ANOTHER WAY OF MAKING CHARACTERS, ACCORDING TO THE CABALISTS.
AMONG the Hebrews I find more fashions of characters, whereof one is most ancient, viz. an ancient writing which Moses and the prophets used, the form of which is not rashly to be discovered to any; for those letters which they use at this day were instituted by Esdras. There is among them a writing which they call celestial, because they shew it placed and figured among the
Click to view
Click to view
stars. There is also a writing which they call Malachim, or Melachim, i. e. of angels, or regal; there is also another, which they call the passing through the river, and the characters and figures of all which you may see in the following Plates.
There is another manner among the Cabalists, formerly held in great esteem, but now it is so common that it is placed among prophane things, viz. the twenty-seven characters of the Hebrews may be divided into three classes, whereof every one contains nine letters. The first, viz. אבגדהוזחת which are the seals or marks of simple numbers and of intellectual things distributed into nine orders of angels. The second hath יכלמנסעפצ, the marks of tens and celestial things in the nine orbs of the heavens. The third hath the other four letters, with the five final, viz. קרשתףםןץ which are marks of hundreds, and inferior things, viz. four simple elements, and five kinds of perfect com pounds. They do now and then distribute these three classes into nine chambers, the first is of units, vi-,. intellectual, celestial and elemental. The second is of two's, the third of three's, and so of the rest; these chambers are framed by the intersection of four parallel lines intersecting themselves into right angles, as is expressed in the following Plate, fig. A.
Out of which, being dissected into parts, proceed nine particular figures (See Plate, fig. B.) which are of the nine chambers, characterizing their letters by that Notariacon, which, if it be of one point, shews the first letter of that chamber; if of two, the second; if of three, the third letter; as if you would frame the character, Michael, מיכאל, that comes forth extended with five figures (for which see the Plate C.) which are contracted to three figures, which then are contracted into one, yet the points Notariacon are usually omitted, and then there comes forth such a character of Michael. See fig. D.
There is yet another fashion of characters common to almost all letters and tongues, and very easy, which is by gathering together of letters; as if the name of the angel Michael be given, the characters thereof shall be framed according to the fig. E.
And this fashion among the Arabians is most received; neither is there any writing which is so readily and elegantly joined to itself as the Arabick. You must know that angelical spirits, seeing they are of a pure intellect, and altogether incorporeal, are not marked with any marks or characters, or any other human signs; but we, not otherwise knowing their essence or quality, do, from their names, or works, or otherwise, devote and consecrate to them figures and marks, by which we cannot any way compel them to us, but by which we rise up to them, as not to be known by such characters and figures, and, first of all, we do set our senses, both inward and outward, upon them; then, by a certain admiration of our reason, we are induced to a religious veneration of them; and then are wrapt with our whole mind into an ecstatical adoration; and then with a wonderful belief, an undoubted hope, and quickening love, calling upon them in spirit and truth by true names and characters, do obtain from them that virtue or power which we desire.