoever. But you'll say, if the Spirit of Eternity be incomprehensible and infinite, how can it be contained and comprehended by the Globe of Eternity? To which I answer, that such a being is truly and properly said to be incomprehensible, which cannot be comprehended or contained by anything but itself; when we say that God is incomprehensible, we do not mean that he is not comprehended of and by himself, but only that nothing besides himself can comprehend him: now the Spirit of Eternity doth comprehend itself in the Globe of Eternity, because (as hath been said) the globe is nothing else but the dilation of the Eye.
5. The fifth property. This Globe of Eternity though it contains several globes, yet is distinct from them all, and all the globes contained in it, are distinct from it, and from one another, without any mixture or confusion.
6. The sixth property. This Globe of Eternity is an Abyssal Globe (for so it was named to me, and the Eye in the centre of it, the Abyssal Eye) that is of an unsearchable depth, without bottom or ground; for the Abyssal Eye looking downwards into itself, and finding nothing but itself, did set a bound to itself. For as God looking upwards with his Eye, found no beginning of himself, and therefore put a beginning to his own heights; so when he looked down he put an end to his own depth, and by the dilatation of his Eye put bounds and limits to his own immensity. And thus this Abyssal Globe of Eternity was formed in height, depth and breadth; and all this was done suddenly even as in the twink of an eye: for the Eye looking up gave it height, looking down gave it depth, and on each side gave it breadth: which dimensions are such as no Spirit can comprehend besides the Abyssal Eye, who is the former and maker of them. This is the Outer Court of the glorious palace of the King of Kings, whose height, depth and breadth is proportioned and suitable to the incomprehensible Majesty that resides in it. Himself is the builder, himself the matter of it, and therefore the matter of this palace may well be called almighty matter, but not the matter of this outward world, as some wise man falsely so deemed, would have it to be. And indeed nothing is more apparent from what hath been said, than that the spirit is before matter and the cause of it, since even that most pure substance or matter which fills the Globe of Eternity doth proceed by way of emanation, from the Spirit of Eternity, dwelling in the Eye of Eternity; now say I, if the matter of the Globe of Eternity did not produce itself, but proceeded by immediate emanation from God, much less did ever any other matter produce itself, and consequently could not deserve the name of Omnipotent matter; omnipotence being a title only due to that spirit, from whom all matter proceeds, and who acts and moves in it according to his good pleasure.
I now come to speak of the second particular, viz., concerning the Eye placed in the centre of the Globe of Eternity, called by God himself, the Abyssal Eye of Eternity. This Eye is the seat of the Spirit of Eternity, which Spirit of Eternity is God himself, as he subsists in his own pure simple abstracted essence, before his introducing of himself into the principle of Eternal Nature. It is the name which God gave to himself, those other names which are made mention of in Scripture, do for the most part express God only as he stands related to the creature, but this name Spirit of Eternity, expresseth only his relation to the Globe of Eternity, of which he is the former, by immediate emanation from himself.
If you ask me, why did the Spirit of Eternity introduce himself into the Eye? I answer, it was for manifestation of himself, as hath been said already.
But if you ask me further, why was the Eye just placed in the centre of the Globe of Eternity?
I answer, that thereby it might appear, that the Spirit in the Eye, was the generator of the Globe of Eternity; for the natural formation of a globe or sphere is by the centre's dilating and expanding of itself: a circumference being nothing else, but a centre dilated, or a central emanation bounded by itself.
For the further illustration of the nature of this Eye, I will present you with these following particulars.
I. This Abyssal Eye is but one, not two or more, even as every circle or sphere hath but one centre, and as the beginning of all numbers is an Unity not two, three, &c. and so it must needs be, because it is the manifestation of the Spirit of Eternity, who is the most perfect and absolute unity and simplicity: For as there are not two Gods, that is two eternal beginnings, but one only; so there is but one Eye, in and by which the one God, who is the Spirit of Eternity, doth manifest himself.
II. This Abyssal Eye, is the first Being of all Beings, none before it nor beyond it; for it is nothing else but the first manifestation of the Spirit of Eternity, therefore nothing can be before it, even as nothing is, or can be before the Spirit of Eternity.
III. This Abyssal Eye is distinguishable from the Globe of Eternity, because as hath been said, the Spirit of Eternity in the Abyssal Eye is the generator of it by way of emanation: now all emanations whatsoever are distinguishable, from the being from whence they proceed.
IV. This Abyssal Eye, is Gods all-seeing and all-knowing Eye: it is the Wonder Eye of God, which searcheth out all things and from which nothing is hid. But here ariseth a question, viz., Whether the Spirit of Eternity through this Eye does see all things past present and to come with one simple act of intuition together and at once? Or whether he sees them successively? I know the first is maintained by the Schools, and by the generality of divines; neither will I positively assert the contrary, but shall give you the ground which hinders me from being fully satisfied with the truth of that assertion.
First, because the Scriptures, which the defenders of this opinion do allege for it, do not convincingly prove the point: we will instance in some of the chief of them, and which are most insisted upon. Let the first be that place of Acts 15, v. 8. Known to God and all his works from the beginning of the World. It is plain at first sight that this Scripture doth not fully prove the thing in question, which is not whether all things be known to God? But whether God sees all things past, present and to come, in one single act, altogether and at once? Besides that Scripture only tells us that God knows all his own works, which is not at all here in question, but whether God knows all the actions of Men and Angels past, present and to come at one view, and in one single act? Concerning which this place makes no mention at all. Another place they allege is Hebrews 4, v. 13. All things are naked and open unto the Eyes of him with whom we have to do. Which place doth only prove that all things are known to God, but it makes no mention at all of the manner how God knows all things; and therefore cannot determine the point in controversy. The last place we shall instance in is Acts 4, v. 28. For to do whatsoever thy Hand, and thy Counsel determined before to be done. Neither doth this afford any confirmation to that assertion, that God knows all things in one single intuitive act, but only shows that God knows and determines things before they come to pass. For I do not in the least question God's knowing all things, all secrets, and much more all his own purposes, before the foundation of the world; my only scruple is whether he knows all these in one undivided single act, or successively? Which the forementioned places of Scripture do not determine.
My second ground, why I cannot fully come over to this assertion, is, because this way of knowing all things at one single act, is altogether unintelligible to creatures as creatures, and consequently can be of no service or use to them.
In the third place it seems most probable to me, since it hath pleased God to introduce his Eye into the Globe of Eternity (which globe is the glass of his Wisdom) that God hath set this mirror before his Eye, that in it he might see all things as they come to be represented there, which representation being successive, his seeing and knowing of them must needs be such also.
I formerly told you that this Globe of Eternity was distinguished into three parts, viz., into the Outward Court, the Holy Place, and the most Holy; concerning which I come now to speak in particular. In the Outward Court the Eye of Eternity is shut up or contracted; in the Holy Place, the same Eye is dilated; and in the Holiest of all the state and Majesty of the Trinity is displayed.
I begin with the first, viz., the Outward Court; in which as was just now said, the Eye of Eternity is contracted, that is, in which God shuts himself in his own mystery; and this contraction of the Eye or God's shutting up of himself is that which makes the Outward Court; here the Eye of Eternity only appears as the point and centre of the Globe of Eternity, and yet therein the total Deity is shut up, or rather hides itself in his own mystery. By the total Deity I understand the Holy Trinity, with all their essential attributes, power and virtues, which are all hid in this contracted Eye, or centre of the Globe of Eternity, and in a word the whole fullness of the Deity is contained as it were locked up in this contracted Eye, which gives being to the Outward Court. Now this contracted Eye or centre doth very properly represent the Deity as he hides himself in his own mystery, for he is the most absolute and first Unity, he is invisible, indivisible, without organs, shape or figure, and what can be more proper to represent such a being, than the point or centre of a circumference, which in itself is invisible, and without parts, shape or figure. The highly illuminated Jacob Behme gives us this following account concerning this contracted Eye of the Deity: It is, saith he, the Eye of the Abyss concerning which we have no pen, tongue nor utterance to write or speak of it, only the Eye of Eternity leadeth the Eye of the Soul into it, and so we see it, else it must remain in silence, and this hand could not describe anything of it. Consider it according to its precious depth, for we speak not here according to Nature in a figure, but according to the Spirit above Nature in the Divine Character T. Again, he saith expressly that this Eye of the Abyss did form itself into a globe, and so gave a beginning and end to himself; of which you may see more in the fourth and fifth p. of his Forty Questions. From which words of his it clearly appears, that his Spirit had been taken up into the Outward Court of the Abyssal Globe of Eternity.
But in the second place, like as the Abyssal Eye by contracting itself into the centre, and shutting up itself, doth constitute the Outward Court; so the same Eye opened, and dilating itself throughout the whole Globe makes the Inward Court or Holy Place. In the first the Deity hides itself; in this second place, the Deity manifests the mystery wherein he had wrapped up himself in the first or Outward Court. So that as long as the Eye is shut, the whole Globe of Eternity is the Outward Court; but as soon as the said Eye is opened, it is no more the outward but inward Court: for the Deity manifesting himself makes the Outward Court to disappear, and instead thereof presents the inward. Wherefore no spirit can pass at will from the Outward Court to the Inward, but must wait the opening of the Eye; which as it makes the Inward Court, so it can only give an entrance into it, and a sight of all the wonders, heights and depths of the Deity, which by the opening of the said Eye are presented to the spirit of the mind.
Question: But you'll ask me what are these deep mysteries which are made known and manifested by the opening of the Eye of Eternity?
Answer: In answer to which I shall give you an account of some particulars which, by the opening of the said Eye, were presented to the intellectual sight of my spirit: not that they were presented all at once, but at several distinct openings, every opening of the Eye presenting a new mystery concerning the Deity.
1. The first mystery discovered at the opening of the Abyssal Eye, is, the mystery of the being and existence of God in himself, before Eternal Nature or any creatures were; and herein these three particulars are opened -
First, that God is the Spirit of Eternity, filling the Globe of Eternity with himself, that is, with power. For the further illustration of which we are to know that though God hath several names given him in the Scripture, yet the most, if not all of them, speak his relation to Eternal Nature, as he hath introduced himself into it, and clothed himself with it; but this name the Spirit of Eternity expresseth himself only with regard to his solitary and abstracted being, as he exists in the Globe of Eternity, without any relation to Eternal Nature.
Now as God by the opening of the Eye discovers himself to be the Spirit of Eternity, existing in, and filling the Globe of Eternity; so likewise this Spirit of Eternity is manifested to be All-power, universal power, and pure act, as the School-men term it, filling the whole and every part of the Globe of Eternity. Here is also discovered that this Spirit of Eternity, as it is All-power, so it is one undivided power, a perfect unity without any separation, distinction or division. So as from this manifestation we may define the Spirit of Eternity to be the one total and universal power which fills the Globe of Eternity.
2. The second particular is this, that the Spirit of Eternity is not only essential and substantial in itself, but also the primary Essence of all Essences, and Substance of all Substances. That the Spirit of Eternity is essential appears, because it is all power, now there can be no power but what is essential; power implying essence in the notion of it, for we cannot conceive of power without essence, nor of essence without power. It appears also that this Spirit of Eternity is the original Essence of all other Essences, because the opening of the Eyes discovers this spirit to be the first Essence, not only in order of time, but also by nature and way of causality or efficiency; nothing being above, beyond, or before it. Moreover, as was said before, this Spirit is discovered to be an All-power, a total and universal power; that is, a power including and comprehending all powers, and from whence, as from a fruitful womb, all powers whatsoever are derived and do proceed; now if this Spirit of Eternity be the Power of all Powers, it must by consequence be the Essence of all Essences, because, as was just now hinted, the one cannot be without the other. No power can be without essence, nor essence without power.
But you'll say, if the Spirit of Eternity be the first beginning of all things, and the Essence of all Essences, then it will follow that God is the beginning as well of evil essences as of good?
To which I answer, first, that when we say that the Spirit of Eternity is the first beginning and Essence of all Essences, it must be restrained to good essences, actions and motions, which do proceed from the Spirit of Eternity and not those that are evil.
In the second place, when we say the Spirit of Eternity is the Essence of all Essences. it must be thus understood, that from the Spirit of Eternity doth proceed the first eternal beginning of all essences in relation to himself, that is, in relation to the Abyssal Eye, which is himself and from himself: now nothing can be in God but that which is God, and therefore contrary to all evil; for there is no evil originally in himself: therefore they are wholly out that would draw good and evil from God's eternal beginning of himself. When indeed the opening of the Eye doth only manifest what is shut up in the Eye of the Abyss, and manifesteth nothing that is without the Abyss. Now there being nothing but God himself manifested in the Abyss of Eternity, and no evil essence being to be found in him, therefore it must follow that the Eye of Eternity doth only manifest God to be the original of all good essences and not of evil; because the Eye of Eternity cannot manifest that which is not, it being plain that no evil can be in God. Therefore when we say that all essences proceed from God, it must be restrained to all such essences as do immediately proceed from God, even such as God is the immediate author of, and those are only all good essences; for whatsoever doth immediately proceed from God, the highest good, must needs be good and no way evil.
3. The third particular, which the opening of the Eye manifesteth, concerning the being and existence of God, is this; that the Spirit of Eternity is the original Essence of all Essences; that is, that the Spirit of Eternity is not only the first of all essences, but also that he subsisteth in and from himself, and oweth his existence to none but himself, as being the only original of self.
And thus we have done with the first mystery which is discovered to the spirit of the mind, by the opening of the Eye of the Abyss, viz., the mystery of God's being and existence, that he is the only true God and Father of all, who is above all, before all, through all, and in all.
The second mystery which is discovered by the opening of the Eye of the Abyss, is, the mystery of the Holy Trinity, viz., how the Eternal Unity brings forth the sacred Trinity, co-eternal, co-essential, co-equal with himself? The Eternal Unity is the Father, who brings forth his Son and Spirit out of himself. Were there no Eternal Unity, there could be no Trinity; if there were no first, there could be no second or third; were there no Father, there could be no Son or Spirit; and thus you see that the Holy Trinity proceeds from the Eternal Unity.
