1. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, says James in the first chapter of his epistle. These words of Sacred Scripture not only indicate the source of all illumination but they likewise point out the generous flow of the manifold rays which issue from that Fount of light. Notwithstanding the fact that every illumination of knowledge is within, still we can with reason distinguish what we may call the external light, or the light of mechanical art; the lower light, or the light of sense perception; the inner light, or the light of philosophical knowledge; and the higher light, or the light of grace and of Sacred Scripture. The first light illumines in regard to structure of artifacts; the second, in regard to natural forms; the third, in regard to intellectual truth; the fourth and last, in regard to saving truth.

2. The first light, then, since it enlightens the mind in reference to structure of artifacts, which are, as it were, exterior to man and intended to supply the needs of the body, is called the light of mechanical art. Being, in a certain sense, servile and of a lower nature than philosophical knowledge, this light can rightly be termed external. It has seven divisions corresponding to the seven mechanical arts enumerated by Hugh in his Didascalicon, namely, weaving, armour-making, agriculture, hunting, navigation, medicine, and the dramatic art. That the above-mentioned arts suffice (for us) is shown in the following way. Every mechanical art is intended for man's consolation or for his comfort; its purpose, therefore, is to banish either sorrow or want; it either benefits or delights, according to the words of Horace:

Either to serve or to please is the wish of the poets.
And again:
He hath gained universal applause who hath combined the profitable with the pleasing.
If its aim is to afford consolation and amusement, it is dramatic art, or the art of exhibiting plays, which embraces every form of entertainment, be it song, music, poetry, or pantomime. If, however, it is intended for the comfort or betterment of the exterior man, it can accomplish its purpose by providing either covering or food, or by serving as an aid in the acquisition of either. In the matter of covering, if it provides a soft and light material, it is weaving; if a strong and hard material, it is armour- making or metal-working, an art which extends to every tool or implement fashioned either of iron or of any metal whatsoever, or of stone, or of wood.

In the matter of food, mechanical art may benefit us in two ways, for we derive our sustenance from vegetables and from animals. As regards vegetables, it is farming; as regards flesh meats, it is hunting. Or again, as regards food, mechanical art has a twofold advantage: it aids either in the production and multiplication of crops, in which case it is agriculture, or in the various ways of preparing food, under which aspect it is hunting, an art which extends to every conceivable way of preparing foods, drinks, and delicacies--a task with which bakers, cooks, and innkeepers are concerned. The term "hunting" (venatio), however, is used for all these things because it has a certain excellence and courtliness.

Furthermore, as an aid in the acquisition of each (clothing and food), the mechanical arts contribute to the welfare of man in two ways: either by supplying a want, and in this case it is navigation, which includes all commerce of articles of covering or of food; or by removing impediments and ills of the body, under which aspect it is medicine, whether it is concerned with the preparation of drugs, potions, or ointments, with the healing of wounds, or with the amputation of members, in which latter case it is called surgery. Dramatic art, on the other hand, is the only one of its kind. Thus the sufficiency (of the mechanical arts) is evident.

3. The second light, which enables us to discern natural forms, is the light of sense perception. Rightly is it called the lower light because sense perception begins with a material object and takes place by the aid of corporeal light. It has five divisions corresponding to the five senses. In his Third Book on Genesis, Saint Augustine bases the adequacy of the senses on the nature of the light present in the elements in the following way. If the light or brightness which makes possible the discernment of things corporeal exists in a high degree of its own property and in a certain purity, it is the sense of sight; commingled with the air, it is hearing; with vapor, it is smell; with fluid, it is taste; with solidity of earth, it is touch. Now the sensitive life of the body partakes of the nature of light for which reason it thrives in the nerves, which are naturally unobstructed and capable of transmitting impressions, and in these five senses it possesses more or less vigor according to the greater or less soundness of the nerves. And so, since there are in the world five simple substances, namely, the four elements and the fifth essence, man has for the perception of all these corporeal forms five senses well adapted to these substances, because, on account of the well-defined nature of each sense, apprehension can take place only when there is a certain conformity and fitness between the organ and the object. There is another way of determining the adequacy of the senses, but Saint Augustine sanctions this method and it seems reasonable, since corresponding elements on the part of the organ, the medium, and the object lend joint support to the proof.

