Sunday 11 December 2011

Charles Williams' Companions of the Co-inherence - can anybody understand?


In 1939 Charles Williams founded an Order called The Companions of the Co-inherence - I believe it is still going in some form.

The Order was based on a set of seven 'sentences' with (supposedly) illustrative or explanatory Biblical quotations.

I have read these sentences innumerable times, and still find them completely baffling.

I would be grateful to anyone who could convincingly explain them to me:


1. The Order has no constitution except its members.

As it was said: Others he saved, himself he cannot save.

2. It recommends nevertheless that its members shall make a formal act of union with it and of recognition of their own nature.

As it was said: Am I my brothers keeper?

3. Its concern is the practice of the apprehension of the Co-inherence both as a natural and a supernatural principle.

As it was said: Let us make man in our image.

4. It is therefore, per necessitatem, Christian.

As it was said: And who ever says that there was when this was not, let him be anathema.

5.. It recommends therefor the study, on the contemplative side, of the Co-inherence of the Holy and Blessed Trinity, of the Two natures in the single person, of the Mother and Son, of the communicated Eucharist, and of the whole catholic Church.

As it was said: figlia et tuo figlio.

And on the the active side, of methods of exchange, in the Sate, in all forms of love, and in all natural things, such as child-birth.

As it was sais: Bear ye one another's burdens.

6. It concludes in the Divine Substitution of Messias* all forms of exchange and substitution, and it invokes this Act as the root of all.

As it was said: He must become, as it were, a double man.

7. The Order will associate itself primarily with four feasts: the Feast of the Annunciation, the Feast of the Blessed Trinity, the Feast of the Transfiguration, and the Commemoration of All Souls.

As it was said: Another will be in me and I in him.



Anonymous said...

It seems to be a standard mystical and possibly magical Christian order.

I am not sufficiently versed in the theological issues, but it seems to be a way of recognizing the omnipresence of God in a way that fits Christian orthodoxy.

God is inherent in man, and in all things, but Man is made in the image and likeness of God.

If you want a complete explanation of the mysticism, you need a seriously orthodox Christian mystic. I'm not qualified.

Samuel J. Dubbelman said...

I'm not sure if I can help with the statements (whats new with Williams) but I am intrigued where you got them.

I am presently reading Gavin Ashenden's Charles Williams Alchemy & Integration and getting a somewhat better understanding of the hermetic and mystical traditions that may have influenced his writing.

Bruce Charlton said...

@SD - I typed them in from the main biography, so far - Hadfield, Alice Mary. Charles Williams: An Exploration of His Life and Work. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1983. Well worth reading, especially in conjunction with the earlier CW Biography she did, and Anne Ridler's introduction to The Image of the City and other essays.

I haven't read Ashenden's book since it is grossly over-priced, and I didn't much like what I read of Ashenden's opinions in general... But no doubt I shall read it when I find a cheap copy.

Samuel J. Dubbelman said...

I will have to check out Hadfield's biography. Thanks for the reference. You are right about Ashenden's book being grossly over priced. I was able to check it out from a local university library though.