But you will say, how doth this agree with what you said before, viz., that the Spirit of Eternity is an eternal unity, and an indivisible power, without duality, diversity and contrariety; whereas now you say that this eternal unity hath diversified itself into a Trinity?
I answer, that the opening of the Eye of the Abyss doth reconcile this seeming contradiction: for at the disclosing of the Eye, the spirit of the mind clearly sees that the Holy Trinity is one with the Eternal Unity; because they are one in another and proceed one from another, and do not exist severally in distinction from, or without one another: for thus the indissoluble band of God's Eternal Unity would be broken and his indivisibility taken away. But here it appears that the Eternal Unity abides indivisible, notwithstanding that the Holy Trinity proceeds from it; because they subsist one in another, the Son and Spirit subsisting in the Eternal Unity of the Father.
Further we must know that though unity doth exclude all manner of contrariety, yet it may consist with harmonious variety: now the Father is not contrary to the Son and Spirit, nor they to the Father, but their variety is harmonised in unity.
Again though Eternal Unity cannot consist with an absolute distinction, division and separation, such as is between things which subsist independently of one another; yet it may consist with such a distinction, as is found in things which are one in another and cannot be without one another, as being united in the root of unity.
For the illustration of which look upon the figure in the margin , the round circle represents the Abyssal Globe, the Eye in the midst of the Heart, represents the Father, the generator of the Son, who is the Heart of the Father: the Heart in the midst of which the Eye is placed, typifies the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father. Co-eternal, co-essential and co-equal with him; and the out flowing exit of powers, like a breath, represents the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father, through the Heart of the Son. Thus the Birth of the Holy Trinity is manifested, in the opening of the Eye, to be a Trinity in Unity: the Eye is in the Heart, and the Heart is the Eye's Centre, and the Spirit is a proceeding Spirit from the Eye and Heart; and thus they are one in another, in one essence, undivided and inseparable: the Father is one with the Son, and the Son with the Father, and the Spirit proceeds from the union of them both, and abides one with them. Wheresoever the Eye is, there is the Heart, and wheresoever the Eye and Heart are, there the out going of power streams forth from them. But yet notwithstanding this their undivided unity, they are in this manifestation represented with a distinction from each other: for the Eye is not the Heart, nor the outgoing breath either Eye or Heart. We must not think that the Holy Trinity are three distinct organical persons, for so they must be three distinct Gods; but we must keep to the Scripture expression, which tells us, There are Three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, Word and Spirit, and these Three are one. I. John 5, 7. And accordingly the ancients used to express the Trinity not by the word Persons, but by the numbers, Monas, Duas, Trias, the first, second, third numbers. I know there are many, who are so great enemies to the word Person, that they suppose the Father, Son and Spirit only to be three denominations; but this is a great mistake, for the Eye of the Father is an essential power, and not a mere denomination; the Son's Heart is an essential being, generated out of and from the Father, and is the seat of the Eye of the Father, and the Holy Ghost is an essential breath proceeding from the Father's Eye, through the Son's Heart. The most unblameable expression therefore for to signify the Trinity, is the number three, being an expression which the Scripture warrants. Behme, in his excellent writings, compares the Trinity to the Sun in the firmament, from whence fire, light and heat do proceed, which three are one in another, and yet so as the one is not the other: which resemblance holds forth the Holy Trinity, as they have introduced themselves into Eternal Nature's Essence: but the Father's Eye opening itself, doth not manifest the Trinity in similitudes taken out of Eternal Nature's ground, but doth manifest their very essence as they are in themselves, before the existence of any creatures out of Eternal Nature's ground.
We next come to speak of the locality or Ubi of the Holy Trinity, which according to the foregoing figure, is in the midst or centre of the Abyssal Globe: When the Eye is closed or shut up, then neither the Eye of the Father, nor the Son's Heart, the Glory of the Eye, nor the breathing forth of the Spirit from both is to be seen, but are all shut up in the Eye; but when the Eye opens, then the Heart of the Son, and the Holy Ghost are seen; so that when the Eye of the Unity in the centre opens, then the blessed Trinity becomes visible in the midst of the Abyssal Globe, being otherwise shut up and concealed in the Eternal Unity of themselves. Thus the Trinity is hid in the Eternal Unity of itself, and from that Unity they proceed and become visible in the opening of the Eye. So we see that the Unity is in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity. The sight of the Holy Trinity from the opening of the Eye, in the Inward Court of the Holy Place, is a lively, operative, reviving, and yet amazing and surprising sight; a sight worth the whole World, insomuch as I am ashamed to present you such a dead lifeless figure of it: but no pen can decipher it on paper, it is only the Spirit of the Eye that can open itself, and give you the living and ravishing sight of its own essentiality without similitudes or figures, though I can express it outwardly no better than I have in the foregoing figure.
Let no man here object that I do not make use of Scripture for the confirmation or illustration of these deep mysteries: the reason is because the Holy Scriptures speak of God as he hath introduced himself into Eternal Nature, and not as he exists out of and before Eternal Nature, in the Globe of Eternity; therefore you must not expect my alleging of Scripture, whilst I am treating of a subject which they do not reveal: though it be certain also that the opening of the Eye, cannot discover anything contrary, or opposite to Scripture revelation, but rather what is agreeable thereunto, though it cannot be so readily confirmed from Scriptures; because, as hath been said, it is not the scope or design of the Holy Scriptures to speak of the Being of God before and without Eternal Nature. Neither do I in this speaking oppose or disparage the Holy Scriptures; if my subject were to speak of the Fall, and the redemption of sinners by Christ, then I should not be wanting to confirm my writing from Scripture; but as long as I am writing of the solitary being of God in the Globe of Eternity, the Spirit of God in the Eye must be my guide and witness instead of the Scripture. And thus much shall suffice to have spoken concerning the second opening of the Abyssal Eye, whereby the mystery of the Holy Trinity is revealed to the spirit of the mind.
The third opening of the Eye discovers the mystery of itself, that is, by opening itself, it discovers and reveals what is in itself. Now the Eye opening divides itself into three parts, the first of which is the Abyssal Eye, the second is the Heart, and the third is the out-flowing breath. The Eye is first, before the Heart, that is in relation to order and for distinction sake, else being co-essential and co-eternal there is no first and last; and the Heart is the Eye's Centre, and the breath proceeds from the Eye and Heart. The Eye is before the Heart, and generates the Heart; the Heart is generated from the Eye, and the breath proceeds from both. The Heart is the Eye's seat and centre, wherein it is fixed, and the Spirit is the virtue or power proceeding from the Eye and the Heart: and in those three Eye, Heart and Spirit, consists the fullness and completeness of the Deity; nothing can be super-added, neither can anything be subtracted.
To speak more particularly, this third opening of the Eye doth manifest all those powers commonly called the attributes of God; for this Eye of the Abyss sparkles forth from itself, its own perfections, beaming forth its own beauty in many lustrous rays, like the Sun. These beams proceeding from the Eye, are God's Eternity, Infinity, Immensity, Incomprehensibility, Omnipotency, All-sufficiency, &c. as being the out-flowing powers and perfections of the Eye, and of the Spirit of Eternity in the Eye; they are God's essential perfections, without which he cannot be God; according to that saying of the Schoolmen, Whatsoever is in God, is God: therefore they are inseparable from him, because they are himself.
But here it may be objected again, how this multiplicity of powers and attributes in God can consist with his being the most absolute, and perfect unity?
1. To which I answer, first, that a diversity and variety of powers may consist with perfect unity, provided there be no contrariety or opposition in those powers to one another: now nothing is more plain than that the attributes of God are without any contrariety whatsoever among themselves.
2. In the second place, I say, that Eternal Unity doth not exclude a diversity of powers, if they all do arise and stand united in one root. Now all the attributes of God are inseparably united in God's essence, they spring from, and are rooted in the same, and are one and the same with it and in it. And this the opening of the Eye of the Abyss discovers, that all the attributes of God are but one power diversified; they stand one in another; his Infinity, Omnipotency, &c. are shut up in his All-sufficiency, and when they beam forth, they proceed from thence as from their root and original. So that all God's attributes proceed from one power, and are shut up in one power, and are but the variation of one and the same power; and consequently are but one power; and so cannot take away God's Eternal Unity.
These powers or attributes of God are fixed in the Eye, being nothing else but the various beamings forth of the Eye, and may be called the Head Powers of the Godhead, as being seated in the Eye, and from thence glancing forth themselves.
We must know that this was the chief end of God bringing forth the Abyssal Globe, even the manifestation of his attributes and powers to himself: for his Eternity is manifested in this Abyssal Globe, to have a beginning and end, which else would be without beginning or end, and so his infinity, immensity and incomprehensibility, are bounded and limited by the circumference of the Abyssal Globe, which else would be without all bounds or limits, without all heights, depths, or breadths, and thus they come to be manifest in the Abyssal Globe. St. Paul saith, that this visible Creation doth manifest God's Eternal Godhead and Power, and so it is; but if so, how much more then doth the Abyssal Globe (which is the first mansion of the Holy Trinity) manifest all the eternal attributes and powers of his Godhead?
This sight of God's attributes from the opening of the Eye in the Abyssal Globe, is both a ravishing and amazing sight, for you do not behold ideas or similitudes of things, but the things themselves intellectually, which causeth most inexpressible joys, and ecstasy in the spirit of the soul; to which nothing in the world can be compared. Neither can any letter, words or images, manifest or discover these attributes to us, but themselves only are the manifesters and revealers of themselves; and the Spirit of God alone hath the key to unlock the Eye, at the opening of which they are clearly and lively manifested. So that this writing can do no more but point you to the place, where they may be intellectually seen and discerned. We proceed now to the fourth opening of the Abyssal Eye.
The fourth opening of the Abyssal Eye, discovers and manifests the eternal faculties of the Godhead, viz. his Intellect, Will and Divine senses, under which are comprehended his Wisdom, Prescience and Omniscience, all which faculties subsist in God, and are inseparable from him, and are himself; and therefore he cannot manifest himself in the Abyssal Globe without them.
But you will say that these faculties, as likewise the senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling are only attributed to God to comply with our weakness, and to make him intelligible to our understanding, not that there are any such faculties or senses in God, but only by way of analogy and likeness.
To which I answer, that all the forementioned faculties and senses are most really and truly in God, even far more really than they are or can be in any creature; for in him they are originally and in truth, and in the creature only by way of participation, and by way of analogy and resemblance. So that understanding, will, wisdom, hearing, seeing, &c., are in God primarily, essentially, and by way of eminence; and in the creature only derivatively, and by way of resemblance, as the copy resembleth and expresseth its original.
Neither doth this variety of faculties and senses in the least contradict God's most absolute unity; because as they all proceed from the unity of God's essence, so they are all harmonized into a perfect agreement, in and by the said unity, from whence they display themselves as so many branches springing from, and united to the same root: for, as was said before, they subsist in God, and are inseparable from him; they are also in one another and penetrate through one another, and so are but one faculty in the eternal unity of God's Essence, and notwithstanding in that oneness, have their distinct offices and objects.
But you will further object, That by attributing these faculties and senses to God we seem to espouse the error of the Anthropomorphites, who supposed that the Spirit of Eternity was in the likeness of a man.
To take away this objection, I shall declare to you the opinion of the Anthropomorphites, by which it will appear how far I am from asserting their errors in this writing.
First, it is to be noted, that the Anthropomorphites attributed these faculties to God, more human, after the manner of men, that is according as they are in men, and thereby framed God after the image of a man: but we attribute these faculties and senses in God after a divine manner, primarily, originally, and by way of eminence, as may be consistent with the super-excellence of the Divine Being.
In the second place it is to be observed, that the Anthropomorphites did suppose in God distinct seats, members and organs, to every one of the forementioned faculties and organs, and thereby attributed unto God an organical image: whereas, we say, that all these faculties and senses are in God after a spiritual manner, without being fixed to particular and distinct members or organs, which cannot be in God, forasmuch as he is a spirit, and is such a perfect unity in himself, that all his faculties and senses, are one with himself, and with one another, as hath been before declared.
All these faculties and senses forementioned are seated in the centre of the Eye, even as the Eye is seated in the midst of the Abyssal Globe; and accordingly when the Eye is shut up they are hid, and are manifested when it opens and displays itself, and discovered to be essential powers, and faculties subsisting in the Eye, being one with it, and therefore absolutely inseparable from it.
We now proceed to a further consideration of the nature of this Eye; concerning which our first assertion is this, that the Abyssal Eye is the Head-Eye of the Spirit of Eternity; not that God is to be conceived to have an organical head like men; but it is therefore called God's Head Eye, because in this Eye is the seat of the Head-Powers of the Deity, understanding and will, and the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling; which by way of resemblance of what is in the Deity, are all seated in the head of Man and other inferior creatures. Besides as the head in Man governs all the members, by reason of the Intellect and Will seated there, which are the ruling powers of Man: so the Eye and ruling powers in the Eye, do rule and govern throughout the whole Deity.
The second thing which I assert concerning the nature of this Eye is, that this governing Abyssal Eye is God's face; for when this Eye doth open fully upon us, then it is that we see God, face to face, that is, clearly as he is in his own essence, and without any veil or covering whatsoever. When this Eye beams forth its brightness upon the spirit of the mind, then God's face is said to shine upon us; and again the shutting of the Eye is that which we mean, when we say God hides his face from us. This Eye is the face of the total Trinity, and it is not to be conceived, though we have attributed the Eye to God the Father, as if the Eye was only the face of the Father, and not of the Son or Spirit, no, by no means, for this Eye is indeed the face of the total Godhead, Father, Son and Spirit, and is not otherwise to be conceived of by us.
We may also observe the order of these Head-Powers, as they are in the Deity: in the Eye of the Abyss is seated the Eternal Wisdom of God, and in his Wisdom or Intellect is seated his Will, and from the Divine Will and Intellect, flow forth the senses of the Deity, by which he is an all-seeing, all-hearing, &c., God. And all these are one in another, and flowing from one root, viz., the absolute unity of the Deity, and standing upon that root, they are all but as one power or faculty, and do all belong to the total Deity, Father, Son and Spirit, without any distinction whatsoever.
