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Fludd Mosaical Philosophy Book 1, Chapter 2.Back to Mosaical Philosophy page.
Wherein it is proved that all things were complicitly and ideally in God, and of God, before they were made.
Thus I have expressed and made manifest, according unto the small validity of my understanding, the estate and being of this radical and eternal Unity, before anything was by it created, with the effects that it did produce in the potential and deformed Mass, or material subject of all things, which was complicitly or hiddenly detained and comprehended, in that Omnipotent and incomprehensible point of Divine perfection, in which uncreated condition it remained as Nothing, for as much as it was without form, unto which it appertaineth only to give a name and essence, and therefore in the estate of its non-actual being, wise men have termed it Potentiam Divinam, or the Divine Puissance.
To confirm and verify all this, we shall find these axioms of the Scriptures.
"Of Him, by Him, and in Him are all things." (Romans 11, 36)
And the Son of Syrach,
"We have said many things, without attaining unto them. The Sum of all our words is, that he is all things."
By which axioms we may easily gather that God did beget, bring forth, make, and create nothing, which was not eternally of himself and in himself, so that from him all things did flow and spring, namely out of a secret and hidden nature to a revealed and manifest condition, from an unknown estate unto an evident and known existence, from a pure Archetypal simplicity into a real type or similitude, from a radical fountain into a Sea, and from a mere point into a circle or circumference, verifying that saying of the wise Philosopher,
"God is the centre of everything, whose circumference is nowhere to be found," (Mercurius ad Asclepius)
that is, in all and beyond all.
To confirm all this we may boldly and without offence infer this much, namely, that everything that is begotten, principiated, created, produced, or separated, doth radically proceed from one which is unbegotten, infinite, not made or created, nor separated, but only one Unity, individual in its essence. For it is an easy matter to consider, that every inferior thing does issue from a superior, every corporeal from a spiritual, every visible from an invisible, every temporal thing, namely that which has both a beginning and an end, from a thing which is aevial, that is to say, which has a beginning but no end, and every aevial thing from an eternal, to wit, that which has neither beginning nor end. Therefore, that eternal point or brightest Unity, which has not beginning and consequently no end, is the fountain from which all aevial and temporal things do essentially proceed, not otherwise than all numbers do flow from Unity, and are comprehended in Unity. For how far soever the number does extend itself, evermore it has a Unity to begin it, and an Unity to conclude it, and in truth it has nothing besides an unity to create and compose it within.
But for your better instruction, you may observe by a diligent insight into the cossical numbers, how the Divine and Centrally formal Unity does comprehend all creatures, as well before they were made, as since their creation in itself. For we must note that there is nothing in the world, but it is either a root, or a square, or a cube, or some other such figure, which is composed and framed of these. The root does represent the beginning of all cossical proportions or magnitudes the Square does decipher the simple and spiritual principiated figure, which is made by the multiplication of that root: the Cube is composed through the augmenting of that square or principiated shape in its root, so that we may discern that the whole cubical body, and consequently the square, is contained in the root, and in conclusion is nothing else than the root multiplied in itself or from itself.
But that my demonstrations may yet approach a little nearer to my purpose, let us I pray you with diligence consider the nature and property of this Divine Monady or Unity, as it is in its simple and sincere existence, and then we shall find it, and that without any egression from its own punctual, or central profundity, to comprehend complicitly within itself the three aforesaid cossical Dimensions, and consequently all other things which it had now by Creation explicitly made evident, in this typical world, and that is easily proven by this Arithmetical demonstration. For if we shall multiply an unity as a root, in itself, it will produce but itself, namely an unity for a square, which being again remultiplied by itself, will bring forth a cube, which is all one with the root or square, that is, a simple unity. Whereby it is evident, that though we have here three various branches which seem to differ in their formal progression, I mean a Root, a Square, and Cube, yet in the essential verity and reality, there is but this one Unity or Identity, in which all things remain potentially, and that after a most abstruse manner. And for this reason the Wiseman said,
"All things were known unto God before they were created." (Ecclesiastes 23)
And in this sense says St. John, "In the beginning was the Word", which Word affirms thus much,
"I and my Father am one, my Father in me and I in my Father; and my Father in me is he that maketh all things." (John 13, 10)
Even unto this very purpose the wise Hermes seems to concur with the Scriptures, in the shaping out of the Archetypal world, after whose Image this our typical world is created (and therefore he termed it elsewhere, the visible Son of God),
"One begat one, and reflected the ardour and virtue of its emanation into itself." (Pimander)
That is it shined into itself, to the shaping out of an Ideal world, and was not as yet conversant about the framing out of any typical one. Whereby it is evident, that nothing is really figured in this world, which was not ideally fashioned out in the archetype or eternal one.
