Taken from The Traditions of the Jews, ed. by J.P. Stehelin, 1748, Vol. 1, pp. 142-166.

At pp. 306-330 of the 2006 facsimile ed. by Independent History & Research.

First posted as HTML Feb 2008 by http://www.jrbooksonline.com.

This digitization retains the arcane typography, spellings and the like, but has reproduced the letter ‘s’ in the more modern style. –JR, ed.

 

 

Being at the Close of our Collections from the Rabbinical Writings, with Relation to Sorceries, Con­jurations, or Enchantments, and the Credit those Praeternatural Operations were in among the Jews in Ages past, we have chosen to deliver here the State of that Credit among the Jews of modern Times, together with some Account of the Cabala, a famous Art among that People, by which the Adepti therein pretend to reach the Knowledge of all Mysteries, and to accomplish very wonderful Matters, which are not to be effected by the Laws or Powers of Nature. The Vulgar, or Illiterate, among the Jews, who, like the Vulgar among eve­ry other People, have a mighty Knack at believing and wondering, entertain no Manner of Doubt con­cerning the Truth or Lawfulness of those En­chantments or Sorceries which are recorded to have been atchiev’d by their Ancient Sages. They believe those Wonders to have been effected by a profound Skill in the Cabala; that is to say, That Part of the Cabala which is directed to, or teacheth such Operations. But the Jews of Worth and Figure, among whom, it must be own’d, that much useful and polite Learning hath been cultivated of late Years, either reject the Talmudical Accounts of Sorceries and Enchantments as incredible, or look upon those Enchantments to have been accomplish’d by the Intervention of the Devil. And it must be confess’d, that this judgment or Infidelity of the learned and discerning Jews upon these Talmudical Matters, does not hurt the Credit which they are re­quired fairly to pay to the Oral Law, as such; since, in the First Place, the Oral Law, which, according to the Declarations of the Rabbins thermselves, as well as the Import of the Title, was not intended to be put in Writing, is pleaded by the Rabbins only as a Gloss or Explication of the Law Written; and the Law-Written, that is, what we find deliver’d by the Pen of Moses, thunders forth the Wrath of God, {Lev. 20. and elsewhere in the Law of Moses} and denounces Death upon Sorcerers and Enchanters: And since, in the next Place, Nothing is more probable, than that the Oral Law, when it was committed to Writing, as it was not, according to the Accounts of the Jews themselves, till after a Run of many Ages, and several Dispersions; and as it was then likewise, according to their own Accounts, compil’d from the Works and the Traditions of various Hands, of various Understandings without Doubt, and of various Intelligence, or Information; Nothing is more probable, we say, upon these Premises, than that the Oral Law, when it was committed to Writing, should be adulterated and corrupted with the Inventions and the Dreams of weak and designing Men.

 

We shall now give some Account of the Cabala. The Word Cabala, which is Hebrew, signifies Admission or Initiation. The Jews appropriate this Word to the Knowledge or Comprehension of the Mysteries of the Oral Law; and accordingly the Connoisseurs in that Law are, in our Idiom, call’d Cabalists. In the Oral Law, the Jews say, are many Matters and Phrases, which are extremely mysterious, and, without the Exercise of the Cabala, utterly unintelligible. The Cabalists are extremely rever’d by the Jews, as Persons of stupendous Wis­dom and Discernment and are consider’d, with Relation to the bare Students in the Bible, or what we call the Old Testament, as Physicians, in these modern Times, are with Respect to Apothecaries. The Cabalists alone, say they, have the Skill to prescribe, or explain, upon the Word or Letter of the Written Law, while the Students in that Law are employ’d in making up or administring the Remedy. Among the Vulgar, or the Illiterate among the Jews, the Cabalists obtain such Esteem and Authority, that if they were to tell ’em, White was Black, or the Right Hand the Left, they would meet with Belief without any Hesitation.

 

Of the Cabala, as it relates to the Explication of pretended mysterious Parts of the Written Law, we find little or no Mention among the Fathers of the Christian Church. Hieron is the only Father, perhaps, that deserves to be mention’d upon it; and he only hints at a Tradition concerning it. Picus, Count of Mirandola, was the First among the Christians, who publish’d any intelligible Account of the Cabala in this View. After him Galatinus and others appear’d upon the Subject; giving an Account of Three different Species or Divisions of it. The Account deliver’d by Picas, relating to the mysterious or prophetick Parts of the Old Testament, which obtains at this Day among Christian Writers.