[symbol in margin] The fifth opening of the Abyssal Eye doth manifest and discover the Heart of the Deity. And in the first place here is discovered the relation of the Heart to the Eye; the Heart is the seat, and resting place of the Eye; for the Eye (as you may see in the figure in the margin) is placed in the centre, or mid-part of the Heart. And though one be not the other, yet they are in one another undivided. Here is order indeed, here is first and second, as the Eye first, and then the Heart, generated out of the Eye, and yet both in conjunction: the Eye is the centre of the Heart, and the Heart the seat of the Eye; the Heart is generated out of the Eye, and is co-essential with it, without any separation or division: wheresoever the Eye is, there is the Heart, and wheresoever the Heart is, there is the Eye also; neither is there any other distinction, but that the Eye begets the Heart, and the Heart is begotten by the Eye, which makes the order between them, so as the Eye is the first and the Heart the second; yet both co-essential, co-equal, and in joint union. We must speak thus in relation to order (though co-essential) else we cannot be understood in relation to distinction. And in relation to manifestation, for the Holy Spirit doth manifest to the soul's eternal essence, that the Eye is before the Heart, else no distinction could be apprehended between the one and the other: Therefore I must write thus, else it could not be apprehended, what the Spirit of God manifests, neither could it be otherwise expressed in words, to be made intelligible.
If you inquire of me, why the Heart was generated out of the Eye?
I answer, that the Eye did therefore generate the Heart, that it might have a place to dwell and rest in; a subject which it might rule and govern, and a medium through which it might convey the spirit of life.
But you'll say, to which of the Trinity doth this Heart belong?
I answer, it is the Heart of the total Godhead; for as the Trinity hath but one Eye, so likewise they have but one Heart between them. Yet notwithstanding when we speak of the Trinity with distinction, the Heart is attributed to the second number of the Trinity as being the manifestation of the Son of God.
We come now to speak more particularly concerning the manifestation made by this fifth opening of the Abyssal Eye, and we say that it discovers these particulars to the spirit of the mind.
1. That the Holy Trinity hath a heart.
2. It discovers the nature and office of this heart.
3. It shows what is comprehended in this heart.
And in the fourth and last place, it discovers what flows forth and proceeds from it.
I. Particular. In the first place, this fifth opening of the Eye doth discover the Trinity to have a Heart, even an essential heart, wherein is seated the life of the Deity, as the Understanding, Will and Senses are seated in the Eye: yea this Heart is the very life itself of the Deity; for God hath no Soul, neither can he have any, and that for these reasons.
First, because all souls do proceed from the womb of Eternal Nature; but the Spirit of Eternity of whom we here speak, is, before Eternal Nature had a being.
Secondly, God hath no Soul, because he hath no need of one, his Heart supplying the place of a soul.
Thirdly and lastly, God hath no soul, that hereby he might be distinguished from all Angels and Men, none of which are without souls.
And though the word Soul be in some few places of Scripture attributed to God, yet this is only done by way of analogy, and after the manner of men, and not with relation to his primary abstracted being in the Globe of Eternity.
II. The second particular discovered is, what this Eternal Heart of God is, and its nature and office in the Holy Trinity. The opening of the Eye manifests this Heart to be the Essential Heart of God, generated by himself, out of himself, and for himself; and therefore is himself, as being co-essential, and co-equal with him; all pure Deity, all holy, all pure, all perfect. But more especially the opening of the Eye doth discover, this Heart of God to be of a flowing nature like to the sea, without bottom or bounds; it is like a spring in a fountain, and bubbling well which can never be drawn dry; it is in a perpetual motion, and in this motion there is a perpetual communication of itself, from itself, though itself, to itself; and this out-flowing of the Heart, is nothing else but the original Divine purity, righteousness and holiness. This Heart of God is the overflowing sea of the Deity, which flows from himself, that is, from his own original purity, righteousness and holiness, and flows into, and fills the whole Eternal Abyss, with its fullness: it is so immense in its flowings forth, that the deep Abyss of the Eternal Globe would not be able to contain it; but that the Spirit of the Eye, by his omnipotency sets bounds and limits to the out-flowings of his own Divine nature. The out-goings of the Deity, are deeper than the Abyss, and broader than the Abyss, but the Spirit of Eternity saith to the out-flowing of his own ocean Deity, thus far go, and no further, be ye bounded within the circumference of the Abyss. And this out-flowing ocean of the Deity, is, by the opening of the Eye, manifested to be a clear, transparent mist or vapour, filling the whole deep of the Abyssal Globe. This sight from the opening of the Abyssal Eye, is a lively, spriteful, rejoycing, triumphing and amazing sight, and cannot be expressed in dead words or letters, neither can any idea, form or likeness fully represent it, as it discovers itself to be the opening of the Eye. O ye seekers of the divine mysteries, when your spirits are let in, to a sight of this divine mist, then you will understand what this pen hath written.
Having spoke something concerning the nature of this Heart of the Deity, we come now to speak of the function or office of this Heart in the Holy Trinity.
1. The first office of the Heart is this, to be the fixed centre and fountain of the out-going, overflowing ocean of the Deity. Hence this Heart is called an ever rising, bubbling, spring of living waters, which fails not: because the fullness of the Deity is continually flowing and streaming forth from this Heart, and returning to the same again. This Heart is a golden pipe of conveyance by which the fullness of the Deity is conveyed from itself, through itself, to itself, and there is fixed as a centre or middle point in the midst of the Holy Trinity.
2. The second office of this Heart of the Holy Trinity is, to be the centre, fountain, and treasury of life in the Deity: for as the Heart is the fountain of life in Man, and as all other living creatures; even so is this Heart of the Holy Trinity, the spring and centre of the essential life of the Godhead.
3. The third and last office of this essential Heart of God is, to bear the express image and likeness of the whole Deity: for as this Heart is the centre and spring, from whence the Divine nature continually streameth forth, and to which it returneth again; and as it is the seat and centre of life to the Holy Trinity, so it must needs be the express image and representative of the whole Godhead: for God's Life flows from this his Essential Heart, and his Divine nature flows from his Life, through his Heart; and his Image being nothing else but an outward expression of his Life and nature, therefore the image of the total Deity must needs be impressed upon the Essential Heart of God.
III. The third particular discovered concerning the Heart of God, by the opening of the Eye of the Abyss, is the manifestation of all that which is shut up, contained and comprehended in it; and they are three, viz., the nature of God, his image and likeness, and his essential affections.
1. In the first place therefore, the opening of the Eye shows, that the Divine nature is contained in this Essential Heart of God; which Divine nature is a perfect unity and simplicity, without the least mixture of contrariety: for though the Scriptures and other divine writers speak of love and anger in God, yet we must not think that they speak of God as he exists in the Globe of Eternity, for there he is nothing but a perfect unity, without any duality of contrariety whatsoever; but they attribute these opposite affections to God, as he hath introduced himself into the divided properties of fallen Nature, for in them he is angry and fierce against sin and everything that is opposite to his own holy, pure, Divine nature, which is the most perfect unity and simplicity. The nature of God as it is a most perfect Unity, so it is also unalterable and unchangeable, because that which is perfectly one cannot be subject to any change or alteration, which always proceeds from duality and contrariety. Having thus declared that the Divine nature is a perfect unchangeable unity and simplicity, and having elsewhere told you that this Divine nature, from the opening of the Eye is manifested in the form of a clear transparent mist; if you should further inquire of me, what this Divine nature is? I must tell you, that this Divine nature is nothing else but Love. And accordingly the Scripture tells us, That God is Love, and that he that lives in Love, lives in God, and God in him. And this Love is seated in the Essential Heart of God, from whence it streams forth, and thither it returns again: and therefore it is called God's flaming Heart, because the Essential Love doth continually burn and flame in it. This Eternal Love, which is the unchangeable nature of God, is a most pure virgin, it is love without lusting or desire; it wills and acts nothing, but in the Will of God, and is guided by the Eye is all its outgoings. What pen can express the high purity of this Eternal Love? It is the Eternal Liberty, being free from all things, it is a mere passive nothing. The Essential Love of God is said to be merely passive in relation to its own motion, for it acts not but is acted only by and from the Spirit of the Holy Trinity. It cannot mingle with anything of nature contrary to itself, and indeed with nothing but with its own purity: neither can anything touch it, for then its virginity and purity might be defiled. In this consists the high liberty of Love's nature, it is free from all things, and all things free from it; it toucheth nothing, neither doth anything touch it. No wonder that St. Paul cries out concerning this essential Love of God, O the height, depth, breadth and length of the love of God, which passeth knowledge! For its dimensions are equal to the Abyssal Globe, this Love being the fullness of God, which filleth it throughout. I have declared to you the mystery of the Divine nature, that it is nothing else but Eternal Love; but if you should further persist to enquire of me, what this Eternal Love is? I must tell you, that it is as a mere nothing to use, because it is beyond all human comprehension and knowledge, and we can only say of it, that it is, what it is; an Angel's tongue being not able to express what this Eternal Love is.
But you will say, how can this Love be termed the unchangeable nature of God, when we are told from the scriptures, that God is angry, and fierce against sin and evil?
For answer to this, I must only put you in mind of what I said before, viz., that when I say, that Eternal Love is God's unchangeable nature, I speak of God, as he exists in himself in the Globe of Eternity, before Eternal Nature; but when anger and severity are attributed to God, then the Divine nature is considered as clothed upon with the properties of Eternal Nature; but we speak of God here in his own primary abstracted being, which is nothing else but eternal unchangeable Love.
2. In the next place, the opening of the Eye shows that the image of God is contained, and shut up in his Heart; for since the Divine nature doth continually flow from, and return again to this Essential Heart of God as its centre, and spring; and since the image of God is nothing else but the expression and manifestation of his nature, therefore this image must needs be impressed on the Heart of God, which is the very centre of his Divine nature. And therefore this Heart of God is called the face of God, because it is the true and living expression and representation of God, the essential image and likeness of the total Deity.
But you will object, that the scriptures of truth tell us, that God hath no image.
To which I answer, that indeed God hath no organical outward image resembling that of Angels or men; and thus the Scripture is to be understood when it tells us that God hath no image. But the Scripture doth not contradict God's having an essential inward form or image, according to which image we are told, in the first of Genesis, that God created Man. Let us create Man in our own image, and after our own likeness. If we ask what this image of God is, and wherein it doth consist? The Apostle Paul will tell us, that it consists in knowledge, righteousness and true holiness; and to comprehend all this in one word, this essential living image of God, is nothing else but Eternal Love; this is God's nature, this is his image, and this is All in All in the Deity, considered in his solitary and abstracted being, before the introducing of himself into the properties of Eternal Nature. Now from this Eternal Love do flow and beam forth all those eternal excellencies and virtues, which together with the Love do complete this Divine image; such are the wisdom, righteousness, holiness and goodness of God.
Now that the image of God doth consist in these, the Scripture will inform us, if we compare Colossians 3, 10, with Ephesians 4, 24, so that we see that God's image doth not consist in his infinity, immensity and omnipotence; but is his Divine virtues proceeding from eternal Love, viz., wisdom, righteousness, and true holiness.
3. The third and last thing, which the opening of the Eye discovers to be hid and contained in the Heart of God, are the Divine affections and passions.
But you will object, and tell me, that God hath no affections nor passions, as being immutable and unchangeable in his unchangeable nature of Love?
To which I answer, in the first place, that it is true God hath no passions nor affections like to those which are in Men.
Secondly, there are no evil, and inordinate affections in God.
But in the third place, I say God hath Divine and Godlike affections, such as become the Deity, and are suitable to the perfection of his nature.
Fourthly, God hath such affections, as are always in harmony and unity, without any contrariety or opposing of each other.
Fifthly, God's affections are at the greatest distance from all weakness and imperfection whatsoever.
In the sixth and last place, God's affections and passions do all flow from his essential Heart of Love, and are all rooted and centred in the same.
These affections contained in the Heart of God, are chiefly these three, Love, Joy and Delight: For God eternally loves himself, rejoiceth in himself, and delighteth in himself; neither can God any more cease to love himself, or to rejoice and delight in himself than he can cease to be; therefore these are the essential and inseparable affections of the Divine Being.
IV. The fourth and last particular, which the opening of the Eye discovers concerning the Heart, are God's Divine qualities, virtues and excellencies; which all do proceed from the Heart of God, as from their source and centre; and they are these following, viz., his love, purity, truth, faithfulness, unchangeableness, goodness, perfection, righteousness and holiness. These are the essential inseparable virtues and perfections of the Divine nature; for they proceed from himself, subsist in himself, and are himself, and from the opening of the Eye are manifested to be such. Neither doth this variety of perfections in God in the least destroy, or take away his most absolute unity and simplicity; because they all proceed from one root, and stand all united in the same, as one, which root is Love; in which all the excellencies and perfections of the Divine nature stand harmonised in unity, and are but as one virtue and perfection.
Having thus treated of the several particulars contained in the Heart of God, I shall next proceed to a view of some particulars which are not contained in God's original essence; and that from a hint of the Spirit, which said expressly to me, search diligently, what is not to be found in the original essence of God: I did accordingly, and I found, that no pardoning mercy, nor vindictive justice, nor wrath, nor death, nor curse, neither any anguish, sorrow, darkness, evil, or elements, were to be found in the solitary abstracted essence of the Deity.
I say, first, no pardoning grace or mercy; because there was nothing besides himself, and consequently no object which stood in need of pardon or forgiveness.
No vindictive justice; because no object capable of punishment.
No anger nor wrath; for God could not be angry with himself, for so contrariety and enmity would be found in the bosom, and centre of Eternal Unity and simplicity.
No death; for the Deity is a living God, yea life itself, and the author of it, wheresoever it is.
No anguish nor sorrow; because God is the highest and chiefest good, and consequently must needs be all-triumphing joy, all-delight, all-pleasure.
No darkness; because God is all light, Light itself, and the source and centre of all.
No elements; because the Deity is the most perfect and absolute unity and simplicity without any mixture or composition whatsoever.
But you will object, that I seem to reject God's vindictive justice, and to deny his anger against sin and sinners.
