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C O N C E R N I N G   
D I V I N E    W I S D O M

Francis Lee, M.D.

 

QUESTION  I: — What conception or idea is to be had of Divine Wisdom, to conciliate with it that personal apparition of her in the figure of an human Virgin, that performs several personal transactions, as instructing, leading, giving laws, &c. ?

ANSWER: — How strange soever this may appear, yet is it no more than what may be well defended from the best and most authentic authors, if a due examination be made of them.     And, in short, it cannot be unknown how this figurative idea of the Divine Wisdom is warrantable from the sacred writers, as that also of human wisdom is, in like manner, from profane writers.    Not only Solomon in his Proverbs and Mystic Song, with the Sapiential book by us called Apocryphal, but certainly held by the Hellenistical school and primitive Christians in the highest veneration:  and the Visions of Esdras (who seems to be cited, even in the gospel itself, for a true prophet).

But Christ himself represents to us Wisdom under the very same conception, attributing to her a personal act, and giving us an idea of her answerable to that of a mother, by making mention of her children.    The disciple who lay in his bosom and best understood his mind, is perfectly agreeable hereto, being confirmed by what was shewn to him in heaven of this nature;  and has left the church an account of two such personal apparitions, the one of the heavenly woman impregnated by the Divine seed, Rev. xii., and the other of the Divine bride and mother of Jerusalem, descending from God to pitch her tabernacle on the earth. Rev. xxi.    And what need is there after this to mention the apparition of such a female to St. Hermas, an immediate successor of the apostles, at the beginning of his prophetical visitations;  and the Laws of Admonitions, with the parables and visions which were afterwards given him?     Or what need is there to shew how in succeeding ages some holy and separated souls have been visited by God much after the same manner;  though they themselves may not perhaps have apprehended, or may even have mistaken, such Divine communications and appearances, which are pourtrayed forth according to certain eternal schemes in the heavens?    Such a disquisition as this might be very curious, but there is no necessity for it;  there being an higher and greater, and more uncontroverted authority, to vindicate this manner of writing concerning Wisdom;   if we have but an ear to hear her voice, as speaking in the Scriptures.     The authority of which is allowed of, what occasion is there for any other subordinate reasons?    Or what necessity to declare the (deepest) ground, either of the whole Church (Jewish and Gentile) being always represented under the figure as of a single female person, and thence called Our holy Mother the Church, or of the great abuses and superstitions which have sprung up with respect to the mother of our Lord, the blessed Virgin Mary;  the titles, both in the Greek and Latin churches (at first) truly given to her, but misunderstood afterward and misapplied, and the veneration which is due to her from all generations, as distinguished from that false one which the ignorant zeal of many have prompted them to give?    For without entering into such particular inquiries, it is I suppose, sufficiently evident from both what has been here and elsewhere delivered as to this point, that the personal apparition of Wisdom in such a figure, and her performing several personal transactions, is in no wise inconsistent with the sacred writers, but very conformable to their sentiments and modes of expression.

And as for the same representation of Wisdom by profane authors, much also might be said.    But there is one instance of this so full, so particular, and so significative, as to add any others after it would be quite superfluous:  it is that Platonical piece of Boethius, which may deservedly be called his philosophical masterpiece, wherein, as a perfect Deist, he handles, in Five Books, the matter of Consolation, without any regard to the principles of Christianity.     Human wisdom, or philosophy, is here represented as a grave and majestic matron;  is made to perform the part of a mother, or tutoress;  and is introduced not only in a personal figure, but many personal actions are attributed to her, as giving forth counsels and monitions, instructing, confuting, reproving, and the like:   the whole being nothing else but a continual intercourse and communion betwixt her and her disciple.    And whether he be considered as expressing herein the sentiments either of the Ethnic or of the Christian theology, the matter will be much one:   for if the former, then have we the sense of the Gentiles, as according to the light of nature;  with universal tradition delivering down this figurative idea of the inward teacher as of a female principle, or as a passive form of supersensual light irradiating the mind, and a soft gentle affluence from the Divine Being, transforming, and even deifying, the soul, so as the wise man becomes a god by participation (see prop.X. of the iiid book).    But if the latter, then is there no doubt to be made whether this be a new upstart conception of the heavenly Wisdom, or whether it be an old one, entertained by the Christian church from time immemorial.    To say that this is an emblematical representation will avail but little;  for if that be even supposed, we must grant at least that what is represented under it must answer to that which it represents.    And herein does lie the key which reveals the true origin of the Gentile divinity, and gives us to see whence sprang the great and horrible abuse of their secret mysteries.     For what more ridiculous absurdity can there be, than to make Wisdom a Goddess, generated from Jupiter alone, and leaping out of his skull, so soon as cleaved asunder for that purpose;  if we understand this grossly, as the words at first do sound?    But if we shall look upon the  Pallas, or the Minerva, of the Pagans, barely as an emblem of the Divine generation of Wisdom in human souls, and of its original pre-existence in the Divine intellect, before the descent thereof and manifestation in nature;  then all will be very instructive.     But this cannot be easily explicated as it ought in a few words;   and therefore, here passing it over, I shall only hint in general that the idea of a Divine Virgin subsisting in God, and proceeding from God by outward manifestation, to teach and enlighten souls, by the assistance of the separator of nature, (or of a spiritual and vital flame which may break asunder  the thick saturnine compaction which is in every fallen birth, thereby to make a passage for the Light, as a pure virgin and divine essence to burst forth, and to be clothed in a personal figure of glory,) — whence soever this was derived, was really known to the wise Heathens, and must needs have somewhat more in it than is vulgarly apprehended.    Human wisdom indeed may be mistaken for the Divine, but this alters not the case at all;   though the consequent of such a mistake be in itself most fatal.     So this is sufficient to show, that such a figurative idea of wisdom is no strange thing, but warrantable from sacred and profane writers.    Which being premised, let us then consider what is the true conception of Divine Wisdom, which answers to this figurative idea of a Virgin, and to her personal appearance, not only to this illuminated author {Jane Lead}, but to sundry others also.    The conceptions hereof being exceeding various, whereby the greatest confusion does arise, for want of attention, I shall endeavour to enumerate the more principal, that so a just and adequate conception may be formed from them all.