 

This Species or Branch of the Cabala, relating to the mysterious Parts of the Written Law, Moses is said by the Jews to have receiv’d from God on Mount Sinai; and to have deliver’d it to Joshua: and Joshua, they say, deliver’d it to the Seventy Two Elders; and they to the Prophets; and from them it pass’d to Esdras and the great Synagogue; from whom it has been deliver’d down, through the Hands of the Rabbins, to the present Day. To this Branch of the Cabala some refer the 46th and the 47th v. of the 14th Chap. of the Second Book of Esdras; which say, But keep the Seventy last (Books) that thou mayest deliver them only to such as be wise among the People: For in them is the Spring of Understanding, the Fountain of Wisdom and the Stream of Knowledge. We are inform’d, that the ancient Jews had a mighty Opinion, that by Means of this Species of the Cabala, many Secrets might be discover’d with Relation to the Coming of the Messias and his Kingdom: And ’tis certain enough, that the Cabalists themselves refer this Branch of their Mysteries principally to the Messias and his Kingdom.

 

The Second Species or Branch of the Cabala is call’d Practical, the First, of which we have given some Account, being to be called Speculative. But this particular Branch of the Cabala, being princi­pally referr’d to Sorcery and Enchantments, is now-a-days, whatever it was formerly, in great Disesteem, not to say Abhorrence, among the Learned and Discerning Jews. This Branch of the Art is chiefly perform’d by transposing the original Letters or Characters, in which the Law, or the Old Testament is written. By this Secret of Trans­posing the Original Writing-Characters, the Adepti in the Art pretend, as hath been said already, to reach the Knowledge of all Mysteries, and to ac­complish very wonderful Matters, which are not to be effected by the Laws or Powers of Nature. We will entertain the Reader with the Relation of a Cabalstical Miracle or Two, which we have met with upon Rabbinical Record. Rabbi Moses ben Nachman says, That a certain Man, a Jew, being sentenc’d to be burnt alive for Adultery, contriv’d, by Means of his Skill in this Part of the Cabala, that the Executioners of Justice mistook a Horse for him, and burnt the Horse in his Stead; and that by this Means he escaped. The same Rabbi relates concerning himself, that being at Barcelona, he did there, in the Presence of the King, by Means of some secret Virtue or Power in the Name JEHOVA, of which Secret he was Master, launch a Ship, which lay fast on the Dry Land, into the Sea, after the Ship­wrights had done their Utmost upon the Work to no Effect, and abandon’d it as impracticable. And it is greatly worthy of Remark, that the Jews deny not, that our Saviour wrought many Miracles; but they will needs have it, that he wrought them by Means of his Skill in the secret magic Powers in the Name JEHOVA.

 

The Third Branch of this mysterious Science, and in which to this Day the Jews busy themselves most, and is properly call’d the Cabala, regards the Figures, Characters, Joinings, Points, Accents, Abbrevia­tions and Sounds of Words. The Adepti upon this Branch of the Cabala, conceal the Keys or Secrets of it with more than ordinary Care, as it is judg’d to lead to the Knowledge or Comprehension of the noblest and most sublime Mysteries. Elias Levita, the most learned Jew of his Time, avers, that it is not in his Power fully to set forth the Worth and Excellence of this Part of the Science; and laments, that, by Reason of his many Impurities by Sin, he had not been able to attain to the Knowlege of it; which he calls the Wisdom of the Saints. Rabbi Bechari bar Ashar, an eminent Writer among the Jews, and who passes among them for an Author who was greatly skill’d in this Province of the Cabalistical Art, presses it with Vehemence upon his Readers, that, in Case they shall discover any My­steries this Way, they would not prophane them by making them common. But this Province of the Cabala consists of several Parts; of which we shall give some Account.

 

The First is call’d, from the Greek, Gematria; and regards the Counting or reckoning numerically the Letters or Characters, of which Words are com­posed; every Hebrew Letter, like the Letters of the Greek Alphabet, having a certain Value in Nu­meration. And from different Words, which by Transposition of Letters, make up the same Number of Units, the Adepti this Way pretend to discover great Mysteries. In the Rabbinical Writings we meet with several Examples upon this Branch of Art; One or Two of which we shall lay before the Reader.

 

’Tis said in Zach. 3. 8. I will bring forth my Servant: the BRANCH. This Passage is thought by Some to be meant of the MESSIAS; because, among other Names assign’d in the Talmud to the MESSIAS, Menachem (i.e. Comforter) is one; and the Letters of the Word t’ Semach, signifying Branch, which is in the Original of this Text from Zachary, and the Letters of the Word Menachem, do alike, by Trans­position of Letters, make up the Number 138.

