If it were the Business of my Life or Learning, to procure my self that noyse which men call Fame, I am not to seek what might conduce to it. It is an Age affords many Advantages, and I might have the choyce of several Founddations, whereon to build my self. I can see withall, that Time and Imployment have made some persons Men, whom their first Adventures did not finde such. This suddain Growth might give my Imperfections also the Confidence of such another start: but as I live not by common Examples, so I drive not a Common Design. I have taken a course different from that of the World, for (Readers) I would have you know, that whereas you plot to set your selves up, I do here contrive to bring my self down. I am in the Humor to affirm the Essence, and Existence of that admired Chimera, the Fraternitie of R.C. And now Gentlemen I thank you, I have Aire and Room enough: me thinks you sneak and steal from me, as if the Plague and this Red Cross were inseparable. Take my Lord have mercy along with you, for I pitty your sickly Braines, and certainly as to your present State the Inscription is not unseasonable. But in lieu of this, some of you may advise me to an Assertion of the Capreols of del Phaebo, or a Review of the Library of that discreet Gentleman of the Mancha, for in your Opinion those Knights and these Brothers are equally Invisible. This is hard measure, but I shal not insist to disprove you: If there be any amongst the Living of the same Bookish faith with my self, They are the Persons I would speak to, and yet in this I shal act modestly, I invite them not, unless they be at Leasure.
When I consider the unjust Censure and indeed the Contempt, which Magic even in all Ages hath undergone, I can (in my opinion) finds no other Reasons for it, but what the Professors themselves are guilty of by Misconstruction, and this in Reference to a double Obscurity, of Life and Language. As for their nice (or to speak a better truth) their Conscientious Retirements, whereby they did separate themselvs from dissolute and brutish spirits, it is that which none can soberly discommend; nay, it is a very purging Argument, and may serve to wipe off those contracted, envious scandals, which Time and Man have injuriously fastned on their Memory.
For if we reason discreetly, we may not safely trust the Traditions and Judgement of the World, concerning such persons who sequestred themselves from the World, and were no way addicted to the Affairs or Acquaintance thereof. It is true, they were losers by this Alienation, for both their life and their Principles were crosse to those of their Adversaries: They lived in the shade, in the calm of Conscience and solitude, but their Enemies moved in the Sun-shine, in the Eye of worldly Transactions, where they kept up their own Repute with a clamarous Defamation of these innocent and contented Eremits. The second Obstacle to their Fame, was partly the simplicity of their style, which is Scripture-like, and commonly begins like Solomon's Text, with Mi Fili. But that which spoil'd all, and made them Contemptible even to some degree of miserie, was a corrupt Delivery of the Notions and Vocabula of the Art: for Magic like the Sun, moving from the East, carried along with it the Orientall Termes, which our Western Philosophers who skil'd not the Arabic or Chaldee, etc. did meet unhappily and corruptly transcribe, and verily at this day they are so strangely abus'd, it is more then a Task to guess at their Original. But this is not all, for some were so singular, as to invent certain Barbarous Termes of their own, and these conceited Riddles, together with their Magisterial way of Writing (for they did not so far condescend as to Reason their Positions) made the world conclude them a Fabulous Generation. Indeed this was a strange course of Theirs, and much different from that of Trismegistus, in whose genuine works there is not one Barbarous syllable, nor any point asserted, without most pregnant and Demonstrative Reasons. Certainly Hermes as to his course of life was public and princely, in his Doctrine clear and Rational, and hence it was that not onely his own times, but even all subsequent Generations were most constant Tributaries to his Honour. On the contrary (if we may conjecture by Effects) there succeeded him in his School certain Melancholy envious Spirits, whose obscure inscrutable writings render'd their Authors Contemptible, but made way for that new noyse of Aristotle, which men call Philosophie. I may say then of these later Magicians what Solinus sometimes said of those contentious successors of Alexander the Great: That they were born, Ad segetem Romanae gloriae, non ad Haereditatem tanti Nominis.
It is equally true, That some skulking Philosophers whiles they enviously supprest the Truth, did occasionally promote a Lye: for they gave way to the Enemies growth, till at last the Tares possest the Field, and then was the true Graine cast into the Fire. Nor indeed could it be otherwise, for this Bushel being placed over the Light, the Darkness of it invited Ignorance abroad: and now steps out Aristotle like a Pedler with his pack, the Triumphs of whose petulant School had but two weak supporters, Obscurity and Envie. Both these proceeded from the Malignancie of some eminent Authors, whom God had blest with Discoveries Extraordinary: These to secure themselves and the Art, judged it their best course to blot out the path, that such as were unworthy might never be able to follow them. It cannot be denyed but this Mystery and cloud of the letter carried with it both Discretion and Necessitie, but what spoyl'd all was the Excess of the Contrivers, for they past all Decencie both in the Measure, and the Maner of it. I could be numerous in Examples, and proofs of this kind, but that I hold it superfluous to pause at a point which is acknowledged on all Hands. To be short then, this Umbrage and Mist of their Text required some Comment and Clearness, but few being able to Expound, the World ran generally to the other side and the School-men have got the Day, not by Weight but by Number.
This considered, it cannot be thought unreasonable and certainly not unseasonable, if a Society conscious of the Truth, and skil'd in the abstruse principles of Nature, shall endeavour to rectifie the world: for hitherto we have been abused with Greek Fables and a pretended knowledge of Causes, but without their much desired Effects. We plainly see, that if the least Disease invades Us, the School-men have not one Notion, that is so much a charm, as to cure Us: and why then should we imbrace a Philosophie of meer words, when it is evident enough, that we cannot live but by Works. Let us not for shame be so stupid any more, for 'tis a Barbarous Ignorance to maintaine that for Truth which our own dayly Experience can assure us to be False. But some body will reply, That the Antiquitie of this Peripatism may claim some Reverence; and we must complementally invite it abroad, not churlishly turn it out of Doors. This in my opinion were to dance before Dagon, as David did before the Ark: to pay that respect to a Lye, which is due onely to the Truth, and this is Answer sufficient.
As for that Fraternity, whose History and Confession I have here adventured to publish, I have for my own part no Relation to them, neither do I much desire their Acquaintance: I know they are Masters of great Mysteries, and I know withal that nature is so large, they may as wel Receive as Give. I was never yet so lavish an Admirer of them, as to prefer them to all the World, for it is possible and perhaps true, that a private man may have that in his possession, whereof they are Ignorant. It is not their title and the noyse it hath occasion'd, that makes me commend them; The Acknowledgment I give them, was first procured by their Books, for there I found them true Philosophers, and therefore not Chimaera's (as most think) but Men. Their Principles are every way Correspondent to the Ancient and Primitive Wisdome, nay, they are consonant to our very Religion, and confirm every point thereof. I question not but most of their Proposals may seem Irregular to common Capacities; but where the Prerogative and Power of Nature is known, there will they quickly fall even, for they want not their Order and Sobriety.