1. — By Divine Wisdom we may understand the unmanifested Divine Intellect, the unoriginated and ungenerated light, the abyssal mind of the divine Unity.    Thus Wisdom is not distinct from the Father, but is both in him and one with him.

2. — By it we may understand the manifested Divine Intellect, the originated and generated light, or light of light, and the abyssal mind of the Divine fecundity, whereby all things are made.    Thus the name of Wisdom is attributed to the eternal Word, or Son, and is both in the Son, and one with the Son.

3. — By it we may understand the manifestation itself of the intellect, light, and mind of the Deity;  or the revelation of both Father and Son to the Spirit (or most central ground) of the Soul.    And thus it most properly belongs to the Holy Ghost, who is thence rightly called a Spirit of wisdom and revelation.

4. — By it we may understand the abstract Idea of the whole Divine Being, as manifesting itself through a tri-unity of principle in Father, Son, and Spirit;  or as the intellectual conception of the Deity in itself, according to all its essential relations, whether this conception, or idea, be original and uncommunicated, as in the fountain, or originated and communicated, as in the streams.

5. — By it we may understand this very idea, as passing through, and invested by pure and incorruptible Nature:  or the total Divine idea corporified; which is by a more outward substantialising thereof in the creation.     Thus it is the same with what some do call the one element, and others the universal body of the Logos  It is called also the heavenly humanity of Christ, the tabernacle of God, and by many other names.

6. — By it we may understand the Image of this corporified idea; or the individuation thereof as in a personal form, or figure, being clothed upon with the angelical nature.

7. — By it we may understand this individual image, as descending in its own personal form, and representing itself even in a true human Virgin.    Which virgin is thereby properly made the representative of Wisdom.    And this representation may be either in one or more.

Besides which, there are two general conceptions of the Divine Wisdom, either as before nature, or as in nature;  answering to the twofold conception of the Deity, or to the Divine tri-unity before nature, and the Divine trinity in nature.    According to the first of which this holy Principle is fitly represented by an eye; and according to the second by a mirror;  of both which, abundance of instances might be brought, that are nowise inconsiderable, from the Revelation of Revelations, and from most of the other books set forth by the same author.

Now if we do not distinguish so many different conceptions, it is not at all to be wondered at if we fall into very great confusion, and either take offence or run into some gross abuses hereby, through the mistake of that which is in itself most true, and most honourable likewise to the Divine Being;  by the misapplication of this or that idea, which we may have taken up, and which, though never so true in itself, may not yet contain in it the whole truth, or be perfectly true according to such certain relations whereto it is applied.    The first conception of Wisdom, for instance, is most clearly and undoubtedly true in itself.     But nothing would be more absurd or of more dangerous consequence, if I should therefore deny the second to be true, and oppose myself to the Nicene Fathers calling Christ, as God of God, so also Light of Light, or Wisdom of Wisdom.    And should I grant the second, and not allow the third also, what do I but contradict the Holy Ghost himself, as speaking in the scriptures?     If Wisdom be a spirit, and be called the Spirit of Wisdom, both in the Old and New Testament, then is he one with Wisdom, as the Son and Father are one therewith.    Or if I should allow all three, but oppose the fourth, what do I else in effect but deny the Creation, or the first manifestation of the Deity in nature;  which cannot be, without the Divine Idea of it be supposed to pre-exist?     This one, universal, all-comprehensive idea is called Esopleon aknlidoton, or the immaculate virgin mirror of the Divine energy, by the Book of Wisdom, and the Eikwn, or the portraiture of the omnipotent goodness. ch. vii. 26.    It is this idea which the Lord possessed, as within himself, in the beginning of his way, which is his process into Nature, before his works of old;  and which was manifested by the eternal Word, going forth triumphantly in the same.    It is this which was set up both from everlasting, that is, before any manifestation of nature, or in the silent eternity;  and from the beginning of all time, as preparatory to the said manifestation.   It was before ever the earth was, and when there were no depths &c.    It was the matrix of all lives, seeds, and forms, in the three kingdoms of nature;  and that great Exemplar of the world, co-extended infinitely with the Divine Being, according to which therefore, both the heavens were prepared, and the abyss encompassed at once.    Whence it is described as God's most familiar friend, or intimate consort;  and as the Divine delight and sport.    For all which see Prov. viii. 22 to 32.    This conception then of Wisdom is no less real than any of the former three;  and is only to be deduced at large from the words of Wisdom's greatest favourite, and from the wise Siracides also, if it were thought requisite.     But if we go to confound this conception of divine Wisdom with either of those, we must not expect otherwise but to be lost quickly in a maze of our own imaginations.    And should we also stop here and cast away the three remaining ones, the danger will not be found much less upon an important consideration of the whole.    For if there be no corporification of the Divine idea, then must the creation have necessarily stopped in the very beginning: and there must nothing have been brought forth creaturely, out of the supreme Fountain of Being, besides simple and naked spirits;  the existence of anything else in rerum natura being an utter impossibility if that supposition be allowed of.    If also there be no individuation of the prolific Divine idea when corporified, manifold absurdities cannot but thence follow, and consequences most highly derogatory to the unity and simplicity of God, as also to the order of beings;  and even destructive of the principles of individuation in every creature.   Lastly, if this individual Idea of the Divine glory, being thus invested with a Divine corporeity, or an Aporroia of the one heavenly and omniform substance, may not personally represent itself, wheresoever it shall choose, in such vessels of the Divine light and grace as are made fit to receive, and able to bear the same;  then must the hope of Christ's kingdom be at an end, and we shall never be made virgins to follow the Lamb.    Were this not so, the marriage of him and his bride could never be celebrated;  as will appear more evidently, when we come to consider the next question.    So long now as we keep these conceptions of Divine Wisdom according to the gradual manifestations thereof, and descent into nature, distinct from each other;  there is little or no difficulty that is considerable.    But if we blend these together, there is nothing in the world so preposterous and absurd which would not hence follow.     A thousand instances might be easily given in the three or four first;   and hardly less perhaps than ten times as many in the last.