 

Under this Head of Enquiry Some rank the Mysteries, which, they pretend, are to be gather’d from the Strucure and Dimensions of Noah’s Ark, the Temple, and other Buildings or Pieces of Workman­ship, of the Dimensions of which we have any Account in the Old Testament. Of this Method of performing Cabalistical Feats, we shall give the Reader a Rabbinical Example upon the Dimensions of the Ark. ’Tis said in Genesis 6. 15. The Length of the Ark shall be three Hundred Cubits; the Breadth of it Fifty Cubits; and the Height of it Thirty Cubits. The Cabalists divide the Length by the Height; and get 10 for the Quotient; which Number answers to the Letter JOD. To this Letter they join the Letter SCHIN, which answers to 300, = to the Length. Then, by dividing the Length by the Breadth, they get the Letter VAU, which answers to the Quotient 6. And of those Letters, so gain’d, they compose the Word ISHAU, which signifies Vanity; and apply it in Contempt, to our Saviour, in Opposition to the Name JASCHAU, signifying Salvation, which is juftly assign’d him.

 

Another Part of the Cabalistical Province we are now upon, is call’d Notaricon; and regards the Collecting or Joining of Words, the initial or the final Letters of which compose the Word from which the Collection is drawn. The Rabbins, from the Words Gen. 1. 1. In the Beginning, by this Method of collecting the Initials or Finals of Words from the Let­ters of other Words, make out the following Sentence: In the Beginning God did see, that the Israelites would accept of the Law.

 

A Third Part, in this Province of the Cabala, regards the framing of one Word out of another, by transposing or changing the Places of the Letters. And there are several other Methods of Operation in this and other Parts of the Science; but we shall not open them, because the Reader, we judge, is fully satisfied with what we have shewn him upon those Matters.

 

We shall now lay before the Reader some Account of the Origin and Progress of this mysterious Science. For our own Notions concerning the Rise of the Cabala, we cannot fall in with the Assertions of the Rabbins, that such Matters of Art or Skill as those Gentlemen comprehend under that Name, were, in any Measure, either a Revelation from God, or the Product of any Genius in the First Ages of the World. We know not how to reason our selves into any Thing like an Opinion, that this Science (if it merits that Name) was taught by or known to either the Patriarchs or the Prophets. That some Mysteries are here and there couch’d under the Letter of the Old Testament, and that the Discovery of those Mysteries requires some Learning and a very pure and discerning Spirit, is a Matter which may be very true, and is generally allow’d among Christians to be so. But a Christian, we conceive, must renounce both his Reason and his Faith, before he can entertain a Notion, that an Art which carries so extravagant an Air as does the Cabala, and which is, in a great Measure, directed to praeternatural, unjust, & ridiculous Purposes, was either a Discovery from Heaven, or the Invention or Study of either the Patriarchs or the Prophets.

 

While the Cabala is confined to the Discovery of the Mysteries which may be couch’d under the Letter of the Old Testament, or under the pure Oral- or Traditional Law of the Jews, if any such Thing was deliver’d either by the Patriarchs or by Moses, something considerable perhaps, as we have intimated above, may be allow’d in Favour of it, even upon the Basis of Christianity. The Sages among the ancient Jews might, perhaps, be of Opinion, as some aver they were, that the Destiny of their Nation, the Coming of the Messias, and many sublime Truths, with Relation to both this World and the next, were thus mysteriously recorded. And so far, ’tis likely, but, we judge, no farther, may be admitted the Account the Learned Cunaeus gives of the Cabala, where he delivers it as his Opinion, that this mysterious Science was in Being in the Infancy of the Hebrew Republick and that the Keys of it were only or chiefly possess’d by the Sanhedrim, or Grand Council, for the Affairs of both Religion and Government. And to the Science or Mystery, limited after this or some such Manner, are, ’tis very probable referr’d the Words of Esdras, which we have in Part cited already - - Then shalt thou declare some Things openly unto the perfect Man; and some Things shalt thou shew secretly to the Wise. The first (Book) that thou hast written, publish openly, that the Worthy and Unworthy may read it. But keep the Seventy last (Books) that thou mayest give them to the Wise among the People. These and some other Things may be urged in Favour of the Cabala under the abovemention’d Limitations. But the Art in all its Latitude, or as it is directed to praeternatural, unjust, or ridiculous Purposes, can be no other than the Product of the Folly and Enthusiasm of the Rabbins.

 

NUMB. III.