But lest some captious person should take exception against these places in Scripture and elsewhere cited by me, touching this very point, and allege (as some of them have already done) that these opinions of mine are flatly dissonant unto that of the ancient Fathers and School Men, I will in a few words express some of their minds touching this point. St. Austin's opinion is,
"That the ideas of things are eternal forms, and incommutable shapes in God." (lib. octaginta quoq 40)
And Scotus will have them to be,
"Certain objects which are known unto the Divine intellect." (Lib 1)
But there is nothing in God but that which is God, because the Godhead is one and the same spirit. Whereupon it follows, that the Ideas in God, although they be many (for man was made after one fashion, and a horse after another, etc. yet all are one in God, as St. Austin seems to prove and confirm in these words,
"The supreme and highest intellect is a certain act of the omnipotent and wise God, full of all the unchangeable reasons of living things, and all of them are one in it, as it is one of one with whom is one." (De Trinitat lib 6, cap ult.)
And Boethius has it thus,
"Thou framest all things after a high and supercelestial example, and being most beautiful, bearing the fair world in thy mind, dost fashion it according unto the like image." (Lib 3, de Consul. Mat. 9)
To conclude, Anselm does learnedly express the manner and progression of every exemplary thing, from the ideal fountain of all verity, thus,
"The form of a thing is the archetype or verity of the workman, and whilst it is produced from puissance into act, it is motion; being specified in matter, it is a similitude or image."
And for this reason Otto that learned Abbot (in tract. de Num. Ternat) asserts, that the ternary number (meaning the Divine and formal kind of numeration) is the principal image in the Creator's mind, of such things as are created." In the self same sense speaks the Philosopher Hermes, in Pimander 12, saying, "That one begat one, and did reflect its beams into itself." Whereby he argues, that Unity in the framing of the Ideal or Archetypal world, did emit or send forth his word, as an essence begot of itself; and afterward did reflect that spirit of wisdom, which issued from them both into itself, For the son of Syrach said,
"The fountain of wisdom is the word of the God most high, and the everlasting commandments are the entrance unto her." (Ecclesiastes 1, 5)
Thus therefore was the Archetypal world framed, in, and of all one unity, but in a threefold or triple manner, namely, by the eggression of one out of one, and by the regression of that one unity so emitted, by emanation into itself, whereby the three divine properties in one infinite essence may easily be scanned. We conclude therefore, that according to this ideal Image, in triplicity of variety, this our world was afterwards fashioned and proportioned, as a true type and example of the divine Pattern, after which it was drawn.
For out of Unity in its abstruse existence, namely, as it was hid in the dark chaos or potential mass the bright flame of all formal being did shine forth, and the spirit of wisdom proceeding from both, did conjoin with the potential matter, so that by the union of these two, namely, of the divine emanation of light, and of the substantial matter of darkness, which was water, the heavens were made of old, and the earth, and consequently the whole world, as it shall hereafter be evidently demonstrated in our Divine Philosophy, as is well proved by the warrant of the Apostle Peter (2 Peter 3).