To form now a general conception of Wisdom out of all these, I consider it as an eternal Divine principle (or most holy energy) of fecundity in the Godhead, which is before, in and after Nature;  whereby the Godhead having first beheld and comprehended all within itself, does afterward image forth itself in all whatever it thus beheld and comprehended;  bringing forth by it from eternity its first begotten image, and out of that innumerable subalternate images, from the beginning of time, and so forward;  for an eternal spirit of Divine joy and harmony in the creature.    Which principle, or energy, originally subsists in the Father, and is one spirit with the Father, being as the Eye or intellect to the Spirit of Eternity;  by which there is eternally generated the Word, as the only begotten son of the Father, in whom the fulness of his Wisdom substantially dwells;  and by whom the triumphing light of his intellect is eternally manifested, through the virtual powers of the Holy Spirit, as proceeding from the Father by the Son, into every created image, addressed according to the capacity of each.    Thus is Wisdom truly to be considered as the Idea and Glass of the blessed Trinity, as also of all creatures which are thence originated;  and as such it may descend and clothe itself, both with an universal and particular body, and personate its glory in a proper subject.     Whereupon it may well deserve to be heeded that the original of Wisdom, or her pre-existent state in God, is expressly distinguished from her nativity, or manifestation in a glorious female figure, by those very Writings which have been censured so much, on the account of introducing a female personality into the nature of the Divine Being:  for in the Manifestation concerning the Eight Worlds, Wisdom's eternal originality is there clearly declared to be from the tri-une Deity, being a Virgin hid in God from all eternity;  but her nativity, or manifestative glory in the form of a female virgin, not to be so;  for that as to this, she was brought forth in time (Section 16, p 31).     And this is afterward explained by an example taken from Adam, who for certain was created after God's image:  and therefore as Eve must have pre-existed in him originally, before she could be taken out of him (if the image do answer to the archetype, or life);  thus also it must have been in the very case concerning the origination and manifestation of this virgin of Divine Wisdom — the one being necessarily before nature, and the other as necessarily in nature.    Now concerning her personal apparition in the figure as of human Virgin, there can be no manner of question made according to which of these this was;  for out of nature certainly there can be no figurative manifestation, nor appearance of any distinct personality.    And if it were in nature (as most certainly it was), there can no real difficulty remain why God might not, if he pleased, thus presentiate himself;   and through such a living embodied idea transact all what is recorded, and reveal in the human nature the mystery of the three-sealed book, as it was shewn in the vision.

 

QUESTION  II.: — Whether this Divine Wisdom is another thing than that Spirit of God which dwelleth in sanctified souls, and communicated to them the gifts of the Spirit, Isa. xi. 2: and produceth in them the fruits of the Spirit? Gal. v. 22.

