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Speculum sophicum rhodostauroticum
The 'Mirror of Wisdom' of Theophilus Schweighardt
Translated by Donald Maclean ©
Introduced by Adam McLean ©
Back to Rosicrucian texts.
The Rosicrucian movement was given its impulse through the publication of its three well known texts, the manifestos of the Fama Fraternitatis and the Confessio Fraternitatis in 1614 and 1615 respectively, followed by the 'Chemical Wedding' in 1616. Those wishing to penetrate the mystery of the Rosicrucians must inevitably return to these documents to seek some insight into the Brotherhood's ideas, beliefs and practices. There are however other texts of the period that equally contributed to the Rosicrucian event, and though many of these have been almost entirely neglected, some particular texts deserve study and investigation. Foremost among these neglected secondary texts is "The Mirror of the Wisdom of the Rosicrucians" written in 1617 by Daniel Mogling under the pseudonym of Theophilus Schweighardt and first published in 1616. This text contains three important engravings.
The title page has at its head "under the Shadow of your wings" with the four lettered name of God JHVH thrice repeated. Immediately below this are two male figures one in an attitude of prayer (ORA), and another working with metal on an anvil (LABORA). The text on the right says "Here is clearly expounded all the skill of the whole world, all Art and Science at the same time. But seek first the kingdom of God and then contemplate this matter and take note carefully of everything". The adept is then exhorted by the text on the left not only to look outward at the wonders of Nature but also to look within, "If you understand and follow my feelings, you will never desire anything else, and like myself you will be content and ask little of the world's misery. And I know how to maintain myself in this and no money nor goods shall be lacking to me".
Further below two female figures are set in niches one labelled PHYSIOLOGIA and the other THEOLOGIA. Physiologia who represents the spiritual transformative forces working in the human soul from out of our bodily nature holds a winged flaming heart in her right hand and three symbols - a Rose, a feather quill pen, and a latin cross, while above her is the statement "This I hold for my radiant joy". Her syzygy Theologia, representing the spiritual force working from above into the human soul, holds a heart bearing the first and last things, the Alpha and Omega, A and Z, Aleph and Tau, the alchemical AZOTH, while in her left hand she hold a ruler and compass labelled "The Art of Nature", and above her is written "God's word which remains in eternity".
In the middle below the booktitle is a panel with a complex of symbols at the centre of which is a cross surrounded with a wreath of roses with the words "I am practiced in this". To its left is the cryptic remark "Behold Reader what stands before thy eyes. This is my true counterfeit, my life and my whole position, whereby my name will be known. In this sign is my name". Below, an island rises out of the sea of ignorant opinion and useless speculation, while above, a ship set on its course to the Rose Cross is guided by the hand of God holding the angelic wings.
The title page is rather elaborate, introducing this book to us as :
"The Mirror of the Wisdom of the Rosicrucians.
The Detailed Unveiling of the College and Axiomata of the specially illumined Fraternity of the Christian Rosy Cross to all those desirous of and expecting wisdom
and to the further confounding of those who don't understand (Zoiles) and to their inextingishable shame and mockery.
Theophilus Schweighardt Constantiensem.
With the Privilege of God and Nature, not to be overturned in Eternity, 1618."
On the bases of the two columns we find written on the left "Unless you understand my true teachings, you will never understand another book", while on the right "I have explained it so clearly and brought it before your eyes with figures".
Schweighardt's text expresses clearly enough the search for the Rosicrucians as being an inner quest. Schweighardt, who must have been close to the mystery of the Rosicrucians (the Rhodo-staurotic Brotherhood as he refers to them) as anyone of the time, clearly identified the fraternity as an inner brotherhood of aspirants working within the sphere of a common constellation of symbols. In his third chapter he outlines the polarities that must be united within our souls if we are to consider ourselves as brethren of the Rosy Cross. - Adam McLean.
Through the mediation of the Elohim
Dear brethren and fellow labourers in God, it is for ever the greatest cause of astonishment by what wonderfully contrary and world-loving opinion the majority of human creatures have landed in an incurable desperation, for they cannot recognise the salvation that hovers before their eyes and the final reforming of their errors, but they withstand all the grace and mercy of God. Look at and observe this age that is ending, contemplate the manifold businesses and affairs of mankind which are for the most part vain and of no account, not to mention public calumny and infamy, upon which may God have pity, in high and low degree. All this has so much got the upper hand that instead of being punished it is held more in esteem than godly virtues and heroic deeds. Oh vanity of vanities. Oh depraved human nature! My heart would leap from my body every time that I contemplate this miserable condition of such seeming joy; and though I know myself much too puny and in need of help to ward off this evil by my own person I cannot in Christian love ignore my neighbour and refrain from expounding my "Pandoram" with figures which have been published for the same reason; and from revealing the much desired Collegium, Lodge, or Dwelling of the highly praised Rhodostaurotic (Rosicrucian) brotherhood and their true philosophy, the "fidelibus, pansophiae, studiosis" to the end that mankind be wakened from its sleep of sin, and with freshly opened hearts, with heads bared and bare feet, go joyfully towards the newly rising sun and salutifero Heliae. Wherefore loving brethren in God, nature and wisdom, receive and mark this my faithful instruction, read it and examine it earnestly, and you will find what many thousands have desired from the beginning but what few have found. So be you pious, God-fearing, compassionate, well-doing and silent, otherwise this wisdom that is here made public and laid before your eyes in a manner that could not be brighter will not only shut up your treasure and close its storehouse but will turn to mockery, offence and shame. But thou, God-loving brother and friend, who wast named in the title somewhat obscurely, wilt know thyself through thy manifold experiences and promises made unto thee brought unto me in other ways, thou shalt have this Christian, godlike and nature-politic "Speculum Sophicum" as thine own gift and to thine honour as a lover of its content and one dedicated to the salvation of the faithful. And this all the more because in the past two years thou hast shewn thyself to mine unworthy self in such fashion by confiding to me thine especial secrets that I cannot but think thereon without astonishment and a corresponding brotherly affection. For thou, O brother, didst offer to hear my pansophy, thou hast shewn me the way of my work, thou wast, art and shalt be in eternity the author and refuge of my thoughts.