It will he expected perhaps, that I should speak something as to their Persons and Habitations, but in this my cold Acquaintance will excuse me; or had I any Familiarity with them, I should not doubt to use it with more Discretion. As for their Existence, (if I may speak like a School-man,) there is great reason we should believe it, neither do I see how we can deny it, unless we grant, that Nature is studied, and Books also written and published by some other Creatures then Men. It is true indeed, that their Knowledg at first was not purchased by their own Disquisitions, for they received it from the Arabians, amongst whom it remained as the Monument and Legacy of the Children of the East. Nor is this at all improbable, for the Eastern Countries have been always famous for Magical and Secret Societies. Now am I to seek how far you will believe me in this, because I am a Christian; and yet I doubt not but you will believe a Heathen, because Aristotle was one.
Take them amongst you a more acceptable Ethnic, I mean Philostratus, for thus he delivers himself in the life of Apollonius. He brings in his Tyaneus discoursing with Prince Phraotes, and amongst other Questions proposed to the Prince, Apollonius asks him, Where he had learnt his Philosophy, and the Greek Tongue, for amongst the Indians (said this Greek) there are no Philosophers? To this simple Quaere the Prince replies, [greek] and with a notable Sarcasm, [greek], etc. Our Forefathers (said he) did ask all those who came hither in ships, if they were not Pirates; for they conceived all the World (but themselves) addicted to that vice, though a great one: But you Grecians ask not those strangers who come to you, if they be Philosophers. To this he adds a very dissolute Opinion of the same Grecians, namely, that Philosophy, which of all Donatives is [greek] the Divinest, should be esteemed amongst then as a thing indifferent, and proportionate to all Capacities: And this, I am sure (saith Phraotes to Apollonius) is a kind of Piracy tolerated amongst you: [greek] which being applyed here to Philosophy, I should make bold to render it Sacriledg. But the Prince proceeds, and schools his Novice, for such was Apollonius, who was never acquainted with any one Mystery of Nature. I understand (saith he) that amongst you Grecians there are many Intruders, that injustly apply themselves to Philosophy, as being no way conformable to it: These usurp a Profession which is not their own; as if they should first rob men of their Clothes, and then wear them, though never so disproportionate; and thus do you proudly stradle in borrowed Ornaments. And certainly, as Pirates, who know themselves liable to innumerable tortures, do lead a sottish and a loose kind of life: Even so amongst you, these Pirates and Plunderers of Philosophy are wholly given to Lusts and Compotations; and this I suppose is an Evil that proceeds from the Blindness and Improvidence of your Laws. For should any Man-stealer be found amongst you, or should any adulterate your Coyn, these were Offences Capital, and punished with Death: But for such as counterfeit and corrupt Philosophy, your Law corrects them not, neither have you any Magistrate ordained to that purpose.
Thus we see in what respect the Greek Sophistry was with the Indians, and that clamorous Liberty they had to distract one another; some of them being Epicures, some Cynics, some Stoics, some again Peripatetics, and some of them pretended Platonics. It is not to be doubted, but the scuffling and squabling of these Sectaries did at last produce the Sceptic, who finding nought in the Schools but Opposition and Bitterness, resolved for a new course, and secured his Peace with his Ignorance.
Phraotes having thus returned that Calumny, which Apollonius bestowed on the Indians, to the Bosom of this conceited Greek, gives him now an Accompt of his own Colledg, I mean the Brachmans, with the Excellent and wholesom Severity of their Discipline. And here I cannot but observe the Insolence of Tyaneus, who being a meer stranger in the Indies, notwithstanding runs into a positive Absurdity, and before he had conversed with the Inhabitants, concludes them no Philosophers. These bad Manners of his I could (and perhaps not unjustly) derive from the Customary Arrogance of his Country-men, whose kindness to their own Issue distinguish'd not the Greeks and the Sages: but the rest of the world they discriminated with a certain Sheep-mark of their own, and branded them with the name of Barbarians. How much an Aspersion this is, we shall quickly understand, if we attend the Prince in his Discourse, for thus he instructs Apollonius. Amongst us Indians (saith he) there are but few admitted to Philosophy, and this is the manner of their Election. At the Age of eighteen years the person to be elected comes to the River Hyphasis, and there meets with those Wise men, for whose sake even you also Apollonius are come into these parts. There he doth publiquely profess a very ardent desire and affection to Philosophy; for such as are otherwise disposed, are left to their own Liberty, to follow what Profession they please. This done, the next consideration is, whether he be descended of honest parents or no; and here they look back even to three Generations, that by the Disposition and Qualities of the Ancestors, they may guess at those of the Child. If they find them to have been men of a known Integrity, then they proceed to his Admission; but first they try him, and prove him with several Tentations. For example, whether he be naturally modest, or rather acts a counterfeit Bashfulness for a time, being otherwise impudent and lascivious: Whether he be sottish and gluttonous, or no: Whether he be of an insolent bold spirit, and may prove Refractory, and disobedient to his Tutors? Now those that are appointed to examine him, have the skill to read his Qualities in his countenance; for the Eyes discover most of mens Manners, and in the Brows and Cheeks there are many excellent Indicia, whereby Wise men, and such as are skilled in the Mysteries of Nature, may discover our minds and dispositions, as Images are discovered in a glass. And certainly since Philosophy amongst the Indians is had in very great Honor, it is necessary that those who would know the secrets of it, should be tempted and proved by all possible Tryals, before ever they be admitted.
This was then the Discipline of the Brachmans, and indeed of all the Magi in the Election and Proof of their Pupils. But all this was News to Apollonius, and therefore he asks Phraotes, if these Wise-men, mentioned in his Discourse, were of the same order with those, who did sometimes meet Alexander the Great, and had some Conference with him [greek], concerning Heaven, for it seems they were Astrologers. To this the Prince answers, that these Planet-mongers were the [greek], who were a people disposed to the Wars: [greek]; And for Knowledg (saith he) they make a great Profession of it, but indeed they know nothing that is Excellent. But he proceeds: [greek] etc. Those Wise-men (saith he) who are truly such, dwell between the River Hyphasis and Ganges, into which place Alexander never came, not that he durst not attempt it, [greek] but as I think (saith the Prince) the Reverence due to their Mysteries kept him off. To this he adds, that Alexander knew the River Hyphasis was passable, and that he might with ease beleagure the City, wherein these Magi did dwell: [greek], but their Tower (saith he) had he brought with him a thousand such Souldiers as Achilles was, and three thousand such as Ajax, he could never have taken it. To this he gives his Reason, namely, that the Magi did not make any sallies to beat off their Enemies, but keeping quietly within their gates, they destroyed them with Thunder and Lightening.