We may boldly conclude, that if the unities or members of the ideal world, be all extracted out of one radical unity, as children out of one father, and are included by the self-same Unity, which is infinite in itself, it must follow of necessity, that the triple member of this created world, must also be from and in that self-same Unity, being that the whole typical world with its parts, are shaped after the image or representation of the Archetype, which is the eternal Monady or Unity in which are all things, and therefore he is rightly termed by the Apostle,
"To be all, and in all" (Colossians 3. 11)
And hereupon it is rightly termed by the Philosopher Hermes, the centre of all things whose circumference is nowhere, that is to say, including all, not being included by any.
"All things are one in respect of God, but many in regard to us." (Rabbi Zoar)
For this reason therefore did the philosopher Leucippus, make this essential unity the summum bonum, or the sovereign good and felicity. Thus you see that the antique Philosophy does not jar or dissent in this, from the aforesaid harmony of Holy Writ.
There are some well seen in this mystical kind of progression, which express it in this manner :
"In God all things were nothing but merely God. Of God all things were made a beginning, and then all things were nothing else but a mere beginning, God remaining nevertheless in his entire existence. Of the beginning all became the Word, and then were all things nothing else but the Word merely, and that not without the permanency of the beginning. From the Word all did proceed into the Spirit of the Lord, and then they were nothing but the Spirit of the Lord, and that without and diminution of the Word's existence. From the Spirit of the Lord all became waters, namely, the upper waters, and then all things were nothing but the upper waters merely, and that without any diminution of the Spirit of the Lord's existence. From the upper waters all did descend into the lower waters, or elementary region, and then all were nothing else but merely the lower waters, and yet the upper waters lost not their permanency. Of the lower waters, that is of the elements and invisible stars or starry influences, all became visible bodies, and then all things were nothing else but visible bodies, without any derogation nevertheless unto any existency of the elements and starry influences." (from an Ancient Manuscript)
All of which I could also prove to be true, as well by the Scripture, as by expert Cabalists, and divinest Philosophers' assertions. For by Scriptures we are taught, that God the fountain of all being did first create darkness (Isaiah 45, 6), and that this darkness was that deformed principle, or primary matter, without shape, which did complicitly contain all things (Sapientia 11, 8). And that the Word was in that beginning or principle (John 1, 1). And that the Spirit was carried on these waters, which appeared out of the bowels of the dark abyss (Genesis 1). And that all were waters at the first, the bright Spirit of the Lord being not in anything extinguished. And that these waters were divided into the higher and the lower, namely, heaven and earth. As also St Peter teaches us, "that of the lower waters the elements were framed by the distinguishing Spirit of the Lord," (2 Peter 3). Which Job says, does
"Giveth a portion unto the weight of the air, and hangeth the waters or clouds in measure, and maketh statues, or giveth laws unto the rain, and a passage unto the lightening of the thunder." (Job 28, 25)
And Racanat, that excellent Master in Cabal, upon the beginning of Genesis, says,
"And perchance you will demand, since sapience is the second Cabalistic numeration, wherefore it is called Principium, or the beginning? It is written in the book of Bahir, that nothing is principium, or the beginning, but Wisdom. Unto whom, I may rightly answer, that the infinity itself of the three highest numerations of the Cabalistic tree, (which you are accustomed to call the three Persons in Divinity, of one absolute essence) when it is retracted in the abyss of darkness, and remaining idle or vacant, and, as it were, having respect unto nothing, is therefore called [Ain], that is to say, Nothing or Non-Entity, because we being endued with such poverty of understanding in Divine matters, do judge of such things which appear not, no otherwise than of those which are not at all. But when it cloth reveal itself, that it existeth in our senses somewhat indeed, then is dark Aleph converted into light Aleph. For it is writ, as his darkness is, so is his light, namely, when it desireth to issue out of darkness, and to appear to be the cause of things, by Beth, which is the next letter, and it is termed [Ab], that is to say, the father of all generation and production of things, for it effecteth all things." (Reuchlin)
Moreover, Mercury Trismegistus, who others term Hermes, more expressly seems to mention this progression, from unity in darkness, down to the creation of the elements, in this very form of speech,
