( Eugenius Philalethes )
ANIMA MAGICA ABSCONDITA
Or A Discourse of the Universal Spirit of Nature
[ Adapted from Arthur Edward WAITE: The Works of Thomas Vaughan ; Theosophical Publishing House, London 1919 --- Footnotes have been deleted because of countless barbarisms commited against the Greek and Latin by the scanner OCR ( http://www.archive.org/details/worksofthomasvau00vauguoft )]
TO THE READER
Now God defend : what will become of me ? I have neither consulted the stars nor their urinals, the Almanacks. A fine fellow to neglect the prophets who are read in England every day. They shall pardon me for this oversight. There is a mystery in their profession they have not so much as heard of --- the star-spangled Christian heaven --- a new heaven fancied on the old earth. Here the twelve apostles have surprised the zodiac and all the saints are ranged on their North and South sides. It were a pretty vanity to preach when St Paul is ascendant, and would not a papist smile to have his pope elected under St Peter ? Reader, if I studied these things I would think myself worse employed than the Roman Chaucer was in his Troilus. I come out as if there were no hours in the day, nor planets in the hours : neither do I care for anything but that interlude of Perendenga in Michael Cervantes : " Let the old man, |my master, live, and Christ be with us all." Thou wilt wonder now where this drives, for I have neither a Conde de Lemos nor a Cardinal to pray for. I pray for he dead, that is, I wish him a fair remembrance whose abours have deserved it. It happened in exposing my former discourse to censure --- a custom hath strangled many truths in the cradle --- that a learned man suggested to me some bad opinion he had of my author, Henricus Cornelius Agrippa. I ever understood it was not one but many in whose sentiment that miracle suffered. It is the fortune of deep writers to miscarry because of obscurity. Thus the spots in the moon with some men are earth, but 'tis more probable they are water. There is no day so clear but there are lees towards the horizon : so inferior wits, when they reflect on higher intellects, leave a mist in their beams. Had he lived in ignorance, as most do, he might have passed hence like the last year's clouds, without any more remembrance. But as I believe the truth a main branch of that end to which I was born, so I hold it my duty to vindicate him from whom I have received it. The world then being not able to confute this man's principles by reason went about to do it by scandal ; and the first argument they fastened on was that of the Jew against his Saviour : " Thou art a Samaritan and hast a devil." The chief in this persecution is Cigognes, and after him Delrio in his fabulous Disquisitions? But Paulus Jovius stirred in the vomit, who amongst other men's lives hath put my author to death. It is done indeed emphatically betwixt him and his poet, whom he hired --- it seems --- to stitch verse to his prose and so patched up the legend. " Who would believe " --- saith he --- " an amazing capacity to have been concealed in the sedate countenance of Henry Cornelius Agrippa?" In his subsequent discourse he states his question and returns my author's best parts as a libel on his memory. But that which troubles him most of all is that Agrippa should prove his doctrine out of the Scriptures. Then he inculcates the solemn crambe of his dog-devil, whose collar --- emblematically wrought with nails --- made the ruff to his familiar. For a close to the story he kills him at Lyons, where --- being near his departure --- he unravelled his magic in this desperate dismission : " Begone, abandoned Beast, who hast lost me everything." This is the most gross lie and the least probable in every circumstance that ever was related. Devils use not to quit their conjurers in the day of death ; neither will they at such times be exterminated. This is the hour wherein they attend their prey and from seeming servants become cruel masters. Besides, is it not most gross that any should dog this devil from Agrippa's lodging to Araris, where --- saith this prelate --- he plunged himself? Certainly spirits pass away invisibly and with that dispatch no mortal man can trace them. Believe this, and believe all the fables of purgatory.
Now, Reader, thou hast heard the worst ; lend a just ear and thou shalt hear the best. Johannes Wierus, a professed adversary to ceremonial magic and some time secretary to Cornelius Agrippa, in his Daemonomonia speaks thus. He wonders that some learned Germans and Italians were not ashamed to traduce his master in their public writings. That he had a dog whose call was Monsieur he confesseth, and this spaniel during his service he used to lead, when Agrippa walked abroad, by a hair-chain. "And certainly" --- saith he --- "the dog was a natural male animal," to which Agrippa coupled a bitch of the same colour, called Mademoiselle. It is confessed he was fond of this dog, and having divorced his first wife would suffer him for a sarcasm to sleep with him under the sheets. In his study too this dog would couch on the table by his master, whence this great philosopher, " absolutely surrounded by his extraordinary manuscript treasures " --- saith Wierus --- would not sometimes stir out for a whole week together. So studious was he for the good of posterity, who have but coldly rewarded him for his pains. I have observed also in his Epistles that when he was resident at Malines his domestics used to give him an account in their letters how his dogs fared --- so fond was he of those creatures.
But to come to the rest of the legend : Paulus Jovius tells you he died at Lyons "in a squalid and gloomy inn" ; but Wierus --- who had more reason to be inquisitive after his master's death --- tells me he died at Granople, and that "in the Lord," not desperately --- as his enemies would have it. Here now was a jovial stride, from Gratianopolis to Lugdunum : sure this Paul was a scant geographer. But, Reader, it is not my intention to conceal anything in this matter : know therefore that Agrippa had another dog, his Filioli) and this last died in more respect than most of his master's adversaries. For my author --- by some secret means --- having strangely qualified him, divers learned men writ epitaphs upon him, whereof some have been published and are yet extant. Out of this fable of the Cerberus Baptista Possevinus pumped these verses :O ye who, living, mark this grave and deemThus have they all-to-bedevilled him ; but why may not truth run in verse as well as scandal ?
What lies therein deserves the word of peace,
Know, here entomb'd, abysmal Styx's King,
On earth protected by a guard from hell
But in perdition now his warder's prey.
His powers controll'd, he might have soar'd as far
On high as now into the deep he sinks.So great Agrippa for two worlds sufficedNow, Reader, if thou wouldst be further satisfied in his distaste of Black Magic, I wish thee to read his most Christian invective against the German conjurer entertained in the French court. Nay, so zealous and nice of conscience was he that being solicited by some divines for a comment on Trismegistus he returned them a very tart answer, referring all true knowledge to the Scripture. In a word, he did not only hate impious but vain arts, for he lost the favour of the Queen-Mother because he would not be employed by her in astrology --- a science in whose true, natural part he was skilled to a miracle ; but he knew it was bootless to look for fatal events in the planets, for such are not written in Nature but in the Superior Tables of Predestination. Having thus then sufficiently proved his integrity, I will in a few words discover the grounds of his persecution. He was a man reformed in his religion ; and had I the leisure to cite his works I could quickly prove he was not of the Roman Church. For in his book on The Vanity of the Sciences he allows not of monks and friars but calls them sects, " of which the Church was free at its best " ; and certainly that notable jest of his on the cowl nettles the papists to this day. He disclaims also their images, their invocation of saints, their purgatory and pardons, and would have the last] communicate "in both kinds." He corrects the poj himself sufficiently and is utterly against the Inquisition Office. What also his opinion was of Luther is not hard to guess out of his Epistles, for in a letter to Melanchthoi he hath these words : " Salute for me that invinciblt heretic Martin Luther, who --- as Paul saith in the Acts --- doth serve His God according to that sect which they term heretical." Lastly, he was altogether for the written word, preferring it to human constitutions, which is contrary to the papist, who will not allow it to be the judge of controversies. This is the man and thus qualified at home, howsoever the world hath rendered him abroad.
And powers diverse displayed in broken frame.
Earth conquers earth and heaven has links with heaven.
Alive he wrote, confronted by the wise.
Nature draws Nature, and supernal life
Acclaims his soul as kindred to the heights.
He taught in life and teaches yet in death,
And whilst ascending high amidst the stars
Some magic potence still his hands dispense.
