The first three properties of nature were never to have been seen or known, as they are in themselves, by any creature; their thickness, strife, and darkness, were brought forth by God, in union with the light, and glory, and majesty of heaven; and only for that end, that the holy Deity might be made manifest in them. And therefore their own nature, as they are in themselves, without God in them, could only then be first known, when the angels turned their desire backwards to search and find the ground and original of life, which could not be found, till these properties were found, in which the original ground of life lay hid. This turning of their desire into the origin of life, was their whole turning from the light of God; and therefore they found themselves where they had turned their desire; that is, in the center of nature; viz. in the first properties of nature, which is the dark center, or ground of life, which never should have been known or manifest to any creature. For by the center of nature, or the dark center, you are always to understand these three first properties; which, when without or separate from the light and goodness of the Deity in them, are in themselves only the thickness, and rage, and darkness, of an omnipotent compressing, and omnipotent resistance to it, and omnipotent whirling from these two omnipotent contrarieties. I call them all omnipotent, because they cannot be stopped, but do all that they would; and though they are contrary to one another, yet each of them gives strength to the other; so that the omnipotence of the one, is the omnipotence of the other. And this is the boundless, incessant, strong rage, darkness, and strife, of the hellish life, which only is that, which these three properties of nature, when left to themselves, can feel or find. Now the angels, which turned their desire into the center of nature, fell into the life and working power of these three properties; they felt nothing else in themselves, but these properties; they had no other will or power of working, but as these properties worked; and therefore, as living and active creatures, they could only live, and act, and cooperate, or unite with that ground of nature without them, which was the same and one with their own nature; and therefore, all that they could do, was to stir up, awaken, call forth, and act with that thickness and darkness, and strife, that was hidden in nature, just as the toad, in a fine garden, only sucks the poison that is hid in a good herb. So the fallen angels, though in heaven, having only the center of nature in themselves, could only find and work with that center and root of darkness, on which the heavenly glory stood. But from this power which they had of working in the center of nature, hence came forth a dark, wrathful substantiality, separated from the light and glory of the holy Deity; and thus a new kind of substantiality appeared in their kingdom; and their outward habitation was like their inward life; viz. a manifestation of nature fallen from God. And here now, you clearly see, how the first thickness or compression of the first property of nature, which was only the hidden substantiality of the light and glory of heaven, came into a more outward state, and made its first approach or step towards matter, as you now see it. For there was now a thickness, a darkness, and hardness, which never had been before; for the light being lost, then the first property of nature lost its beatified state of meekness, transparency, and spiritual fluidity; and became stiff, rigid, dark, and hard; and this, as I said, was its first step or descent towards the hardness and darkness of the matter of this world, till it came to be earth and stones, by the creating power of God. And thus it came to pass, as Moses speaks, that darkness was upon the face of the deep. A state, that had no possibility of existence, till the sin of angels had manifested the hidden center of nature, in the working of its three properties, without the light of God in them.