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John Pordage: From ‘Theologia Mystica’- Of The Opening Of The Inner Eye

Frontispiece for Jacob Boehme’s ‘ Way to Christ’,

in the 1630 Gichtel Leiden edition.


Another sharing from the blue House of Via-HYGEIA, an extract 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 50 to 53. What Dr. Pordage, as a Boehmian Theosophist, shares with us here is of an universal nature-of prime importance-and echoes Plato’s ‘world of Ideas‘ and Professor Henry Corbin’s ‘mundus imaginalis‘, when he translates Sufi luminaries such as Suhrawardi or Abd al-Karim al-Jili.


‘…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.’




From the library of the late Dr. Charles Musès, now in the archives and library of Via-HYGEIA.



A possible interpretation of the stages of the ‘opening of the heart’, as seen in these hermetic engravings from the seventeen century Germany and England. Bottom left: From Jacob Boehme; ‘Becoming conscious of our parts’ ‘gathering for transhumance’ and ‘grazing stilness’. Up left: From Thomas Bromley; ‘Light and shadow work’ and ‘Virtue blending into the heart.’ Up right: From Jacob Boehme. ‘Graces and blessings showering the rejuvenated heart.’ Bottom right: From John Pordage; ‘Radiating love, life and light in service to the community’. We find interesting that these hermetic stages have a lot in common with the ‘Ox herding’ series, originating from the Zen tradition.


Full source text transcribed by Adam McLean:🌿An alternative source for the text:🌿More about Dr. John Pordage:
John Pordage: From ‘Theologia Mystica’- Of The Opening Of The Inner Eye

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