Now for his more mysterious principles : thou has their main in this discourse, which if thou canst apprehend I know thou wilt style him in particular as Trismegistus doth man in general --- "a manifested god " ; or as Panaetius did his Plato, " the most divine, most holy, most wise man and the Homer of philosophers." But this sluttish struggle fits not his memory and things fall from me now as strictures, not compositions. I shall say nothing more but leave thee to thy studies, whiles I translate that epitaph of Platina to his Tomus 6.Whoe'er thou art, if piously inclined,
Seek not the dead Agrippa to molest,
Nor what with him lies narrowly enshrined
And only asks to be alone in rest.EUGENIUS PHILALETHES
ANIMA MAGICA ABSCONDITA
To build castles in the air is a common proverb with all men but a common practice with the Peripatetics only. I have oftentimes admired that the very end and result of their philosophy did not clearly discover its falsity. It is a mere help to discourse. Mood and figure are their two pillars, their limits. Their heptarchy ends in a syllogism and the best professor amongst them is but a scold well disciplined. Their seven years study are seven years of famine ; they leave the soul not satisfied and are more of a dream than that of Pharaoh. For verily if the stage and reign of dreams be nowhere beyond fancy, then the fancies of these men being nowhere beyond their authors may rest on the same pillow. This sect then may be styled a "fellowship of dreams". Their conceptions are not grounded on any reason existent in Nature, but they would ground Nature on reasons framed and principled by their own conceptions. Their philosophy is built on general, empty maxims, things of that stretch and latitude they may be applied to anything but conduce to the discovery of nothing. These are the first lineaments of their monster, and in reference to them they have many subordinate errors which pretend a symmetry with their fundamentals but in truth have none at all. These latter quillets are so minced with divisions and distinctions that their very patrons are dubious how to state them. I could compare their physiology to a chase in arras, where there is much of similitude but nothing of truth. Tis the child of fancy, a romance in syllogisms, a texture of their own brain, like that cobweb campagna which Lucian's spiders planted betwixt the Moon and Venus. Nature in general --- say they --- is " a principle of motion and rest." A form is " the outward expression of an inward essence " --- a definition they know not what to make of --- and the soul is actuality, or the " active principle of the organic body." These two last descriptions --- for they are no substantial definitions are such riddles that I verily believe Aristotle made use of those words *** and *** = form and actuality, because he would not discover his ignorance in these points. For why should a form be called ***, or in what other author can we find this *** ? But because Nature in general, that is, in her active and passive portions --- namely, matter and form --- together with the soul of man, are the main fundamentals whereon to build a philosophy, and that this Aristotle is so sainted by his clients that the divines of Collein tell us he was " precursor of Christ in things natural as John Baptist was in things of grace," I shall further examine these his definitions and acknowledge the benefit when I find it.
In the first place then, it may be thought I am beholden to this man for telling me that Nature is a principle. So I may tell the reader that the magician's passive spirit is a principle ; but if I tell him not what kind of substance it is I will allow him ten years of study, and if the sun went back every day ten degrees in his dial he shall not --- without a supernatural assistance --- know what or where it is. But you will reply : he tells me further it is a principle causeth bodies to move and rest. I thank him for his nothing. I desire not to know what this principle doth --- for that is obvious to every eye --- but I would know what it is ; and therefore he may pocket his definition. Again, you will object : he tells me not only that Nature is a principle but that " Nature is form " and by consequence " Form is Nature." This is idem per idem : he retains me in a circle of notions but resolves nothing at all essentially. Besides form --- in the genuine scope of the language --- signifies the outward symmetry or shape of a compound. But the Peripatetics who impose on tongues as they do on Nature render it otherwise in their books and mistake the effect for the cause. I shall therefore take it in their sense and be content for once to subscribe to their comments. Form then in their conception is the same with *** *** or formative power, which Aristotle defines as the " outward expression of an inward essence." I must confess I do not understand him and therefore Ishall take him upon trust, as his disciples expound him. " It is *** " --- saith Magirus --- "inasmuch as it doth perfect, adorn and fashion the natural thing, so that one may thereby be distinguished from another." This is an express of the office and effect of forms but nothing at all to their substance or essence.
Now let us see what he saith to the soul of man. The soul --- saith he --- is actuality, that is, in plain terms, the sum total, or barbarously but truly finihabia though his own followers falsely render it " active principle of organic body." But this definition is common to beasts and plants, and therefore he hath stumbled on another : " The soul is that principle by which we live, feel, move and understand." Now, both these descriptions concern only the operations and faculties which the soul exerciseth in the body but discover not her nature or original at all. It was ingenuously done of Galen, who confessed his ignorance concerning the substance of the soul ; but this fellow --- who had not so much honesty --- is voiced Prince of Philosophers and the positions of more glorious authors are examined by his dictates, as it were by a touchstone. Nay, the Scripture itself is oftentimes wrested and forced by his disciples to vote a placet to his conclusions. It is a miserable task to dwell on this ethnic, to gather his straw and stubble most of our days and after all to be no better acquainted with ourselves but that the soul is the course of life, sense, motion and understanding. I pity our customary follies that we bind ourselves over to a prenticeship of expense and study, only to compass a few superficial truths which every ploughman knows without book. Verily, Nature is so much a tutor that none can be ignorant in these things ; for who is so stupid as not to know the difference between life and death, the absence and presence of his soul? Yet these very definitions --- though looked upon as rare, profound, philosophical determinations --- instruct us in nothing more.
Away then with this Peripatetical Philosophy, this vain babbling, as St Paul justly styles it, for sure enough he had some experience of it at Athens in his dispute about the resurrection. Let us no more look on this olla podrida but on that spirit which resides in the elements, for this produceth real effects by the subsequent rotations of corruption and generation ; but the spirit of error --- which is Aristotle's --- produceth nought but a multiplicity of notions. Observe then that this Stagyrite and Nature are at a great distance : the one ends in works, the other in words. His followers refine the old notions but not the old creatures. And verily the mystery of their profession consists only in their terms. If their speculations were exposed to the world in a plain dress, their sense is so empty and shallow there is not any would acknowledge them for philosophers. In some discourses, I confess, they have Nature before them, but they go not the right way to apprehend her. They are still in chase but never overtake their game ; for who is he amongst them whose knowledge is so entire and regular that he can justify his positions by practice ? Again, in some things they are quite beside the cushion ; they scold and squabble about whimsies and problems of their own which are no more in Nature than Lucian's Lachanopters or Hyppogypians.
Now, the reason of their errors is because they are experienced in nothing but outward accidents or qualities, and all the performance they can do in philosophy is to pronounce a body hot or cold, moist or dry. But if they mind the essential temperament they are grossly mistaken in stating these qualifications, for it is not the touch or sight that can discern intrinsical, true complexions. A body that is outwardly cold to the sense may be hotter in the inwardness, where the genuine temperament lies, than the sun himself is manifestly. But they know not the providence of Nature, how she interposeth a different resisting quality in the circumference of everything, lest the qualities of ambient bodies should conspire in so great a measure with the centre and so procure a dissolution of the compound. Thus she interposeth her passive, refreshing spirit between the central fire and the Sulphur. Again she placeth the Sulphur between the liquor of the celestial Luna and her outward Mercury --- a rare and admirable texture, infallibly proving that none but God --- only wise --- Who foresaw the conveniences and disconveniences of His creatures, could range them in that saving order and connection. But to go further with these Peripatetics : their philosophy is a kind of physiognomy. They will judge of inward principles --- forms, as they call them --- which are shut up in the closet of the matter, and all this in perusing the outside or crust of Nature. 'Twere a foolish presumption if a lapidary should undertake to state the value or lustre of a jewel that is locked up before he opens the cabinet. I advise them therefore to use their hands, not their fancies, and to change their abstractions into extractions ; for verily as long as they lick the shell in this fashion and pierce not experimentally into the centre of things they can do no otherwise than they have done. They cannot know things substantially but only describe them by their outward effects and motions, which are subject and obvious to every common eye. Let them consider therefore that there is in Nature a certain spirit which applies himself to the matter and actuates in every generation. That there is also a passive intrinsical principle where he is more immediately resident than in the rest, and by mediation of which he communicates with the more gross, material parts. For there is in Nature a certain chain or subordinate propinquity of complexions between visibles and invisibles ; and this is it by which the superior, spiritual essences descend and converse here below with the matter. But have a care lest you misconceive me. I speak not in this place of the Divine Spirit, but I speak of a certain Art by which a particular spirit may be united to the universal, and Nature by consequence may be strangely exalted and multiplied. Now then, you that have your eyes in your hearts and not your hearts in your eyes, attend to that which is spoken, and that I may exhort you to magic in the magician's phrase : " Hear with the understanding of the heart."