ANSWER: — Divine Wisdom and the Spirit of God are inseparably united together:  Wisdom cannot be without the Spirit, neither can the Spirit be without the Wisdom.    Yet are they not one altogether, in whatever sense of those which have been mentioned this be taken;  but there is a real distinction betwixt them, notwithstanding the union of essences:  and therefore we ought not to confound their substance for the sake of this unity;  which is also betwixt God and his angels.    For this union of essences is very well consistent with the truest distinction:  even as the angels of God are united with God in their essence, who are thereby commissionated to go forth in his name, and are yet nevertheless most truly distinguished from him.     And so also there is an union of essences and natures betwixt God and man, as in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ;  and by consequence hereof likewise in the persons of all his saints, as members of him.    But as this is without confusion of substance both in Christ, and in the saints;  so also is it in the present case of Wisdom and the Holy Spirit:  who are indeed undivided, but not the same in the ground of their being.    For the Holy Ghost as essentially united with the Wisdom of God enters into holy souls;  making them friends of God, by a communication of his gifts to them, and a production of his fruits in them.    The Divine Wisdom doth not properly and of itself communicate these gifts, or produce these fruits;  but does only infuse her nature into man, as by irradiation:  to which nature of Wisdom infused, the gifts of the Spirit are solely communicable, and in which alone the fruits thereof are producible.    And as to every generation there is required (1.) the seed, and (2.) the nature:  so likewise must there be in the regeneration of the human soul a concurrence of these two;  by the Holy Spirit's producing therein a birth of Love (that is, Christ within) through the nature of Wisdom, as the principle of Divine fecundity in everything, and that without which the seed of God would be as dead, and quite shut up.    To this Divine generation of souls, or their new-birth, the seed is properly conferred by the Spirit;  and the nature into which the seed is received, and by which it is made to fructify, proceeds from Wisdom:  and thus we are to understand that Christ, according to the flesh, was conceived by the Holy Ghost of the virgin Mary (blessed for all generations):  not as she was an earthly virgin only, but as the heavenly Virgin of God's Wisdom had chosen in her to represent herself outwardly (according to the seventh and lowest acceptation of this name made mention of in answer to the first Query), for the bringing forth again, after the eternal pattern of the heavens, the highest birth of God, in the lowest manifestation thereof, under the covering of vile and corruptible nature.    Therefore was that Holy One who was born of her, most truly (according to the words of the angel) called the Son of God;   inasmuch as in this his temporal generation he was conceived both from a Divine seed and a Divine nature: even as he was in that which was called eternal;   whether by it we understand his generation in the bosom of the Father from all eternities of eternities, as manifested to the Father alone;  or else his generation from the said bosom of his father in eternity indeed, but yet in the beginning of time, whereby he was brought forth into a figurative image and personality, as the first born of all creatures, for the creation as well of the angelical, as of this world.    Now this bosom of God is no other than the virgin Spirit of Wisdom, the holy and eternal principle of Divine fruitfulness, and that Womb of eternity, which is alluded to in Psalm cx. 3, where the Hebrew word RECHEM, translated the womb, which the Jewish writers do also call Beth-ha-Rechem, i.e. the house of mercy, is very emphatical and proper; and doth most livelily set forth the Divine compassionateness, as manifesting itself in Christ.    And hereupon it is observable what the most learned of the Jews do write upon those words of the Law, sanctify unto me all the first-born, whatsoever openeth the womb, Exod. xiii.2,  That all the first-born do appertain to Cochmah, that is the Wisdom of God;  as being the first emanation from the Divine Being, through which the Supreme Unity (which they call the Crown) descends down into nature and creature, for manifesting the heavenly kingdom of the Messias throughout, by and in all the archetypal numbers and modes of being:  and moreover that to the kingdom itself (which is the archetypal number), is given the name of the first-born.    The reason of which is that the primogeniture of the kingdom, according to the mystic scale of the Divine forms, proceeds out of the opening of the virgin fountain, or womb, of the Divine Wisdom;  by which the Paternal Unity is manifested in glorious variety, and so exhibited in all the descending forms, as the only immortal King.     And again, upon that place of the Prophet which says, The first of all the first-fruits of all things...shall be the priests, Ezek. xliv.30, they tell us that the ground of birthright belongs to God's Wisdom, or to this opened and unsealed fountain of the Divine goodness;  and that the first-born, or the first-fruits of all things are the peculiom of God, and of his Wisdom.    Which Wisdom, having the right of primogeniture, confers thereby a kingdom;  and with it the Priesthood also:  according to which they interpret the name of Melchisedech:  making it to be the same both with Malcuth, the kingdom, and Dobar, the Divine oracle, or the word of the Lord, Psalm cx.4.    Accordingly also they interpret what is written in another Psalm of a joyful mother of children;   after which it is immediately added Hallelu-IAH, or Praise ye the Lord.   Psalm cxiii.9.    R. Isaac said, "It is written in the Psalms, the joyful mother of children, Hallelujah:  what is to be understood by the mother is known.  But who are the children?"    "Come, observe! (said R. Simeon) we have been taught that there is a twofold issue, the one male, the other female &c.," and so proceeds to prove that by the male is meant the Divine Word, which he calls Tiphereth, or the fulness of all the Divine emanations, and the beautiful image;  and that by the female is meant the bride of this divine Word, which is the Church, that is, the body of this fulness, and the bright mirror of all the perfections of this image, whence she is called the kingdom;  also the queen, and the king's daughter;  the sister-spouse of the great Solomon, the princess, the heavenly Sarah, Jerusalem, the Virgin of Sion; and by sundry other names corresponding with these!    Furthermore they tell us, that the opening of the womb signifies the kingdom of God and the Messias, and specially the manifestation of this Divine kingdom in the new formation, disposition, and configuration of the vessels (that is, the creatures), or in the reintegration, restitution, and regeneration of all things under corruption.    Which opening, say they, is made by the Law, in the obedience to all its affirmative precepts; the number whereof they calculate to be exactly the same with the number of the Hebrew word which is used for the womb, that is 248;  thereby expressing how that it is by the opening of the heavenly matrix in the fallen nature, that there is an influx received from the Father of Lights;  whereby we are enabled both to fulfill his commandments, walking before him in all holiness and righteousness unblameable, as the undefiled ones of Sion;  and also to bear that exceeding great reward which is prepared for the children of the kingdom, or of the Sarah who is above.    Hence then it appears that, according to their parabolical manner of writing, the right of primogeniture to a priestly kingdom, or a royal priesthood, doth consist in the opening of a virgin womb;  and that there is also a womb of the eternal or incorruptible Virginity in the heavens, from which proceeds a twofold birth, male and female, in the perfect image of God which are re-united together in one eternally, by the highest nuptial tie, the Spirit of God.    And thus the bridegroom and bride, or Christ and his Church, are both made to be truly the offspring of God, and to image forth in like manner his glory by means of heavenly generation;  with this only difference, that as Christ is the living portraiture of the Divine Essence, which is the more inward and radical notion of the Deity;  so is the church the similitude, and representative of the Divine Nature, which is somewhat more outward, and as the byss, or ground, of the Spirit of eternity, or Supreme Unity.    For the better comprehending of which mutual relation, it may not be perhaps amiss to set down here a scheme thereof, according to the more principal names which the Hebrew Mystics do generally attribute to each of these, viz. the Messiah and his church or kingdom, or do at least reduce to one or other class:   since also it will serve to form some conception by, of that original distinction which is in the Divine Being itself, whence this is derived;  and by consequence hereof to discern likewise the Spirit of God, which is an active and masculine power, from the holy Virgin of Divine Wisdom, which is a passive and feminine power, which therefore by some is called the Divine Corporeity, and also the vestment of the Deity.

TIPHERETH.

MALCUTH.

1.  The Supernal Man, or Heavenly Adam. 1.  The Virgin of Israel, or heavenly Eve.
2.  The Bridegroom. 2.  The Bride.
3.  The Husband of the Church. 3.  The Church and Congregation of Israel.
4.  The King. 4.  The Queen of Heaven.
5.  The Great Priest. 5.  The Sanctuary.
6.  The Sun. 6.  The Moon.
7.  The Glass of Illumination. 7.  The Glass Illuminated.
8.  The Law. 8.  The Tables of the Law.
9.  The Covenant. 9.  The Ark of the Covenant.
10.  The World to Come. 10.  The Ark of Noah.
11.  The Tree of Life. 11.  The Earth of Life.
12.  The Root of the Tree. 12.  The Branches.
13.  Heaven. 13.  Earth.
14.  Spirit. 14.  Body.
15.  The Throne of Judgment. 15.  The Tabernacle of Judgment.
16.  David.  16.  The House of David.
17.  Metatron. 17.  The Schecina, or Glory of God.
18.  Melchisedech. 18.  The Temple of Peace.
19.  Jacob. 19.  Leah, or the Mother of Seven Children.
20.  Israel. 20.  Rachel.
21.  Solomon. 21.  The Shulamite.
22.  The Voice. 22.  The Echo.
23.  The WORD. 23.  The Speech.
24.  JEHOVAH. 24.  ELOHIM, the Angels, or Souls made partakers of the Divine nature.

Besides these several others might be brought, and observations raised from each of these in particular, which would afford perhaps no contemptible light to the matter in hand, and wonderfully set out some things little heeded, or understood, concerning the marriage of the Messias and his Church, as represented both in the old Prophets, and in the Revelations of St. John most fully.     But we shall content ourselves with one only observation which seems to us most material;  that we may not be carried out here into a more accurate or particular disquisition about the sense of the Jews and the Sages of the Eastern nations concerning the Divine matrimony of heaven and earth, God and Man, than is at present needful.    And which is this, "That the marriage of Christ and his church, in the descent of the new Jerusalem on earth, can never be consummated without there be such an essential relation pre-existing in heaven, and flowing from the very Divine Nature itself; and that the souls which are made his bride, cannot otherwise be called virgins, but as the heavenly Virgin, and corporified idea of the Divine Being in the superiour Jerusalem, doth impersonate itself in them, and so becomes to them the true tabernacle of God, Rev xxi. 3."