Here was a story might have startled Apollonius, who knew not the power of Gun-powder, but in these our days there is nothing more familiar and credible. But notwithstanding the Improvements of this fatal Invention are not known even to the present Generations, for the Pyrography of Cornelius Agrippa, and the Powder of Friar Bacon were never yet brought to the Field. And now let us hear the Friar himself, who discoursing of several wonderful Experiments, tells us amongst the rest of a secret Composition, which being form'd into Pills, or little Balls, and then cast up into the Air, would break out into Thunders and Lightenings, more violent and horrible then those of Nature. Praeter vero haec (saith he) sunt alia stupenda Naturae: nam Soni velut Tonitrus et Coruscationes possunt fieri in Aere: imo majori horrore quam illa qua fiunt, per Naturam. Nam modica materia adaptata, scilicet ad quantitatem unius pollicis, sonum facit Horribilen, et Coruscationem ostendit vehementem: et hoc fit multis modis, quibus Civitas, aut Exercitus destruatur. Mira sunt haec, si quis sciret uti ad plenum in debita quantitate et materia. Thus he.
But let us return to Apollonius, for now he trots like a Novice to the River Hyphasis, and carries with him a Commendatory Letter to the Brachmans, having requested the Prince to tell them he was a good Boy. Here these admirable Eastern Magicians present him with such Rarities as in very truth he was not capable of. First of all they shew him (as Philostratus describes it) a certain Azure, or Sky-colour'd Water, and this Tincture was extreamly predominant in it, but with much Light and Brightness. This strange Liquor (the Sun shining on it at Noon) attracted the Beams or Splendor to it self, and did sink downwards, as if coagulated with the Heat, but reflected to the Eyes of the Beholders a most beautiful Rainbow. Here we have a perfect Description of the Philosophers Mercury, but there is somthing more behind. Apollonius confesseth how the Brachmans told him afterwards, that this Water was [greek], a certain secret Water, and that there was hid under it, or within it, [greek] a Blood-red Earth. In a word, they told him that none might drink, or taste of that Liquor, neither was it drawn at all for any ordinary uses After this most mysterious Water, they shew him also a certain mysterious Fire, and here for my part I do not intend to comment. From this Fire he is brought to certain Tubs, or some such Vessels, whereof the one was called the Vessel of Rain, and the other the Vessel of Winds: all which are most deep and excellent Allegories. But these Rarities imply no more then the Rudiments of Magic.
Let us now come to the Medecine it self, and the admirable Effects thereof. The Brachmans (saith Apollonius) anointed their Heads [greek], with a gummy Medicine, and this made their Bodies to steam at the pores, and sweat in that abundance, as if (saith he) they had purged themselves with Fire. This is enough to prove them Philosophers. And now let us see what kind of Habitation they had, and how much a parallel it is to that place or dwelling of R. C. which his Followers call Locus S. Spiritus. The Wise-men (saith Apollonius) dwelt on a little Hill, or Mount, and on the Hill there rested always a Cloud, in which the Indians housed themselves (for so the word signifies,) and here did they render themselves visible or invisible, at their own will and discretion. This Secret of Invisibility was not known to the Dutch Boor, nor to his Plagiary, the Author of the Manna: but the Fraternity of R. C. can move in this white Mist. Ut nobiscum autem convenias (say they) necesse est hanc lucem cernas, sine enim hac luce, Impossibile est nos videre, nisi quando volumus. But Tyaneus tells us something more; namely, that the Brachmans themselves did not know whether this Hill was compassed about with Walls, or had any Gates that did lead to it, or no; for the Mist obstructed all Discoveries. Consider what you read, for thus some body writes concerning the Habitation of R. C. Vidi aliquando Olympicas domos, non procul a Fluviolo et Civitate nota, quas S. Spiritus vocari imaginamur. Helicon est de quo loquor, aut biceps Parnassus, in quo Equus Pegasus fontem aperuit perennis aquae adhuc stillantem, in quo Diana se lavat, cui Venus Ut Pedissequa, et Saturnus ut Anteambulo, conjunguntur. Intelligenti nimium, Inexperto minimum hoc erit dictum.
But to clear the Prospect a little more, let us hear Apollonius in a certain speech of his to the Aegyptians, describing this Elysium of the Brachnans: [greek] I have seen (saith he) the Brachmans of India dwelling on the Earth, and not on the Earth: they were guarded without Walls, and possessing nothing, they enjoyed all things. This is plain enough, and on this Hill have I also a desire to live, if it were for no other Reason, but what the Sophist sometimes applyed to the Mountains: Hos primum Sol salutat, ultimosque deserit. Quis locum non amet, dies longiores habentem? But of this place I will not speak any more, lest the Readers should be so mad, as to entertain a suspicion, that I am of the Order.
I shal now therfore proceed to the Theory of the Brachmans, and this only so far as their History will give me leave. I find Jarchas then seated in his Throne, and about him the rest of his Society, where having first placed Apollonius in the Seat Royal of Phraotes, Jarchas welcomes him with this unconfined Liberty: [greek]. Propound (said he) what Questions thou wilt, for thou art come to Men that know all things. Here Tyaneus puts in, and very wisely asks them, What Principles the World was compounded of: To this the Brachmans reply, It was compounded of the Elements. Is it made then (saith Apollonius) of the four Elements? No (said the great Jarchas) but of Five. Here the Grecian is puzzled; for besides Earth (saith he) and Water, Air and Fire, I know not any thing: What then is this fifth Substance? It is (saith Jarchas) the aether, which is the Element of Spirits: for those Creatures which draw in the Air, are Mortal; but those which draw in the aether, are Immortal. And here I cannot but observe the gross Ignorance of Apollonius, who being a profest Pythagorean, had never heard of the aether, that famous Pythagorean Principle.
But let us come to his second Question, which of all others doth most betray his weakness and insufficiency. He requests Jarchas to inform him, Which of the Elements was first made? To this Absurdity the learned Brachman answers like himself: They were made (said he) all at once; and he gives this Reason for it, Because no living Creature is generated [greek], by peece-meals. This was a wholesom and a rational Tenet, for the Chaos was first made, and in that all the Elements at one and the same Instant, for the World was manifested, and brought out of the Chaos, like a Chick out of an Eg. To this Apollonius replies like a pure Sophister: And must I think then (saith he) that the World is a living Creature? [greek] (saith Jarchas) [greek]. Yes verily, if you reason rightly, for it giveth Life to all things. Shall we then (saith Tyaneus) call it a Male, or a Female Creature? Both, said the wise Brachman: [greek]. For the World being a Compound of both Faculties, supplies the Office of Father and Mother in the Generation of those things that have life.
We are now come to Apollonius his last Philosophical Quere, and sorry I am that he had not the wit to propound either more or better Questions, but we must take them as they are. He asks Jarchas, whether the Earth or the Sea did exceed in quantity? To this the Indian replies, that if he only consider'd the Mediterranean, or some other particular Channel, the Earth without question did exceed: but if you speak (said he) [greek], concerning Humidity, or Moisture in general, then verily the Earth is much lesser then the Water, for it is the Water that bears up the Earth. This indeed is sound Reason, and conformable both to Scripture and Nature: for the very Spirit that animates and supports the Universe, hath his Habitation in the Water.