''Pimander being the mental excellency of the Divine puissance, did change his form or shape, and on the sudden revealed the universe. For I did discern that all things were converted into a pleasant and delectable light, which did rejoice me to behold. A little after a fearful shadow or darkness did glide downwards by an oblique revolution, and was converted into a humid or moist nature, which was exagitated or stirred up by an unspeakable aspect. Thereupon a great fume or smoke made a noise, out of that noise proceeded a voice, which I did imagine to be the voice of the light, out of this voice of the light the Word which was made was uttered, but this Word joining itself with the humid nature, did nourish and animate it. Out of the bowels of this humid nature, the light element of fire cloth fly, and soareth on high. Also the thin air possesseth the middle region, between the fire and water, but the earth and the water were intermingled after such a fashion, that the face of the earth was nowhere overflowed by the waters Then Pimander said, I am that light, the mental spirit that is thy God, of a greater antiquity than is the humid nature, which did shine out of the dark shadow, but the brightsome germ of the mental spirit is the Son of God." (Pimander 1)
Whereby it is evident, that by the mental unity is meant the absolute Divine Monady in itself, without any respect had unto creation. By the Divine Puissance, is understood the dark principle or beginning, or Chaos, out of which light or the divine emanation did spring. At the issuing of Light the word was made manifest out of the dark and deformed Chaos, from which also the humid nature, or the Abyss of waters did spring, or proceed into action by the creating emanation. This humid Mass was nourished and vivified by the word, and framed in the elements, as was said before.
And therefore it is apparent that the darkness, the light, the word, the waters, and Elements were complicitly contained all in the mental puissance and abstruse reservation of the sincere Identity of Pimander, or God in himself, before they were created.
But I will yet pass a little further, and confirm all this more rationally and demonstratively, by the authority of Holy Writ. Job says,
"God revealed the foundations of the world out of darkness, and He discovereth or bringeth forth into light the deadly shadow."
Where, by the foundations he understands the waters, which were secretly contained in the dark and misshapen abyss, of which afterwards the heavens, and the earth, and consequently the whole world was framed by the Word, according unto the Archetypal pattern. So that we here perceive, that two principles of a clean contrary nature, do issue or proceed from and out of one and the same Identity or Unity in Essence, namely a deadly darkness, and as it were the shadow of death, and an admirable vivifying light, where the one was the matrix or receptacle of form; and the deformed bowels of the other contained that matter without form, whereof afterward the world was framed. And therefore the wise man says, "The hand of the Almighty hath made the world of matter without form," (Sapientia 11, 18). And according to this tenet also, Job says in another place, "God stretcheth forth or spreadeth the North upon emptiness, and inanity," (Job 26, 7), that is to say, on a thing which was void and destitute of shape, and hanged the earth upon nothing. By inane or vacuum and nihilum, he means misshapen darkness, and deadly shadow, of which he spoke in the aforementioned text (Job 12). That matter without form, mentioned by Solomon, which whilst it was in the Divine Puissance, or in Potentia Divina, was merely nothing in man's weak capacity, being that it was not as yet actually created or formed, for it is form only that gives name and essence, as all Philosophers do concede.
By this therefore we may discern, how all things are essentially comprehended in this eternal and radical Unity. Forasmuch as being one, he is infinite and being infinite as well in his dimension and essence, as power, he must of necessity comprehend in himself all finite things whatsoever. He is in all and fills all, and yet he is beyond all, as he that surpassing and compassing all, is only in himself, and yet neither absent from his creatures which he has framed out by his Word according to his will. For first, from his Volunty did proceed his Word, Fiat, and it was done. Now that we have the privative principle, namely deadly darkness and deformity, drawn from the infinite centre of all things, whose circumference is nowhere to be found. We will dive into the nature of that formal and lively Light, which did also issue from the self-same Original Root and most ancient beginning of all things, that thereby we may with the best colours of our understanding, paint out and describe that excellent and formal Essence which redeems the humid matter, or watery substance out of the captivity of the deadly and misshapen darkness or shadow of death (that I may speak in Job's language) by which all things have their being, and beauteous existence.
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