With the liveliest satisfaction, Sir, have I received your sublime letter of 21st ult. Your theory on the use of the Great Name of names is very high; it seems, however, quite clear to me, and entirely conformable with my own ideas. The distinction also which you make between the intellectual sight, and that which is external and physical, appears also clear and distinct, though I am but a gentile. So true is it that Sophia can manifest herself externally and physically, that the first physical manifestation J. Lead had was that of Sophia. She describes this communication at large in her `Fountain of Gardens.' If I do not succeed soon in finding her works for you, I will avail myself of some leisure moments to translate the passage for you. Pordage, in his `Angelic World,' insists strongly on the use and importance of physical communications, the great point being to avoid the shoals. As for me, I look upon manifestations, when they are real ones, as an excellent mean for advancing our inward work; and I believe that a lifting up of the soul to the Supreme Being, adherence to the active and intelligent Cause, purity of will which desires only to approach more nearly, and unite with, the source of all light, without any return to ourselves; and the Name of Names, -are infallible means of receiving these gifts without mixture or illusion. Pordage shows me the importance of physical communications; but what the English of to-day, not Pordage, call second sight, which they acquire by tradition or initiation, appears to me always to lead into a region where the good and bad orders are mixed and seek society with us. I imagine different sorts of progress amongst men of desire, each of whom produces effects more or less elevated and pure. But must we pass through the second sight to arrive at pure communications? Your advice on this would be very acceptable. . . .
The above letter was followed by one of 8th Sept., 1793.
LETTER XXXII.-(From S. M.)
Petit Bourg, 9th Sept. 1793.
. . . . Your letter, 8th Aug., has been forwarded to me here. I see, by it, that what torments you most is the question of communications, and you will not rest till it is settled. You know all I have said to you on the subject; you have agreed to it, so I will not return to it. But, not to leave your last question about second sight unanswered, I will say that I know no general law about it, and to answer affirmatively or negatively would be making one. I think there are as many ways in this as there are points of departure for different travellers. I think the matter itself has acted variously on the elect, giving to some, merely internal communications without any external; to others, external ones only and no internal; to others, both. I believe that the traditions or ini tiations called second sight may have misled some men, and been useful to others, because, with upright beginnings and a well-intentioned heart, God sometimes leads us to the light, even over precipices. But, with the information you now possess, you ought to be certain that no tradition or initiation of man can ever be sure of leading you to pure communications, because God alone gives them. Hold fast therefore where you are; seek only to strip yourself of all Ichheit (I-hood), of all Selbheit (self-hood); employ your faculties only to place them altogether in His hand who only seeks to rule them all, and laissez faire, be passive; He will know better than all the savants of the world where you ought to go, and how you ought to go.
. . . . I have received from Strasbourg some extracts in French from Jane Lead. . . . What little I have thus seen fills me with admiration, and I am sure that whatever you can send me of this author, whether in English, or German, or French, will only add to my pleasure. . . .
Farewell, Sir: I commend myself to your love and your prayers. I am now reading the'Mysterium Magnum' of our friend Mime. What depths this author opens to me! If he had not condemned even the smallest desire in man, I should indulge one, that I might be permitted to converse with people who know his doctrine and his language well, for I have nothing of the sort near me. But the will of God be done! There is no situation from which fruit may not be gathered, for God is everywhere, and there is not a point in the atmosphere which is without the vegetable soil of the garden of Eden. I write little at present on these subjects; the gates of wrath are those which are now opened on the earth; we must wait for days of peace to open to us the gates of love. Alloys here might have fatal consequences; I exhort you to the like reserve.
LETTER XXXIII. - (From K.)
Morat, 18th Sept. 1793.
. . . . I FEEL with you the necessity of denudation; the grand thing is to give it the right direction and measure, without which we fall into a labyrinth which may lead to discouragement. To have no will but the will of God, requires the previous knowledge and discernment what is the will of God. There is a means which protects us from disquietude, desires, bitter internal reproaches, self-will, temptations, &c., and greatly furthers our work of selfdenudation by killing all the external seductions which counterweigh the benefits we might receive elsewhere; it is a return to, a refuge in our centre, in our heart, the interior of our soul. If we there seek Him who treadeth on the serpent's head, and crushes it with His heel, suffering Him to fight for us, He will do it most successfully. Our sublime friend B. shows all this by one energetic word, and calls our hero the Serpent-bruiser.
I should not have time to translate Jane Lead's account of her first external communication with Sophia; but, instead of that narrative, I will give you Pordage, who was J. Lead's friend and director; it will show you something of this man's principles. It is taken from the preface of his treatise on 'Sophia.' This preface is a summary of the work itself.