4. The third light, which enlightens man in the investigation of intelligible truths, is the light of philosophical knowledge. It is called inner because it inquires into inner and hidden causes through principles of learning and natural truth, which are inherent in man. There is a triple diffusion of this light in rational, natural, and moral philosophy, which seems adequate, since it covers the three aspects of truth -- truth of speech, truth of things, and truth of morals. Rational philosophy considers the truth of speech; natural philosophy, the truth of things; and moral philosophy, the truth of conduct. Or we may consider it in a different light. Just as we find in the Most High God efficient, formal or exemplary, and final causality, since "He is the Cause of being, the Principle of knowledge, and the Pattern of human life," so do we find it in the illumination of philosophy, which enlightens the mind to discern the causes of being, in which case it is physics; or to grasp the principles of understanding, in which case it is logic; or to learn the right way of living, in which case it is moral or practical philosophy. We are now considering it under its third aspect. The light of philosophical knowledge illumines the intellectual faculty itself and this enlightenment may be threefold: if it governs the motive power, it is moral philosophy; if it rules itself it is natural philosophy; if it directs interpretation, it is discursive philosophy. As a result, man is enlightened as regards the truth of life, the truth of knowledge, and the truth of doctrine.

And since one may, through the medium of speech, give expression to what he has in mind with a threefold purpose in view: namely, to manifest his thought, to induce someone to believe, or to arouse love or hatred, for this reason, discursive or rational philosophy has three sub-divisions: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Of these sciences the first aims to express; the second, to teach; the third, to persuade. The first considers the reasoning faculty as apprehending; the second, as judging; the third, as persuading. Since the mind apprehends by means of correct speech, judges by means of true speech, and persuades by means of embellished speech, with good reason does this triple science consider these three qualities in speech.

Again, since our intellect must be guided in its judgment by formal principles, these principles, likewise, can be considered under three aspects: in relation to matter, they are termed formal; in relation to the mind, they are termed intellectual; and in relation to Divine Wisdom, they are called ideal. Natural philosophy, therefore, is subdivided into physics proper, mathematics, and metaphysics. Thus physics treats of the generation and corruption of things according to natural powers and seminal causes; mathematics considers forms that can be abstracted in their pure intelligibility; metaphysics treats of the cognition of all beings, which it leads back to one first Principle from which they proceeded according to the ideal causes, that is, to God, since He is the Beginning, the End, and the Exemplar. Concerning these ideal causes, however, there has been some controversy among metaphysicians.

Since the government of the motive power is to be considered in a threefold way, namely, as regards the individual, the family, and the state, so there are three corresponding divisions of moral philosophy: namely, ethical, economic, and political, the content of each being clearly indicated by its name.

5. Now the fourth light, which illumines the mind for the understanding of saving truth, is the light of Sacred Scripture. This light is called higher because it leads to things above by the manifestation of truths which are beyond reason and also because it is not acquired by human research, but comes down by inspiration from the "Father of Lights. " Although in its literal sense it is one, still, in its spiritual and mystical sense, it is threefold, for in all the books of Sacred Scripture, in addition to the literal meaning which the words outwardly express, there is understood a threefold spiritual meaning: namely, the allegorical, by which we are taught what to believe concerning the Divinity and humanity; the moral, by which we are taught how to live; and the anagogical, by which we are taught how to be united to God. Hence all Sacred Scripture teaches these three truths: namely, the eternal generation and Incarnation of Christ, the pattern of human life, and the union of the soul with God. The first regards faith; the second, morals; and the third, the ultimate end of both. The doctors should labor at the study of the first; the preachers, at the study of the second; the contemplatives, at the study of the third. The first is taught chiefly by Augustine; the second, by Gregory; the third, by Dionysius. Anselm follows Augustine; Bernard follows Gregory; Richard (of Saint Victor) follows Dionysius. For Anselm excels in reasoning; Bernard, in preaching; Richard, in contemplating; but Hugh (of Saint Victor) in all three.

6. From the foregoing statements it can be inferred that, although according to our first classification the light coming down from above is fourfold, it still admits of six modifications: namely, the light of Sacred Scripture, the light of sense perception, the light of mechanical art, the light of rational philosophy, the light of natural philosophy, and the light of moral philosophy. And for that reason there are in this life six illuminations, and they have their twilight, for all knowledge will be destroyed; for that reason too there follows a seventh day of rest, a day which knows no evening, the illumination of glory.