For Christ and the Church are but one complete image of GOD:   he is indeed the head;  but as the head is not completed without the members, so neither is Christ without the incorporation of the Church, which is truly his body;   being flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, in a sense that is no less real than that wherein it was first spoken concerning the terrestrial Eve, the bride of the terrestrial Adam:  wherefore they are not to be accounted twain but one.     This is the highest  ground of the unity of the church, and why it is even called Christ.    And great is the mystery of this marriage;  which is no more in truth than a re-union of what was antecedently one, even as Adam was before the formation of Eve, being Arrkuothnlos (as some of the Ancients did call him) or a complete angelical Virgin, both male and female within himself;  as possessing both the principles of self-multiplication in him individually concentrated, after a spiritual and heavenly manner.    Now this most essential relation of two such principles in Adam (and these also in themselves distinct from, however united with the inspiration of the Almighty, that breath of lives mentioned, Gen. ii. 7), while he stood in the original (and most perfect) constitution of nature, as created after the likeness of GOD, doth not only suppose (1.) a pre-existent harmony thereof in the creation according to the highest degree of Unity, which may be termed individual; (2.) a separation or division thereof after the creation, or a procession of the Unity into a Duality, which duality is proportionable to and concordant with it; and (3.) a re-union of the duality, in and through the harmony of the principles thus separated, by the mystical knot which reconstitutes them one, as they were at first, though not perfectly in the same manner and degree:  but it doth also suppose somewhat analogous to each of these three to have had a previous subsistence in the Divine Archetypes; and likewise that the eternal marriage eternally celebrated in heaven betwixt GOD and his immaculate consort, WISDOM, cannot make the latter to be fully one with the Holy Spirit, however inseparably hereby united therewith.    And therefore this essential and most intimate relation both of the first Adam to his Eve, and of the second Adam to the second Eve, his heavenly bride, must needs flow from the very Divine nature itself:  and without there had been brought forth from God a corporified Idea of his being in the virgin mirror and matrix of the celestial Jerusalem, there must have been no production either of a first, or of a second Eve;  and consequently the marriage of the Lamb and his bride must never be celebrated:  yea what is still more, there could have been no such thing even as human generation upon the earth.     But let even one and the other be granted, yet this possibility supposed, the actual celebration will not follow of this blessed marriage, without all that are to make up the bride be first made virgins, and then made one virgin.    For he who is himself a Virgin will not admit any but virgins into his nearest conversation;  hence are they all virgins who follow him in his kingdom of Mount Sion;  thence do the virgins love him because of his name poured forth upon them, whereby they are assimilated to him by the oil of consecration wherewith they are in like manner anointed, and so are impulsed to run after him by the savour of his good ointments, typified by that sacred and most mysterious composition under the Law, which was not to touch man's flesh, Exodus xxx. 32:  and thence was it that the High Priest was obliged to marry a virgin, and that too without the least manner of blemish.    And then secondly, as the bride of Christ can be but one, wherefore he says, My undefiled (that is, my virgin) is one, Canticles, vi. 9;  so unless all these virgins, who are the daughters of the heavenly Jerusalem, do become one, as their mother is one, they cannot be made the bride prepared for her husband;  or be one with him who is one with himself, and one with the Father.    Now it is impossible that they should ever be made virgins, in the highest and truest sense of the word, without that virginity which was originally in Adam before the formation of Eve, be restored again:  but (according to what has been before laid down) this can never be restored, without there was an heavenly pre-existent Virginity, according to that which was imaged forth in him.     And much more impossible would it still be to have all these numberless virgins to be re-incorporated, Anakephalai ousthai, Eph. i. 10, recapitulated, or gathered together in one, without they had proceeded out of one.    If they be not born of the one undefiled womb of the everlasting morning, the pure corporified Idea and bright mirror of the Divine Tri-une Being:  if they be not generated from above, or regenerated, as well of the living virgin water of God's Wisdom, as of the fire of the Spirit, which is the masculine and active power that is comprehended by the other in all angelical generations;  this holy virginity of the saints, and their consequent re-union and re-incorporation both with one another, and with Christ, in that express and full sense which the Scripture gives, would be in vain expected by us:  and our hopes of the kingdom of Christ, with all the patriarchs, prophets and apostles, would be no better than a pleasant amusement.     Wherefore it follows, That a virgin spirit must necessarily descend from God out of heaven, as the blessed womb of all heavenly and angelical births;   and that this may so presentiate and impersonate itself in man, as man thereby may truly become the tabernacle of God, for the solemnization of the nuptials of Christ and his bride.    Also it hence evidently appears that this, however united indissolubly with the Holy Ghost, is yet really distinct from him.    The one is more active, the other more passive:  the one gives the angelical fire in the new heavenly generation, the other gives the angelical water.  And the twofold birth, male and female, from divine Wisdom, or the generation of the Messiah and his Church (or kingdom) being thus in some measure explicated, according to principles acknowledged by the most learned among the Jews, this might be sufficient alone to take away all scandal and offence from among the Christians on this head, if the matter be but duly weighed by them.    Notwithstanding which, for the fuller elucidation of what David has spoken in spirit concerning the everlasting womb of the heavenly day-break, or the Aurora of the angelical kingdom, when beholding the generation of the Messias from the same, he called him Lord, who yet was to be his son;  and also because I do not know that this matter has been yet by any fundamentally handled, I shall offer some further thoughts to the consideration of the wise in heart, about this great and holy secret of a Virgin nature, both as subsisting in God, and flowing from God:   that so every one that will but incline his ear, may easily come to the understanding of it, and see how and wherein it is distinguished as from the essential Word, so likewise from the Holy Spirit, as properly taken.    Nevertheless it ought still to be remembered, that by reason of their inseparable union, the operation, affections and offices of the one may be attributed to the other;  so that that which properly belongs to Wisdom may very well be predicated of the Spirit of God, as may also what belongs to the Spirit more properly be predicated in like manner of Wisdom, which is as the Divine vehicle and chariot wherein he rides triumphantly into Nature.     The same thing also may be said as to Christ, with respect as well to one, as to the other of these:  which is a caution well to be heeded, for the sake of greater distinctness, in the reading of most spiritual writers.  The considerations follow: —