 

WE shall now lay before the Reader the Account the Rabbins themselves give of the Origin and Progress of the Cabala; together with the Radix or First Elements thereof, which lie in the Hebrew Alphabet. Thus then say the Rabbins:

 

When Adam, the First created of all Mankind, had unhappily, and contrary to the Command of God, eaten of the Forbidden Fruit, and thereby involved himself and all his Posterity in Ruin, there was no Being that could attone for his Transgression, and restore Mankind to Communion with God, but he who resembled the Most High. And as this was Matter of Despair to all Mankind, some new Instance of the Goodness of God became necessary, in order to keep up, as by a Cordial, the Spirits of Men, and preserve them from the Rage of that deadly Passion. Wherefore God, the All-sufficient Creator, to the End he might not appear to be irreconcileable to Man, his fallen Creature, and to have left him without Hope of a Remedy, implanted in his Breast a certain Trust or Confidence, that a Time would come when that great Transgression, that original Taint or Stain, which is daily encreasing, could be wash’d away and forgiven, and Man be redeem’d, by One who should be like him in Form. But the Understanding of Man being too feeble to ascend to the Height of this Mistery, God sent into the World his Angel, by Means of whole Instruction, Man might fully discern his future Restoration. This the Cabalists strenuously maintain; adding, that the Patriarchs had each an Angel which constantly attended him as his Familiar and Instructer. “Our Fathers, say they, had certainly Instructers. The Angel Raziel was the Instructer of Adam; the Angel Jophiel, of Sem; Tzachiel, of Abraham; Raphael, of Isaac; Poliel, of Jacob; Metraton, of Moses; Michael, of David;” and so on. Raziel being set over Adam as his Instructer, explain’d to him the Means by which the Remission of Sin, the Reconciliation of God, and the Redemption of Man, would be effected; and shew’d him, that the Word of God would be delivered, from Time to Time, in Types and Figures. According to This, the Cabalists deliver the following allegorical Account. “God, say they, having created the Universe, and finish’d the Heavens, left a great Void, or empty Place, towards the North. At this the Sons of God marvelled, and said, O Lord, why hast thou left, in the North Part of thy Creation, a Void so great and unseemly? And why dost thou not enbellish with Stars that Part, as thou hast done the other Parts of the Heavens? And God answer’d, that Chasm shall not be filled up ’till he cometh who is equal to me; He shall fill up that Chasm, and give it the Lustre which it now wanteth.” The Explanation of this is, that by the Starry Part of the Heavens, is signified the Angels which abide in Glory; and by the Void or Chasm in the North, is meant the Fall of Lucifer and his Angels; that chief Apostate having said, I will take my Rest in the North, and be like the Most High; from which Part, say they, he was hurl’d down the Abyss; and, descending as far as this, then new created, Earth, he made up to Adam, and, by the Means of Eve, betray’d him to that Sin which was the Fall of Man. After which, say the Cabalists, the Angel Raziel, seeing Adam overwhelm’d with Grief, comforted him with these Words, “Sigh not too much; nor give thy self up to Despair; for of thy Seed, shall be born a Man meek and righteous, whose Name shall be Jehova. He shall stretch forth his Hand, and take of the Tree of Life; the Fruit of which is no other than the Hope of Salvation.” By these Words, say they, Adam was strengthen’d; and, through his Reliance on the Promise, became, as it were anew, so enflamed with Love to his Creator, that he found Grace and Divine Mercy. And this First Message, or Intelligence, concerning the Restoration of Man, they call the First or Chief Cabala; the First and most Sacred Revelation; on which all the other Parts of the Cabalistical Mistery depend. But all Revelations, when they are first made, appear­ing to be obscure, so, say they, Adam, on the First Impression he had concerning the Restoration of Mankind by the Means of some illustrious Person, not knowing who it was to be, at Length began to persuade himself, that he himself was to be the Man. And the Cabalists affirm roundly, that this was the Occasion on which a Young Ox was first sacrific’d to God; and that Adam made this Offering as a Symbol of his Faith in the expected Strength. Adam-afterwards understanding, that he was not to be the Person, but One of his Seed, and discovering the Matter to his Wife Eve, she imagin’d, that Cain, whom she had then conceiv’d, was to be the Saviour of the World: And, upon this Persuasion, as soon as he was born, she brake forth into Joy, saying, I have gotten a Man, Jehovah, or with Four Letters. But Cain proving very wicked, they judg’d, that Abel was to be the Man. And when Abel was slain, they transferr’d their Hope of the Accomplishment of the Promise to Seth. And, after Seth, the Hope rested on Enos; when, as holy Writ informs us, Men began to call upon the Name of the Lord. After the Days of Enos, the Hope was fixed on Enoch. After the Translation of whom, the Promise being handed down from one Generation to another, the Hope of its Accomplishment next rested on Noah, as a Man who, by his Righteousness, promis’d fair for the Restoration of what was lost in Adam. But when, after the Flood, Noah was overcome with Wine, the Hope was transferr’d to his Son Sem; from whom it passed to Abraham; and from Abraham to Isaac; and from Isaac to Jacob; and from Jacob to Moses; who, ’twas thought, on Account of his strange Preservation in the Ark of Bull-Rushes; his conversing with God; the Wonders he perform’d, when he led the Children of Israel out of Egypt; the Promulgation of the Law, and other Matters, was destin’d to be the Restorer of Man-Kind. But the Angel Metraton declaring him not to be so, the Hope rested next upon David; and, after him, upon Solomon; who, on Account of his Building the Temple, was the Hope of all the People. From him the Expectation was transferr’d to Joachim the King. At the Assembly of the Prophets, it passed to Josiah; and from Jesiah, it pass’d on to Malachy. After the Prophets, the Hope of the Messias, together with the whole Mystery, or Intelligence, and the Practice of the Cabala, which was principally directed to the eternal Redemption by the Messiah, was transferr’d to the Sages, and Learned in the Law, and the Seventy Elders of the People; that is, the Sanhedrim, or Great Council: And, in Pursuance, it was receiv’d by Esdras; who deliver’d it to Simeon, the High Priest, and Chief of the Synagogue. From whom it passed to his Disciple Antigonus and his Associates; among whom were Zadock and Bethus the Founders of the Saducees and Bethusians: As may [be] seen in the Treatise Aleozer, written by Judas Levita. From them it passed to Joseph, the Son of Joezer, and Joseph, the Son of Johannan, who deliver’d them unto Nitaeus Arbolensis, and Jesus, the Son of Barachiae. And from them it was handed to Tibaeus, and Simon the Son of Satae. Of the last, Josephus makes Mention in his History of the Jewish An­tiquities. The Cabalistical Mysteries were afterwards in the Possession of Samaja and Abtalion; from whom they passed to Hillel and Samai; and from them they were receiv’d by Rabbi Jona­than ben Zachai, who had Five Disciples; namely, Eliezer, the Son of Hierkani; Joshua, the Son of Hannaniae; Joseph Cohen; Eleazer, the Son of Arach; and Simeon, the Righteous, the Son of Nathanael. This was that Simeon who had the Happiness to take the Child Jesus in his Arms. From them they passed to his Son, Juda Nagid, call’d the Holy Master; who was succeeded, in the Possession, by his Son Gamaliel. These were suc­ceeded by other Principal Cabalists; namely, Hana­nias, the Son of Arusius; Abba Saul; Acabia, the Son of Mahahelel; Hananias, the High Priest; Hanina, the Son of Thradion; Nechomia, the Son of Haccana; Helaphta; Janni the Son of Duschai; Hanina, the Son of Dusa; Dosa, the Son of Harchina; Rabbi Akkiva, (who is said to have been the Author of the magic Treatise Jezira); Eleazer, the Son of Hazariae; Eleazer Hasma; Rabbi Levita; Rabbi Jonathan, the Son of Barco; another Simeon; Zadock; Josa; Ismael; Rabbi Meir; and a vast Number more, which it would be very tedious to name. All of whom, some before, and some since the Birth of Christ, have, in their Writings, in noble Expressions, as they themselves pretend, set forth the Mystical Notices of the Cabala concerning the Messias, or Saviour of the World; Matters with which the Rabbinical Writings abound; particularly, the Treatises, Pike-avoth, Bava bathra, Seder Hakalah, and Seder Nigholam.

