Monday, March 28, 2011

John Dee on Euclid


Number hath a treble state: One, in the Creator: an other in every Creature(in respect of his complete constitution:) and the third, in Spirituall and Angelicall Myndes, and in the Soule of man. In the first and third state, Number, is termed Number Numbryng. But in all creatures, otherwise, Number, is termed Number Numbered. And in our Soule, Number beareth such a swaye, and hath such an affinitie therwith: that some of the old Philosophers taught, Mans Soule, to be a Number movyng it selfe. And in ded, in us, though it be a very Accident:yet such an Accident it is, that before all Cratures, it had perfect being, in the Creator, Sempiternally. Number Numbryng therfore, is the discretion discerning and distincting of things. But in God the Creator, This discretion, in the beginnyng, , produced orderly and distinctly all things. For his Numbryng, then, was his Creatyng of all thinges. And his Continuall Numbryng, of all thinges, is the Conservation of them in being:And, where and when he will lacke an Unit: there and then, that particular thing shalbe Discreated. Here I stay. But our Severallyng, distinctyng, and Numbryng, createth nothing: But of Multitude considered, maketh certaine and distinct determination. And albeit these thynges be waighty and truthes of great importance, yet (by the infinite goodness of the Almighty ternarie,) Artificial methods and easy wayes are made, by which the zelous Philosopher, may wyn nere this Riverish Ida, this Mountayne of Contemplation:and more then Contemplation. And also, though Number, be a thyng so Immateriall, so divine, and aeternall:yet by degrees, by litle and litle, stretching forth, and applying some likenes of it, as first, to thinges Spirituall: and then, bryngyng it lower, to thynges sensibly perceived: as of a momentanye founde iterated: then to the Icast thyngest that may be seen, numerable: And at length(most grossely,) to a multitude of any corporall thynges seen, or felt: and so, of these grosse and sensible thynges, we are trayned to learne a certaine Image or likenes of numbers : and to use Arte in them to our pleasure and profit. So grosse is our conversation, and dull is our apprehension: while mortall Sense, in us, ruleth the common wealth of our litle world.


But how far, these visible Ones, do differ from our Indivisible Units (in pure Arithmetike, principally considered) no man is ignorant. Yet from these gross and material things, may we be led upward, by degrees, so informing our rude Imagination, toward the conceiving of Numbers, absolutely (:Not suopposing nor admixtyng and thing created, Corporall or Spirituall, to support, contain, or represent those Numbers imagined) that at length, we may be able, to find the number of our own name, gloriously exemplified and registered in the book of the Trinitie most blessed and aeternall.

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