Consideration I.  The Hebrew word Rechem wheresoever it is found in Scripture, whether it be interpreted for the womb, or the mercy, when it is applied to God, may be said to express not only a principle of paternity, but also of maternity existing in the Deity, with respect to the superiour orders of created beings.    And wherever the same is used plurally, as most frequently it is in relation to the Divine Being, it may fitly signify the super-excellence of this most holy principle, as not possible to be expressed by any singular;  whence also the most common name of God, in this language is of a plural termination, as is well known:  which primarily denotes super-excellent Majesty of the omnipotent Creator of all things, without detracting at all from the Unity of the Godhead thereby:  as this in like manner, the super-excelling glory of the Divine benignity towards his creatures, that would comprehend them in the unity of life.     And by both we are to understand the communicativeness and fecundity of the Divine nature, without which no creation or generation could be in any of the worlds, visible or invisible.    Now there cannot be a more refreshing and delightful consideration than this.    That the very principle of Divine fecundity, by which, and out of which, all things whatever are produced, is no other than the fountain and womb of LOVE;  yea the womb of all tender loves in the creature, and of all mercy both in God and in it;  the beginning of the creation of God, whence heaven and earth first sprang forth, the male and female offspring whence numberless births were to proceed;  the universal and original womb, the womb of wombs!    It was from this holy womb, eternal fountain, and most essential principle of Divine Mercifulness, that judgment was swallowed up by mercy, as but from one bright sudden glance thereof, even when the terrors of the Law were thundered forth in such astonishing majesty.    For it was from this, the promise was first made to the woman's seed, that it should destroy the curse in nature;  and from hence not some, but all generations were to be blessed:  whence the curse of the Law for idolatry was to terminate in four only, but the covenant of mercy was to be extended even to a thousand generations.    Now in a thousand there are all comprehended.    Therefore also does the Scripture so very much inculcate the eternity of the Divine mercy:  and God is not only pleased to attribute to himself the bowels and affections of a mother, but even to declare the most eminent perfection of this principle in him, both as to the intensiveness and extensiveness thereof, above all that can be found in a natural mother;  and the impossibility for him to forget, or cast away utterly and eternally that which is his offspring:  Wherefore the Prophet Habakkuk in his most lofty psalm calls on God, in the midst of wrath to remember RECHEM, or the womb of mercy (ch. iii. 2).    With which, many places both in the Law and in the Prophets do sweetly harmonize; but specially in the Psalms, as particularly xc., cvi. and cviii.; Lam. iii.    Hence is he said to repent him of the evil, according to the multitude of his mercies.    And hence also, as Christ according to his terrestrial nativity is said to have been born of the mercy of God, as of the most tender and maternal principle of Divine life:  so are we according to our celestial paternity said to be regenerated thence in like manner;   that is, out of the same abyssal womb of Divine Compassions, and through the visitation of that heavenly dayspring, or blessed Aurora, which opens the light of the world on those that live in these shades of mortality, brings forth the everlasting day, and ushers in amongst us who sat in darkness the firstbegotten image of the Father of lights, called therefore most properly the Sun of righteousness.     And here also we may observe that as the MERCY of GOD, both in the generation of his son (whether eternal, or temporal) and in the regeneration of all that bear his image and name, doth chiefly express to us the illustrious prototype of all maternity; so doth the WILL of GOD in both these, express to us the most illustrious prototype of all paternity.     Hence we cannot receive power to become sons of God in the new birth, but by the united manifestation of both as one;  by being born of the will of God, whereby he becomes our father in heaven;  and according to his abundant mercy, whereby he shows towards us the tender bowels of a mother:  and his love to the church is compared to that of a mother to her firstborn.    All this may be implied in the word RECHEM, according to the true interpretation thereof, as the same is referred to God;  which by a diligent comparison of scripture could easily be further elucidated.    But I must forbear:  and shall only, to conclude this First Consideration, mention one passage, which is not the least considerable;  as wherein is declared how the fountain and womb of the Divine mercy comes to be opened in the covenant of blessing, by a separation from the cursed thing, and how there must be in God a great prototype and exemplar of all maternity and fecundity.   There shall cleave naught of the cursed thing to thine hand [whatsoever doth tend in anywise to separate thee from the LORD as thy God, and the author and fountain of thy being;  and to make thee idolize the creature, by an adhesion of thy mind to it, must be utterly renounced and forsaken by thee, as the accursed thing which by cleaving to thee, will for certain deprive thee of the blessing of the covenant made to the seed of the woman, and sacramentally ratified to Abraham, before the miraculous impregnation of Sarah's dead womb,] that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger [that is, that he who is a consuming fire to all iniquity, and who having made man for himself will bear no competitors, may, by a total separation of the will and power of man from whatever is devoted under the curse, and alienates him from the true original of his being, be reconciled to what is so separated, so as to assuage the heat of his wrath enkindled in nature, and thereupon to pronounce forth the blessing as in the cool of the day through the covenant of an incorruptible virgin seed], and shew thee mercy [the tender bowels and womb of a mother, full of compassions and sympathizing affections], and have compassion upon thee and multiply thee [not so much after an earthly as after an heavenly manner, from the heavenly womb of the everlasting Day-spring, that thou mayest be as the hops of heaven, both for number and for glory], as he hath sworn unto thy fathers [to Abraham, showing him the stars of the heaven, Gen xv. 4-18; xvii. 1-22; to him and Isaac; and to Jacob, ch xxviii. 13,14].    When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God [which is otherwise called the voice of Wisdom, Prov. i.20, who is said to pour out her spirit, v.23, and who cries in the chief place, My son, forget not my law. ch. iii.1], to keep all his commandments, which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God [by a full obedience to Wisdom's call, entering into thine heart; and by greedily inclining thine ear unto her mouth, to walk in her paths, and not to let the two tables of her law, mercy and truth forsake thee, but to bind them about thy neck, and inscribe them upon thy soul, ch. ii. 2, 10; iii. 3].    Ye are the children of the LORD your God, &c. [ Hereby will it be known whose offspring ye are;  for if ye shall seek in all things to be doing the will of God, this is a certain sign that the seed of God is in you, and that ye are born not of the will of man, but of God:  and if it shall be your constant study to do that which is right in his eyes, then are ye the children of Wisdom indeed, and an holy virgin people unto the LORD, a peculiar heritage, a blessed generation, whose ways are pleasantness, and paths peace.  Thence being, and approving yourselves the children of God your father; and so also the children of light, and sons of the morning, the womb of eternity and undefiled purity;  ye are to be as virgins redeemed from the earth, not polluting yourselves with anything unclean or dead, nor conforming to the customs of the world, which are chiefly founded upon carnal generation, and the corruption which is in nature by the introduction of the curse.] Deut. xiii. 17,18; xiv. 1,2.