 

We shall now lay before the Reader some Account of the Radix, or First Elements, of the Cabala. The Radix of this mysterious Science is the Hebrew-Alphabet; which the Cabalists divide into Three Portions; annexing to each Portion a peculiar Province of the Cabala. These Three Provinces of their Mysteries are referr’d, One to the Angelic World, or the several Orders of Angels or pure intellectual Beings in Heaven; Another to the Starry World; and the Third to the Elementary World; for after this Manner the Cabalists divide the Universe. The Letters from Aleph to Jod, inclusive, are Symbols, say they, of the Orders of Angels, stil’d, by their Sages, Incorporal Beings, and pure Intellects, free from all Matter, and flowing immediately from, or being the purest and most sublime Effect of, the Power of God. The Letters from Caph to Tzade, likewise inclusive, represent the Orders of the Hea­vens, or the Starry World; which the Cabalists place under the Influence or Government of the Angels; and sometimes call the World of Rounds or Circles. The remaining Letters, up to the Letter Thau, are referr’d to the Four Elements, or Prime Species of Matter, and to all their various Forms and Combinations; which Elements, say the Cabalists, have Influence or Dominion over Sense and Life; and are themselves under the Influence or Direction of the Angels and the Coelestial Circles, or Starry World. The Radical Cabalistical References of each Letter in the Hebrew-Alphabet the Cabalists set forth in the following manner.