And now I suppose it is apparent to the understanding Readers (for others I would not have) that the Brachmans were not a fabulous, superstitious Society, but men of a severe Doctrine, whose Principles were answerable to the very Rigour of Nature, and did not wanton beyond her Law. I could wish Apollonius had been more able to deal with them, but so short was he of Philosophy, that he knew not what to ask them, and that ample Liberty which they gave him, was all of it to no purpose. This is clear to such as know any thing out of his former Queries, which we have already mentioned: but if we look on the rest of his Problems, they are most of them but so many Historical Fables, which he brought with him out of Greece, and now he begins to shake his Budget.
The first thing comes out, is the [greek], a Monster, which Mandevil could never meet withall: and then he questions Jarchas [greek], concerning a certain Water of the colour of Gold, and this indeed might signifie something, but that he understood it literally, of common, ordinary Well-springs: and therefore Jarchas tells him, that he never heard of his Martichora, neither was it ever known, that any Fountains of golden Waters did spring in India. But this is not all: In the Rear of this strange Beast march the Pygmies, the Sciapodes, and the Macrocephali: to which might be added all the Animals in Lucian's History. But as we commonly say, that there is no Smoak without some Fire, so amongst those foreign Fables came in some Indian Allegories, and probably the Brachmans themselves had given then out, at once to declare and obscure their Knowledg.
These Allegories are but two, and Jarchas insists much upon them, besides a solemn Acknowledgement: [greek], There is no reason (said he) but we should believe there are such Things. The first of these two Mysteries is the Pantarva, which Ficinus corruptly transcribes Pantaura, and of this Apollonius desired to know the Truth; namely, if there was such a Stone at all, and whether it was enriched with so strange a Magnetism, as to attract to it self all other precious Stones? This Question the Brachman satisfies experimentally, for he had this goodly Stone about him, and favour'd Apollonius with the sight thereof.
But for our better Information, let us hear Jarchas himself describe it, for he doth it so fully, that a very ordinary Capacity may go along with him. This Stone (saith he) is generated in certain earthy Caverns, some four yards deep, and hath in it such abundance of Spirit, that in the place of its Conception, the Earth swells up, and at last breaks with the very Tumor. But to look out this Stone, belongs not to every Body, for it vanisheth away, unless it be extracted with all possible Caution; only we that are Brachmans, by certain practises of our own, can find out the Pantarva. These are the words of Jarchas, where you shall observe, That he hath confounded the first and second Generation of the Stone, it being the Custom of the Philosophers never to express their Mysteries distinctly. The second Birth then he hath fully and clearly discovered, for when the Philosophers first Earth is moistened with its own milk, it swells, being impregnated with frequent Imbibitions, till at last it breaks, and with a soft heat sublimes; and then ascends the Heavenly Sulphur, being freed from his Hell, for it leaves behind the Binarius, or Terra Damnata, and is no more a Prisoner to that Dross. This first heavenly Sulphur is commonly called Petra stellata, et Terra Margaritarum: but Raymund Lully calls it Terram Terra, and in a certain place he describes it thus: Hac est Tinctura (saith he) quae a vili Terra se spoliat, et alia multum nobili reinduit se. But elsewhere prescribing some Caveats for the Rorid Work, he expressly mentions the first and second Sulphurs, commonly called Sulphura de Sulphuribus. Hoc (saith he) intelligitur de Terra, qua non est separata a Vase, de Terra Terra. This is enough to prove the Affinity of the Pantarva, and the Philosophers Stone.
Let us now return to Jarohas, for he proceeds in his Instructions, and Apollonius hears him to no purpose. The Pantarva (saith he) after night discovers a Fire as bright as day, for it is fiery and shining: but if you look on it in the daytime, it dazles the eye with certain gleams or Coruscations. Whence this Light came, and what it was, the Brachman was not ignorant of: [greek] That Light (said he) which shines in it, is a Spirit of admirable Power; for it attracts to it self all things that are near it. And here he tells Tyameus, that if precious Stones were cast into the Sea, or into some River, and this too confusedly, as being far scattered and dispersed one from another; yet this Magical Stone being let down after then, would bring them again together; for they would all move towards the Pantarva, and cluster under it, like a swarm of Bees. This is all he tells him; but in conclusion he produceth his Pantarva, in plain terms he shewed him the Philosophers Stone, and the miraculous Effects thereof. The second Secret which Apollonius stumbled on, for he knew it not as a Secret, was the Gold of the Gryphons, and this also Jarchas doth acknowledg, but I shall forbear to speak of it, for I hold it not altogether convenient.
It is time now to dismiss Apollonius, and his Brachmans, and this I will do; but I shall first prevent an Objection, though a sorry one, for Ignorance makes use of all Tools. It will be said perhaps, I have been too bold with Apollonius, who, in the opinion of many men, and such as would be thought learned, was a very great Philosopher. To this I answer, that I question not any mans learning: let them think of themselves as they please; and if they can, let them be answerable to their thoughts: But as for Apollonius, I say, the noise of his Miracles, like those of Xavier, may fill some credulous ears, and this sudden Larum may procure him Entertainment: but had these Admirers perused his History, they had not betrayed so much weakness, as to allow him any sober Character. It is true, Philostratus attributes many strange performances to him, as that he should raise the Dead, free himself from Prison, and shake off his Chains, with as much Divinity as S. Peter himself: Nay, that pleading with Domitian in a full Senate, he should suddenly vanish away, and be translated in a moment from Rome to Puteoli. Truly these are great effects; but if we consider only what Philostratus himself will confess, we shall quickly find that all these things are but his Inventions. For in the Beginning of his Romance, where he would give his Readers an Accompt of his Materials, and from what hands he received them, he tells us, that Damis, who was Apollonius his fellow-traveller, did write his Life, and all the Occurrences thereof: but these Commentaries of Damis (saith he) were never published by Damis himself, only a friend of his, a Some-body, [greek] a certain familiar of Damis did communicate them [greek] to Julia the Queen. And here Philostratus tells me, that this Queen commanded him to transcribe these Commentaries. It seems then they were originally written in the Greek, and Philostratus is a meer Transcribler, and no Author. This I cannot believe, for Damis was an Assyrian, and, as he himself confesseth, a very ignorant person, and altogether illiterate: but meeting with Apollonius, [greek] and conversing with the Greeks, he also was almost made a Grecian, but not altogether, not so learned a Grecian as to write Histories, and in a stile like that of Philostratus. But this is not all: Our Author tells us of one Maeragenis, who had formerly written the Life of Apollonius in four Books: but this fellow (saith he) was ignorant of the Performances or Miracles of Tyaneus. And what follows this Ignorance? [greek] We must not therefore believe Maragenis. And why not I beseech you? Because forsooth he lived near, if not in the days of Apollonius, but never heard of those monstrous fables which Philostratus afterwards invented. We must then believe Philostratus himself, for he is the [greek], not the familiar friend, but the familiar spirit of Apollonius: it was he indeed that wrought all these Wonders, for Apollonius himself never wrought any.