It is obvious to all those whom Nature hath enriched with sense and convenient organs to exercise it that every body in the world is subject to a certain species of motion. Animals have their progressive outward and their vital inward motions. The heavens are carried with that species which the Peripatetics call lation --- where, by the way, I must tell you it proceeds from an intrinsical principle, for intelligences are fabulous. The air moves variously, the sea hath his flux and reflux. Vegetables have their growth and augmentation, which necessarily infer a concoction ; and finally, the earth --- with her minerals and all other treasures --- is subject to alteration, that is, to generation and corruption. Now, the matter of itself being merely passive and furnished with no motive faculty at all, we must of necessity conclude there is some other inward principle which acts and regulates it in every several species of motion. But verily it is not enough to call this principle a form and so bury up the riches of Nature in this narrow and most absurd formality. We should rather abstain from scribbling or study to publish that which may make something for the author's credit --- but much more for the benefit of the readers. To be plain then, this principle is the Soul of the World, or the Universal Spirit of Nature. This Soul is retained in the matter by certain other proportionate natures and missing a vent doth organise the mass. She labours what she can to resume her former liberty, frames for herself a habitation here in the centre, puts her prison into some good order and brancheth into the several members, that she may have more room to act and employ her faculties. But you are to observe that in every frame there are three leading principles. The first is this Soul, whereof we have spoken something already. The second is that which we have called the Spirit of the World, and this Spirit is " the medium whereby the Soul is diffused through and moves its body." : The third is a certain oleous, ethereal water. This is the Menstruum and Matrix of the world, for in it all things are framed and preserved. The Soul is a compound " of a most subtle ether and most simple light." Hence that admirable Platonical poet styled it " fire of pure ether."
Neither should you wonder that I say it is a compound, for there is no perfect specifical nature that is simple and void of composition but only that of God Almighty. Trust not then to Aristotle, who tells you that the elements are simple bodies, for the contrary hath been manifested by absolute, infallible experience. The passive spirit is a thin, aerial substance, the only immediate vestment wherein the Soul wraps herself when she descends and applies to generation. The radical, vital liquor is a pure celestial nature, answering in proportion and complexion to the superior, interstellar waters. Now, as soon as the passive spirit attracts the Soul, which is done when the first link in the chain moves of which we shall speak in its due place then the ethereal water in a moment attracts the passive spirit, for this is the first visible receptacle, wherein the superior natures are concentrated. The Soul being thus confined and imprisoned by lawful magic in this liquid crystal, the light which is in her streams through the water, and then it is "light made openly visible to the eye," in which state it is first made subject to the artist.
Here now lies the mystery of the magician's denarius, his most secret and miraculous pyramid, whose first unity or cone is always in " the horizon of eternity," but his basis or quadrate is here below in "the horizon of time." The Soul consists of three portions of light and one of the matter ; the passive spirit hath two parts of the matter and two of the light, wherefore it is called the " middle nature " and the " sphere of equality." The celestial water hath but one portion of light to three of the matter. Now, the chain of descent which concerns the spiritual parts is grounded on a similitude, or symbol of natures, according to that principle of Ostanes : " Nature is charmed by Nature." For there being three portions of light in the Soul and two in the passive spirit, the inferior attracts the superior. Then there being but one portion in the celestial nature and two in the middle spirit, this solitary shining unity attracts the other binarius, to fortify and augment itself, as light joins with light or flame with flame, and then they hang in a vital, magnetical series. Again, the chain of ascent which concerns the matter is performed thus. The celestial nature differs not in substance from the aerial spirit but only in degree and complexion ; and the aerial spirit differs from the Aura, or material part of the Soul, in constitution only and not in nature ; so that these three, being but one substantially, may admit of a perfect, hypostatical union and be carried by a certain intellectual light into " the horizon of the supercelestial world " and so swallowed up of immortality.
But, methinks, Nature complains of a prostitution, that I go about to diminish her majesty, having almost broken her seal and exposed her naked to the world. I must confess I have gone very far and now I must recal myself ; for there is a necessity of reserving as well as publishing some things. And yet I will speak of greater matters. The Soul though in some sense active yet is she not so essentially but a mere instrumental agent ; for she is guided in her operations by a spiritual, metaphysical grain, a seed or glance of light, simple and without any mixture, descending from the first Father of Lights. For though His full-eyed love shines on nothing but man, yet everything in the world is in some measure directed for his preservation by a spice or touch of the First Intellect. This is partly confirmed by the habitation and residence of God ; for He is seated above all His creatures, to hatch --- as it were --- and cherish them with living, eternal influences which daily and hourly proceed from Him. Hence he is called of the Kabalists Kether? and it answers to Parmenides his Fiery Crown, which he places above all the visible spheres. This flux of immaterial powers Christ Himself --- in Whom the fulness of the Godhead resided confirmed and acknowledged in the flesh ; for when the diseased touched His garment He questioned who it was, adding this reason : " I perceive " --- said He --- " that virtue is gone out of me."
But laying aside such proofs, though the Scripture abounds in them, let us consider the exercise and practice of Nature here below, and we shall find her game such she cannot play it without this tutor. In the first place then I would fain know who taught the spider his mathematics ? How comes he to lodge in the centre of his web, that he may sally upon all occasions to any part of the circumference ? How comes he to premeditate and forecast ? For if he did not first know and imagine that there are flies whereupon he must feed he would not watch for them, nor spin out his nets in that exquisite form and texture. Verily we must needs confess that He Who ordained flies for his sustenance gave him also some small light to know and execute His ordinance. Tell me --- if you can --- who taught the hare to counter-march when she doubles her trace in the pursuit, to confound the scent and puzzle her persecutors ? Who counsels her to stride from the double to her form, that her steps may be at a greater distance and by consequence the more difficult to find out ? Certainly this is a well-ordered policy, enough to prove that God is not absent from His creatures but that " wisdom reacheth from one end to another mightily " and that " His incorruptible Spirit is in all things." ' But to speak something more immediately apposite to our purpose : let us consider the several products that are in Nature with their admirable features and symmetry. We know very well there is but one Matter out of which there are formed so many different shapes and constitutions. Now, if the agent which determinates and figures the Matter were not a discerning spirit it were impossible for him to produce anything at all. For let me suppose Hyliard with his pencil and table ready to portray a rose, if he doth not inwardly apprehend the very shape and proportion of that which he intends to limn he may as well do it without his eyes as without his intellectuals. Let us now apply this to the Spirit which worketh in Nature. This moves in the centre of all things, hath the Matter before Him as the potter hath his clay or the limner his colours. And first of all He exerciseth His chemistry in several transmutations, producing sinews, veins, blood, flesh and bones, which work also includes His arithmetic, for He makes the joints and all integral parts, nay --- as Christ tells us --- the very hairs of our heads in a certain determinate number, which may conduce to the beauty and motion of the frame. Again, in the outward lineaments or symmetry of the compound He proves himself a most regular mathematician, proportioning parts to parts, all which operations can proceed from nothing but a Divine, Intellectual Spirit. For if He had not several ideas or conceptions correspondent to His several intentions He could not distinguish the one from the other. And if He were not sensible, if He did not foresee the work He doth intend, then the end could be no impulsive cause --- as the Peripatetics would have it.
The consideration of these several offices which this Spirit performs in generation made Aristotle himself grant that in the seeds of all things there were " potencies like unto artifices." We should therefore examine who weaves the flowers of vegetables, who colours them without a pencil, who bolts the branches upwards and threads --- as it were --- their roots downwards. For all these actions include a certain artifice which cannot be done without judgment and discretion. Now, our Saviour tells us : " My Father worketh hitherto " ; and in another place He tells us God clothes the lilies of the field ; and again " not one sparrow falls without your Father." Verily, this is the truth and the testimony of truth, notwithstanding Aristotle and his Problems. Neither should you think the Divine Spirit disparaged in being president to every generation because some products seem poor and contemptible. For verily as long as they conduce to the glory of their Author they are noble enough ; and if you reflect upon Egypt you will find the basest of His creatures to extort a catholic confession from the wizards : " the finger of God is here."