Consideration II.    The most common name of God, and which in the very history of the creation alone is used no less than two and thirty times, is even asserted by the Jewish writers who have written most learnedly upon it, to be of a feminine nature;  and that the repetition thereof so many times in the first chapter of Genesis, doth answer just to the xxxii Paths of Wisdom.    Whence the ancient book of Jetrivah, attributed to the Patriarch Abraham, thus begins, By two and thirty wonderful paths of Wisdom hath the Lord of Hosts framed and imaged forth his world.    Also in another cabalistical treatise, called the Gate of Light, the name of God whereby the world was created, is thus interpreted; and the feminine signification of it declared expressly.    And as the womb of eternity out of which all things are by God produced, is most hid, therefore are these paths called by a name which signifies hidden;  and Wisdom herself is called the most high path of all, which comprehends the rest within it, and to which ought to be referred that place in Job, There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen, ch. xxviii. 7; from which the other one and thirty draw all their influence, in the various modes of the corporification of the Divine idea, by the omnipotence of the eternal Word.    Therefore are all the works of God's creation made accordingly to proceed from this secret womb, and pure ideal fountain, called the door of the world; and to be outwardly manifested and wrought out from their invisible forms (agreeably to the doctrine which some deduce from Heb. xi. 3), by the opening of this wonderful matrix in nature, according to all those secret channels and ducts of Divine Wisdom, which they call PELIOTH, that is concealed.    . . .

Consideration III.  The morning which is mentioned in the generation of Christ by David, is properly that redness which is betwixt the darkness and the light, or the night and the day:  which is well to be heeded, if we would  understand the ground whence not only the creation, but judgment also is attributed by the mystical doctors of the Jews to that Divine Name, which is both the first and most frequent in the whole Bible.    For though it may seem harsh in them to ascribe judgment and severity to the female nature, rather than to the male:  yet herein they have respect to the gradual manifestation in nature of the firstborn of the creatures;  to his triumphant exit against the fallen princes and angels at the creation; and to the restitution of lapsed souls from darkness into light, through the red fire of divine judgment, whence the glorious light doth break forth, as out of a hidden womb, and with exulting joy spring out visibly to run the course of the wonders of God in love.    This morning redness is called the bride chamber, or the secret CHUPPAH in which the bridegroom was to prepare himself, which is mentioned Ps. xix.5:  it is that out of which the Divine Word, as a glorious sun, arises;  coming as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoicing as a giant to run his race, through the whole circuit of nature.     For this answers exactly to the meaning of the word SHAIHAR, which is not the light itself, but the triumphant breaking forth of the light from and out of the darkness:  whence among all the Divine goings forth, which are many, that of victory is peculiarly ascribed to it;  as the opposition of the powers of darkness is thereby conquered, and subdued.    And forasmuch as this conquest of the day, in outward nature, always begins in the East, therefore is the east held sacred to the eternal dayspring of Wisdom;  and the Magi, who are the children of Wisdom, are said to come out of the East.    And agreeably to this are all the kingdoms of the earth commanded to sing praises to Him who rides upon the heaven of heavens towards the east, Ps. lxviii.33;  not only according to the Septuagint and St. Hierom, but other ancient versions:  whereby is described the victorious outgoing of the Divine Word from the paradisiacal East;  as might clearly be made to appear from the whole drift of the psalm, as also from that particular name of God here used, which is universally accounted by the Jewish nation the manifestatrix of the ineffable Name;  even as the light of the Son manifests the light of the Father, which is otherwise inaccessible, appearing to the creature as thick darkness.     This most high East is called in another psalm the beginning of heaven, and in the Mosaical Genesis of the world seems to be supposed as the BEGINNING not only of heaven, but of earth also, that is, of the universal system of things.    And therefore not unfitly by the prophet Zacharias may the name of the EAST be applied to the Messiah, as this very WORD incarnating itself by a power from the Divine East;  whence also his star was seen to appear in the East.    And perhaps this may have been understood by the Syriac interpreter, in whom there is found, From the east hath he sent forth his voice:   which is for certain applicable to the eternal Word, that by the most ancient Chaldee paraphrast on the Pentateuch is significantly expressed both the Word of God, and the Word which is God.    But this Beginning, or East from on high anatole ex hupsous in the prophetic song of Zacharias), must be distinct both from the Word, which went forth saying, Let there be, and it was so;  and from the Spirit of Elohim which moved upon the chaotic matter.    Nor is it perfectly one either with the Light, which arose in the east, being clouded under the veil of mortal flesh;  or with the Holy Ghost, who overshadowed the Virgin for the bringing forth of this Light of Life in such a form, in order to the manifestation of the wonders of God's Wisdom and Grace.     As the Word and Spirit are not the same with one another, but distinct:   so neither is the Beginning, or Divine day-spring, the same with either;   notwithstanding that the former is in it, and the latter with it eternally and inseparably.

In visible nature there is no difficulty at all to discern the redness of the morning from the full day:  and if we cannot make this discernment in invisible nature also, may we not rather suspect a defect in ourselves, than peremptorily proceed to conclude that not to be at all, which we cannot so presently understand?    The Hebrew word which has been mentioned, and which is chosen by God's Spirit to express the generation of Christ from the womb of eternity, as an eternal Priest and King, is no less distinguished in sense from another word, which without the least distinction is translated the morning also;   but imports the perfect light of the day, whence, as the victory of the Divine name is attributed to that, so the glory of it, or the triumphant pomp of Christ's kingdom, is allotted to this, according to the scale of Divine numbers.     This word is found in the account of the creation throughout;  and may have more perhaps of a mystery in it, than is ordinarily heeded.    Now as in redness there is a mixture of darkness and light, or of the light hidden and the light manifest, so is it to be supposed also in some sense in the womb of the Divine Aurora, the eternal seminary of light.    And from this commixture it is called the measure of judgment:  and, according to it, this world is observed to have been created, in the going forth of that Divine Name which is communicable to all the administrators of justice, both angels and men, both supreme and subordinate.