Now for the Learning of this Tyaneus (since it is the pleasure of some men to think him learned) I must confess for my part I cannot find it. The Philosophy that he pretended to, was that of Pythagoras, for thus he rants it to Vardanes the Babylonian: [greek], etc. I am a Master (saith he) of the Wisdom of Pythagoras the Samian, he taught me the true form of worshipping the gods, and who of them are visible, who invisible, and how I may come to speak with them. How true this is, we may easily know, if we look back on his Education. His Tutor in the Pythagorean Principles was one Euxenus, a notable Sot, and a meer Ignorant, as Philostratus tells us. He was (saith our Author) an Epicure in his course of life; and for his Learning, he could only repeat some sentences of Pythagoras, but did not understand them: and therefore he compares him to certain Mimic Birds, who are taught their [greek], and their [greek], but know not what the words signifie. Now what Instructions he was like to receive from this man, let any indifferent Reader judg.
But we have something more to say: for if Apollonius when he was at Babylon, could converse with the gods, why did he afterwards desire to be taught of men? For when he comes to India, he requests the Brachmans to teach him the Art of Divination. Certainly, had he been familiar with Angels and Spirits, he had not troubled them with such a Question. These indeed are the slips of Philostratus, who had the Art of Lying, but wanted the Art of Memory. In another place he tells us, that Apollonius understood [greek], all the Languages that men did speak, and which is more miraculous, even their secret Cogitations. This is much indeed, but shortly afterwards he forgets these strange perfections: for when he brings him to Phraotes, that serious Eastern Prince, there doth he use an Interpreter; for Tyaneus, who formerly understood all languages, could not understand the language of the Prince; and so far was he from knowing his secret thoughts, that he did not know in how many languages he could express those thoughts: for when the Prince was pleased to express himself in the Greek Tongue, Tyaneus was quite dejected, and did much wonder how he came to be a Master of that Dialect. Now if any man will say, that the Brachmans did impart their Mysteries to him, it is apparent enough they did not. This is it which even Damis tells us: for Apollonius (saith he) requested nothing of the Brachmans, but certain Divinatory Tricks, by which he might foretell things to come. And here Jarchas takes occasion to discourse with him about Revelations, for he speaks not of any Prognosticating Knacks, which this Greek did look after. He tells him then, that he judg'd him a most happy man, who could obtain any Fore-knowledg at the hands of God, and preach that to the Ignorant, which he did already foresee. As for Rules to divine by, he prescribes not any, for it was too gross an Error for such a Philosopher as Himself: He only tells him, That he should lead a pure life, and keep himself spotless from the Flesh. One passage indeed there is, which I cannot omit: Jarchas informs Apollonius, that of all Gifts imparted to Man by Revelation, [greek]; The chiefest (said he) is the Gift of Healing, or Medicine. But this Heavenly, and most Beneficial Truth, Apollonius was not sensible of: for he was so great a stranger to the Secrets of Nature, that he did not know what to ask for. For my own part, if I durst think him a Philosopher, I should seat him with the Stoics; for he was a great Master of Moral Seventies, and this is all the Character I can give him. As for Philostratus, if we were not even with him, I should think he had much abused us: for when he pen'd his History, he allow'd us no Discretion, who were to come after him. I could be sorry for some Absurdities he hath fastened on Jarchas, did not the Principles of that glorious Brachman refute them. What they are, I shall not tell you, for I am confined to a Preface, and cannot proportion my Discourse to the deserts of my Subject.
And here some Critic may drop his Discipline, and bid me face about, for I am wide of my Text, the Society of R. C. I have indeed exceeded in my service to the Brachmans, but in all that there was no Impertinency. I did it, to shew the Conformity of the old and new Professors: and this is so far from Digression, I can think it near a Demonstration. For when we have Evidence that Magicians have been, it is proof also that they may be; since it cannot be denyed, but Presidents exclude Impossibility. I hold it then worth our observation, that even those Magi, who came to Christ himself, came from the East: but as we cannot prove they were Brachmans, so neither can we prove they were not. Now if any man will he so cross, as to contend for the Negative, he shall have my thanks for the advantage he allows me; for then it must follow, that the East afforded more Magical Societies then one. But this point I need not insist on: for the learned will not deny, but Wisdom and Light were first manifested in the same parts, namely, in the East, where the first Man planted: and hence did the World receive not only their Religion, but their Philosophy, for Custom hath distinguished those Two. From this Fountain also, this living, Oriental One, did the Brothers of R. C. draw their wholesom Waters: for their Founder received his Principles at Damcar in Arabia, as their Fama will instruct you at large. It was not amiss then, if I spent my hour in that bright Region, and payd a weak Gratitude to those Primitive Benefactors: for 'tis a Law with me, Qui aquam hauris, puteum corona.
But that I may come at last to the Subject intended, I shall confess for my part, I have no acquaintance with this Fraternity as to their Persons; but their Doctrine I am not so much a stranger to. And here, for the Readers satisfaction, I shall speak something of it, not that I would discover or point at any particulars: for that's a kindness (as they themselves profess) which they have not for any man, nisi absumpto Salis Modia, till they first eat a Bushel of Salt with him. They tell us then, that the Fire and Spirit of God did work upon the Earth and the Water; and out of them, did the Spirit extract a pure clear Substance, which they call the Terrestrial Heaven: in this Heaven the Spirit (say they) seated himself, impressing his Image therein: and out of this Heavenly clarified Extract, impregnated with the Influx and Image of the Spirit, was form'd that most noble Creature, whom we call MAN. This first matter of Man (as they describe it) was a liquid transparent Salt, a certain bright Earth, purified by a supernatural Agent; and temper'd with a strange unctuous Humidity, enlightened with all the Tinctures of the Sun and Stars. It was and is the Minera of all Creatures; and this Society doth acknowledg it to be their very Basis, and the first Gate that leads to all their Secrets. This Earth or Water (call it which you will, for it is both) naturally produceth their Agent, but it comes not to their hands without Art. By their Agent I understand their Fire, commonly called Mas Aquae, Vulcanus, Sol invisibilis, Filius Solis, Astrum inferius, Faber occultus, Intrinsecus; with a thousand other names. It is sans all Metaphors [greek] and that I may speak Truth even in the phrase of Aristotle, it is [greek] This is that Fire which Zoroaster calls [greek]. In plain terms, it is the Tincture of the Matrix, a fiery, radiant Soul, that calls up another Soul like it self: for it awakes the Anima of the Mercury, which is almost drown'd in a cold and phlegmatic Lethe.
And here Reader, let it he thy Endeavor to understand the Philosophers: for they tell us, that God at first created the Chaos, and afterwards divided it into three Portions. Of the first he made the Spiritual World, of the second the Visible Heavens, and their Lights; but the third and worst part was appointed for this Sublunary Building. Out of this course and remaining Portion he extracted the Elemental Quintessence, or first Matter of all Earthly Things, and of this the four Elements (for there is such a bold Arithmetic) were made. Now Reader guess, if thou dost know the Matter, for it may be thou art one of those who conceive themselves to be Some-body. I tell thee this Theory is Raymund Lully's, and if thou canst make nothing of it, I can without a figure tell thee how wise thou art. There are in the World as many sorts of Salts, as there are Species, and the Salts differ as the Species do, namely, Essentially; for the Specific Forms lie in the Salt. Now learn of me that there is no true Physic, but what is in Salt: for Salt was never known to putrifie, nay it hinders Putrifaction and Corruption in all things, and what hinders Corruption, hinders all Diseases. Now it is evident to all the World, that Salt hinders Corruption, and a Solution of the parts, and this not only in living Things, but even in dead Bodies: for if they be season'd with Salt, then are they preserved, and Corruption comes not at them. It is to be observed, that Virgil in the Cure of Aeneas brings in his Mother Venus with a Panacea, or an Universal Medicine:
occulte Medicans, spargitque salubres
Ambrosias succos, et odoriferam Panaceam.