That I may come then to the point : these invisible, central artists are lights seeded by the First Light in that primitive emanation or Sit Lux, which some falsely render Fiat Lux. For Nature is the Voice of God, not a mere sound or command but a substantial, active breath, proceeding from the Creator and penetrating all things. God Himself is " a spermatic form," and this is the only sense wherein a form may be defined as " the outward expression of an inward essence' I know this will seem harsh to some men, whose ignorant zeal hath made them adversaries to God, for they rob Him of His glory and give it to His creature --- nay, sometimes to fancies and inventions of their own. I wish such philosophers to consider whether in the beginning there was any life or wisdom beyond the Creator, and if so to tell us where. Verily --- to use their own term --- they can never find this Ubi For they are gracious concessions or talents which God of His free will hath lent us ; and if He should resume them we should presently return to our first nothing. Let them take heed therefore whiles they attribute generation to qualities lest the true Author of it should come against them with that charge which He brought sometime against the Assyrians. " Shall the ax boast itself against him that heweth therewith ? Or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it ? As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood." Let them rather cashier their Aristotle and the errors wherewith he hath infatuated so many generations. Let them approach with confidence to the Almighty God Who made the world, for none can give a better account of the work than the Architect. Let them not despair to attain His familiarity, for He is a God that desires to be known and will reveal Himself, both for the manifestation of His own glory and the benefit of His creatures. There is no reason then why we should decline this great and glorious Schoolmaster, Whose very invitation speaks more than an ordinary encouragement. " Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker : Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it : I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their hosts have I commanded." : But it will be questioned perhaps : how shall we approach to the Lord and by what means may we find Him out ? Truly not with words but with works, not in studying ignorant, heathenish authors but in perusing and trying His creatures. For in them lies His secret path, which though it be shut up with thorns and briars, with outward worldly corruptions, yet if we would take the pains to remove this luggage we might enter the Terrestrial Paradise, that Encompassed Garden of Solomon, where God descends to walk and drink of the Sealed Fountain. But verily there is such a general prejudice, such a customary opposition of all principles which cross Aristotle that Truth can no sooner step abroad but some sophister or other flings dirt in her face.
It is strange that none of these schoolmen consider how the several distinctions and divisions translated from logic to divinity have set all Christendom on fire, how they have violated the peace of many flourishing kingdoms and occasioned more sects in religion than there are opinions in philosophy. Most seasonable then and Christian is that petition of St Augustine : " Deliver us, O Lord, from logic." And here I must desire the reader not to mistake me. I do not condemn the use but the abuse of reason, the many subtleties and fetches of it, which man hath so applied that truth and error are equally disputable. I am one that stands up for a true natural knowledge, grounded --- as Nature is --- on Christ Jesus, Who is the true foundation of all things visible and invisible. I shall therefore in this discourse touch nearly upon those mysteries which some few have delivered over to posterity in difficult, obscure terms, that if possible the majesty of truth and the benefit they shall receive from it may settle men in a new way and bring them at last from vain, empty fancies to a real sensible fruition of Nature.
You may remember how, in my former discourse of the nature of man, I mentioned a certain simplicity of elements according to their several complexions in the several regions of the world. I shall now speak of another triplicity --- much more obscure and mystical --- without which you can never attain to the former, for these three principles are the key of all magic, without whose perfect knowledge you can never truly understand the least idioms in Nature. The first principle is one in one and one from one. It is a pure, white virgin and next to that which is most pure and simple. This is the First Created Unity. By this all things were made --- not actually but mediately --- and without this nothing can be made, either artificial or natural. This is " Bride of God and of the Stars." By mediation of this there is a descent from one into four and an ascent from above by four to the invisible, supernatural Monad. Who knows not this can never attain to the Art, for he knows not what he is to look for.
The Second Principle differs not from the first in substance and dignity but in complexion and order. This second was the first and is so still essentially ; but by adhesion to the matter it contracted an impurity and so fell from its first unity, wherefore the magicians style it Binarius. Separate therefore the circumference from the centre by the diametrical line, and there will appear unto thee the philosopher's Ternarius, which is the Third Principle. This third is properly no principle but a product of Art. It is a various nature, compounded in one sense and decompounded in another, consisting of inferior and superior powers. This is the magician's fire, this is Mercury of the philosophers, that most famous Microcosm and Adam. This is the labyrinth and wild of magic, where a world of students have lost themselves --- a thing so confusedly and obscurely handled by such as knew it that it is altogether impossible to find it in their records. There is no late writer understands the full latitude and universality of this principle, nor the genuine metaphysical use thereof. It moves here below in shades and tiffanies, above in white ethereal vestures ; neither is there anything in Nature exposed to such a public prostitution as this is, for it passeth through all hands and there is not any creature but hath the use thereof.
This Ternarius, being reduced by the Quaternary, ascends to the magical decad, which is " the exceeding single Monad," in which state whatsoever things it may will those also it can do, for it is united then, face to face, to the First, Eternal, Spiritual Unity. But of these three hear the oracle of magic, the great and solemn Agrippa. "There are then --- as we have said --- four elements, without a perfect knowledge of which nothing can be brought to its effect in magic. But each of them is threefold, that so the number four may make up the number twelve and, by passing the number seven into the number ten, there may be progress to the Supreme Unity, whence all virtue flows, and on which all wonderful operation depends. In the first_order are the pure elements, which are neither compounded nor changed, which suffer no mixture but are incorruptible. The virtues of all natural things are brought into activity through and not by these. No one is able to declare their virtues, for in all things they can do all things. He who is ignorant concerning them can never bring to pass the operation of marvellous effects. Of the second order are elements that are composite, manifold, various and withal impure, though reducible by art to a pure simplicity, whose virtue when they are so reduced doth above all things perfect all occult and other operations of Nature. These are the foundation of all natural magic. As regards the third order of elements, originally and of themselves they are not elements in reality, being twice compounded and changeable one with the other. These are the infallible medium, whence they are called the middle nature, or soul of the middle nature. Very few are they who understand the deep mysteries thereof. By means of certain numbers, degrees and orders, herein lies the consummation of every effect in all things natural, celestial and supercelestial. They are full of wonders d mysteries which can be performed alike in natural nd divine magic. Thence proceed the bindings, loosings and transmutations of all things, the knowledge and foretelling of things to come, with the exorcism of evil and the conciliation of good spirits. Without these three kinds of elements and the knowledge thereof, let no man deem himself competent to work in the secret sciences of magic and of Nature. But whoever shall know how to reduce those which are of one kind into those of another, the impure into pure, compounded into simple, and shall understand distinctly their nature, virtue and power in number, grades and order --- without dividing the substance --- the same shall attain easily to the knowledge and perfect fulfilment of all natural things and of all celestial secrets."
