John Pordage: From ‘Theologia Mystica’-About Divine Wisdom’s ART
Detail from the base
of the Celsian Sophia statue
at Celsus’ Library in Ephesus, Türkiye.
Another sharing for the day from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, an excerpt from Dr. John Pordage’s ‘Theologia Mystica’, in the ‘Treatise of Eternal Nature, with her seven Essential forms or Original Working Properties’, published earlier in 1681 but joined in the same edition than the ‘Theologia Mystica’ (1683). From page 122 to 125. In Suhrawardian Ishraqi terminology, Divine Wisdom is ‘The Giver of Forms’, part of the First Being’s outpouring of divine Plethora: ‘Therefore, the First Being has established a link between stability and stability, between novelty and novelty. He is the principle and the mean of the established connection, so that Good is perpetuated, that the outpouring of His Plethora persists, and that there is no limit to his mercy. Because His generosity is neither mutilated nor deficient; there is no beginning nor end from which It can cease’. (From the ’Book Of The Temples of The Light’- The ‘Fifth Temple’ we just published). In the treatise, ‘The Symbol of Faith of the Philosophers’, in chapter 8, ‘Of the action of the Holy-Spirit as Giver of Forms’, he explains: ‘The movements (of the celestial Spheres) actualize (prepare, make ready) the abilities (natural dispositions) to receive Forms and the ‘Giver of Forms’ confers then existence.’ When Christian Boehmian Theosophist, John Pordage and the Ishraqi Theosophist, Shihāb ad-Dīn Yahya ibn Habash ibn Amirak as-Suhrawardī, commune in awe in front of the marvels of Divine Creation!
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.