This word is much abused by certain Alchimists, as they call themselves: but Servius upon the Place tels us, it is Nomen mire compositum, and he observes out of Lucretius, that the Panacea was Salt. It is true, that if we could putrifie Salt, it would discover all the Mysteries of Nature, for it hath all the Tinctures in it: but to destroy this substance, is a hard task, for he that would do it, must do something more, then Death can do, for even her Prerogative comes not so far. Moreoever it cannot be denyed, but some Wise men have attain'd to the putrifaction of Salts, but this Key they received from God, and it is the great Secret of their Art.
What I admire most in it, is this: That when it is kil'd, it dyes not, but recovers to a better life, which is a very strange priviledge. On the contrary, if some Animal dyes, if an Herb withers, or if some mettal be calcin'd and the parts thereof truly separated, we can never restore them again: but this Mystical substance, this Root of the world, if you bring his parts together, after they are separated, then will not he be quiet, but run from one Complexion to another, from this Colour to that: as from Green to Red, from Red to Black, from Black to a Million of Colours, and these miraculous Alterations will not cease, till he hath work'd out his own Resurrection, and hath clearly brought himself to a Super-natural Temperature. I say then that Salt is the true Grain, the Seed not onely of this world, but of the next, and it is the Mystery that God hath made. It is a living water, wherein there dwels a divine Fire, and this Fire binds the parts thereof to himself, coagulates them, and stops their flux, and Salt is the water, that wets not the Hand. This Fire is the life, and therefore it hinders Death; nay it is such a preservative against it, that the very gross Body of Salt prevents Corruption, wheresoever it comes. But if any man would fully know the power of this Fire, let him wisely and effectually dislodge him, let him destroy his Habitation, and then he shall see, what course this Artist will take, to repair his own House. Do not think now that I speak of common Salts, though I confess they are great Medicines, if rightly prepared.
I told thee formerly, there were several sorts of Salts, and here I would have thee study lest thy labours should end with that Complaint of the Chimist in Sendivogius: Lapidem (saith he) amissum deplorabat, et maxime condolebat, quod Saturnum non interrogaverit, quale S A L hoc fuerit, cum tor varia Genera Salium reperiantur. I shall advise thee then to consider the several Divisions of the Chaos, which I have formerly mention'd out of Raymund Lully, for the matter as it is there describ'd, is not subject to many Complexions, and therefore thy Mistakes cannot be many.
And now let us touch at the Treasures of our Saltish liquor, and our liquid Salt. Veniamus quaeso (saith one) ad illum spiritus, seu Aquae gradum, qui nobis sensibilior, magisque familiaris est; Naturaque aerea vestigia diligenti Inquisitione scrutemur, in cuius Occulto mirabilia delitescunt: videlicet, Angeli onnium Generum, Forma rerum inferiorum Essentificae, Humidum radicale cuiusque Viventis, Ignis spissi Nutrimentum, Admirabiles Meteororum apparitiones, ventorum cuiusque Anguli violentae Irruptiones, et infinita alia Mysteria. And now perhaps thou dost begin to bless thy self: for is it possible (sayst thou) that any bodily substance should inclose such Mysteries as these? In this, my Friend, thou has thy Liberty: trouble not thy self about it, for thy faith will add nothing to it, and thy Incredulity cannot take any Thing from it. This onely thou shalt do, be pleased to give way to my sauciness: for I must tell thee, I do not know that Thing, which I may call Impossible. I am sure there are in Nature powers of all sorts, and answerable to all Desires: and even those very powers are subject to us. Behold, I will declare unto thee their Generation, and their secret Descents even to this Earth. It is most certain that God works by the Idea's of his own minde, and the Idea's dispence their Seals, and communicate them dayly to the Matter. Now the Anima Mundi hath in the fixed starrs, her particular Forms, or Seminal Conceptions answerable to the Idea's of the Divine minde: and here doth she first receive those spiritual Powers and Influences, which originally proceed from God. From this place they are conveyed to the Planets, especially to the Sun and Moon, and these two great Lights impart them to the Air, and from the Air they pass down to the Belly or Matrix of the Earth in prolific, spirited Winds and Waters. Seeing then that the Visible Heavens receive the Brightness of the Spiritual World, and this Earth the Brightness of the Visible Heavens, why may not we find something on Earth, which takes in this Brightness, and comprehends in it self the Powers of the two superior Worlds? Now if there he such a Subject to he found, I suppose it will not be denyed, but the Powers of the Angelical and Celestial Worlds are very strange Powers, and what that is which they cannot do, is hard to determine.
The Subject then is the Salt I have spoken of formerly, it is the Body of the Universal Spirit, [greek]. It is the Sperm of Nature, which she prepares for her own Light, as if we should prepare Oyl for a Lamp. A strange Substance it is, but very common, and of some Philosophers most properly called, Salina virens, et Mirabilis.
And here it will not be amiss to speak something of the Cabalists Linea viridis, or green Line, a Mystery not rightly apprehended even by some of the Mekkubalim, but certainly the Modern Rabbins know it not at all. It is the last Midah or Propriety of the Sephiroths, for it receives and includes all the Influences of the Sphiristical Order. It compasseth the Heavens, and in them the Earth, like a green Rain-bow, or one vast Sphere of Viridity, and from this Viridity the divine Influences are showr'd down like Rain through the aether into the Globes of the fixed Stars: for what the Air is to the Globe of the Earth, such is the aether to the Globes of the Stars, and here lies a Secret of the Mekkubalim, for they tell us, there is a double Venus, in duplici Aere. But of this enough. I will now speak of the Philosophers Secret, and blessed Viridity, which is to he seen and felt here below. It is the Proteus of the old Poets; for if the Spirit of this green Gold be at Liberty, which will not be till the Body is bound, then will he discover all the Essences of the Universal Center.
Tum variae illudent species, atque ora Ferarum:
Fiet enim subito sus horridus, atraque Tigris,
Squamosusque Draco, et salva cervice Leaena:
Aut acrem flammis sonitum dabit, atque ita Vinclis
Excidet, aut in Aquas tenues dilapsus abibit;
Omnia transformat sese in miracula Rerum,
Ignemque Horribilemque feram, Fluviumque liquentem.