I answer not at all; for I do not simply deny God's vindictive justice and wrath, but only say, that none of these are to be found in the solitary and primary being of the Deity, and are only attributed to him, forasmuch as he hath introduced himself into the properties of Eternal Nature. And thus much shall suffice to have spoken concerning the discovery and manifestation, which the opening of the Eye gives of the essential Heart of God.
But in the next place, as the opening of the Eye covers itself and the Heart, so it likewise manifests the Deity of the Holy Ghost to be the exit or outgoing emanation of both Eye and Heart, even a sweet, pleasant, out-flowing life or power like to a breath or gust of air, proceeding from the Abyssal Eye of the Father, as from its eternal root and beginning, and conveyed through the Heart of the Son, as the golden oil transmitted through the golden pipe of the Son's Essential Love. It is the active life and power of the Holy Trinity, which finisheth the work of true regeneration in apostatised creatures. Thus we see that the opening of the Eye doth reveal the total Deity, Father, Son and Spirit, by a true and vital representation.
In the sixth place when the Eye of Eternity opens, it manifests God's corporeity, or the Divine Body.
Objection: But you'll object that God hath no body, as being a pure Spirit.
Answer: To which I answer first, by way of concession, that God hath no organical body like men, neither like those of the glorified Saints and Angels.
But in the next place, I say that God hath a body, such as becomes his high, spiritual and refined nature; for indeed the opening of the Eye doth clearly discover to the spirit of the mind, that the immense deep of the Abyssal Globe of Eternity is God's universal, incomprehensible, omnipresent body. This is the eternal corporeity of the Holy Trinity, which comprehends all things, being comprehended of none, but itself: it is universally in all beings and diffused through all beings: nothing can keep it out, neither can anything shut it up. It is a free liberty in itself, it stands free from all essences, only so far as it pleaseth to unite itself with any essence: With relation to this universal body, it is, that God styles himself the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end of all beings; all things proceed from it, and therefore it is the first, and all things subsist in it, and therefore it is the last. Thus we see that the Holy Trinity have the Globe of Eternity for their body in which they all act and move. This body is Wisdom's crystalline glass, wherein all things are truly and intellectually represented to the eye of the mind: it is in this deep Abyss of the Globe of Eternity, that all those divine mysteries are discovered and manifested, which in the foregoing treatise have been made out to you; for in this mirror of Wisdom all the depths of the Deity stand openly represented to the Eye of the Spirit, when a glance from the Eye illustrates its hidden deep. We see then that the Globe of Eternity, is the body of the Spirit of Eternity, yet not an organical body; for what organs are there in a globe or sphere? It is such a body as the Spirit of Eternity can by contraction draw into itself, or by dilation diffuse itself into infinity. This body comprehends all worlds and globes within itself, and is therefore called the universal, all containing, body of the Deity. By means of this body, the Spirit of Eternity hath brought forth himself into heights, depths and breadths, which are formed and distinguished by the Eye, for the Eye looking upwards gives an immense height to the Globe of Eternity; When it looks downwards it forms the depths, and when on either side, the breadth: because without the Eye, none of these would be determinable in a globe, concerning which, we cannot say, that it hath height or depth. So that though the Spirit of Eternity in itself be without any bounds or limits, yet he hath been pleased to bound himself in the Globe of Eternity, and that for the manifestation of himself, without which we could have no other, but a negative knowledge of Him. We may here also take notice of the figure of this body, which is round or spherical, being the most perfect of all figures, and therefore most proper for the body of the Deity; Who in this also differs from all creatures, who have their distinct organical bodies with great variety of figure; whereas the blessed Deity hath the most simple and perfect of all figures to be the outward form of his corporeity.
Lastly, the opening of the Eye of Eternity discovers God's external form or figure: we have before spoken of God's internal form or image, and declared that it is nothing else but his essential holiness. I know it will seem strange, that I speak here of God's figure, since the Scripture forbids us to make any figure or likeness of God. But to this I answer that though God forbids us to frame any likeness of himself who is the Spirit of Eternity, in resemblance of any creature whatsoever, yet cannot this debar the Holy Trinity from representing themselves according to the pleasure of their own will: who is above them to control them? Or who is their counsellor to advise them? Or who dare say to them, why do you thus represent yourselves? For, as hath been said before, at the opening of the Eye, the Father appears in the figure of the sight or black of an Eye, which is yet no organical eye: the Son appears in the likeness of an heart, in the midst of which the Eye of the Father is centred: and the Holy Ghost is represented in the likeness of an outgoing breath, wind or air, which proceedeth from the Eye, through the Heart, and is in its own essentiality, an active power, which effects whatsoever the Eye or Heart will have done. Now the triune Deity brought itself into these visible figures for their own manifestation, that we might thereby learn, how the Father, Son and Spirit are in one another eternally, and yet notwithstanding this their unity, they are distinguished by those three figures of Eye, Heart, and outgoing breath, which are distinguishable one from the other. So that here this great mystery of the Unity and distinction of the Trinity is fully discovered, and made out to the eye of the mind: for though the Eye, Heart and outgoing breath, do appear in one another, yet they appear with distinction, so as the Eye is distinguishable from the Heart, and the Heart from the outgoing breath.
But before I leave this point, I shall endeavour to give you some account concerning the nature of these forementioned figures, in these following particulars.
In the first place, I say that those images and figures which the opening of the Eye manifests are not shadows and empty representations, but real and substantial ones, they are not only figures of heavenly things, but the heavenly things themselves.
In the second place, I say that these figures, are living and spiritful representations, not dead images, for the fullness of the living God fills them all with life and spirit and power.
In the third and last place, these figures are unchangeable, and that because they are essential to the Holy Trinity. So the Eye is essential to the Father; the flaming Heart of Love is essential to the Son, and the out-flowing breath of Power is essential to the Holy Ghost. For though in Eternal Nature, in the darkness the Eye of the Father appear dark, wrathful and terrible; and contrary, in the light, shining pleasant and full of Love; yet the Eye is not changed by these variations, but remains still the unchangeable Essential Eye of the Father, though diversified by the light and darkness. Thus we see that the unchangeable image of the Father, in the Globe of Eternity, is the sight or black of an Eye, into which likeness he hath been pleased to contract himself, for the manifestation of himself: for though we as creatures are commanded to make no representation or image of the Trinity, yet this doth not hinder, but they may bring forth a divine image and representation of themselves. What hath been said concerning the Eye, may be also said concerning the Heart, viz., that is the unchangeable, essential and substantial image of the Son: for he manifests himself to Angels and Saints in this figure of a central Heart, all flaming with Love, otherwise this hand could not have writ of it. And the out-flowing breath or air proceeding from the Eye and Heart, is the immutable and essential image of the Holy Ghost.
Thus we see that the Eye by its opening of itself doth clearly discover to us, that the one only true God, who is the Spirit of Eternity, hath brought forth himself into a beginning and end, into matter and form, into corporeity and figure, (in the sense as hath been before expressed, else it may seem harsh to common philosophers), who without the Eternal Globe is without any of these, even an unmeasurable, incomprehensible Unity, concerning which we can only say that it is what it is; for what it is, none can tell but itself. And so I proceed from the second place of purity in the Globe of Eternity called the Holy Place, unto the third which is the most holy or holiest of all.
And here before I begin to speak of the most Holy Place, I think it not amiss, once more, to hint to you, that these three distinct places or Courts, make up but one globe or sphere, from they proceed one from another, and penetrate one through another, and subsist in one another, yet with the distinction, above mentioned, of outward, inward and inmost, the first leading to the second, and the second to the third.
Concerning the most Holy Place.
I shall reduce all that I have to say concerning the most Holy Place to these four particulars,
First, I shall give you the several names which were given to it by the Spirit of God.
Secondly, I shall speak of the nature and condition of the place.
Thirdly, I shall give you an account of the wonders which are to be seen in it.
Fourthly, and lastly, I will speak of the ends of its formation.
1. As to the first of these, viz., the names and titles which were expressly given to this third court by the Spirit of God, they are these following: it was called the Still Eternity, and that by reason of the unutterable rest, silence and stillness which eternally dwells in this third court; for as the Outward Court was called the Globe of Eternity, and the Inward Court the deep Abyss or Abyssal Globe of Eternity, so the third place of purity is called the Still Eternity, because nothing but eternal rest, silence and stillness is to be perceived by those who live in this most Holy Place. This Holy Place is not the Trinity but distinct from it, and is the Still Eternity in which the holy simplified spirits live. It was also called the chamber of state, the Presence Chamber of the Spirit of Eternity, the King of Kings, where his inexpressibly glorious Majesty is to be seen. Besides it was called the Rock of Wonders, with reference to those wonders which do appear in it, of which we shall speak in the third particular.
2. The second particular is what the nature and condition of this place is, and this is hinted to us in the name which is given to it by the Spirit of God; for names ought to express the nature of the thing which they signify, and the whole excellency of names consists in this: Now we cannot imagine but that those names by which the Holy Spirit doth call anything have all the excellence and truth which a name is capable of, and consequently must very properly and significantly express the nature of the thing named; the name of this third place you have heard is the Still Eternity, and consequently have reason to conclude that the essential difference of this place is the majestic silence and awful stillness with which it is continually filled. This is such a stillness as surpasseth, not only all expressions, but likewise all thoughts and imaginations; and because of this majestic silence, and inexpressibly awful stillness this most Holy Place is also called the Presence-Chamber of the Deity; this supernatural silence and stillness being the ornament, state and pomp of it, to which all the glory and magnificence of monarchs here is but as a shadow or nothing.
3. The third particular is the wonders which are to be seen in this place, in respect of which, as was mentioned before, it was called the Rock of Wonders; and these wonders are five in number, viz.
1. The Spirit of Eternity, or the Eternal Unity.
2. The Holy Trinity.
3. The Virgin Wisdom of God.
4. The Seven Spirits before the Throne.
5. The inhabitants of the Still Eternity.
The first wonder which manifests itself in this Rock of Wonders is the Spirit of Eternity, or the Eternal Unity, which doth fill the total deep Abyss with itself, that is, with all power. Here the Spirit of Eternity discovers itself to be the first and original Power, the Power of all Powers, yea All-Power itself. And this manifestation of the Spirit of Eternity's being All-Power, is more full, magnificent and glorious in the Still Eternity than in the inward or outward Court, where the Deity doth also discover himself to be all-sufficient and omnipotent, but not in that sovereignty and majesty with which he appears to the eye of the mind in this his presence-chamber. Here the glory of the All-Power of the Deity is seen nakedly, openly and without a veil, eye to eye, and face to face; the sight of which doth cause ravishing ecstasies, inexpressible joys, and transporting admiration to fill the heart of the beholder; it being a sight so glorious as no words can express, nor no thoughts represent to the mind, as being beyond all comprehension.
The second wonder in this Rock of Wonders, the Still Eternity, is the holy and ever-blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Father is the original power of all powers, subsisting in, by and from himself; which original power of the Father is most clearly and openly discovered in the Still Eternity, in the highest magnificence, majesty and glory. This supreme power of the Father, is the beginning of all power, and the fullness of all power, filling the heights, depths, and breadth of the Still Eternity: this power of the Father is an eternal unity and simplicity, that is, it is free from all manner of contrariety, divisibility, composition or mixture, as being an uniform, universal, diffusive power, which is nothing else but pure Deity, and further we cannot search into this power of the Father to know what it is, for none knows what pure Deity is, but God himself. It is this paternal power, which fills the Still Eternity throughout, in the appearance of the clearest transparency and brightness. I have now given you an account how the Father manifests himself in the Still Eternity, to be All-Power, yet before I leave this particular for further explanation, I shall show you negatively what this power of the Father is not.
First then say I, that this power of the Father is no personal power, for nothing of personality is manifested in the Still Eternity, only an uniform, universal diffusive power in the appearance of the greatest brightness fills it throughout.
Neither is this power of the Father any organical image resembling that of the Angels or men, having distinction of parts and members, for nothing of this kind can be found in the Eternal Unity of the Father's All-Power. And thus much shall suffice to have spoken concerning the Father, who is the First in the Trinity. We now proceed to the second, viz., the Son of the Father.
The Son is an essential power immediately generated by the Father, out of his own divine Essence: and therefore he is co-essential and co-equal with the Father. For the Son's power dilateth and co-extendeth itself in, with and through the Father's power, to the utmost bounds and limits of the Still Eternity, and filleth the deep Abyss with his own powers, in the Father's power, as being co-essential, and co-equal with the Father. Again this power of the Son is also the co-eternal with the Father: for though the Father may be said to be before the Son in order of nature, forasmuch as he is the generator of the Son, ye we cannot say that the Father is before the Son as to priority of time, for the Son exists from all Eternity at once, and together with the Father, and therefore is the eternal Son of the Father. If you would further know what this generated power of the Son is, I say it is an Eternal Unity, and pure Deity even as the Father's power is.
But for the further opening of what the Son of God is, you may take notice of these following particulars.
In the first place the Son of God is the first begotten of the Father; He is the first born of all beings, as being that Essential Word, co-eternal with the Father, by whom the Father made all things, and without whom nothing was made. By him were all things created whether they be in Heaven, or on Earth, whether visible or invisible, whether Thrones or Dominions, Principalities or Powers, all things were created by him, and for him; and therefore he must needs be before them all, and consequently be the first begotten of the Father.
Secondly, this Son of God is the only begotten Son of the Father: all other sons whether Angels or men receive their filiation or sonship from this only begotten Son of the Father, and are called sons forasmuch as they partake of, and are centred in this only begotten Son: they are sons in and because of this only begotten Son, and beloved in the only beloved of the Father.
Thirdly, this Son is the co-essential Son of the Father, of the same essence and nature with the Father: now the nature of the Father is purity, holiness, righteousness, meekness, love, goodness and perfection, and such is the Son's nature also, and therefore the Son is called the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his subsistence: But the image of the Father is no organical image, but consists in light, life and love: The Father is all light, and in him is no darkness at all; he is all life, and in him is no death; he is all love, and in him is no wrath; and the Son being the co-essential Son of the Father, must also be all light, all life and all love. Thus the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father; Neither is the nature of the Father and Son distinguishable in the Still Eternity, the nature of the Father is not severe and wrathful, and that of the Son, sweet, mild and gentle, for this is no way consistent with the simple nature of the Deity. The Father is all light, life and love in the Son's nature, and the Son is all light, life and love in the Father's nature: the nature of the Father flows from himself, as the fountain-head and spring, into the Son, and from the Son again into the Father; and therefore the Son is called the Heart of the Father; because he is the fixed seat of the Father's light, life and love. Thus we see that neither Angels nor Saints are in this degree co-deified and consubstantiated with the Father, for he filleth the Still Eternity with the light, life and love of his Essential Deity in co-equality with the Father.