7. Wherefore, very fittingly may these six illuminations be related to the six days of creation or illumination in which the world was made, the knowledge of Sacred Scripture corresponding to the creation of the first day, that is, to the creation of light, and so on, one after the other in order. Moreover, just as all those creations had their origin in one light, so too are all these branches of knowledge ordained for the knowledge of Sacred Scripture; they are contained in it; they are perfected by it; and by means of it they are ordained for eternal illumination. Wherefore, all our knowledge should end in the knowledge of Sacred Scripture, and especially is this true of the anagogical knowledge through which the illumination is reflected back to God whence it came. And there the cycle ends; the number six is complete and consequently there is rest.

8. Let us see, therefore, how the other illuminations of knowledge are to be brought back to the light of Sacred Scripture. First of all, let us consider the illumination of sense perception, which is concerned exclusively with the cognition of sense objects, a process in which there are three phases to be considered: namely, the medium of perception, the exercise of perception, and the delight of perception. If we consider the medium of perception, we shall see therein the Word begotten from all eternity and made man in time. Indeed, a sense object can stimulate a cognitive faculty only through the medium of a similitude which proceeds from the object as an offspring from its parent, and this by generation, by reality, or by exemplarily, for every sense. This similitude, however, does not complete the act of perception unless it is brought into contact with the sense organ and the sense faculty, and once that contact is established, there results a new percept. Through this percept the mind is led back to the object by means of the similitude. And even though the object is not always present to the senses, still the fact remains that the object by itself, when in its finished state, begets a similitude. In like manner, know that from the mind of the Most High, Who is knowable by the interior senses of our mind, from all eternity there emanated a Similitude, an Image, and an Offspring; and afterwards, when "the fullness of time came," He was united to a mind and a body and assumed the form of man, which had never been before. Through Him the minds of all of us which receive that Similitude of the Father through faith in our hearts, are brought back to God.

9. If we consider the exercise of sense perception, we shall see therein the pattern of human life, for each sense applies itself to its proper object, shrinks from what may harm it, and does not usurp what does not belong to it. In like manner, the spiritual sense lives in an orderly way when it exercises itself for its own purpose, against negligence; when it refrains from what is harmful, against concupiscence; and when it refrains from usurping what does not belong to it, against pride. Of a truth, every disorder springs from negligence, from concupiscence, or from pride. Surely then, he who lives a prudent, temperate, and submissive life leads a well-ordered life, for thereby he avoids negligence in things to be done, concupiscence in things to be desired, and pride in things that are excellent.

10. Furthermore, if we consider the delight of sense perception, we shall see therein the union of God and the soul. Indeed every sense seeks its proper sense object with longing, finds it with delight, and never wearied, seeks it again and again, because "the eye is not filled with seeing, neither is the ear filled with hearing." In the same way, our spiritual senses must seek with longing, find with joy, and time and again experience the beautiful, the harmonious, the fragrant, the sweet, or the delightful to the touch. Behold how the Divine Wisdom lies hidden in sense perception and how wonderful is the contemplation of the five spiritual senses in the light of their conformity to the senses of the body.

11. By the same process of reasoning is Divine Wisdom to be found in the illumination of the mechanical arts, the sole purpose of which is the production of artifacts. In this illumination we can see the eternal generation and Incarnation of the Word, the pattern of human life, and the union of the soul with God. And this is true if we consider the production, the effect, and the fruit of a work, or if we consider the skill of the artist, the quality of the effect produced, and the utility of the product derived therefrom.

12. If we consider the production, we shall see that the work of art proceeds from the artificer according to a similitude existing in his mind; this pattern or model the artificer studies carefully before he produces and then he produces as he has predetermined. The artificer, moreover, produces an exterior work bearing the closest possible resemblance to the interior exemplar, and if it were in his power to produce an effect which would know and love him, this he would assuredly do; and if that effect could know its maker, it would be by means of the similitude according to which it came from the hands of the artificer; and if the eyes of the understanding were so darkened that it could not elevate itself to things above itself in order to bring itself to a knowledge of its maker, it would be necessary for the similitude according to which the effect was produced to lower itself even to that nature which the effect could grasp and know. In like manner, understand that no creature has proceeded from the Most High Creator except through the Eternal Word, "in Whom He ordered all things," and by which Word He produced creatures bearing not only the nature of His vestige but also of His image so that through knowledge they might become like unto Him. And since by sin the rational creature had dimmed the eye of contemplation, it was most fitting that the Eternal and Invisible should become visible and take flesh that He might lead us back to the Father. Indeed, this is what is related in the fourteenth chapter of Saint John: "No one comes to the Father but through Me," and in the eleventh chapter of Saint Matthew: "No one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." For that reason, then, it is said, "the Word was made flesh." Therefore, considering the illumination of mechanical art as regards the production of the work, we shall see therein the Word begotten and made incarnate, that is, the Divinity and the Humanity and the integrity of all faith.