But this is Poetry: let us now hear the same Scene described by a most excellent, and withall a severe Professor of Philosophy. Ubi vera spiritus (saith he) excessit e fragilibus, per quos sparsus erat, meatibus, estque ab ommi prorsum Colluvie purgatus, in infinitas sese attollit formas; modo in Herbam, modo in Lapidem, aut in Insolitum quoddam Animal: Interdum in Aquor, aut Unionem, aut Gemmam, aut Metallum: dulceque rubentibus iam Flammis emicans, in multas statim colorum Myriadas transit, vivitque portentorum semper Effector, ac Magus, isto nequaquan fatiscens labore, sed vigore ac viribus indies adolescens. Thus he.
And now Reader I must tell thee, that all these Miracles grow out of a certain Earth, a soft red Clay, which is to be found every where. It may be thou art much troubled at these Appearances which I have mentioned, but what wilt thou say to Iamblichus, who tells us seriously, that this Earth will attract Angels, I mean good Spirits? for so did he. But let us hear this Auditor of Anebo, for thus he writes from Aegypt to Porphyrius. Omnium prima (saith he) et Antiquissima Entia, in Ultimis quoque stibrutilant, Immaterialiaque principia materialibus adsunt. Nemo itaque miretur, si quam materiam esse dicius puram, atque Divinam. Nam ipsa quoque materia, quum ab Opifice, Patreque Omnium facta sit, merito perfectionem sui quandam acquisivit, aptam ad Deos suscipiendos. Quinetiam quum nihil prohibet superiora Lumen suum ad Inferiora diffundere: neque igitur materiam permittunt expertem fore Superiorum. Quapropter quantumcunque materia perfectum, et purum est, atque deiforme, ad Deorum susceptionem non est ineptum. Nam quum oportuerit etiam Terrena nullo modo Divinae Communionis expertia fore, ipsa quoque TERRA divinam quandam portionem suscepit, ad capiendos Deos sufficientem. Non ergo fas est omnem, Materiam detestari, sed solam, qua Diis fuerit aliena; Propriam vero ad illos decet eligere, utpote qua consentire possit: Neque enim aliter Terrenis locis, et hominibus hic habitantibus, possessio, portiove ulla ex Divinis contingere potest, nisi TALE quiddam prius iactum fuerit FUNDAMENTUM. Arcanis itaque Sermonibus credendum est, Testantibus a DEIS per Beata Spectacula, Traditam fuisse MATERIAM QUANDAM, Haec ergo illis ipsis Tradentibus cognata est. Talis ergo Materia Deos excitat, ut se demonstrent, etc. These are the words of Iamblichus, in that profound Discourse of his, where he gives Porphyrius an Accompt of the Aegyptian, Caldean, and Assyrian Mysteries.
I know the Philosophical Earth discovers not those Forms I have spoken of in the common, ordinary Process, which if any man knows, I shall not therefore call him a Philosopher. There are several ways to use this Mystery, both first and last: and some of them may be communicated, but some not. To conclude, I say, that this clarified Earth is the Stage of all Forms, for here they are manifested like Images in a Glass: and when the Time of their Manifestation is finished, they retreat into that Center, out of which at first they came. Hence came all Vegetables, all Minerals, and all the Animals in the World; even Man himself with all his Tumult and Principality. This Soft Clay is the Mother of them all: and what the Divine Virgil sometimes said of Italy, may be very properly applyed to this our Saturnine and Soveraign Earth.
Haec dedit Argenti Rivos, Aerisque Metalla
Ostendit venis, atque Auro plurima fluxit.
Haec genus acre Virum: Marsos, Pubemque Sabellam,
Assuetumque Malo Ligurem, Volscosque verutos
Extulit: Haec Decios, Marios, magnosque Camillos.
Salve magna parens frugum, Saturnia Tellus, Magna Virum!
Thus Reader have I endeavor'd to produce some Reasons for those strange Effects, whereof this Society hath made a public Profession. I did it not as a Kindness to them, for I pen no Plots, neither do I desire their Familiarity. I am indeed of the same Faith with them, and I have thus prefac'd, because I had the Impudence to think it concern'd me as much as them. And verily it is true, that wheresoever I meet my own Positions, there have I an Interest, and I am as much bound to the Defence of that Author, as I am to my own. Now for the Ground here layd, it is the Art of Water, the Philosophers Clavis humida, and this Societies Parergon. I dare not speak any thing of their Metaphysical Mystery, but I can tell thee it is not the same with the Philosophers Stone, either in Form or Matter, and let this satisfie thee. I know some Dispositions are so cross to these Principles, I might write again to excuse what I have written, but this I am resolved not to do.
If thou art a malicious Reader, and dost think it too much, because it suits not with thy own Gingles, I must tell thee, thou art none of my Peers: for I have known some Sciences which thou hast never heard of, nor thy fathers before thee. But to make an end, I would have every man descend into himself, and rationally consider those Generations which are obvious to our eyes. We see there is a power granted to man over those Things, whose Original he doth know: Examples and Instances we have in Corn, and other Vegitables, whose seed being known to the Husbandman, he can by the seed Multiply his Corn, and provide for himself, as he thinks fit. It is just so in Minerals, there is a seed out of which Nature makes them, a first matter; and this the Magicians carefully sought after they reasoned with themselves, that as Nature by the Vegetable seed, did multiply Vegetables, so might they also by the Minerall seed, multiply Minerals. When they had found out the seed, they practic'd upon it several wayes: they did shut it up in Glasses, keeping it in a most equall temperate heat, for many moneths together, but all was to no purpose. Then did they fancy another Course, for they buried it in the Earth, and left it there for a long time, but without any success. At last they considered, God without all question being their Guide, that Nature had for every seed a Vessel of her own, and that all her Vessels were but several sorts of Earth: For example, The Vegetable Seed had the Common Earth for his Vessel, for therein Nature did sow it. The Animal Sperm had the Flesh for his, and flesh is but a soft animated Earth, as it appears in the Dissolution of the Body. They saw plainly then, that both these Vessels were not appointed for the Mineral Sperm, they were too cold for it, and common fire was too hot; or if it were well regulated, yet could it not alter the Sperm, for it had not the Qualities of a Matrix. Then did they try several new Heats: they exposed their Matter to the Sun, they buried it in Dunghills and beds of Quicklime, they placed their Glasses in the Moon-beams, they invented new Baths, they made use of sand, ashes, and filings of Iron, they burnt Oyl, and fancied all sorts of Lamps, but all this was Error, and it ended in a troublesom Nothing. Now all these Falsities shall a man meet with in their Books; for when they had found out the Mineral Vessel, and especially the second Earth, wherein they sow'd their Mercury and Sulphur, then did they so confound the Work, that it is almost impossible to get the Preparation out of their hands. This I thought fit to touch upon, that those Difficulties, which great and aspiring Wits must strive withall, may be the more apparent, and surely I think I have pretty well clear'd the way. Thus Reader have I given thee my best Advise, and now it remains thou shouldst rail at me for it. It may be thou hast a free Spirit, but if this Liberality concerns not thy Credit, keep thy Spleen to thy self, for I would not have thee spend what thou canst well spare. Soli Deo Gloria.