This is he with the black spaniel, or rather, this is he " who even from his earliest age did ever appear as an inquiring and intrepid investigator into the abounding operations of things mysterious and of miraculous effects." Now for your further instruction hear also the dark disciple of the more dark Libanius Gallus. "The First Principle doth consist in an unity, and through rather than from this is all power of natural wonders carried into effect. We have said ' through which ' because the pure ens, which proceedeth out of unity, is not compounded, neither hath it any vicissitude. Thereunto, from the triad and the tetrad is a progression unto the Monad, for the completion of the denary, because thereby is a regression of number into unity, as also a descent unto the tetrad and an ascension unto the Monad. Hereby only can the duad be completed. With joy and triumph is the Monad converted into the triad. Those who are ignorant of this principle, which is after the Principle of the Monad, cannot attain unto the triad nor approach the sacred tetrad. Had they mastered all the books of the wise, were they conversant with the courses of the stars, did they clearly understand their virtues, powers, operations and properties, their types, rings, sigils and their most secret things whatsoever, no working of wonders could possibly follow their operations without a knowledge of this Principle, which cometh out of a principle and returneth into a principle. Hence all --- without exception --- whom I have found experimenting in natural magic have either attained nothing or, after long and barren operations, have been reduced in desperation to vain, trivial and superstitious pursuits. Now, the second principle, which is separated from the first in order but not in dignity, which alone existing doth produce the triad, is that which works wonders by the duad. For in the one is the one and there is not the one; it is simple, yet in the tetrad it is compounded, which being purified by fire cometh forth pure water, and being reduced to its simplicity shall reveal unto the worker of secret mysteries the fulfilment of his labours. Here lieth the centre of all natural magic, the circumference of which thereunto united doth display a circle, a vast order in the infinite. Its virtue is purified above all things and less simple than all things, being composed on the grade of the tetrad. But the Pythagoric tetrad, supported by the triad, the pure and purified in one, can --- if order and grade be observed --- perform marvellous and secret things of Nature, to the measure of the duad in the triad. This is the tetrad in the measure whereof the triad, joined to the duad, maketh all things one, after a marvellous fashion. The triad reduced to unity contains all things face to face within it, and it doeth that which it will. The third principle is of itself no principle, but between this and the duad is the end of all science and mystic art, and the infallible centre of the medial principle. It is not less easy to blunder in the one than the other, for few there are on earth who understand the depths thereof. It is of inconstant nature, rising by an eight-fold multiplication through the septenary into the triad and then remaining fixed. Herein is the consummation of the scales and order of number. By this hath every philosopher and true scrutator of natural secrets attained unto admirable results ; by this, reduced in the triad unto a simple element, they rapidly performed miraculous cures of diseases and of all manners of sickness naturally ; and achievement in natural and supernatural magic followed the procedure of working through the direction of the tetrad. By this the prediction of future events was verified, and no otherwise is the penetration of hidden things to be learned from Nature. By this one medium is the secret of Nature laid bare unto alchemists ; without which no understanding of the Art can be attained, nor the arm of experiment discovered. Believe me, they all err who, devoid of these three principles, dream it possible to accomplish anything in the secret sciences of Nature."
Thus far Trithemius, where --- for thy better understanding --- I must inform thee there is a twofold Binarius --- one of light and one of confusion. But peruse Agrippa seriously DE SCALIS NUMERORUM, and thou mayest apprehend all, for our Abbot borrowed this language from him, the perusal of whose book he had before he published anything in this nature of his own. Now for thy further instruction go along with me, not to Athens or Stagyra but to that secretary and penman of God Almighty who stood in a cleft of the rock when He made all His goodness to pass before him. I am certain the world will wonder I should make use of Scripture to establish physiology ; but I would have them know that all secrets physical and spiritual, all the close connections and that mysterious kiss of God and Nature are clearly and punctually discovered there. Consider that merciful mystery of the Incarnation, wherein the fulness of the Godhead was incorporated and the Divine Light united to the Matter in a far greater measure than at the first creation. Consider it --- I say --- and thou shalt find that; no philosophy hath perfectly united God to His creature . but the Christian, wherefore also it is the only true philosophy and the only true religion ; for without this union there can be neither a natural temporal nor a spiritual eternal life. And Moses tells us that in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth --- that is, the Virgin Mercury and the Virgin Sulphur. Now let me advise you not to trouble yourselves with this Mercury unless you have a true friend to instruct you or an express illumination from the first Author of it, for it is a thing attained " by a wonderful Art." Observe then what I shall now tell you.
There is in every star and in this elemental world a certain principle which is " the Bride of the Sun." These two in their coition do emit semen, which seed is carried in the womb of Nature. But the ejection of it is performed invisibly and in a sacred silence, for this is the conjugal mystery of heaven and earth, their act of generation, a thing done in private between particular males and females ; but how much more --- think you --- between the two universal natures ? Know therefore that it is impossible for you to extract or receive any seed from the sun without this feminine principle, which is the Wife of the Sun. Now then, my small sophisters of the Stone, you that consume your time and substance in making waters and oils with a dirty caput mortuum ; you that deal in gold and quicksilver, being infatuated with the legends of some late and former mountebanks : consider the last end of such men. Did they obtain anything by it but diseases and poverty ? Did they not in their old age --- " greybeards of an evil time " --- fall to clipping and counterfeiting of coin ? And for a period to their memory did they not die in despair, which is the child of ignorance ? Know then for certain that the magician's sun and moon are two universal peers, male and female, a king and queen regents, always young and never old. These two are adequate to the whole world and co-extended through the universe. The one is not without the other, God having united them in His work of creation in a solemn, sacramental union. It will then be a hard and difficult enterprise to rob the husband of his wife, to part those asunder whom God Himself hath put together, for they sleep both in the same bed and he that discovers the one must needs see the other. The love betwixt these two is so great that if you use this virgin kindly she will fetch back her Cupid after he hath ascended from her in wings of fire.
Observe, moreover, that material principles can be multiplied but materially, that is, by addition of parts, as you see in the augmentation of bodies, which is performed by a continual assumption of nutriment into the stomach. But it is not the body that transmutes the nutriment into flesh and blood but that spirit which is the life and light of the body. Material principles are passive and can neither alter nor purify, but well may they be altered and purified. Neither can they communicate themselves to another substance beyond their own extension, which is finite and determinate. Trust not those impostors then who tell you of a Tingeing Sulphur and I know not what fables, who pin also that new and narrow name of Chemia on a science both ancient and infinite. It is the light only that can be truly multiplied, for this ascends to and descends from the first fountain of multiplication and generation. This light applied to any body whatsoever exalts and perfects it after its own kind : if to animals, it exalts animals ; if to vegetables, vegetables ; if to minerals, it refines minerals and translates them from the worst to the best condition. Where note by the way that every body hath passive principles in itself for this light to work upon and therefore needs not borrow any from gold or silver. Consider then what it is you search for, you that hunt after the Philosopher's Stone, for "it is his to transmute who creates." You seek for that which is most high but you look on that which is most low. Two things there are which every good Christian may and ought to look after the true and the necessary. Truth is the arcanum, the mystery and essence of all things ; for every secret is truth and every substantial truth is a secret. I speak not here of outward, historical truths which are but relatives to actions but I speak of an inward, essential truth, which is light : for light is the truth, and it discovers falsehood, which is darkness. By this truth all that which is necessary may be compassed, but never without it.
"I preferred wisdom " --- said the wise king --- "before sceptres and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her. Neither compared I unto her any precious stone, because all gold in respect of her is as a little sand, and silver shall be counted as clay before her. I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light : for the light that cometh from her never goeth out. All good things together came to me with her, and innumerable riches in her hands. And I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom goeth before them : and I knew not that she was the mother of them. If riches be a possession to be desired in this life ; what is richer than wisdom that worketh all things ? For she is privy to the mysteries of the knowledge of God, and a lover of His works. God hath granted me to speak as I would, and to conceive as is meet for the things that are given me : because it is He that leadeth unto wisdom, and directeth the wise. For in His hand are both we and our words ; all wisdom also, and knowledge of workmanship. For he hath given me certain knowledge of the things that are, namely, to know how the world was made, and the operation of the elements : the beginning, ending and midst of the times : the alterations of the turning of the sun, and the change of seasons : the circuit of years, and the positions of stars : the natures of living creatures, and the furies of wild beasts : the violence of winds, and the reasonings of man : the diversities of plants, and the virtues, of roots : and all such things as are either secret or manifest, them I know. For wisdom, which is the worker of all things, taught me: for in her is an understanding spirit, holy, one only, manifold, subtle, lively, clear, undefiled, plain, not subject to hurt, loving the thing that is good, quick, which cannot be letted, ready to do good, kind to man, steadfast, sure, free from care, having all power, overseeing all things, and going through all understanding, pure, and most subtle spirits. For wisdom is more moving than any motion : she passeth and goeth through all things by reason of her pureness. For she is the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty : therefore can no defiled thing fall into her. For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of His goodness. And being but one, she can do all things : and remaining in herself, she maketh all things new : and in all ages entering into holy souls, she maketh them friends of God, and prophets. For God loveth none but him that dwelleth with wisdom. For she is more beautiful than the sun, and above all the order of the stars : being compared with the light, she is found before it. For after this cometh night : but vice shall not prevail against wisdom."