13. If we consider the effect, we shall see therein the pattern of human life, for every artificer, indeed, aims to produce a work that is beautiful, useful, and enduring, and only when it possesses these three qualities is the work highly valued and acceptable. Corresponding to the above-mentioned qualities, in the pattern of life there must be found three elements: "knowledge, will, and unaltering and persevering toil." Knowledge renders the work beautiful; the will renders it useful; perseverance renders it lasting. The first resides in the rational, the second in the concupiscible, and the third in the irascible appetite.

14. If we consider the fruit, we shall find therein the union of the soul with God, for every artificer who fashions a work does so that he may derive praise, benefit, or delight therefrom--a threefold purpose which corresponds to the three formal objects of the appetites: namely, a noble good, a useful good, and an agreeable good. It was for this threefold reason that God made the soul rational, namely, that of its own accord, it might praise Him, serve Him, find delight in Him, and be at rest; and this takes place through charity. "He who abides in it, abides in God, and God in him," in such a way that there is found therein a kind of wondrous union and from that union comes a wondrous delight, for in the Book of Proverbs it is written, "My delights were to be with the children of men." Behold how the illumination of mechanical art is the path to the illumination of Sacred Scripture. There is nothing therein which does not bespeak true wisdom and for this reason Sacred Scripture quite rightly makes frequent use of such similitudes.

15. In like manner is Divine Wisdom to be found in the illumination of rational philosophy, the main concern of which is speech. Here are to be considered three elements corresponding to the three aspects of speech itself: namely, the person speaking, the delivery of the speech, and its final purpose or its effect upon the hearer.

16. Considering speech in the light of the speaker, we see that all speech signifies a mental concept. That inner concept is the word of the mind and its offspring which is known to the person conceiving it; but that it may become known to the hearer, it assumes the form of the voice, and clothed therein, the intelligible word becomes sensible and is heard without; it is received into the ear of the person listening and still it does not depart from the mind of the person uttering it. Practically the same procedure is seen in the begetting of the Eternal Word, because the Father conceived Him, begetting Him from all eternity, as it is written in the eighth chapter of the Book of Proverbs, "The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived." But that He might be known by man who is endowed with senses. He assumed the nature of flesh, and "the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us," and yet He remained "in the bosom of the Father."

17. Considering speech in the light of its delivery, we shall see therein the pattern of human life, for three essential qualities work together for the perfection of speech: namely, suitability, truth, and ornament. Corresponding to these three qualities, every act of ours should be characterized by measure, beauty, and order so that it may be controlled by its proper measure in its external work, rendered beautiful by purity of affection, and regulated and adorned by uprightness of intention. For then truly does one live an upright and well-ordered life when his intention is upright, his affection pure, and his activity within its proper limit.

18. Considering speech in the light of its purpose, we find that it aims to express, to instruct, and to persuade; but it never expresses except by means of a likeness; it never teaches except by means of a clear light; it never persuades except by power; and it is evident that these effects are accomplished only by means of an inherent likeness, light, and power intrinsically united to the soul. Therefore, Saint Augustine concludes that he alone is a true teacher who can impress a likeness, shed light, and grant power to the heart of his hearer. Hence it is that "he who teaches within hearts has his Chair in heaven." Now as perfection of speech requires the union of power, light, and a likeness within the soul, so, too, for the instruction of the soul in the knowledge of God by interior conversation with Him, there is required a union with Him who is "the brightness of his glory and the image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power." Hence we see how wondrous is this contemplation by which Saint Augustine in his many writings leads souls to Divine Wisdom.

19. By the same mode of reasoning is the Wisdom of God to be found in the illumination of natural philosophy, which is concerned chiefly with the formal causes in matter, in the soul, and in the Divine Wisdom. These formal causes it is fitting to consider under three aspects: namely, as regards the relation of proportion, the effect of causality, and their medium of union; and in these three can be accordingly found the three (central ideas of the three senses of Holy Scripture) mentioned above.