Fourthly, this Son is the well beloved Son of the Father, the Son of his loves, in whom he is fully well pleased satisfied and delighted. And indeed how can it be otherwise? since he is one being and one nature with the Father, the very Heart of the Father, and his express image; when he is the beauty, brightness and excellence of his Father's glory, and exalted to an equality of honour and dominion with the Father, as sitting in the same Throne with the Father, and possessing the kingdom with him. This is the Son in whom the Father will have honoured and worshipped as himself, and to whom the Father hath committed all judgment, neither can the one be worshipped without the other, they subsisting in each other. This is the Son who is exalted by the Father to be heir of all things.
In the fifth place this Son is the Essential Christ of God. I would not have you stumble at this expression, I might indeed have omitted it, but for the matters sake: for you must take notice that I speak here of the Holy Trinity, as they exist without Nature, and in this state the Son of God cannot properly be called the Christ, that is, the Anointed, because thus considered he is not anointed to any office, for it is after his entering into the properties of Nature, that he is anointed to be the Mediator: yet bear with me for using this word improperly, because I do it only for this end to give you a more clear and distinct knowledge of what the Son of God is as he exists before Nature, as well as what he is in the properties of Eternal Nature.
But you'll ask of me, why I speak of the Holy Trinity out of, and before Nature, and particularly, why I speak of the Essential Christ of God as existing before Nature? I answer that my speaking of the Holy Trinity, and particularly of the second-person, who is the Christ of God, as he exists before Nature, is only in order to give you a more distinct knowledge of the Son and Christ of God in Nature, and to enable you to distinguish between his being out of Nature, and his existence in the properties of Nature.
This Essential Christ is one with the Father, it is He who is the same yesterday, today and forever, even before all time and before Eternal Nature, and he is the connection with the Father: He is the Word, wisdom, power, the light, life, love, the heart, righteousness, purity, brightness, excellency and glory of the Father in the Father: for we must not conceive of him as a distinct Person from the Father, because that would destroy the high unity and simplicity of Divine nature, which admits of no composition, or division: nor on the one side must we conceive the Son of God to be only a distinct denomination, for we shall see that in the Still Eternity, there is a distinct representation of the Son, from that of the Father, and the Holy Ghost: For the Son is represented in the image of an Heart, the Father of an Eye, and the Holy Spirit in the stream or emanation which issueth from both.
But you will say, is then this Christ the Son of God the Redeemer, Saviour, Justifier and Reconciler of mankind? I answer, that to speak properly, the Son of God, as he exists out of and before Eternal Nature, is not a Redeemer, Saviour, &c. and that because in this state he hath no relation to any creature whatsoever; and therefore as long as there was nothing for to be redeemed or saved, he could not properly be called a Redeemer or Saviour.
But you'll say this Essential Christ, the eternal Son of the Father, is not the Christian's Christ, in whom they trust for redemption, salvation and glorification?
1. I grant that properly he is not, first because the object of the faith of Christians is a God-man; a Christ clothed with humanity, in whom two natures, pure Deity, and pure humanity are hypostatically united, so that according to his Deity he is true God, and according to his humanity pure man: whereas the Essential Christ is not made up of two natures, but is whole Deity, unity and simplicity, being co-essentiall and co-equall with the Father, which he could not be, if the human nature was joined with him; for then he could not be one eternal unity and simplicity with the Father.
2. The Christ of the Christians is born in time, even in the fullness of time of the blessed Virgin Mary; but the Essential Christ is co-eternall with the Father, and exists from all eternity with the Father, before all time.
3. The Christ of the Christians is a personal Christ, found and brought forth in flesh, in the figure of man; being made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted: but the Essential Christ of the Father hath no human figure, or organical personality; and consequently it was impossible for him, as such, to shed his blood upon the Cross, for the redemption of sinners, which was the great work of the Christian Christ.
4. The Christ of the Christians arose from the dead the third day and ascending on high, is sat down on the right hand of the Father, being made the head and king over all Angels on mount Zion, and over all his Saints and members within the walls of the New Jerusalem: but the Essential Christ of God reigns and rules on the same Throne with the Father, in the Globe of Eternity over all worlds and over the Person of Christ in his glorified corporeity.
5. The Christ of the Christians was before promised to be the seed of the woman, and the treader down of the serpent, and it was with reference to this Christ that the Covenant was made with Abraham, that all nations should be blessed in his seed, Isaac being a type of him and his birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and glorification, were shadowed out by the dark types and figures of the ceremonial law. Now we see that these things are not applicable to the eternal Son of God, as he exists in the eternal unity of the Father, without any human nature.
Now because I have been misrepresented by some as if I were a Socinian, and denied the Deity of Christ, I think it not amiss to give this following declaration of my faith concerning Christ, viz., I believe him to be perfect God and perfect man; that he was born of the Virgin Mary, being made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted; that he died on the Cross at Jerusalem, and rose from the dead the third day; that he ascended into Heaven, and is sat down at the right hand of the Father, being constituted head and king over all Angels and Saints, All which points I cordially assent to, and do from my very soul abhor those ranting principles, which deny that ever there was such a person as Jesus Christ, who was born at Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary, and who acted all those miracles the Scriptures of truth relate of him; which deny his death on the Cross at Jerusalem, his resurrection, ascension and personal glorification: for they reject and deny the true Gospel-Christ, the personal Christ, to whom the Scriptures bear witness, even that Christ, who is the object of the faith of Christians, whereby they destroy the Christian faith, and make the Scripture an heap of allegorical confusions and untruths: Which principles I am so far from owning, that I here once more declare that I do from my heart and soul detest and abhor them.
I come now in order to speak of God the Holy Ghost, who, as was said before, is the out-flowing power, proceeding from the Father and the Son. It may be distinguished from the Father's power, in that the Father's power is the original, primary, fountain-power of the Trinity, without which no Trinity had ever been; whereas the power of the Holy Ghost is the consummating and finishing power which makes the blessed Trinity perfect and complete. And it differs from the Son's power, forasmuch as that is a power begotten and generated out of the Divine Essence of the Father, but the power of the Holy Ghost is only a proceeding out-going power, not from the Father only, but from the Father and the Son: it proceeds from the Father originally, as being the fountain-spring of it, and proceeds derivatively through the Son, and for so much as distinguishable from Father and Son; though indeed it be co-essential, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son; for the Holy Trinity are centred and rooted in the most perfect unity.
In the first place, I say that the Holy Ghost is co-essential with the Father and the Son, that is, of the same nature and essence, being all pure Deity, even as the Father and Son is.
Secondly, this proceeding power of the Holy Ghost is co-equal with the Father and Son, for even as the power of the Father and the Son is dilated from the centre to the circumference of the Abyssal Globe, so likewise is the out-going power of the Holy Ghost.
In the third place, the power of the Holy Ghost is co-eternal with the Father and the Son, for the Holy Trinity exist from all eternity at once, and altogether; and as the Father never was without the Son, nor the Son without the Father, so likewise the Father and Son were never without the Holy Ghost proceeding from them.
In this fourth place, this out-going power of the Holy Ghost was manifested to be a bodily power, I do not mean that it appeared as an organical and visible body, capable of division into parts, but as a body of power filling the whole circumference of the Still Eternity. Hence it is that this all filling power of the Holy Ghost is called the temple and tabernacle-body of the Holy Ghost, because as the Father dwelleth in the Son, and the Son in the Father, so both Father and Son dwell in this body of power of the Holy Ghost, as in a temple or tabernacle.
But you will object, that here I seem to contradict what I said before, viz. that the Abyssal Globe of the Still Eternity was the body of Corporeity of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, whereas here I make the all-filling power of the Holy Ghost to be the temple-body of the Deity.
To which I answer, that I do not attribute two distinct bodies to the Deity, for these are as a wheel within a wheel, and as an inward skin covered with an outward: in like manner the outward cover or body of the Trinity is the Abyssal Globe of the Still Eternity, but the inward covering or corporeity is the all-filling power of the Holy Ghost, and both make up one Divine corporeity, which is the place and temple of the Holy Trinity. And this one of these wonders which are manifested in this Rock of Wonders viz., that the all-filling power of the Holy Ghost is the innermost temple and tabernacle-body wherein the Father, Son and Spirit have their mutual co-habitation.
The fifth and last property of the out-flowing power of the Holy Ghost is this, it is an essential creating power, insomuch as nothing can be effected or created without it. It is by this acting power of the Holy Ghost, that Eternal Nature and her forms were brought forth, it is this power brought all things, all worlds, into act, according to the will of the Father; so that this Divine body of power, is the united acting power of the whole Trinity. The Father operates from himself, as being the beginning of power, through the heart of his Son, with and by the acting power of the Holy Ghost; the Son operates from the Father, in himself, by the effecting power of the Holy Ghost, The Holy Ghost worketh from the Father, through the Son, with and by his own effecting power: Thus the Holy Trinity act harmoniously from, through and by one another in this ghostly body of power, which fills all in the Still Eternity. This body of power is a most spiritual, divine, refined body, which nothing can shut out, neither can any think keep it in: it is far more refined and subtle then any personal organical body whatsoever of Angels or men; and it is so infinitely powerful, that if it were in Hell, Hell would not be able to keep it, but it would raise itself thence to glory, the omnipotency of the Holy Trinity being lodged in it.
Hitherto I have spoken of the Unity in Trinity, viz. how the Eternal Unity and simplicity manifests itself in Trinity; I shall now come to speak something briefly of the Trinity in Unity, and show you how the blessed Trinity, as they proceed from Unity, so they return to it and are centred in it. St. John hint's both these mysteries to us, I John 5, 7. There are three which bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, and these three are one: as if he had said, these three Father, Son and Spirit proceed from one Eternal Unity, and yet they are three distinguishable powers, so as one is not the other from Eternity to Eternity, and can never be confounded together.
For first they are distinguished by their names Father, Son and Spirit, and this distinction of names doth necessarily imply some distinction of nature.
Secondly, they are distinguished according to order, the Father first, the Son next, the Holy Spirit last of all.
Thirdly by number, as one, two, three, and are therefore well called the holy number three.
In the fourth place the Apostle distinguisheth them by their relative properties of Father, Son and the outgoing Spirit of Power.
Now after he hath spoke of their distinction, he tells us that notwithstanding all this, these three are one, that is, that they are all centred, and rooted in one undivided unity and simplicity, which is the pure essential nature of the Deity. And indeed if the Holy Trinity were not thus centred in the most perfect Unity, they would be three distinct Deities, which is contrary to the Christian faith and divine revelation. No, the Holy Trinity have but one Divine nature, one Eye, one Heart, one body of power between them, for to dwell in. And thus much shall suffice to have spoken concerning the second wonder, which is to be seen in the Still Eternity, viz., the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity: though no words are able to express the majesty and transparent clarity of this sight as it presents itself in the Still Eternity, where the Trinity appears in the triumphant glorious body of power of the Holy Ghost. I now pass to the third wonder.
The third wonder which was presented to my intellectual sight was God's Wisdom, concerning whom I shall speak under these three heads.
First I shall speak of the birth and nativity of the Wisdom of God.
Secondly of its nature.
Thirdly and lastly of its office.
1. First then, as to the birth and nativity of Wisdom, we are to know that it springs and flows from God's Eternal Eye, as from its Eternal root and original, and here it is fixed as in its proper seat and centre; for it is by this Wisdom, that all the desire and motions of the Deity are most wisely ordered, conducted and governed, for it proceeds from and is seated in the same Eye with his desiring mind, and willing will, these three are in one another and penetrate through one another, and make up but one inseparable, indivisible power. I say that all three exist in the Eye as one power, yet distinguishable, and without the least disorder or confusion; the first is the wisdom, then the mind, and next the will; for as the wisdom proceeds from the Eye, so the mind proceeds from the wisdom, and the will from the mind. And thus much for the birth and nativity of Wisdom.
2. I come now in the next place to speak of the second head, viz. what the nature of the Wisdom is: I say then, that the Divine Wisdom is a flowing, moving power, a moving motion immediately proceeding from God's Eternal Eye. God's Wisdom is a bright ray or glance issuing from the Eye of Eternity; therefore she is termed the brightness or clarity of the Godhead, and a pure breath or efflux from the majesty of the Almighty. We can say nothing of her but that she is the brightness and glance of the Eye of Eternity; who as she proceeds from the Eye, so she is moved by, and only by the same; for she is a mere passive bright shining virtue, that swiftly passeth through and pierceth all things, by reason of her high purity and subtlety, which can be compared with nothing better, than to a lustrous shining glance, being perfectly passive and moving only according to the motion of the Eye of the Father, which makes her more swift and piercing than anything whatsoever.
But for a further illustration of the nature of God's Wisdom, I shall a little enlarge my self upon these following particulars, which are so many essential properties of the said Wisdom.
In the first place this Wisdom is co-essential with the Holy Trinity: Because hath been said it proceeds from the Trinity, as an outgoing ray, glance or brightness; now nothing doth immediately proceed from God, but what is of the nature and essence with him, and consequently what can this bright shining glance from the Eye of the majesty be else, but pure Deity, as proceeding from, and fixed in the Eye of Eternity.