Thus Solomon ; and again a greater than Solomon : " Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness ; and all these things shall be added unto you." For, of a truth, temporal blessings are but ushers to the spiritual, or --- to speak more plainly --- when once we begin to love the Spirit then He sends us these things as tokens and pledges of His love ; " for promotion comes neither from the East nor from the West," but from God that giveth it.
"The state of true being" --- saith one --- " is that from which nothing is absent ; to which nothing is added and nothing still less can harm. All needful is that with which no one can dispense. Truth is therefore the highest excellence and an impregnable fortress, having few friends and beset by innumerable enemies, though invisible in these days to almost the whole world, but an invincible security to those who possess it. In this citadel is contained that true and indubitable Stone and Treasure of Philosophers, which uneaten by moths and unpierced by thieves remaineth to eternity though all things else dissolve set up for the ruin of many and the salvation of some. This is the matter which for the crowd is vile, exceedingly contemptible and odious, yet not hateful but loveable and precious to the wise, beyond gems and tried gold. A lover itself of all, to all well nigh an enemy, to be found everywhere, yet discovered scarcely by any, though it cries through the streets to all : Come to me, all ye who seek, and I will lead you in the true path. This is that only thing proclaimed by the true philosophers, that which overcometh all and is itself overcome by nothing, searching heart and body, penetrating whatsoever is stony and stiff, consolidating that which is weak and establishing resistance in the hard. It confronts us all, though we see it not, crying and proclaiming with uplifted voice : I am the way of truth ; see that you walk therein, for there is no other path unto life : yet we will not hearken unto her. She giveth forth an odour of sweetness, and yet we perceive it not. Daily and freely at her feasts she offers to us herself in sweetness, but we will not taste and see. Softly she draws us towards salvation and still we reject her yoke. For we are become even as stones, having eyes and not seeing, ears and hearing not, nostrils refusing to smell, a tongue that will not speak, a mouth which does not taste, feet which refuse to walk and hands that work at nothing. O miserable race of men, which are not superior to stones, yea, so much the more inferior because to the one and not the other is given knowledge of their acts. Be ye transmuted --- she cries --- be ye transmuted from dead stones into living philosophical stones. I am the true Medicine, rectifying and transmuting that which is no longer into that which it was before corruption entered, and into something better by far, and that which is no longer into that which it ought to be. Lo, I am at the door of your conscience, knocking night and day, and ye will not open unto me. Yet I wait mildly ; I do not depart in anger ; I suffer your affronts patiently, hoping thereby to lead you where I seek to bring. Come again, and come again of ten,' ye who seek wisdom : buy, without money and without price, not with gold or silver, nor yet by your own labours, that which is offered freely. O sonorous voice, O voice sweet and gracious to ears of sages. O fount of inexhaustible riches to those thirsting after truth and justice. O consolation to those who are desolate. What seek ye further, ye anxious mortals ? Why torment your minds with innumerable anxieties, ye miserable ones ? Prithee, what madness blinds you, when within and not without you is all that you seek outside instead of within you ? Such is the peculiar vice of the vulgar, that despising their own, they desire ever what is foreign, nor yet altogether unreasonably, for of ourselves we have nothing that is good, or if indeed we possess any, it is received from Him Who alone is eternal good. On the contrary, our disobedience hath appropriated that which is evil within us from an evil principle without, and beyond this evil thus possessed within him man has nothing of his own ; for whatsoever is good in his nature belongs to the Lord of goodness. At the same time that is counted to him as his own which he receives from the Good Principle. Albeit dimly, that Life which is the light of men shineth in the darkness within us, a Life which is not of us but of Him Who hath it from everlasting. He hath planted it in us, that in His Light, Who dwelleth in Light inaccessible, we may behold the Light. Herein we surpass the rest of His creatures ; thus are we fashioned in His likeness, Who hath given s a beam of His own inherent Light. Truth must not therefore be sought in our natural self, but in the likeness of God within us."
This is he to whom the Brothers of R. C. gave the title of Sapiens and from whose writings they borrowed most of their instructions to a certain German postulant. But, that you may the better understand how to come by this Stone, hear what he speaks in another place.
" True knowledge begins when after a comparison of the imperishable with the perishable, of life and annihilation, the soul --- yielding to the superior attraction of that which is eternal --- doth elect to be made one with the higher soul. The mind emerges from that knowledge and as a beginning chooses voluntary separation of the body, beholding with the soul, on the one hand, the foulness and corruption of the body and, on the other, the everlasting splendour and felicity of the higher soul. Being moved thereto by the Divine inbreathing, and neglecting things of flesh, it yearns to be connected with this soul, and that alone desires which it finds comprehended by God in salvation and glory. But the body itself is brought to harmonise with the union of both. This is that wonderful philosophical transmutation of body into spirit and of spirit into body about which an instruction has come down to us from the wise of old : Fix that which is volatile and volatilise that which is fixed ; and thou shalt attain our Mastery.' That is to say : Make the stiff-necked body tractable and the virtue of the higher soul, operating with the soul herself, shall communicate invariable constancy to the material part, so that it will abide all tests. Gold is tried by fire, and by this process all that is not gold is cast out. O pre-eminent gold of the philosophers, with which the Sons of the Wise are enriched, not with that which is coined. Come hither, ye who seek after so many ways the Treasure of Philosophers.
Behold that Stone which you have rejected, and learn first what it is before you go to seek it. It is more astonishing than any miracle that a man should desire after that which he does not know. It is folly to go in quest of that, the truth of which investigators do not know : such a search is hopeless. I counsel therefore all and sundry scrutators that they should ascertain in the first place whether that which they look for exists before they start on their travels : they will not be frustrated then in their attempts. The wise man seeks what he loves and loves only that which he knows : otherwise he would be a fool. Out of knowledge therefore cometh love, the Truth of all, which alone is esteemed by all just philosophers."
Thus he; and again: "Ye only toil in vain, all exposers of hidden secrets in Nature, when --- taking another path than this --- ye endeavour to discover by material means the powers of material things. Learn therefore to know Heaven by Heaven, not by earth, but the powers of that which is material discern by that which is heavenly. No one can ascend to that Heaven which is sought by you unless He Who came down from a Heaven which you seek not shall first enlighten.. Ye seek an incorruptible Medicine which shall not only transmute the body from corruption into a perfect mode but so preserve it continually ; yet except in Heaven itself, never anywhere will you discover it. The celestial virtue, by invisible rays meeting at the centre of the earth, penetrates all elements, and generates and maintains elementated things. No one can be brought to birth therein save in the likeness of that which also is drawn therefrom. The combined foetus of both parents is so preserved in Nature that both parents may be recognisable therein, in potentiality and in act. What shall cleave more closely than the Stone in philosophical generation ? Learn from within thyself to know whatsoever is in Heaven and on earth, that thou mayst become wise in all things. Thou seest not that Heaven and the elements were once but one substance and were separated one from another by Divine skill for the generation of thyself and all that is. Didst thou know this, the rest could not escape, unless indeed thou art devoid of all capacity. Again, in every generation such a separation is necessary as I have said must be made by thee before starting out in the study of true philosophy. Thou wilt never make out of others that one thing which thou needest unless first thou shalt make out of thyself that one of which thou hast heard. For such is the will of God, that the pious should perform the pious work which they desire and the perfect fulfil another on which they are bent. To men of bad will there shall be no harvest other than they have sown ; furthermore, on account of their malice, their good seed shall be changed very often into cockle. Perform then the work which thou seekest in such a manner that, so far as may be in thy power, thou mayst escape a like misfortune."
This is now the true mystery of regeneration or the spiritual death. This is and ever was the only scope and upshot of magic. But --- for your further instruction ruminate this --- his other mystical speech.