 

I. The Letter Aleph (Doctrine) denotes, among the Cabalists, the Holy Name Hu, assign’d to the Inaccessible Light of the Divine Being, who is signified by the Word Ensuph, i.e. Infinite. It is referr’d to the First Sephiroth or Number; call’d Kether, i.e. Crown, as being the Symbol of the most sublime and perfect Beings; that is to say, those Angels which are upheld through the Prime Influence, or the Prime Favour, or Goodness of God, and are call’d Hajoth hakodesch, i.e. Holy Animals. By these the Cabalists mean the Seraphims.

 

II. The Letter Beth (House) denotes the Holy Name Ehie, affign’d to the Wisdom of God; and signfying likewife a Being, from which all other Beings are deriv’d. It is referr’d to the Second Sephira, call’d Chochma, i.e. Wisdom; which is annex’d to the Order of Angels, call’d Ophanim, i.e. Wheels, which is the Order of Cherubims; who were deriv’d from the Power of God, through, and next after, the Intelligences above-mention’d; that is to say, the Seraphims; and, from them, descend (influentially) into the Terrestrial Beings.

 

III. Gimel (Restoring, or Rewarding) denotes the Holy Name Asch, signifying the Fire of Love, or the Holy Spirit, and is referr’d to the Third Sephira or Number, call’d Binah, i.e. Prudence; representing an Order of Angels, call’d Aralim, i.e. Great, Valiant; Angels of Might; who make up the Third Class of Intelligence, or intellectual Beings, flowing from the Divine Goodness; and who are illumin’d by the Power of God, through the Second Class, or Order (i.e. the Cherubims) and descend therewith (influentially) to the lowermost Beings. The Angels of this Order are taken to be the same with the Angels which are call’d Thrones.

 

IV. Daleth (a Gate) denotes the Holy Name Ell; and is referr’d to the Fourth Sephira or Number, call’d Chesed, i.e. Grace, or Mercy; which is appropriated to the Maschemalim, an Order of Angels which is taken to be the same with That call’d Dominions; and which flows, from the Power of God, through the Third Order of Intelligences, (i.e. the Aralim) and, with it, descends influentially on the Beings below.

 

V. He (Behold) denotes the Holy Name Elohim, and the Fifth Sephira, call’d Pashad; which denotes Severity, Judgement, Awe, the Left Side, or the Sword of God. This Sephira is affign’d, by some Hebrews, to the Seraphims; but by others, more reasonably, to the Order of Angels call’d Gnaz (Strength) which flows from the Power of God, through the fourth Class of Intelligences, and, with it, sends down its Influence to inferiour Beings.

 

VI. Vau (a Hook) denotes the Mysteries of the Holy Name Eloab; and is referr’d to the Fifth Sephira, which is call’d Tiphereth, denoting Beauty, Ornament, and the Upper Coelestial Sun; and representing the Melachim, or Order of Angels call’d Powers; which are derived from the Power of God, through the Fifth Order of Intelligences, and send, with that Order, their Influence down to inferiour Creatures.

 

VII. Sajin (Armeur) denotes the Name Zebaoth, i.e. the God of Hosts; and the Seventh Sephira, call’d Netsach, i.e. Conquering, answering to the Order of Angels call’d Elohim, or Principalities, which flow from the Power of God, through the Angels of the Sixth Order, and, with them, send their Influences down upon the Inferiour Creation.

 

VIII. Heth denotes the Name of God, Elohe Zebaoth, and the Eighth Sephira, call’d Tehilim, i.e. Praise, and appropriated to the Angels Benelohim, or the Sons of God; the same with the Arch-Angels: And these flow from the Power of God, through the Angels of the Seventh Order; and descend, with them, influentically on inferiour Beings.

 

IX. Teth (Departing, or Escaping) denotes the Name of God, Sadai, and the Ninth Sephira, call’d Musad, i.e. Ground or Foundation; and answering to the Cherubims; which flow from the Power of God, through the Angels of the Eighth Order; and send, in Conjunction with them, their Influence down on the Creation beneath them.

 

X. Jod (Beginning) denotes the Name of God, Adonai Melech, i.e. The Lord is King; and is referr’d to the Tenth Sephira, call’d Malcut, i.e. Kingdom; and likewise Ischim, i.e. Strong Men; and is appropriated to the lowest of the Holy Orders (the Orders of Angels); which Order is illumin’d by the Power of God, through the Ninth Order, and, with the Power of that Order; defends influentially on the Sense and Knowledge of Men, referr’d to Things uncommon. Such are the References of this Part of the Hebrew-Alphabet to the several Orders in the Angelic World. We now proceed to the Alphabetical References to the World of Rounds or Circles, or the Starry World.

