The Philosophy of Natural Magic, by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, L. W. de Laurence ed. , at sacred-texts.com
There is a God, all-powerful, all-intelligent and supremely perfect; eternal and infinite; omnipotent and omniscient; who endures from eternity to eternity, and is present from infinity to infinity.
But though, from the nature and perfections of the Deity, he is invisibly present in all places and nothing happens without his knowledge and permission; yet it is expressly revealed in Scripture, and admitted by all wise and intelligent authors, that he is visibly present with the angels and spirits, and blessed souls of the departed, in those mansions of bliss called Heaven. There he is pleased to afford a nearer and more immediate view of himself, and a more sensible manifestation of his glory, and a more adequate perception of his attributes, than can be seen or felt in any other parts of the universe; which place, for the sake of pre-eminent distinction, and as being the seat and center, from whence all things flow and have their beginning, life, light, power, and motion, is called the interior or Empyrean Heaven.
The position and order of this interior heaven, or center of the Divinity, has been variously described, and its locality somewhat disputed among the learned; but all agree as to the certainty of its existence. Hermes Trismegistus defines heaven to be an intellectual sphere, whose center is everywhere, and circumference nowhere, but by this he meant no
more than to affirm, what we have done above, that God is everywhere, and at all times, from infinity to infinity, that is to say, without limitation, bounds, or circumference. Plato speaks of this internal heaven in terms which bear so strict a resemblance with the books of Revelation, and in so elevated and magnificent a style, that it is apparent the heathen philosophers, notwithstanding their worshiping demi or false gods, possessed an unshaken confidence in one omnipotent, supreme, overruling power, whose throne was the center of all things, and the abode of angels and blessed spirits.
To describe this interior heaven, in terms adequate to its magnificence and glory, is utterly impossible. The utmost we can do is to collect, from inspired writers, and from the words of Revelation, assisted by occult philosophy, and a due knowledge of the celestial spheres, that order and position of it, which reason and the divine lights we have, bring nearest to the truth. That God must be strictly and literally the center from whence all ideas of the Divine Mind flow, as rays in every direction, through all spheres and through all bodies, cannot admit of a doubt. That the inner circumference of this center is surrounded, filled or formed, by arrangements of the three hierarchies of angels, is also consonant to reason and Scripture, and forms what may be termed the entrance or inner gate of the empyrean heaven, through which no spirit can pass without their knowledge and permission, and within which we must suppose the vast expanse or mansions of the Godhead, and glory of the Trinity, to be. This is strictly conformable to the idea of all the prophets and evangelical writers. From this primary circle, or gate of heaven, Lucifer, the grand Apostate, as Milton finely describes it, was hurled into the bottomless abyss; whose office, as one of the highest orders of angels, having placed him near the eternal throne, he became
competitor for dominion and power with God himself.
The circles next surrounding the hierarchies, are
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Symbol of the Universal Spirit of Nature
composed of the ministering angels and spirits and messengers of the Deity. In positions answering to the ideas of the holy Trinity, and intersecting all
orders of angels, are seated, in fullness of glory and splendor, those superior angels, or intelligent spirits, who answer to the divine attributes of God, and are the pure essences or stream through which the will or fiat of the Godhead is communicated to the angels and spirits, and instantaneously conducted to the Anima Mundi. Round the whole, as an atmosphere round a planet, the Anima Mundi, or universal Spirit of Nature, is placed; which, receiving the impressions or ideas of the Divine Mind, conducts them onward, to the remotest parts of the universe; to infinity itself; to, and upon, and through, all bodies, and to all God's works. This Anima Mundi is therefore what we understand of Nature, of Providence, of the presence of God, and the fountain or seat of all second causes, being, as it were, the Eye of God, or medium between God and all created things. Next to the Anima Mundi, is that vast region or expanse, called the ethereal heaven, or firmament, wherein the fixed stars, planets, and comets, are disposed; and wherein the celestial bodies, and the comets, move freely in all directions, and towards all parts of the heavens.
To illustrate what has been stated above a plate is here inserted of the Interior Heaven, with the different orders of the Spirits and Essences of the Divine Mind, distinguished by their proper names and characters, in the original Hebrew and Iberian text, as pointed out in the manuscripts of ancient and learned philosophers. This plate shows in what manner the rays or beams of Divine Providence pass from the center or seat of the Godhead, through all the different orders of angels and spirits, to the Anima Mundi, and from thence to all the celestial bodies planets, and stars; to our earth, and to the remotest parts of infinite space, constituting what is termed celestial influx, or that faculty in nature by
which the quality and temperature of one body is communicated to another.