The second essential property of this Divine Wisdom, is this, that she is co-eternal with the ever-blessed Trinity. God was never without his Wisdom, nor the Eye of Eternity without this glance and bright ray which proceedeth from it; for else God could not have been an all-wise and all-knowing God. Therefore according to order of time the Divine Wisdom, is co-eternal with the Holy Trinity, though in order of nature and dignity, the Holy Trinity are before Wisdom, which is nothing else but a passive efflux from the ever-blessed Trinity. Wherefore you are not to imagine that the Wisdom of God, as she is co-essential and co-eternal, is also co-equal with the holy Trinity, because as was said before, she is perfectly passive, and moves not herself, but as the Eye is moved, whereas the Blessed Trinity is all act, all acting power; she is indeed said to be a co-operator with the Trinity, but yet so as that she moves not, except she be moved, nor acts except she be acted: thus far indeed she may be said in some sense to be co-equal with the Trinity, forasmuch as she fills with her glance and brightness the whole Still Eternity; but this cannot amount to a proper co-equality, because she is wholly passive, and depending of the Trinity. Besides she is clearly distinguishable from the Eye, and the Spirit of the Eye, as being only a brightness, glance or ray proceeding from it, and is consequently inferior, and subordinate to the Blessed Trinity.
The third and last essential property of the Divine Wisdom, is her virgin purity, which consists in this, that she is free from all desire, will and motion of her own. She desires and wills nothing, but as the Eternal mind, and Will, desires and wills in her; she moves not, but as she is moved, and acts not, but as she is acted by the Spirit of Eternity; for she is nothing but a bright passive glance from the Eye of Eternity. She is an eternal stillness in herself. She is not the majesty itself, nor the Eye, but she is only the beauty, glory, brightness, lustre and glance of the majesty in the Eye, and that such a transparent clarity and brightness as is without all spot or blemish. And in a word, she is nothing but perfect, absolute purity, she is a thousand times brighter, and purer than the Sun, and fairer than the Moon, and indeed nothing can be compared to the excellence of that her virgin purity.
But her pure virginity doth not only consist in this, that she is free from all manner of spot, blemish or mixture, but especially in this, that her bright glance is from all Eternity fixed upon the flaming heart of God's love, which is the centre of the Holy Trinity. This flaming heart of Love is the sole object to which her regard is fastened continually: she receives nothing into herself but this divine Love, from the heart of God. She espouseth herself to nothing, inclineth herself to nothing, but only to this essential Love, the Word of God, fixed in the Heart of the Deity. Thus the Holy Trinity have their delight with wisdom, and again the whole joy and delight of Wisdom is the flaming Love of the blessed Trinity. She is exalted above all things, because of her beauty and immaculate purity; she is the highest purity; she is purity and virginity in the abstract. She cannot be touched by sin, evil or self, because she cannot mix with, nor incline to anything, but only the essential Love of God. She is free from all essences whatsoever, being nothing else but the unspotted mirror of the glory and excellency of God: and thus we have declared to you what that pure virginity is, which is one of the essential properties of God's Wisdom.
3. I now proceed to the third and last head, viz., What the office of Wisdom is in the Still Eternity. I find that Wisdom dischargeth these two offices, viz.
1. She is a revealer of the mysteries, and hidden wonders of the Deity.
2. She is an enlightener of the Still Eternity.
First, as for the first of these, Scripture and revelation assure us, that Wisdom is the revealer and manifestor of the unsearchable secret of God: she is the golden key of the Eternal Eye, by which all the wonders of the Trinity are unlocked. As the office of the Holy Ghost is to effect and create all things, so the office of Wisdom is to manifest and reveal all things. She never brings forth anything, and upon that account also, is called a pure virgin, but only discovers and manifests whatsoever the Holy Trinity, by their effecting-creating-power, are pleased to bring forth. This Wisdom is the companion of the Eye of Eternity, by her out-going glance, revealing the wonders contained in it: She is as an handmaid waiting upon the Holy Trinity, to declare, publish and make known their counsels, secrets and wonders.
Secondly, the other office of Wisdom is to give light to the deep abyss of the Still Eternity. It is Wisdom's bright glance which is the day and light of this most holy mansion, not a created light, but a pure divine Light, in that sense as God is called a light in whom is no darkness at all, and no otherwise.
But you will object, that the Holy Scriptures and divine philosophers seem to give a different account concerning Wisdom than I have here given?
To which I answer, That I easily grant that the Scriptures of Truth, and holy enlightened men, have spoken concerning Wisdom after another manner, than here I have done; and the reason of it is plain, for they speak of Wisdom after the production of Eternal Nature, as Wisdom is introduced into the seven forms of Eternal Nature: whereas I speak of Wisdom's existence with the Holy Trinity, in the Still Eternity, before ever Eternal Nature was brought forth.
The fourth wonder (which my spirit was made to take notice of) in the Still Eternity was the Seven Spirits of God which stand before the Throne of the Holy Trinity. Saint John doth oft make mention of these in the Revelation, but he speaks of them there, as they were seen by him on mount Zion, in the New Jerusalem, after their being introduced into the working properties of pure Nature; whereas I treat of them here. as they were seen in the Still Eternity, before the existence of pure Nature, out of which the New Jerusalem is created, and brought forth by the Holy Trinity. And accordingly we are to distinguish between these Seven Spirits here mentioned, and those seven generating fountain-spirits, out of which pure Nature and her elements were generated, according to the highly enlightened Boehme, for those are the working powers of Eternal Nature; whereas these are in the Still Eternity, which was before Eternal Nature, co-existing with the Holy Trinity, and Divine Wisdom in the Still Eternity.
What I have further to declare concerning these Seven Spirits, I shall refer to these following particulars.
First, I shall speak of their number.
In the second place, of their birth and originality.
Thirdly, of their nature.
Fourthly, of their office.
Fifthly and lastly, of their place in the Still Eternity.
1. For the first, viz. their number, which is seven; for so they were named to me, the Seven Spirits of God. They do indeed subsist one in another, and through another, and appear but as one power, yet they are seven in number; even seven distinguishable powers flowing from and rooted in the unity of the Trinity. They were not distinguished to me by their several names, but only by their number: though, I know, that as they are in Eternal Nature, they enjoy their several distinct names; but it is not time now to speak of them, because here we consider them as existing in the Still Eternity, out of, and before Eternal Nature.
2. As to their birth and originality, they spring and proceed from the temple-body of the Holy Ghost, as well as they have their subsistence in the same: for as Wisdom is a beam or glance proceeding from the Father's Eye, and subsisting in the same; so these Seven Spirits, or seven lustrous powers proceed from the Divine body of the Spirit, as from their source and original, and subsist in the same, as in their true ground.
3. The third particular I am to speak to, is the nature of these Seven Spirits, which I shall endeavour to declare to you in these following propositions.
The first is this, the Seven Spirits of God are so many various outgoing powers, immediately proceeding from the body of the Holy Ghost; they are the true fruits of the spirit, they are as so many derived streams, from the head and fountain-stream, the Holy Ghost. They are a variation of that one all effecting power of the Holy Spirit. For as the supreme Unity varieth itself into a Trinity, so the all-effecting power of the Trinity varieth itself into a septenary, or Seven Spirits.
In the second place, these Seven Spirits are co-essential powers with the Holy Ghost, and consequently with the whole Trinity; for they immediately proceed from the essence of the Holy Ghost, they are essences out of his essence, and therefore must needs be co-essential with him.
Thirdly, the Seven Spirits of God are co-eternal with the Holy Spirit, for they exist together with the Holy Trinity, which was never without these spirits proceeding from them, and consequently these Seven Spirits must needs be co-eternal with the Blessed Trinity. But here we must not think that their being co-essential and co-eternal with the Holy Trinity, doth make them co-equal with them: no, the Spirit of Eternity doth not bring forth spirits equal to himself; but such as are subordinate and dependant, otherwise he would make other gods beside himself, which cannot be supposed. Besides their subordination and inferiority in this appears, that they are not shut up in the Unity of the Trinity, but appear distinctly from the holy and ever-blessed Trinity, as shall be more particularly declared hereafter.
The fourth and last particular is, what are the offices and functions of these Seven Spirits? Which I find to be these following.
1. In the first place, their office and function is to wait upon the majesty of the Trinity, in the Still Eternity, in the holiest of all. They are waiters and attenders on the majesty of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the Presence-Chamber of the Still Eternity; where these glorious waiters make a great part of the pomp, stateliness and magnificence of the most Holy Place, and Presence-Chamber of the Holy and ever-blessed Trinity.
2. Another office and function of these Seven Spirits, is to execute and perform the will of the Holy Trinity: whatsoever the blessed Trinity will have done, these can, and do effect in a moment: there is nothing too hard, or difficult for them: so that these are the high princes and offices of the supreme majesty, always attending in the most Holy Place, the Presence-Chamber of the Deity, to effect and execute the will and pleasure of the blessed Trinity. These are those miraculous powers continually assisting before the supreme majesty, who have manifested and effected their mighty works of wonder in all ages, for which end also the Deity hath introduced them into the working forms of Eternal Nature.
3. In the third place, the office of these Seven Spirits, is to be the high princely counsellors of the Divine majesty: all the secrets of the Holy Trinity are revealed to them, all their purpose and will is made known to them, for the Holy Trinity doth nothing without them: for they perform and execute all the will and purpose of the Deity.
4. In the fourth and last place, their function is this, they are the high favourites, friends and companions of the supreme majesty; for they are not only always in his presence in the most Holy Place, but they are admitted to his most secret, bosom-counsels, they are exalted to a degree next to the Holy Trinity, which argues the high favour the supreme majesty hath for them.
Having thus declared to you the office and functions of these Seven Spirits, I come now to speak of the fifth and last particular which I was to open concerning them, viz., the place they have in the Still Eternity: concerning which we are to know, that they are placed next to the supreme majesty of the Holy Trinity, and therefore are said always to stand before the glorious majesty of God in the most Holy Place, not in the outward or inward Court, but in the holiest of all, which is the Presence Chamber of the Deity, where the highest pomp, glory and magnificence of God is displayed. Here they behold the supreme majesty, face to face, and eye to eye; that is, most clearly without any veil or similitude whatsoever.
I shall now briefly show you what these spirits are not: they are no personal spirits, as the Angels are, who appear in organical bodies: they are pure simplified spirits, without composition, they resemble the supreme unity and simplicity of the Deity, from which they do immediately proceed. Neither can it be otherwise, for that in the Still Eternity nothing but what is pure spirit and power is to be found. It is true St. John in the Revelation represents them as burning lamps, but he speaks of them there, not as they exist in the Still Eternity; but as they appear in the properties of pure Nature, where they are tinctured with the fire and light in harmony.
I now come to speak of the fifth and last wonder which was seen in this Rock of Wonders, the Still Eternity, viz., the inhabitants of this most Holy Place. You must not think that the Deity is solitary or unattended, except only by those Seven Spirits before mentioned, for there are an innumerable number of pure simplified spirits, that stand ready in all humble resigned obedience, to execute the will, and perform the good pleasure of the Father of spirits. As to their number they are ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. and indeed are innumerable as to us. And as I told you, they are all pure simplified Spirits, not like the Angels, who were created out of the forms of Eternal Nature, but they are pure abstracted spirits, proceeding from the supreme Unity, who is a Father of Spirits.
I intend here for a further illustration of the present subject to speak something concerning the nature of spirits: and before I proceed any further, shall distinguish between pure, simple spirits and mixed spirits. Pure and simple spirits are such as exist without Eternal Nature in the Still Eternity: mixed spirits are such as are created out of Eternal Nature, and exist in the same, as all Angelical spirits do, and are therefore said to be mixed, because they do not immediately proceed from the supreme Unity, as simple spirits do: but are created out of Nature's forms. Wherefore they that suppose the Angels to be spirits of the first degree of perfection are mistaken: they are indeed the most perfect that were created out of the principle of Eternal Nature; but they do not reach the perfection of those simple spirits, who proceed from the Unity, and cohabit with the Unity in the Still Eternity. If you ask me a description of these simple spirits? I say, that they are most simple essences and powers, free from all manner of mixture, or duality, without any Angelical or other figure, and are eternal unities, proceeding from the supreme Unity itself.
I shall here subjoin a figure, wherein by way of likeness you may conceive in what manner these simplified spirits, the inhabitants of the Still Eternity, were represented to the eye of my spirit.
This figure represents the Still Eternity, or most Holy Place; the black spot in the midst or centre of this circle, figureth the central Eye of Eternity; and the black points, with which the whole circumference is filled, denote those pure simplified spirits, which are the inhabitants of the Still Eternity, or the most Holy Place: From which representation of them, we may learn,
First, that they are numberless.
Secondly, that they compass the Deity, and fill the whole round of the Still Eternity, ready to execute the commands of the High Majesty.
In the third place, the figure shows us, that they are distinct one from another, like the stars in the firmament.
Fourthly, They are all alike unto and co-equal with one another, they are all of the same essence, and all of them equally eternal, all of them equal in function, charge and dignity, all being obedient children and servants of the Deity: they are all alike in their external form and figure, appearing all like bright points, sparks or eyes.
In the fifth and last place, the figure shows us, they all resemble and are like the central Eye of the Deity, from which they do not differ but as a less from a greater: for as the Spirit of Eternity represents himself by the sight or black of an eye; so these simplified spirits, the inhabitants of the Still Eternity, appear like so many bright points, sparks or eyes, all multiplied and derived from the Eye of Eternity: So that these spirits are true resemblances of the Spirit of Eternity, being of the same nature, only with the above said difference of greater and lesser, and of original and copy, for they are lights from Light, and nothing else but the Eye of Eternity multiplying itself through the unmeasurable extent of the Still Eternity.
Having thus opened the figure, I proceed now to give you a definition of simplified, pure spirits, and it is this,
Simplified spirits are spirits generated by God (that is by the whole Trinity, not as the Son is generated by the Father) immediately out of himself, in the likeness and similitude of himself, and for himself.
This definition is made up of a genus and difference, the genus or general comprehensive notion, is spirits which is common to these simplified spirits with all others; the difference, or that whereby these pure spirits are distinguished from all others, is laid down in the causes, viz., the efficient, material, formal, and final causes of simplified spirits.
