THAT THE WISDOM OF GOD WORKS BY THE MEDIUM OF SECOND CAUSES (I. E. BY THE INTELLIGENCES, BY THE HEAVENS, ELEMENTS, AND CELESTIAL BODIES) IS PROVED BEYOND DISPUTE IN THIS CHAPTER.
IT is to be noted, that God, in the first place, is the end and beginning of all virtue: he gives the seal of the ideas to his servants, the intelligences, who, as faithful officers, sign all things entrusted to them with an ideal virtue; the heavens and stars, as instruments, disposing the matter, in the mean while, for the receiving of those forms which reside in Divine Majesty, and to be conveyed by stars. And the Giver of forms distributes them by the ministry of his intelligences, which he has ordained as rulers and comptrollers over his works; to whom such a power is entrusted, in things committed to them, that so all virtue in stones, herbs, metals, and all other things, may come from the intelligences, the governors. Therefore the form and virtue of things come first from the ideas--then from the ruling and governing intelligences--then from the aspects of the heavens disposing--and, lastly, from the tempers of
the elements disposed, answering the influences of the heavens, by which the elements themselves are ordered or disposed. These kinds of operations, therefore, are performed in these inferior things by express forms; and in the heavens, by disposing virtues; in intelligences, by mediating rules; in the original cause, by ideas and exemplary forms; all which must of necessity agree in the execution of the effect and virtue of every thing.
There is, therefore, a wonderful virtue and operation in every herb and stone, but greater in a star; beyond which, even from the governing intelligences, every thing, receives and obtains many things for itself, especially from the Supreme Cause, with whom all things mutually and exactly correspond, agreeing in an harmonious consent.
Therefore there is no other cause of the necessity of effects, than the connection of all things with the First Cause, and their correspondency with those divine patterns and eternal ideas, whence every thing hath its determinate and particular place in the exemplary world, from whence it lives and receives its original being; and every virtue of herbs, stones, metals, animals, words, speeches, and all things that are of God, are placed there.
Now the First Cause (which is God), although he doth, by intelligences and the heavens, work upon these inferior things, does sometimes (these mediums being laid aside, or their officiating being suspended) work those things immediately by himself--which works are then called miracles. But whereas secondary causes do, by the command and appointment of the First Cause, necessarily act, and are necessitated to produce their effects; if God shall, notwithstanding, according to his pleasure, so discharge and suspend them that they shall wholly desist from the necessity of that command, then they are called the greatest miracles of God. For instance: the fire of the Chaldean furnace did not burn the children; the sun stood still at the command of Joshua, and became retrograde one whole day; also, at the prayer of Hezekiah, it went back ten degrees; and when our Saviour Christ was crucified, it became darkened, though at full moon.
And the reason of these operations can by no rational discourse, no magic or science, occult or profound soever, be found out or understood; but are to be learned by Divine oracles only. 1
87:1 The foregoing Chapter, if well considered, will open the intellect to a more easy comprehension of the Magical Science of Nature, &c.; and will facilitate, in a wonderful degree, our studies in these sublime mysteries.