Theologists have divided angels into different ranks or classes, which they term Hierarchies, a word signifying to rule in holy things. Ancient authors give nine orders of these celestial spirits—Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones, Dominions, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Angels, and Archangels—and these they class into Three Hierarchies, appointing them their respective offices in the performance of the word and will of God.
The rabbis and cabalistical writers have defined one rank of angels—or the Intelligences—as superior to all the foregoing nine orders of spirits, and which answer to and are contained in the ten distinguishing names of God, and are the pure essences of the Supreme Spirit, or the Divine Diffusion through which the mirific Word and Will are communicated to the angels and blessed spirits, and through which providence extends to the care and protection of Nature.
The first of these divine essences is Jehovah, and is peculiarly attributed to God the Father, being the pure and simple essence of the Supreme Divinity, flowing through Hajoth Hakados, to the angel Metratton, and to the ministering spirit Reschith Hagalalim, who guides the Primum Mobile, and bestows the gift of being upon all things. To this spirit is allotted the office of bringing the souls of the faithful departed into heaven; and by him God spake to Moses.
The second is Jah, and is attributed to the Person of the Messiah, whose power and influence descend through the angel Masleh into the sphere of the celestial Zodiac. This is the Spirit of Nature, the Soul of the World, or the Omnific Word which actuated the chaos and divided the unwrought matters into three
portions: Of the first and most essential part was the Spiritual World composed; of the second was made the visible heavens or the Celestial World; and of the third part was formed the Terrestrial World, out of which was drawn the elemental quintessence, or first matter of all things, which produced the four elements of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth, and all the creatures which inhabit them, by the agency of a particular spirit called Raziel, who was the ruler of Adam.
The third is Ehjeh, and is attributed to the Holy Spirit, whose divine light is received by the angel Sabbathi, and communicated from him through the sphere of Saturn. This is the principium generationis, the beginning of the ways of God, or the manifestations of the Father and the Son's light in the supernatural generation. And from hence flow down all living souls, entering the inanimate body, and giving form to unsettled matter.
The fourth is El, through the light of whom flows grace, goodness, mercy, piety, and munificence, to the angel Zadkiel, and, thence, passing through the. sphere of Jupiter, fashioneth the images of all bodies, bestowing clemency, benevolence, and justice on all.
The fifth is Elohi, the upholder of the sword, and left hand of God, whose influence penetrates the angel Geburah, and thence descends through the sphere of Mars, giving fortitude in war and affliction.
The sixth is Tsebaoth, who bestoweth his mighty power through the angel Raphael into the sphere of the Sun, giving motion, heat, and brightness to it, and thence producing metals.
The seventh is Elion, who rules the angel Michael, and descends through the sphere of Mercury, giving benignity, motion, intelligence, and eloquence.
The eighth is Adonai, whose influence is received by the angel Haniel, and communicated through the
sphere of Venus, giving zeal, fervency, and righteousness of heart, and producing vegetables.
The ninth is Shaddai, whose influence is conveyed by cherubim to the angel Gabriel, and falls into the sphere of the Moon, causing increase and decrease of all things, like unto the tides of the sea, and governing the genii and natural protectors of man.
The tenth is Elohim, who extends his beneficence to the angel Jesodoth, into the sphere of the Earth, and dispenseth knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
The three first of these ten names—Jehovah, Jah, and Ehjeh—express the essence of God, and are proper names; but the other seven are only expressive of his attributes. The only true name of God, according to the cabala, is the name of four letters—the Tetragrammaton—Yod-he-vau-he.
In the exterior circle of the celestial heaven, occupied by the fixed stars, the Anima Mundi hath her particular forms, answering to the ideas of the Divine Mind; and this situation approaching nearest to the Empyrean Heaven, the seat of God, receives the spiritual powers and influences which immediately proceed from him. Hence they are diffused through the spheres of the planets and heavenly bodies, and communicated to the inmost center of the Earth by means of natural law, or the Spirit of the World, that rules the terrestrial world.
While many ancient authors have contended on the definition and meaning of the word Nature, yet they all in reality mean one and the same thing, only giving different explanations of the same ideas; and if their arguments are closely pursued and compared with each other, they will all tend to show that the Anima Mundi and the Soul of the Universe is what they mean by Nature.