We shall begin with the first of these, viz., the efficient cause, which is expressed in these words of the definition, generated by God which intimates to us, that God is the efficient cause, and sole generator of those pure spirits, which are the inhabitants of the Still Eternity. I have told you before, that these spirits are simple, pure powers, and no wonder, since here you see that they are the off-spring of the Deity, who is all pure power: they partake of his nature, and essence, as children partake of the nature and essence of their parents, and therefore it is that God is called the Father of Spirits, in reference to these pure simplified spirits who resemble him in the unity, simplicity and purity of his Divine nature. But you will say, how and after what manner were these pure spirits generated by God? This I confess is a great mystery, yet for the satisfaction of the enquiring mind, we shall speak something of it. We are to know that these simplified spirits did from all Eternity exist ideally in the Eye of Eternity, and the said ideas, were actually and essentially manifested by production, before all worlds: The manner of their generation we may thus conceive of, their ideas being conceived in the Divine mind, raised a desire for their manifestation, and this desire awakened the omnipotent will of God to their actual production: for in the will of God stands the omnipotence, which effecteth all things: This all-effecting power, is the power of the Holy Ghost; who is the producer, and actual manifester of whatsoever lies hid in the Eye of the Father ideally; Neither could the Spirit of Power ever have brought forth these pure spirits, had not their ideas pre-existed in the Eye of the Father, as their first ground and original pattern, according to which they were brought forth actually by the Holy Ghost.
I next proceed to speak of the material cause of these simple spirits, the inhabitants of the Still Eternity, which is expressed in these words of the definition, immediately generated out of himself.
Though these pure spirits be immaterial, that is, free from all gross materiality and corporeity, yet are they not without a material cause, from whence they derive their substance and essence; so that materiality in this sense is taken for essentiality. Now this material cause is expressed to be God himself, for their was nothing in the Still Eternity but the blessed Trinity and the Seven Spirits immediately proceeding from them; therefore they must needs be generated out of God himself, for there was no other subject matter, no Eternal Nature, out of which they might be taken. The word immediately is added in the definition to distinguish these pure simplified spirits from the Angels who were brought forth out of Eternal Nature, as their material cause, and not immediately out of the Divine Essence, as these are. Now this Divine nature, out of which these spirits are generated, is no other than the Heart of God, which, as I told you, is the central Heart of the Deity; and this Heart of God is the eternal flaming Heart of God's Love, it is Love itself, and the fullness and perfection of Love, and accordingly St. John gives us this account of God, that he is Love, and he that dwells in Love, dwells in God, and God in him. Though this Scripture has relation to man literally; yet we may here apply it for illustration that God is Love, which Love is the generator of these simplified spirits. And it is out of this Love's eternal substantiality, that the numberless number of the inhabitants of the Still Eternity were actually manifested, for the glory of the supreme Majesty.
Now because I have told you, that Love's eternal essentiality is that, out of which all pure simplified spirits were brought forth; I think is not amiss to open to you the nature and properties of this Divine Love; to the end you may have a clearer understanding concerning the nature, and qualifications of those pure spirits, which did proceed from it: for by opening unto you the nature of this Divine Love, which is the cause, I must at the same time lead you to the knowledge of these spirits, which are the effect or product of it.
1. In the first place, then I find the nature of Divine Love to be a perfect unity and simplicity. There is nothing more one, undivided, simple, pure, unmixed and uncompounded than Love. You will say how do I prove this? Very well: for this Love is God himself, now it is well known that there is nothing more essential to God, than unity and simplicity, nothing more contrary to the Divine nature than duality, division or composition. Besides it is this Love, which gives unity and harmony to all things. There is no unity in Heaven nor on Earth, but what derives from Love, and must acknowledge him the author; and do you think Love can want that unity, which it gives to all others? No certainly, rather conclude, that which makes all things one, which harmoniseth and agrees the most different and discordant natures, must needs be unity itself.
2. In the second place, I find Love to be a most perfect and absolute liberty. Nothing can move Love, but Love; nothing touch Love, but Love; nor nothing constrain Love, but Love. It is free from all things, itself only gives laws to itself, and those laws, are the laws of liberty; for nothing acts more freely than Love, because it always acts from itself and is moved by itself; by which prerogatives Love shows himself allied to the Divine nature, yea to be God himself.
3. Thirdly, Love is all strength and power. Make a diligent search through Heaven and Earth, and you'll find nothing so powerful as Love. What is stronger than Hell and Death? Yet Love is the triumphant conqueror of both. What more formidable than the wrath of God? Yet Love overcomes it, and dissolves and changeth it into itself. In a word, nothing can withstand the prevailing strength of Love: it is the very munition of rocks, and the strength of Mount Zion, which can never be moved.
4. In the fourth place, Love is of a transmuting and transforming nature. The great effect of Love is to turn all things into its own nature, which is all goodness, sweetness and perfection. This is that Divine power which turns water into wine, sorrow and hellish anguish into exulting and triumphing joy; curse into blessings; where it meets with a barren desert, it transmutes it into a paradise of delights; yea it changeth evil to good, and all imperfections into perfection. It restores that which is fallen, and degenerated, to its primary beauty, excellence, and perfection. It is the Divine Stone, the White Stone with a name written on it, which none knows, but he that hath it. In a word, it is the Divine nature, It is God himself, whose essential property it is to assimilate all things with himself; or (if you will have it in the Scripture phrase) to reconcile all things to himself, whether they be in Heaven or in Earth; and all by means of this Divine elixir, whose transforming power and efficacy nothing can withstand.
5. In the fifth and last place, Love is of a fruitful, prolific, multiplying, diffusive and communicating nature. It is Love makes all other things to be fruitful and multiply, and to be diffusive and communicative of themselves; therefore Love which gives to others this property, must needs possess it by way of eminency itself. Upon this account it is, that Love saith, Shall I cause others to bring forth, and shall I not bring forth myself? I shall speak no more of this property of Love now, because I shall have occasion to mention it again in the next paragraph.
It was out of this fruitful womb of eternal Love, that the acting power of the Holy Ghost, in union with Wisdom, brought forth these simplified spirits, as out of their first matter; and consequently all these spirits must needs be co-essential, as being all brought forth out of the essence of Love, which is the common matter to them all; neither are they only co-essential with one another, but also in some sort co-essential with the Deity, being immediately produced out of the Divine Love-essence, yet with this difference, that the Divine Love-essence is the cause, and the spirits are the effects, and so are subordinate and inferior to him who is the Father of spirits. This Love-essence (as you have heard before) is the centre and heart of the Holy Trinity, and is consequently the first of all essences; as being before Eternal Nature, and all things else, and will be the last and reign and triumph over all to eternity.
But here it may be objected, That it doth not seem consistent with the unity and simplicity of eternal Love-essence, to be the producer of so many distinct spirits, because unity and multiplicity are opposite to one another?
To which I answer, that if these spirits be conceived to be taken out of the Love-essence, as so many divided parts, or parcels torn or separated from the whole; this cannot consist with the unity of Love: but it is not so, for it is the fruitful womb of the Love-essence, which hath brought forth all these innumerable spirits, without the least division or separation of its own simplified essence. But as we see here in this world, that one seed (by reason of the blessing of the Love-essence hid in it) brings forth, and varies itself into many, not by dividing itself into so many parts, but by a magical multiplication: even so we must conceive that this eternal Love-essence did magically multiply itself into this innumerable number of spirits, without making the least rent or division in its own most united and simple essence. These spirits are first in the Eye of the Father, as so many ideas, which ideas afterwards are fruitful seeds in the womb of Love, and are brought to actual manifestation by the all-effecting power of the Holy Ghost, with the assistance of Wisdom. So that hence we see that these spirits, which were only ideas in the Eye of the Father, receive their essentiality and become fruitful seeds in the Love-essence, which is the womb that cheriseth them. Wherefore it does not appear impossible or unintelligible, that the unity of Love's essence, should multiply and vary itself into an innumerable off-spring; because we see both the light and fire of this outward creation to multiply themselves without any division or loss of parts: How many sparks do proceed from one fire? And how many candles may be lighted by one? But how much more than, must we suppose, that the Heart of God, the Eternal Love-essence, is able to multiply itself; since all the multiplying virtue, which is found in things here below, are only the effects of the all-fruitfulness of Love, which is communicated unto, and diffused through all creatures, causing them to multiply, and bring forth according to their several kinds. So that it appears, That this Love-essence is the mother of all essences, but more immediately and peculiarly of these simplified spirits, which are the inhabitants of the Still Eternity, as being her own immediate off-spring, without the intervention of Eternal Nature: wherefore they also partake of the nature and essence of Love, being all meek and pleasant essences, beautified with all the graces, powers and perfections of Love, and exempt from all contrariety whatsoever.
I come now to speak of the formal cause of the inhabitants of the Still Eternity, which in the definition is laid down in these words, in the image and likeness of himself: intimating to us that which makes these implied spirits to be what they are is the image and likeness of the Holy Trinity; which is their internal essential form.
I now proceed to a more particular explication of the formal cause of these pure spirits; and to this end shall give you an account of what was declared, to the spirit of my mind, concerning them in the Still Eternity.
First, I was expressly charged to observe diligently what difference I could find between the Holy Trinity and these spirits; and upon observation, I could find no other difference, but that of greater and lesser; whereupon it was further expressly told me; that these spirits, were spirits generated out of, and to the image and likeness of the Spirit of Eternity. And again, that they were lesser wonders, as we may say, lesser deities generated by the universal Deity of Love: and what can more significantly express the formality of these spirits, than these words which were revealed to my spirit in the most Holy Place? Insomuch as it seems superfluous to add anything further: but yet if any should desire further to be instructed, what this image of God is, which is the essential form of pure spirits, I say, this image contains the whole nature, essence, and all the perfections of the Deity; yet with the distinction of greater and lesser, original and derivative, independent and dependent: For example, do you find God to be a perfect unity? So are these spirits an unity in themselves. Is God Love? So are these: Is God wise, good, powerful? So are these. And the same may be said of all the excellencies and perfections of the Divine nature, in the perfect image and likeness of which they were brought forth, by the acting power of the Holy Ghost.
I come now in the last place to speak of the final cause, expressed in these words, For himself, that is to say, these simplified spirits were brought forth for the manifestation of the Deity: for had the Divine nature always continued shut up in itself, in the Still Eternity, without bringing forth itself, without itself, it would never have been known to any, but itself: wherefore for the manifestation of the triune Deity were these simplified spirits brought forth to be the inhabitants of the Still Eternity.
1. But more especially these simplified spirits were brought forth for the manifestation of the attributes, virtues and excellencies of the Divine Essence, in the Still Eternity, viz., His eternity, infinity, all-sufficiency, immensity, as also his unity, simplicity, liberty, goodness, perfection and happiness. For though all these were well known to themselves, yet they were not manifested to others, till these simplified spirits were brought forth.
2. Again they were brought forth for the manifestation of the Divine sovereignty, majesty and dominion, in the Still Eternity: which could not be known or manifested till there were spirits which might be the subjects of this dominion and sovereignty.
3. In the next place, one of the ends of the production of these spirits was, that the mystery of the Divine Being, and subsistence might be known to others beside itself, in the Still Eternity. Therefore were these spirits produced which are all Eye, and every way capacitated eternally to dwell upon the blissful contemplation of the triune Deity.
4. Another end why these spirits were brought forth, was to manifest the generating and multiplying fruitfulness of the Deity, in his abstracted nature in the Still Eternity, without Eternal Nature's principle. There being nothing more essential to the Divine Nature than to multiply, diffuse and communicate itself, which essential property had never been known in the Still Eternity, without this production of simplified spirits.
5. Again, a main end, why these pure spirits were brought forth, was for the manifestation of God's glory, which consists in the triumphing exulting nature of Love, in the Still Eternity. Now that this pleasant and all glorious Love-essence might be revealed, in the Still Eternity to others beside the Trinity; therefore were these pure spirits brought forth, that they tasting, seeing and enjoying this glorious, pleasant and blissful Love-essence, might celebrate the praise and glory of the Triune Deity to all eternity.
6. Lastly, these pure spirits were brought forth for the manifestation of the hidden will and good pleasure of the Trinity. The Divine Will from eternity was to bring forth spirits in the Still Eternity, to be the inhabitants of it; which might know him and enjoy him, and in so doing, be eternally happy: Which Will of God could not be manifest till such spirits were actually produced, who were capable of knowing and enjoying him; and such were these simplified, pure spirits; and therefore they were brought forth by the Holy and ever-blessed Trinity.
The Divine Wisdom very well knew, that nothing less than spirits of the highest degree of purity, and simplicity could be capable of receiving the manifestations of the Trinity in the Still Eternity, that is, in their pure, simple, abstracted and solitary being. Therefore were these spirits brought forth in the perfect image of the Deity, as he subsists, all pure spirit, and unity, without and before Eternal Nature; that they might be vessels capable of receiving the Divine fullness; for which they were brought forth.
Having now finished the manifestation of the nature of these simplified spirits from their causes, I shall next come to give you a brief account of some of their essential qualifications, properties, and adjuncts; the explication of which may afford a fuller and clearer understanding of their nature.
1. In the first place then, I say, that these inhabitants of the Still Eternity are most highly simplified spirits; which simplicity of theirs consists in this, that they did immediately proceed from the most simple, and abstracted essence of the Deity; and were not brought forth out of Eternal Nature's principle as all other creatures were, which therefore want much of the simplicity and unity of these pure spirits. And again, these spirits are justly said to be simplified spirits, in that they have no souls, or any personal organical corporeity; but are mere, pure spirits, that is, nothing but spirit, all spirit. Yet I do not deny but these spirits have a body which is common to them all; which body is the Temple body of the Holy Ghost: which fills that whole circumference of that most Holy Place, in which body they do all dwell; yet reserving their numerical distinction.
2. These inhabitants are intellectual spirits, that is, they were endued with understanding and will; for otherwise they could not have resembled the Father of spirits, neither could they have been capable of knowing, loving and obeying him, and consequently would have been unmeet for the company of the Holy Trinity, in the Still Eternity.
3. These spirits are endued with the spiritual senses, of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling, whereby they are enabled to discern the object of the Still Eternity. They behold the Trinity face to face, they hearken to his still and awful voice, they are refreshed by perceiving the ravishing odours, which continually perfume the most Holy Place, they taste and feed upon the outflowing sweetness of the Deity; and they feel nothing but the eternal goodness of him, who with his fullness fills the Still Eternity.