" So do therefore, my soul and my body : rise up now and follow your higher soul. Let us go up into that high mountain before us, from the pinnacle of which I will shew you that place where two ways meet, of which Pythagoras spoke in cloud and darkness. Our eyes are opened ; now shines the Sun of Holiness and Justice, guided by which we cannot turn aside from the way of truth. Let thine eyes look first upon the right path, lest they behold vanity before wisdom is perceived. See you not that shining and impregnable tower ? Therein is Philosophical Love, a fountain from which flow living waters, and he who drinks thereof shall thirst no more after vanity. From that most pleasant and delectable place goes a plain path to one more delightful still, wherein Wisdom draws the yoke. Out of her fountain flow waters far more blessed than the first, for if our enemies drink thereof it is necessary to make peace with them. Most of those who attain here direct their course still further, but not all attain the end. It is such a place which mortals may scarcely reach unless they are raised by the Divine Will to the state of immortality ; and then, or ever they enter, they must put ofF the world, the hindering vesture of fallen life. In those who attain hereto there is no longer any fear of death ; on the contrary they welcome it daily with more willingness, judging that whatsoever is agreeable in the natural order is worthy of their acceptance. Whosoever advances beyond these three regions passes from the sight of men. If so be that it be granted us to see the second and the third, let us seek to go further. Behold, beyond the first and crystalline arch, a second arch of silver, beyond which there is a third of adamant. But the fourth comes not within our vision till the third lies behind us. This is the golden realm of abiding happiness, void of care, filled with perpetual joy."
This is the pitch and place to which if any man ascends he enters into chariots of fire and is translated from the earth, soul and body. Such was Enoch, such was Elijah, such was Esdras --- to whom this Medicine was ministered by Uriel the angel. Such was St Paul, who was carried up to the third heaven ; such was Zoroaster, who was transfigured ; and such was that anonymous mentioned by Agrippa. " In like manner " --- saith he --- " a wise man testified concerning himself that on all sides sparkling flames issued from his body, accompanied even by noise." This, I suppose, was R. C., the founder of a most Christian and famous Society, whose body also --- by virtue of that Medicine he took in his life is preserved entire to this day, with the epitomes of two worlds about it. Such Elijahs also are the members of this Fraternity, who --- as their own writings testify --- walk in the supernatural light. "To join our assembly" --- say they --- " it is needful that thou shouldst behold this light, for without this it is impossible to see, save only when we ourselves do will it." I know some illiterate school divines will no sooner read this but they will cry out with the Jews : Away with such a fellow from the earth. Truly they are the men " to whom now I also give counsel that they read not our writings, nor seek to understand or remember them ; for they are harmful and as poison to such, and for them the gate of hell is in this book. It utters stones for words : let them take heed lest it strikes their heads." Let them not mind it, buy it not, touch it not. " Hence, hence, ye Profane."
Go on still and proceed in your own corrupt fancies, "that the occasion of justice may be upheld."' Follow your old beggarly elements, the rudiments of this world, which hitherto have done despite to the Spirit of Grace, which have grieved that Holy and Loving Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption. But consider whiles you are yet in the flesh, whiles it is to-day with you, that God will use those men, whom you revile, for His truth, as witnesses against you in a day when you shall have nothing to speak for your ignorance, unless you plead your obstinacy. Of a truth God Himself discovered this thing to the first man, to confirm his hopes of those three supernatural mysteries the Incarnation, Regeneration and Resurrection. For Iamblichus --- citing the Egyptian records with " it is to be believed on the authority of secret teaching " --- hath these very words, " that a certain matter hath been handed down by the gods in sacred pageants and was known therefore to those same who transmitted it." And our former Christian author in a certain place speaks thus : " It is beyond question that God revealed by His Holy Spirit a certain Medicine to the patriarchs whereby they repaired the corruption of flesh, and to those above all with whom He spoke and entered into the covenant." Let me tell you then that the period and perfection of magic is no way physical, for this ArtAttains the throne of Jove and things divine essays.In a word, it ascends by the light of Nature to the light of Grace, and the last end of it is truly theological. Remember therefore that Elijah deposed his mantle and passed through the waters of Jordan before he met with the chariots of Israel. But, as Agrippa saith, "the storehouse of truth is closed." The Scripture is obscure and mystical, even in historical passages. Who would believe that in the history of Agar and Sarah the mystery of both Testaments was couched but that St Paul himself hath told us so ? " For it is written " --- saith he --- " that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh ; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory : for these are the two covenants ; the one from the Mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is Mount Sinai, which is in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all."
I could instance in many more such places, as that of the Royal Prophet, that the dew of Hermon descends to Mount Sion, which is altogether impossible in the literal sense, for every geographer knows there is a vast distance between these two. But to return to my former discourse : some philosophers who by the special mercy of God attained to the Ternarius could never notwithstanding obtain the perfect Medicine, neither did they understand it. I never met in all my readings but with six authors who fully apprehended this mystery : the first an Arabian, a most profound but exceedingly obscure writer, and from him conceive Artephius borrowed all his knowledge ; the second a most ancient Christian anonymous, the greatest that ever was in point of practice, for he ascended to that glorious metaphysical height where the Archetype shadows the intellectual spheres ; the other four are famously known in Christendom. To instruct thee then : this mystery is perfected when the light, in a sudden coruscation, strikes from the centre to the circumference and the Divine Spirit hath so swallowed up the body that it is " a glorified body, splendid as the sun and moon." In this rotation it doth pass --- and no sooner from the natural to a supernatural state, for it is no more fed with visibles but with invisibles, and the eye of the Creator is perpetually upon it. After this the material parts are never more to be seen, "and this is that stainless and oft-celebrated Invisibility of the Magi." Verily this is the way that the prophets and apostles went ; this is the true, primitive Divinity, not that clamorous sophistry of the schools. I know the world will be ready to boy me out of countenance for this, because my years are few and green. I want their two crutches, the pretended modern sanctity and that solemnity of the beard which makes up a doctor. But, Reader, let me advise thee : if by what is here written thou attainest to any knowledge in this point --- which I hold impossible without a divine assistance --- let me advise thee, I say, not to attempt anything rashly ; for Agrippa tells me : " Whosoever doth approach unpurified calls down judgment on himself and is given over to the devouring of the evil spirit " There is in the magical records a memorable story of a Jew who having by permission rifled some spiritual treasures was translated into the solitudes and is kept there for an example to others. I will give thee the best counsel that can be given, and that out of a poet :Demand a healthy mind in healthful frame.Thou must prepare thyself till thou art conformable to Him Whom thou wouldst entertain, and that in every respect. Thou hast three that are to receive and there are three accordingly that give. Fit thy roof to thy God in what thou canst, and in what thou canst not He will help thee. When thou hast thus set thy house in order, do not think thy Guest will come without invitation. Thou must tire Him out with pious importunities,Perpetual knockings at His door,This is the way thou must walk in, which if thou dost thou shalt perceive a sudden illustration, " and there shall then abide in thee fire with light, wind with fire, power with wind, knowledge with power, and with knowledge an integrity of sober mind." This is the chain that qualifies a magician. For saith Agrippa : " To make search into things future and things at hand, or into other hidden things, and those which are foreshewn to men divinely, and into true significations, as also to perform works exceeding the common course of the powers of Nature, is not possible apart from a profound and perfect doctrine, an uncorrupted life and faith, and is not to be performed by light-minded or uninstructed men." And in another place : " No man can give that which he himself hath not. But no man hath save he who having suspended the elementary forces, having overcome Nature, having compelled heaven, having reached the angels, hath ascended to the Archetype itself, as coadjutor whereof he can accomplish all things. " This is the place where if thou canst but once ascend and then descend,
Tears sullying His transparent rooms,
Sighs upon sighs : weep more and more ---
He comes.Then oft the archetypal world attainthen, I say, thou hast got that spirit " which without offence to God, apart from any crime and without injury to religion, can discern and perform whatsoever portentous astrologers, monstrous magians, invidious alchemystical torturers of Nature and venomous necromancers --- more evil than demons --- dare to promise."