Consideration IV.  This Morning-redness, which the wise men have watched for in all ages, and sought to understand and behold, that they might know thereby the mystery not only of the creation and generation of all things from a Divine Beginning, and out of an holy Virgin Materiality and celestial womb, but also their regeneration from and out of the same:  and which is to be considered both as the fountain of mercy, and as the measure of justice in the Deity introducing itself into nature, and is the true heavenly Day-spring and East from which all the Divine measures do descend;  is further represented to us under the name of PLACE.     And hence it is that some of the Ancients may have been grossly misunderstood, as if they did really assert the co-eternity of place and matter with God, according to the vulgar conception  of those terms.    It is true that some philosophers of no mean consideration, and nowise atheistical, have maintained the pre-existence both of place and matter from all eternity:  but their meaning herein was altogether different from what many of their dull followers have thought it to be.    It is manifest that the philosophy of the Ancients was extremely corrupted from that purity where it it was originally delivered by the founders of schools, (several of whom were persons of a Divine genius, and highly enlightened with the Spirit of Wisdom from above,) through their successors and disciples;  sometimes for want of attention or penetration, and perhaps at other times even through maliciousness itself:  as the history of the Atomical Philosophy alone may serve abundantly to make out, together with the origination of the sect of the Sadducees among the Jews, and most of the ancient heresies among the Christians.    Nor is it less certain that in this most ancient philosophy, after the fullest and freest inquiry made into it, there must be understood by their eternal place, which included the eternal matter filling it, the very same thing which the Hebrew school means by that Divine name, whereby they used to express the omnipresence of the Deity, even the name HA-MAKOM, i.e. the Place.    By which holy Name of God they would teach that the world is not properly the place of God, but that God rather is the place of the world;   and that all place is in God and from God alone;  all creatures being circumscribed by the Divine essence and nature;  so that He may super-eminently be called the place, or universal receptacle of all beings, wherein they exist, live, and act.    Now this Divine title, or name, is attributed by them to the Wisdom of God, which is also called for the same reason BETH HA-OLAM, or the House of the world.    And it is favoured likewise by the very original of the word, which is from a radix that imports to rise, ascend, stand up, or awake;  and from that particular mode of it wherein the Hebrew language is so elegant in expressing that which makes or effects a thing to be, with but one word.     Whereby is insinuated That the Divine Beginning, Day-spring, and East of the heavenly Wisdom, as in God before Nature, is the true awakening principle of all generated and created beings;  out of which as their eternal matrix they have proceeded, in which they do actually subsist, and by which  they are continually comprehended:  and that all intellectual and material creatures do first rise and ascend from this beginning, which is in God and with God from all eternity;   and do stand up out of their ideas, being brought forth into real existence.    And this may not be very distant from what some, greatly illuminated in the mysteries of God and Nature, within the last generation, have called (as I remember) the field of the great potter, into which the Holy Ghost, for the creation of all things is said to descend, going forth from the Father (who is the potter) by and through the eternal Word or Son;  according to the Father's will, manifesting itself in the voice of the Word, which is the outflown FIAT of the Son.    It is not perhaps quite the same, but it is at least included in and depending on it:  it is a different consideration of it from the former;  and may comprehend not the whole, but a part of it, that is, with respect to this or that relation.    This is truly called the Field of Wisdom, which being filled and impregnated with the Divine magical breath, or Spirit, brings forth thereby the wonders in Nature;  and so must needs be distinct from the Spirit which fills and impregnates it, whether this be in the fire, or in the light.    Therefore this eternal Place, or field, is in its originality to be distinguished from the Spirit itself, which flows upon it;  and consequently also in its operations.     It is the highest and most secret Garden of God, according to the cabalistic theory, which the four winds of the heaven of heavens do continually breathe upon, from the cherubinical angels of the throne of the Divine Majesty;   and hence there is nothing could have sprung forth without its fruitfulness.    It is also called to the same effect  Beth Ha-Jotrer, the house of the potter;  wherein the furnace is generally attributed to Wisdom alone, but the wheel to eternal Wisdom and eternal Nature.    In this house of the great potter, by means of its holy magical furnace, which is eternally burning, the Spirit of God manifests its omnipotence;  but the Spirit is not one with the furnace, but feeds it incessantly.     Let him that has wisdom here study to become still more wise, and by descending into this abyssal House, or place, where the immortal fire is kept, to consider the origination of all the vessels of nature, according to the various circumnotations thereof;  and to behold the restitution of the broken vessels, by the light of the everlasting morning arising still brighter and brighter!     And further, some have thought this notion aforesaid absolutely necessary to defend and explain the Unity of the blessed Trinity in the Divine Nature, as in one mutual common Schecina or dwelling;  so that the Divine Wisdom, as the heaven of the glorious Trinity, is the everlasting Hammakom, place, or ubi, both of the Father, Son and Spirit, the house and temple of God in the supernatural East;  it is Domus Sacro-Sancto Trinititatis, the residence of the most holy Number Three.     Which may be set forth under several emblems;  but the most ordinary seems to be that which is the manner of writing of the great name of God, everywhere found in the Jewish writings. . .  (end of excerpt)  

  

Note from Pass the WORD:  The above portions of this manuscript by Francis Lee appeared in Notes & Materials for an Adequate Biography of William Law, by Christopher Walton, London, 1854, pages  510-519,  where we learn from Walton  that Francis Lee became Jane Lead's apologist and defender at the end of the 17th century when her writings presented fresh revelations that challenged traditional thinking.    Lee assisted Jane Lead with her heavy load of correspondence generated by his publication of her works.  Walton greatly respected the works of Francis Lee, and he reproduced some of Lee's writings throughout this book.  Many of Lee's writings later became foundational for William Law's later works and Law knew them well.   Although Lee was of an older generation and had passed from the scene, Law used Lee's legacy to carry on, having all of Lee's papers to draw from.  These excerpts which were prepared by Francis Lee are most refreshing and helpful to our generation, who have all but lost the knowledge of the female aspect of the Godhead.

 

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