 

XI. Caph, Initial (the Palm or Hollow of the Hand) denotes the Escadai, i.e. the Primum Mobile, or First Mover; which is put in Motion im­mediately by the First Cause. The Intelligence of this First Mover is stiled Metraton Seraphanim, or the prince of Countenance. ’Tis the Prime, Regular Mover, or Influencer of the Sensible World; flowing, through the Power of God, into all Things that have Motion, and endowing all the Lower Creation, by penetrating deep into the Forms thereof, with Life.

 

XII. Caph, Final, denotes the Circle of the Fixed Stars; that is to say, Those which make up the Signs of the Zodiac, call’d, by the Hebrews, Galgal Hammaziloth, i.e. The Circle of Signs. This Circle hath for its Intelligence the Angel Raziel, Adam’s Instructer or Familiar Spirit; and its Influence is, through the Power of God, by Means of the abovemention’d Intelligence, the Angel Metraton, diffus’d through the Lower Creation.

 

XIII. Lamed denotes the Heaven or Circle of Saturn, the First and Principal Circle of the Planets, or Erratic Stars. Saturn the Hebrews call Schebtai, and his Intelligence, Schebtaiel; infus’d by the Power of God, and descending, by Means of the Intelligence Raziel, influentially upon Lower Beings.

 

XIV. Mem, Initial, denotes the Heaven or Circle of Jupiter, call’d, by the Hebrews, Tsedeck; the Intelligence of which is Tsadkiel, the Protect­ing Angel, or Familiar Spirit, of Abraham; diffus’d through the Power of God, by Means of the Intelligence Schebtaiel, throughout the Lower Creation.

 

XV. Mem, Final, denotes the Heaven of Mars, call’d by the Cabalists Maadaim. His Intelligence is Camael; so call’d from the Heat of Mars: And this Intelligence flows, in the same Course and through the same Power with the Intelligences abovemention’d, influentially upon all Things beneath it.

 

XVI. Nun, Initial, denotes the Heaven of the Sun, call’d, by the Hebrews, Schemsch: His Intelligence is the Angel Raphael, the Instructer of Isaac; flowing through the Power of God, by Means of the Intelligence Camael, upon all Things below.

 

XVII. Nun, Final, denotes the Circle of Venus, call’d, by the Hebrews, Nogu. Her Intelligence is Haniel, i.e. Reconciler of Mercy; infus’d by the Power of God, through the Intelligence Raphael, and diffus’d, by the same Means, upon all Terrestrial Beings.

 

XVIII. Samech denotes the Heaven of Mercury, call’d Cochab, i.e. Star. His Intelligence is Michael, derived from the Power of God, by Means of the Intelligence Raphael; and, by Means of the same Intelligence, descending influentially upon all Things below.

 

XIX. Hajim denotes the Heaven of the Moon, call’d Jareach, The Left Eye of the World. Her Intelligence is Gabriel, infus’d by the Power of God, through the Intelligence Michael; and descending, as the ’foremention’d, influentially upon all the Terrestrial Creation. Such is the Cabalistical Account of the References of these Letters of the Hebrew Alphabet to the World of Circles or Stars. And to these may be added the References of the Three Letters following.

 

XX. Pe, Initial, denotes the Reasonable Soul; which, in the Opinion of the Hebrews, is govern’d by various Intelligences.

 

XXI. Pe, Final, denotes all Spirits of the Ani­mal Nature: which, through the Power and Com­mand of God, are govern’d, or influenc’d, by the intelligences above.

 

XXII. Tzade, Initial, is referr’d, to the Intelligible coelestial Matter, and to the sensible Elements, or the Elements of Sense, in all compound or mixt Bodies; which Matter and Elements are, through the Power of God, govern’d by different Intelligences, according to their different Natures and Forms.

 

We now come to the Alphabetical References the Cabalists make to their Elementary World.

 

XXIII. Tzade, Final, is referr’d to the Four Elements of Matter; namely, Fire, Air, Water and Earth; which are govern’d, through the Power of God, by certain coelestial Powers and Angels; as is the Prima Materia, or First Matter, which is the grand Fountain or Origin of all the Elements.

 

XXIV. Koph is referr’d to inanimate or insensitive Bodies; as Minerals, &c. whether simple or compound. These Bodies are, through the Power of God, governed by the Coelestial Beings, and their respective Intelligences.

 

XXV. Resch is referr’d to all the Productions in the Vegetable World; as Trees, Herbs, Roots, &c. and to the Coelestial Influences that are derived upon them. There is not, say the Cabalists, an Herb upon Earth that hath not its Intelligence, or In­fluence, which saith to it, Encrease and multiply thy self.