20. Considering the formal causes according to their relation of proportion, we shall see therein the Word Eternal and the Word Incarnate. The intellectual and abstract causes are, as it were, midway between the seminal and the ideal causes. But seminal causes cannot exist in matter without the generation and production of form; neither can intellectual causes exist in the soul without the generation of the word in the mind. Therefore, ideal causes cannot exist in God without the generation of the Word from the Father in due proportion. Truly, this is a mark of dignity, and if it becomes the creature, how much more so the Creator. It was for this reason that Saint Augustine said the Son of God is the "art of the Father." Again, the natural tendency in matter is so ordained toward intellectual causes that the generation is in no way perfect unless the rational soul be united to the material body. By similar reasoning, therefore, we come to the conclusion that the highest and noblest perfection can exist in this world only if a nature in which there are the seminal causes, and a nature in which there are the intellectual causes, and a nature in which there are the ideal causes are simultaneously combined in the unity of one person, as was done in the Incarnation of the Son of God. Therefore all natural philosophy, by reason of the relation of proportion, predicates the Word of God begotten and become Incarnate so that He is the Alpha and the Omega, that is, He was begotten in the beginning and before all time but became Incarnate in the fullness of time.

21. Now if we think of these causes according to the effect of causality, we shall be considering the pattern of human life, since generation by seminal causes can take place in generative and corruptible matter only by the beneficent light of the heavenly bodies which are far removed from generation and corruption, that is, by the sun, the moon, and the stars. So too the soul can perform no living works unless it receive from the sun, that is, from Christ, the aid of His gratuitous light; unless it seek the protection of the moon, that is, of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ; and unless it imitate the example of the other saints. When all these concur, there is accomplished in the soul a living and perfect work; therefore the right order of living depends upon this threefold cooperation.

22. Moreover, if we consider these formal causes as regards their medium of union, we shall understand how union of the soul with God takes place, for the corporeal nature can be united to the soul only through the medium of moisture, (vital) spirit, and warmth_three conditions which dispose the body to receive life from the soul. So too we may understand that God gives life to the soul and is united to it only on the condition that it be moistened with tears of compunction and filial love, made spiritual by contempt of every earthly thing, and be warmed by desire for its heavenly home and its Beloved. Behold how in natural philosophy lies hidden the Wisdom of God.

23. In the same way is the light of Sacred Scripture to be found in the illumination of moral philosophy. Since moral philosophy is concerned principally with rectitude, it treats of general justice which Saint Anselm calls the "rectitude of the will." The term "right" has a threefold signification and accordingly, in the consideration of rectitude are revealed the three central ideas (of the senses of Sacred Scripture) previously mentioned. In one sense of the word, that is called "right, the middle of which is not out of line with its extreme points." If then God is perfect rectitude and that by His very nature since He is the Beginning and the End of all things, it follows that in God there must be an intermediary of His own nature so that there may be one Person who only produces, another who is only produced, but an intermediary who both produces and is produced. There is likewise need of an intermediary in the going forth and in the return of things: in the going forth, an intermediary which will be more on the part of the one producing; in the return, one which will be more on the part of the one returning. Therefore, as creatures went forth from God by the Word of God, so for a perfect return, it was necessary that the Mediator between God and man be not only God but also man so that He might lead men back to God.

24. In another sense, that is called "right" which is conformed to rule. Accordingly, in the consideration of rectitude there is seen the rule of life. For he indeed lives rightly who is guided by the regulations of the divine law, as is the case when the will of man accepts necessary precepts, salutary warnings, and counsels of perfection that he may thereby prove the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. And then is the rule of life right when no obliquity can be found therein.

25. In the third sense, that is called "right" the summit of which is raised upward, as for instance, we say that man has an upright posture. And in this sense, in the consideration of rectitude there is manifested the union of the soul with God; for since God is above, it necessarily follows that the apex of the mind itself must be raised aloft. And indeed this is what actually happens when man's rational nature assents to the First Truth for His own sake and above all things, when his irascible nature strives after the Highest Bounty, and when his concupiscible nature clings to the Greatest Good. He who thus keeps close to God is one spirit with him.

26. And so it is evident how the manifold Wisdom of God, which is clearly revealed in Sacred Scripture, lies hidden in all knowledge and in all nature. It is evident too how all divisions of knowledge are handmaids of theology, and it is for this reason that theology makes use of illustrations and terms pertaining to every branch of knowledge. It is likewise evident how wide is the illuminative way and how in everything which is perceived or known God Himself lies hidden within. And this is the fruit of all sciences, that in all, faith may be strengthened, God may be honored, character may be formed, and consolation may be derived from union of the Spouse with His beloved, a union which takes place through charity, to the attainment of which the whole purpose of Sacred Scripture, and consequently, every illumination descending from above, is directed -- a charity without which all knowledge is vain -- because no one comes to the Son except through the Holy Ghost who teaches us all the truth, who is blessed forever. Amen.