And oft recur thereto and, face to face,
Unhinder'd gaze upon the Father's grace ---
Such is the power he shall receive who from the clamorous tumults of this world ascends to the Supernatural Still Voice ; from this base earth and mud --- whereto his body is allied --- to the spiritual, invisible elements of his soul. " He shall receive the life of the gods ; he shall behold the heroes in the assembly of the gods and shall himself be beheld by them." : This, Reader, is the Christian Philosopher's Stone--- a Stone so often inculcated in Scripture. This is the Rock in the wilderness --- in the wilderness because in great obscurity and few there are that know the right way unto it. This is the Stone of Fire in Ezekiel ; this is the Stone with Seven Eyes upon it in Zachary ; and this is the White Stone with the New Name in the Revelation. But in the Gospel, where Christ Himself speaks --- Who was born to discover mysteries and communicate Heaven to earth --- it is more clearly described. This is the Salt which you ought to have in yourselves ; this the Water and Spirit whereof you must be born again ; and this is that Seed which falls to the ground and multiplies to an hundred fold. But, Reader, be not deceived in me. I am not a man of any such faculties, neither do I expect this blessing in such a great measure in this life. God is no debtor of mine. I can affirm no more of myself but what my author did formerly : " Hold me, I bid thee, as a finger-post which, ever pointing forward, shews the way to others undertaking the journey." Behold, I will deal fairly with thee : shew me but one good Christian who is capable of and fit to receive such a secret, and I will shew him the right, infallible way to come by it. Yet this I must tell thee : it would sink thee to the ground to hear this mystery related, for it cannot ascend to the heart of the natural man how near God is to him and how He is to be found.
But of this enough. I will now speak of a natural celestial medicine, and this latter is common amongst some wise men ; but few are they who attain to the former. The common chemist works with the common fire and without any medium, wherefore he generates nothing ; for he works not as God doth --- to preservation --- but to destruction. Hence it is that he ends always in the ashes. Do thou use it cum phlegmate medii : so shall thy materials rest in a third element, where the violence of this tyrant cannot reach, but his anima. There is also a better way ; for if thou canst temper him with the Spirit of Heaven, thou hast altered him from a corrupting to a generating fire. Sublime the middle-nature-fire by trigon and circle till thou comest to a breach ofinferiors and superiors. Lastly, separate from the magical compounded earth that principle which is called medial earth because it is middlemost between the Unary and Binary; for as it attains not to the simplicity of the first, so it is free from the impurities of the second. This is the true Crystalline Rock --- a bright virgin earth, without spot or darkness. This is " Magian Earth in luminous ether," for it carries in its belly wind and fire. Having got this fundamental of a little new world, unite the heaven in a triple proportion to the earth ; then apply a generative heat to both ; and they will attract from above the star-fire of Nature. " So shalt thou possess the glory of the world and all darkness shall fly away from thee."
Now, because the Law of Nature is infallible and confirmed to the creature by God's royal assent, think not therefore there is any necessity upon God, but what He hath enacted in general He can repeal in any particular. Remember who translated the dew from the earth to the fleece and from the fleece to the earth. God bestows not His blessings where they are to turn to curses. He cursed the earth once for Adam's sake : take heed He doth not curse it again in thy work for thy sake. It is in vain to look for a blessing from Nature without the God of Nature ; for --- as the Scripture saith --- without controversy the lesser is blessed of the greater. He must be a good steward that shall overlook the treasuries of God. Have therefore a charitable, seraphic soul : charitable at home in being not destructive to thyself, as most men are ; charitable abroad in a diffusive goodness to the poor, as many are not. There is in every true Christian a spice, I cannot say a grain, of faith, for then we could work miracles. But know thou that as God is the Father so charity is the nurse of faith. For there springs from charitable works a hope of Heaven, and who is he that will not gladly believe what he hopes to receive ? On the contrary, there springs no hope at all from the works of darkness and by consequence no faith but that faith of devils --- to believe and tremble. Settle not then in the lees and puddle of the world ; have thy heart in Heaven and thy hands on earth. Ascend in piety and descend in charity, for this is the nature of light and the way of the children of it. Above all things avoid the guilt of innocent blood, for it utterly separates from God in this life and requires a timely and serious repentance if thou wouldst find Him in the next.
Now for thy study : in the winter time thy chamber is the best residence. Here thou mayst use fumigations and spicy lamps --- not for superstition but because such recreate the animal spirits and the brain. In the summer translate thyself to the fields, where all are green with the breath of God and fresh with the powers of heaven. Learn to refer all naturals to their spirituals by the way of secret analogy ; for this is the way the magicians went and found out miracles. Many there are who bestow not their thoughts on God till the world fails them. He may say to such guests : " When it can be forced on no one else it is brought to me." Do thou think on Him first and He will speak to thy thoughts at last. Sometimes thou mayst walk in groves, which being full of majesty will much advance the soul ; sometimes by clear, active rivers, for by such say the mystic poets --- Apollo contemplated.All things which Phoebus in his musing spakeSo have I spent on the banks of Ysca many a serious hour.
The bless'd Eurotas heard.'Tis day, my crystal Usk : now the sad nightThis is the way I would have thee walk in if thou dost intend to be a solid Christian philosopher. Thou must --- as Agrippa saith --- "live to God and the angels," reject all things which are "contrary to Heaven" : otherwise thou canst have no communion with superiors. Lastly, " be single, not solitary." Avoid the multitude --- as well of passions as persons. Now for authors : I wish thee to trust no moderns but Michael Sendivogius and that author of Physica Restituta, especially his first aphoristical part. The rest whom I have seen suggest inventions of their own, such as may pass with the whimsies of Descartes or Bovillus his Mathematical Roses. To conclude, I would have thee know that every day is a year contracted, that every year is a day extended. Anticipate the year in the day and lose not a day in the year. Make use of indeterminate agents till thou canst find a determinate one. The many may wish well but one only loves. Circumferences spread but centres contract : so superiors dissolve and inferiors coagulate. Stand not long in the sun nor long in the shade. Where extremes meet, there look for complexions. Learn from thy errors to be infallible, from thy misfortunes to be constant. There is nothing stronger than perseverance, for it ends in miracles. I could tell thee more, but that were to puzzle thee. Learn this first, and thou mayst teach me last.
Resigns her place as tenant to the light.
See the amazed mists begin to fly
And the victorious sun hath got the sky.
How shall I recompense thy streams, that keep
Me and my soul awaked when others sleep ?
I watch my stars, I move on with the skies
And weary all the planets with mine eyes.
Shall I seek thy forgotten birth and see
What days are spent since thy nativity ?
Didst serve with ancient Kishon ? Canst thou tell
So many years as holy Hiddekel ?
Thou art not paid in this : I'll levy more
Such harmless contributions from thy store
And dress my soul by thee as thou dost pass,
As I would do my body by my glass.
What a clear, running crystal here I find :
Sure I will strive to gain as clear a mind,
And have my spirits freed from dross made light,
That no base puddle may allay their flight.
How I admire thy humble banks : nought's here
But the same simple vesture all the year.
I'll learn simplicity of thee and when
I walk the streets I will not storm at men,
Nor look as if I had a mind to cry :
It is my valiant cloth of gold and I.
Let me not live, but I'm amazed to see
What a clear type thou art of piety.
Why should thy floods enrich those shores, that sin
Against thy liberty and keep thee in ?
Thy waters nurse that rude land which enslaves
And captivates thy free and spacious waves.
Most blessed tutors, I will learn of those
To shew my chanty unto my foes,
And strive to do some good unto the poor,
As thy streams do unto the barren shore.
All this from thee, my Ysca ? Yes, and more
I am for many virtues on thy score.
Trust me thy waters yet : why wilt not so ?
Let me but drink again and I will go.
I see thy course anticipates my plea :
I'll haste to God, as thou dost to the sea ;
And when my eyes in waters drown their beams,
The pious imitations of thy streams,
May every holy, happy, hearty tear
Help me to run to Heaven, as thou dost there.
Thus, Reader, have I published that knowledge which God gave me " to the fruit of a good conscience." I have not bushelled my light nor buried my talent in the ground. I will now withdraw and leave the stage to the next actor some Peripatetic perhaps, whose sic probo shall serve me for a comedy. I have seen scolds laughed at but never admired : so he that multiplies discourses makes a serious cause ridiculous. The only antidote to a shrew is silence ; and the best way to convince fools is to neglect them.Bless'd souls, whose care it was this first to knowIf Thou, O Jehovah, my God, wilt enlighten me, darkness shall be made light.
And thus the mansions of the light attain :
How credible to hold that minds like these
Transcend both human littleness and vice.