 

XXVI. Schin is referr’d to all the Species of the Animal Nature; as Quadrupeds, Birds, Fish, and Insects, and every Thing, beneath the Ratio­nal Nature, that hath Life and Motion. These receive, through the Power of God, the Influences of the Coeleftial Bodies, and of their respective In­telligences.

 

XXVII. Thau is the Symbol of the little World, Man; because as Man, with respect to this World, was the Being created last, so is this Letter the last of the Hebrew Alphabet. He is govern’d of God, through the Qualities of the First Matter, and according to the Influences of the Stars, and likewife by Guardian-Angels, which attend him, and which, in Hebrew are call’d Ischim, i.e. Strong Men; who are said to have been the Last of the Angelic Creation, as Man was the Last of this.

 

Such are the References of the Letters of the Hebrew-Alphabet, towards the Accomplishment of the Mysteries of the Cabala, extracted, not without great Labour, from the Writings of Rabbi Akkiva, who was, it seems, a most profound Cabalist, and who hath been already frequently mention’d in the Course of these Papers. They pass, from God, down to all the Stages of the known Crea­tion; the Letter Aleph, the First in the Hebrew-Alphabet, being referr’d to God, who is the First Cause of all Things, and who, through his un­searchable Power and Judgment, comprehends, directs and governs all Things; working by, and diffusing his Power upon, Second Causes; and, from them, deriving his Power upon Third Causes &c. Which Causes are the Sacred Hosts and Prin­cipalities; who have their different Degrees of Influ­ence; rising gradually, one Class above another, to different Stages of Power and Perfection.

 

We shall now set down the Numerical Division the Cabalists make of the Hebrew-Alphabet; in which Work likewise they have their Eye upon many profound Mysteries. They divide the Alphabet into Three Numerical Portions. The First is the Place of Units up to Nine. The Second is the Place of Tens up to Ninety. The Third is the Place of Hundreds up to a Thousand. But into this last Portion enters the Initial or Capital Aleph, which is made the Mark of a Thousand. And all Numbers, above Thousands, are reckon’d Infinites. The First Portion consists of the Letters from Aleph to Teth, inclusive. The Second contains the Letters from Jod to Tzade, likewise inclusive. The Third begins with the Letter Koph, and runs up to Thau; and thence to Tzade Final. And these Three Portions the Cabalists refer to, or make Symbols of, their Three grand Classes of Being. To the pure intellectual Beings (God and his Angels) are referr’d the First Nine Letters of the Alphabet: To the Coelestial Bodies, or the Starry World, are referr’d the Second Nine: And to the Terrestrial World are referr’d the Third. The Cabalists, in this View of the Hebrew Alphabet, may be said to consider it as a Chain, passing from Almighty God, through the several Orders of Creation, down to the lowest Stage of Being and giving, in its Descent, a general Idea of the Gradations of Power and Perfection throughout the whole Uni­verse. An Unit, which is signified by the Final Aleph, being made the Symbol of God, who is possessed of infinite Might and Purity, the Rest of the Numbers, which, the farther they stand from the Unit, are more complicate or perplex’d, are consider’d as Symbols of the several Orders of the Creation, which, the farther they stand from God (this Picture of Things requiring his Locality) are the more weak, confus’d, and impure. And by the Three grand Orders of Being, answering to the above-shewn Division of the Alphabet, the Cabalists conceive, is pointed out the Mystery of the Trinity in Unity; a Doctrine not only vigorously propaga­ted by the Egyptians and Chaldeans, but maintain’d likewife by Pythagoras and his Followers, and by Plato, as is fully shewn by Kircher and Others who have written upon the Hieroglyphic Art. By the Radix of which, which is the Cubing of the Number Three, is represented a Die with Twenty-Seven Sides; the Number Twenty-Seven, according to that Art, containing innumerable Mysteries, and being the most perfect Model, or Representation of the Universe, and of every individual Thing in it.

 

As it may be a Satisfaction to the Reader, we here present him with a View of the Hebrew-Alphabet.

 

 

We have now done with our Account, or rather Sketches, of the Cabala; that ancient and famous, tho’ false and chimerical Art; the general Grounds of which being but little known, we could not let slip so fair an Opportunity as presented it self a few Pages backwards, for entertaining the Reader with this Detail of them; which will sufficiently shew him the Absurdities of the Science, and the Ignorance and Enthusiasm, or the Knavery of the Professors. And we flatter our selves, that he is satisfied, on this Article, with our Endeavours to oblige him.

 

[End of Stehelin/Eisenmenger extract on the Cabala]