To the Reader
This Advertisement, Reader, invites thee not to my Lodging, for I would give thee no such Directions, my Nature being more Melancholy, then Sociable. I would onely tell thee how Charitable I am, for having purposely omitted some Necessaries in my former Discourse, I have upon second Thoughts resolved against that silence.
There is abroad a bold ignorance, for Philosophie hath her Confidents, but in a sense different from the Madams. This Generation I have sometimes met withall, and least they should ride, and repent, I thought it not amiss to shew them the Praecipieces. The second Philosophicall work is commonly cal'd the gross work, but 'tis one of the greatest Subtilties in all the Art. Cornelius Agrippa, knew the first Preparation, and hath clearly discovered it, but the Difficulty of the second made him almost an enemy to his own Profession. By the second work, I understand not Coagulation, but the Solution of the Philosophical Salt, a secret which Agrippa did not rightly know, as it appears by his practise at Malines, nor would Natelius teach him, for all his frequent, and serious intreaties. This was it, that made his necessities so vigorous, and his purse so weak, that I cam seldome finde him in a full fortune. But in this, he is not alone: Raymund Lully the best Christian Artist that ever was, received not this Mysterie from Arnoldus for in his first Practises he followed the tedious common process, which after all is scarce profitable. Here he met with a Drudgerie almost invincible, and if we add the Task to the Time, it is enough to make a Man old. Norton was so strange an Ignoramus in this Point, that if the Solution and Purgation were performed in three years, he thought it a happy work. George Ripley labour'd for new Inventions, to putrifie this red Salt, which he enviously cals his gold: and his knack is, to expose it to alternat fits of cold and heat, but in this he is singular, and Faber is so wise he will not understand him. And now that I have mention'd Faber, I must needs say that Tubal-Cain himself is short of the right Solution, for the Process he describes hath not any thing of Nature in it.
Let us return then to Raymund Lullie, for he was so great a Master, that he perform'd the Solution, infra novem Dies, and this Secret he had from God himself; for this is his Confession. Nos (saith he) de prima illa nigredine a paucis cognita, benignum Spiritum extrabere affectantes, pugnam ignis vincentem, et non victum, licet sensibus corporis multoties palpavimus, et oculis propriis illum vidimus, Extractionis tamen ipsius notitiam non habuimus quacunque Scientiarum, vel arte: ideoque sentiebamus nec adhuc aliqua rusticitate excaecatos, quia nullo modo eam comprehendere valuimus, donec alius Spiritus prophetiae, spirans a patre Luminum descendit, tanquam suos nullatenus deserens, aut a se Postulantibus deficiens, Qui in somniis tantam claritatem mentis nostrae oculis infulsit, ut Illam intus et extra, remota omni figura, gratis revelare dignatus est, insatiabili bonitate nos reficiendo, demonstrans ut ad eam implendam disponeremus corpus ad unam naturalem decoctionem secretam, qua penitus ordine retrogrado cum pungenti lancea, tota eius nature in meram Nigredinem visibiliter dissolveretur. Here lyes the knot, and who is he that will untye it? for saith the same Lully, it was never put to Paper, and he gives this Reason for it. Quia Solius dei est ae revelare, et homo divinae Maiestati subtrahere nititur, cum soli Deo pertinentia vulgat spiritu prolationis humanae, aut literarum serie. Propterea operationem illam habere non poteris, quousque spiritualiter prius fueris Divinitatis meritis comprobatus. Quia hoc secretum a nemine mortali Revelandum est, praeterquam ab Almo spiritu, qui ubi vult, spirat. It seems then the greatest Difficulty is not in the Coagulation or production of the Philosophicall Salt, but in the Putrefaction of it, when it is produced. Indeed this agrees best with the sence of the Philosophers, for one of those Praecisians tels us, Qui scit SALEM, et eius SOLUTIONEM, scit SECRETUM OCCULTUM antiquorum Philosophorum.
Alas then! what shall we do? whence comes our next Intelligence? I am afraid here is a sad Truth for some body. Shall we run now to Lucas Rodargirus, or have we any dusty Manuscripts, that can instruct us? Well Reader, thou seest how free I am grown, and now I could discover something else, but here is enough at once. I could indeed tell thee of the first and second sublimation, of a double Nativity, Visible and Invisible, without which the matter is not alterable, as to our purpose. I could tell thee also of Sulphurs simple, and compounded, of three Argents Vive, and as many Salts, and all this would be new news (as the Book-men phrase it) even to the best Learned in England.
But I have done, and I hope this Discourse hath not demolished any man's Castles, for why should they despair, when I contribute to their Building? I am a hearty Dispensero, and if they have got any thing by me, much good may it do them. It is my onely fear, they will mistake when they read, for were I to live long, which I am confident I shall not, I would make no other wish, but that my years might be as many as their Errors. I speak not this out of any contempt, for I undervalue no man; It is my Experience in this kind of learning, which I ever made my Business, that gives me the boldness to suspect a possibility of the same faylings in others, which I have found in my self. To conclude I would have my Reader know, that the Philosophers finding this life subjected to Necessitie, and that Necessity was inconsistant with the Nature of the Soul, they did therefore look upon Man, as a Creature originally ordained for some better State then the present, for this was not agreeable with his spirit. This thought made them seek the Ground of his Creation, that if possible, they might take hold of Libertie, and transcend the Dispensations of that Circle, which they Mysteriously cal'd Fate. Now what this really signifies not one in ten thousand knows, and yet we are all Philosophers.
But to come to my purpose, I say, the true Philosophers did find
in every Compound a double Complexion, Circumferential, and Central.
The Circumferential was corrupt in all things, but in some things
altogether venomous: The Central not so, for in the Center of every
thing there was a perfect Unity, a miraculous indissoluble Concord
of Fire and Water. These two Complexions are the Manifestum and
the Occultum of the Arabians, and they resist one another, for they
are Contraries. In the Center it self they found no Discords at
all, for the Difference of Spirits consisted not in Qualities, but
in Degrees of Essence and Transcendency. As for the Water, it was
of kin with the Fire, for it was not common, but aethereal. In all
Centers this Fire was not the same, for in some it was only a Solar
Spirit, and such a Center was called, Aqua Solis, Aqua Coelestis,
Aqua Auri, et Argenti: In some again the Spirit was more then Solar,
for it was super-coelestial, and Metaphysical: This Spirit purged
the very rational Soul, and awakened her Root that was asleep, and
therefore such a Center was called, Aqua Igne tincta, Aqua Serenans,
Candelas accendens, et Domum illuminans. Of both these Waters have
I discoursed in those small Tractates I have published; and though
I have had some Dirt cast at me for my pains, yet this is so ordinary
I mind it not, for whiles we live here we ride in a High-way. I
cannot think him wise who resents his Injuries, for he sets a rate
upon things that are worthless, and makes use of his Spleen where
his Scorn becomes him. This is the Entertainment I provide for my
Adversaries, and if they think it too coarse; let them judg where
they understand, and they may fare better.