4. In the fourth place, these spirits are endued with a spiritual kind of materiality from the Love-essence in the Heart of God. But because I have fully spoken of this in the material cause, I thither refer you.
5. In the fifth place, these spirits are all of them co-eternal, I mean in relation to themselves, not to the Holy Trinity who were before them, in order of nature; as the cause is before the effect, and the generator before that which is generated; though we cannot deny but that in some sense these spirits may be said to be co-eternal with the Trinity, because we cannot say that the blessed Trinity ever were without the company of these spirits in the Still Eternity. But in this place, when, I say, that these spirits are co-eternal, my meaning is, that they were all brought forth at once in the Still Eternity, without any priority or succession of time, which is not to be found in the most Holy Place.
6. In the sixth place, these spirits are all of them co-equal with one another, I say, with one another, not with the Holy Trinity: for though these simplified spirits may in some sense be said to be co-essential and co-eternal with the Blessed Trinity; yet can they not be said to be co-equal with them. They were indeed the off-spring of the Divine Essence of multiplying and propagating Love, proceeding from the Heart of the Trinity, and so may be said to be co-essential with the Deity, as immediately proceeding from the Divine essence of Love; and they were brought forth in the Still Eternity, where time is not be found, and so may be said to be co-eternal with the blessed Trinity; who were never without the company of these pure spirits in the Still Eternity: yet notwithstanding all this, they were never admitted to a co-equality with the Deity, because it is contrary to the nature and right of the Deity, to bring forth sons which should be equal with them in the sovereignty, kingdom and dominion; for so the Holy Trinity must have brought forth many absolute, independent deities like themselves, which cannot be admitted. It remains then that this co-equality, which we attribute to these spirits, is only to be understood with respect to themselves, viz., that they are all alike, without having any pre-eminence the one before the other.
As first, in their birth and original: they all have but one father, the Father of spirits, and but one mother, as proceeding all from the womb of Eternal Love: They are all children, and brethren alike: They are all equal in dignity and glory. Here is no election or reprobation takes place amongst these spirits, as being all of them the sons of God's Eternal Love. They are all of them co-heirs alike of all their Father's goods, even of all the riches and glory of the Still Eternity: they enjoy the beatifical vision, and union to and communion with the blessed Trinity alike. All the wonders of Eternity are theirs in community, and are all alike sharers in the powers, raptures and joys of the most Holy Place. They are all members of the same body, viz. the Divine Love-essence. They are all citizens of the same city. All subjects and obedient servants of the same sovereign majesty. They are all equal in the divine perfections, and heavenly gifts and graces: they are all of them most lovely, holy, pure and righteous. They are equally meek, humble, obedient, resigned, etc., so that they may very well be said to be co-equal with one another.
7. In the seventh place, these spirits are all fixed spirits, that is, they are unchangeable and unalterable, and by the power of the Holy Ghost filling them throughout, become fixed and unmoveable pillars in the most Holy Place. The reason of this their unchangeable fixation is, that the Holy Ghost is the life of their life, the spirit of their spirits, and the moving power in all their motions. They desire not, think not, will not, speak not, move not; but the Holy Spirit desires, thinks, wills, speaks and moves in and through them. Not that they want these faculties and powers, but because the Holy Ghost also is the acting and moving power in and through all their faculties; themselves being purely and merely passive. And therefore it is impossible that any of these spirits should fall, because they stand all fixed in and by the unchangeable power of the Holy Spirit, owning no will, but that of the Blessed Trinity; so that there is no way for sin or self to enter in and take possession of these Inhabitants of the Still Eternity, forasmuch as the Holy Ghost, who performs all the good will of the Trinity, is become their acting and moving power.
8. In the next place, these simplified spirits as to their number are innumerable as to us, though not to the Holy Trinity, to whom their number is exactly known, and who calls them all by their names. This innumerable number of spirits, proceeded (as I told you before) from the overflowing stream of Love's Eternal Essence: for when the Father and Spirit moved in the Heart-essence of Love, then the Heart of the Son's Deity opened itself; and then the Love-essence shut up in the Heart, did flow forth as a stream from the Heart-centre; out of which essentially the Holy Ghost, in conjunction with Wisdom, formed this numberless number of simplified spirits. And this infinite fullness of the Divine Love might have suffices to the production of many more of these spirits, than were brought forth; therefore the out-flowings of this ocean sea, what shall I say, of Eternal Love, were bounded by God's Will and Wisdom, who brings forth all things in number, weight and measure; and so were these spirits also produced according to the will and good pleasure of the Holy Trinity.
9. In the ninth place, we may consider the place or Ubi of these spirits, which is no other than the most Holy Place, the Still Eternity; the Heaven of heavens, differing from the Angelical and all other heavens, in that they were brought forth out of Eternal Nature, but this was before, and stands without Eternal Nature: and is the most Holy Place, and Presence-chamber of the Divine Majesty in its own pure abstracted essence. But to speak somewhat more particular concerning the place of these spirits; I say, that they are placed round about the Eye of Eternity, not in the very Eye; which situation of theirs is a mark of their inferiority, subordination unto, and dependence upon the Trinity.
10. In the tenth and last place, I shall speak something concerning their outward form and figure, which as was told you before, is the very same with the figure of the Eye of Eternity, only with this difference that the Eye of Eternity is greater, and these also many lesser eyes encompassing it round. According as you see it represented in the figure which is in the margin: where the great spot in the midst deciphers the Eye of Eternity appearing like the black or sight of an eye; and the lesser spots round about it represent the inhabitants of the Still Eternity, exactly resembling the Eye of Eternity, with this only distinction, that they are less than it. And here we may also take notice, that as these spirits do exactly in their outward figure resemble the Holy Trinity, as they exist in the shut up Eye of Eternity, so also they exactly resemble one another without any the least difference, appearing all not only in the same figure and form, but also of the same bigness; so that there is no distinction between them, but only a numerical distinction, whereby one of them is not the other. And one of the greatest wonders of the Still Eternity is this, to behold this innumerable number of spirits bearing the exact and perfect resemblance with the Deity both outwardly and inwardly. At which sight my spirit was in a manner all absorbed quite swallowed up with wonder and amazement.
Having thus spoken concerning these qualifications and adjuncts of these pure spirits, I should now draw to a conclusion of this subject, but because some, it may be, will be curious to know what the manner of living and employment of these spirits in the Still Eternity is.
As to the first, we must know that being living spirits, their life requires to be maintained with food; for no life, though the most spiritual can be continued without a supply of meat and drink, according to its kind. It is not to be thought that we speak here of any gross way of eating and drinking, but of that which is purely and highly spiritual; for the food of these spirits is nothing else but living powers, or rather powers of life proceeding from the Holy Trinity. Their eternal Mother that brought them forth to be living spirits, doth feed nourish and maintain them with her divine influences and distilling powers; which Mother of theirs is the eternal Heart of Love, which is the centre of the blessed Trinity: from whence proceed these impregnating, penetrating powers which do feed and maintain these spirits, which powers are the very blood, life and spirit of Love, which is the food of those inhabitants of the Still Eternity. And thus much shall suffice concerning the manner and way of living of these spirits in the Still Eternity: I shall now come to speak a word or two concerning their employment.
Their employment is to attend in the presence of the Holy and ever-blessed Trinity, being ready to perform the will of the supreme Majesty. Their minds are continually taken up, and delighted with the beatifical vision of the Deity; their wills fully satisfied in the immediate enjoyment of the chiefest good; their senses pleased with most suitable and ravishing objects; and they continually bathing themselves in those rivers of unknown delights, which proceed from the Heart of the Deity without intermission. Thus they spend that eternal day in never ceasing praises and hallelujahs to the ever blessed and incomprehensible Trinity.
Question: If any one do further enquire concerning these spirits, what speech or language they have, or how they communicate their thoughts to one another?
Answer: I answer, that their speaking to one another is by thought; what ever they do but think, is answered immediately; their thoughts are all known to one another, and forthwith answered: which awful silence adds much to the glory of this Presence-chamber of the supreme Majesty.
But it is not only their language which is wonderful, they being full of wonders; for they all see but through one eye, hear through one ear; they all live from one heart, and from one centre of life; they move from one moving cause, they all breath from one breath, they all will from one spirit, and they all stand in one body. For God the Holy Ghost who is a breath, air, life and power, proceeding from the Father's Eye, through the Son's Heart of Love, is all in all in these spirits, so that the will of the Trinity is fully performed in them, and by them.
I have but little more to add, and that is concerning the nature of this Still Eternity, and the ends why it was brought forth. To the first of these I shall speak in these following particulars:
1. In the first place, then I say, that the Still Eternity is a principle; now what a principle is, I shall afterwards set down, to which therefore I refer you.
2. Secondly, the Still Eternity is the first eternal principle; because there is none before, above or beyond it: But God alone who is the cause of it.
3. In the third place, this Still Eternity is the original principle of all principles; because all other principles proceed from it.
4. In the fourth place, this Still Eternity is the original principle of Eternal Love; and therefore it is called the Kingdom of Love, because here is the birth of Love, and here the blessed Trinity dwell in the eternal unity of their Love-essence, which is the first and last of all beings and essences whatsoever.
But you will object, that Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem, and the Angelical world, are called by the same names, viz. the kingdom and world of Love.
To which I answer, by granting, that it is true, Mount Zion, &c. are called by the same names, as is the Still Eternity, but yet with this difference, that the Still Eternity is the kingdom and mansion of the Love, as it exists without and before Eternal Nature's principle: but Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem, and Angelical world, are called the Kingdom of Love, manifested in and through Eternal Nature: so as the one is the Kingdom of Love out of Eternal Nature, and the others are the Kingdom of the said Love, brought forth in Eternal Nature's principle.
5. In the fifth and last place, the Still Eternity is a simple undivided principle, without any distinction of parts, composition or mixture whatsoever. It is all Light, and all Love, without anything of contrariety or disagreement whatsoever.
I now come to speak briefly concerning the second head I just now propounded, viz., the ends why this Still Eternity was brought forth.
1. In the first place, the Still Eternity was brought forth, that it might be the palace and habitation of the ever-blessed Trinity in their abstracted and solitary being.
2. Secondly, the Still Eternity was brought forth to be the council-chamber of the Holy Trinity; where all their eternal decrees, counsels, purposes and predestinations are agreed upon, and from whence they proceed. And because we here have made mention of the decrees and counsels of the blessed Trinity, it will not be amiss if we speak something concerning the nature of these decrees, &c. We are to know that all the decrees and counsels of the Holy Trinity do wholly and solely depend on the will of their Eternal Love, without the least regard to anything without themselves; being nothing else but the pure results of the will and purpose of their Love. But if we consider the Holy Trinity as being invested with the principle of Eternal Nature, so their decrees and counsels, concerning Angels and men, may be said to have a conditional regard to faith, obedience, perseverance, &c., which distinction, if well understood, will put an end to all those disputes, which have been concerning the decrees and purposes of God, whither they be absolute and independent, or conditional, and with regard to things without them; for both opinions are true, if rightly and distinctly taken. In the Still Eternity all the decrees and purposes of God are conditional and independent of anything, but their own wills; but in Eternal Nature their decrees do not absolutely and solely depend on the sovereign will of the Trinity, but upon conditions and qualifications found in things without them. As for example in Angels and men, concerning whom God's decrees are limited, and conditional according to the several dispositions of those creatures.
And thus I have finished the second head, viz., what God is in his original being, in the Globe of Eternity, before Eternal Nature was in being. And now shall proceed to the third part of this treatise, wherein the third head is handled, which is concerning Eternal Nature's essence, with her working forms, subsisting in her own eternal principle.
Soli Deo Gloria.
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, it is 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 itself, 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 human 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 themselves 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 word 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 itself is a passive, considered without the active spirit in the centre, 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 centres: 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. Question: 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 before 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, Romans 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. Corinthians 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 itself. 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 itself, 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 centres 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, centres, 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 itself 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.
Question: 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. Question: 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.
Question: 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 itself.
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 academic 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 ą parte post, and not ą 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 itself: 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.
Question: 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 centre 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.
We now proceed to the third Element, of which Eternal Nature doth consist, viz., the Element of Fire.
XVI. 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.
We now proceed to the last Element, viz., Eternal Earth.
XVII. 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.
Concerning the formal Cause of Eternal Nature.
XVIII. 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.
In the mixture of these Eternal Elements observe with me these following Particulars.
XIX. 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. Question: 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 centre 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 beginning and end of Eternal Nature's Essence, and how it is distinct from God's Eternal unity and pure Deity; though indeed in itself 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 fifth 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.
Concerning the final Cause of Eternal Nature.
XXII. 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. Ephesians 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; Revelations 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 immensity 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 anything 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.
Question: 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.
Question: If you enquire, what moves the Eternal Mind of the Trinity to desire?
Answer: I answer, the Spirit of Eternity itself.
Question: 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.
Question: 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 itself: 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 it acts magically. 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 grounded 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.
Objection: 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 itself 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 indissoluble 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?
Question: 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 itself is rooted in eternity.
Objection: 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.
Objection: 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.
Answer: 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, Genesis 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, Hebrews 1, 2., which must be these middle worlds of which here I have spoken.
Answer: 6. Eternal Nature is in itself 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, Hebrews 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 contrarieties; 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.
Objection: 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.
Question: 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.
Objection: 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.
Objection: 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 anything 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 anything 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 herself and with one another; none is before the other, because all are one and make up but one essence which is Eternal Nature herself.
Objection: 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 centre, 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 never go out, for then he knew that Eternal Darkness would become a dead 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.
Question: 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 itself; 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 itself 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 itself, 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 centre 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 itself 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 itself 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 is this Air-spirit that keeps the Wrath-fire in its due bounds, that it may neither be 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 is 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 itself 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 ecstasy 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 all 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 Atheitical 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 thyself: if thou canst find in thyself 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.
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.
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.
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.
Question: 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.
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 anything 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 itself, 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 anything 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 entered into so intimate a union with pure Nature's principle?
Answer: To which enquiry I shall answer with these following particulars.
1st 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.
2nd 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.
3rd 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.
4th 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.
5th 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.
6th 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.
7th 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 anything: 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:
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