"Happy are they who hunger and thirst for Sophia, for they will see, in the following treatise, that she promises to descend into them with her divine principle and her World of Light. A considerable time, however, may pass, sometimes twenty years or more, before the eternal Wisdom really communicates and reveals herself so as to shed tranquillity and peace in the soul of him who desires her, for, after vainly seeking different ways to get to her, the soul, disappointed in its hopes, falls at last, without any strength left, in lassitude and discouragement. If then, neither fervent prayer nor religious meditation can do anything, and no entreaty, however earnest, avails to induce her to come down and abide in our souls, we are then convinced that, by our own efforts, our acts of faith and hope, or by the activity of our mind, it is utterly impossible for us to break through the wall of separation which is between us and the Divine Principle, all these keys being powerless to open the door to this principle. And when our soul then finds that, in hitherto following the road of Ascension, it has always missed its object, it concludes that this was not the right way (even though it may have been treated on the way with communications and heavenly revelations), but that the only path to arrive at Divine Wisdom and her principle, is by descending, to sink inwardly into one's own ground, and look no more without.
"When the soul takes this road, and sinks into itself, then the gates of the depths of Wisdom open, and the soul is introduced into the holy eternal principle of the world of light; in the new magical earth, in which the virgin Sophia, or Divine Wisdom, shows herself, and discloses her beauties. "But if the soul here is not sufficiently watchful, and firm enough to concentrate itself continually in its centre of nature (Centrum naturae), and, through its passive tranquillity, it do not so sink into this abyss, this chaos, out of which the new paradise is formed, as to rise again, and fly up on high, it is then in the greatest danger of being surrounded, and cruelly tempted by a crowd of innumerable spirits; from either the dark world, or from the elementary astral principle. But, in its extremity, its heavenly protec tor appears again, to strengthen it, and repeat and confirm its first lesson," &c.
Well, Sir, what do you say of Doctor Pordage? He was chief of a little school of elect, amongst whom were Jane Lead and Thomas Browne; all of whom enjoyed manifestations of a high and distinguished character. . . .
Towards the end of your letter, 9th inst. you speak of a vegetable earth, and say that there is not a point in the atmosphere which does not contain it. Have the goodness to communicate some particulars of the nature of this earth, and the way to acquire it. Will it be the light hidden in the elements which you mentioned in one of your last year's letters? Is it a real substance, or only a power, an intellectual representation? Is it the Ternarius Sanctus, the sacred element, the holy land of our friend B.? Pray tell me whether you possess it, and the shortest way to obtain it; whether it is visible and palpable to our external senses, or whether it can be seen, touched, and felt only by our inward man. . . . I beg you to have me in your prayers, that I may be strengthened in the conflicts in which we have continually to engage. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places."
P. S. If your vegetable earth is the pure element, and the outward elements enclose the pure, the atmospheric air must therefore contain the pure element, the Ternarium Sanctum, the body of Sophia, the vegetable earth; consequently, in breathing the air, we ought to be able to nourish ourselves, even physically, with the heavenly body of the active and intelligent Cause, &c. And if our heart opens itself, it may and ought, at each breath, to receive the spiritual nourishment contained in this divine manner; thus the air would be the great Vehicle?
LETTER XXXIV. - (From S. M.)
Paris, 23rd Oct. 1793.
. . . . I havehavee hardly time for more than one word on the two important passages of your last letter. One, the denu dation: I find your description perfectly correct, and I can vouch that our uncertainty as to the will of God, in regard to ourselves, vanishes gradually, in proportion as we seek it and desire it with all our faculties, and regulate all our acts and conduct to that end. The second is the vegetable earth; it is all that you describe, at once.
My meaning, in my letter, referred only to Sophia, and the glorious body I spoke of before; and you know enough of this to see that it is truly the promised land. This does not prevent the word vegetable land applying to all regions. Thus, there is a vegetable land which is material, that of our fields; there is a spirituous one, which is the pure element; there is a spiritual one, which is Sophia; there is a vegetable land divine, which is the Holy Spirit and the Ternarium Sanctum. You see, Sir, our views hereupon are much the same.
As for the possession of this holy land, I can indicate no other means of attaining it, than those mentioned above, and one which I have spoken of fully in all our correspondence. I shall still refer you to it, that you may so continue to seek for everything in God, as to expect nothing but from him. Watch and pray, and do not doubt, that, if you belong to a tribe of Israel, or conform to the law of the Spirit which rules that holy people, you will obtain admittance amongst them, and, like them, have your portion in the heritage of Abraham.
Farewell, Sir.... I beg you will in future suppress the title of Monsieur on your letters, and substitute that of Cito yen; this is the present style of every one belonging to the French nation, and I am zealous to conform to it.