13. But what is the difference between the Wisdom thus conducting the universe and the principle known as Nature?
This Wisdom is a first [within the All-Soul] while Nature is a last: for Nature is an image of that Wisdom, and, as a last in the soul, possesses only the last of the Reason-Principle: we may imagine a thick waxen seal, in which the imprint has penetrated to the very uttermost film so as to show on both sides, sharp cut on the upper surface, faint on the under. Nature, thus, does not know, it merely produces: what it holds it passes, automatically, to its next; and this transmission to the corporeal and material constitutes its making power: it acts as a thing warmed, communicating to what lies in next contact to it the principle of which it is the vehicle so as to make that also warm in some less degree.
Nature, being thus a mere communicator, does not possess even the imaging act. There is [within the Soul] intellection, superior to imagination; and there is imagination standing midway between that intellection and the impression of which alone Nature is capable. For Nature has no perception or consciousness of anything; imagination [the imaging faculty] has consciousness of the external, for it enables that which entertains the image to have knowledge of the experience encountered, while Nature's function is to engender- of itself though in an act derived from the active principle [of the soul].
Thus the Intellectual-Principle possesses: the Soul of the All eternally receives from it; this is the soul's life; its consciousness is its intellection of what is thus eternally present to it; what proceeds from it into Matter and is manifested there is Nature, with which- or even a little before it- the series of real being comes to an end, for all in this order are the ultimates of the intellectual order and the beginnings of the imitative.
There is also the decided difference that Nature operates toward soul, and receives from it: soul, near to Nature but superior, operates towards Nature but without receiving in turn; and there is the still higher phase [the purely Intellectual] with no action whatever upon body or upon Matter.