I, Theophilus Schweighart Centralleanicus with the blessing of the times, herald of the Divine - Magical, Physical - Chemical, Triune - Universal Philosophy with the Grace of God, revealed to the unworthy, wish to all those who have been granted by God to contemplate my "Sophy speculum oculis intelligentiae" peace, joy and constant prosperity from the glorious Father of Light reigning through the generations.
And although the Theonic generation of vipers have dared to set obstacles in the way of some of our departed societies and brotherhoods by unexpected means and ways, and have undone them for the cursed intention of outer appearance, I shall nevertheless hope and trust that thy humanity and thy superior understanding will ascribe to me more belief and confidence, when I speak with an open and candid spirit, than other "Zoili" with their despicable calumnies. If thou doest this, thou mayst expect something greater and more worthy in the coming year while contending thyself with the present proffered writing which, as I have said, is in thine honour, friendship and brotherliness, with the prayer to God the Almighty that he will unite it in thee with the "Pansophica studia in centro Sacratissmae Alethiae".
Given on the 1st March 1617 from the Musaum Centralleanicum.
SPECULI SOPHICI UNIVERSALIS
A Brief but Thorough Description of the Collegium of the Fraternity, Highly Illumined by God, of the Rose Cross.
It is not unknown to me, true-hearted reader, with what great appetite yet for the most part with what vain hope information is sought concerning the Collegium, Lodge, and Dwelling of the far-renowned Rosicrucian Brotherhood by persons of high and low rank hitherto. For hardly a day goes by in Frankfurt, Leipzig, and other well known places, and particularly in the city of Prague, without ten, twelve or even twenty different kinds of person attempting to gain information from art-dealers, booksellers and print-makers etc., not to mention other people of high authority who seek after the aforementioned Collegium with zeal and earnestness, and yet are so cheated and led astray by false brethren that it were better to be silent than to bring people to mockery and disadvantage in their public dealings. In order to avert such evil and the misfortunes which spring from it I have resolved to place the oft named Collegium and its statutes openly before all the world and right before all eyes in various languages, and so hopefully to prevent these terrible errors. Know therefore, brother who lovest God and art, that according to the announcement of the brethren although the incorporated gathering of all Rosicrucians does not take place in one particular place, nevertheless a true-hearted, devout and upright man can easily and without great trouble come to speak with one of the brethren; I say a devout and upright man, but not a gross and high-faluting Thraso, a gold-greedy Ardelio, or a worldly-wise Authophilus.
And now thou askest, how shall I come thereunto? Attend unto what Iulianus de Campsis says in his epistle: "I wandered through many kingdoms, principalities, domains and provinces; I turned towards the sunrise, noon and evening and finally towards midnight etc." These words will explain the Collegium clearly enough unto thee and it helps but little if thou wander through all kingdoms and seaport towns and art not worthy to receive. Study my figure, Serpentarius and Cygnus have shewn thee the way thirteen years ago to the Holy Spirit and have not the blessed videamini called unto the brethren? What shall it avail thee if thou comest with unwashed hands and a mind desirous of money? Little can the ringing of the bell or blowing of the horn help thee, and even though thou seest the gates open before thee thou mayest not enter, for thy name stands not written there, for thus it is written: "Come ye who are worthy. Thou however must be an unworthy Christophilus though thou beest a Christophilus." Therefore the fraternity shall bethink themselves of Jehova, their leader, rather than give thee a reply. Shall we be moved? even let us be moved - that is an evil message. If that should happen thou shalt certainly either miss the Collegium or if thou art not content with this and wilt climb higher against all will, thou shalt sing the paenitere (penitence) in the dirt. Therefore hasten slowly. Pray, work and hope. If God pleases by many distinctions of things. At last. Thou seest that the Collegium hangs in the air, where God wills, he can direct it. It is moveable and immoveable, constant and inconstant, it relies upon its wings and wheels, and though the brethren call the "venite" with sweet trumpets, Iulianus de Campus stands with the sword, and thou must undergo his examination, wherefore beware. If thou pass not the examination and hast a bad conscience neither bridge nor rope shall avail thee. If thou comest high, high shall be thy fall, and thou must die and spoil in the pit of errors and opinions. Follow me, imitate the birds as in my figure, fly in the free air, go gently. There is no peril in delay, but in haste. Let the dove fly from thine ark and seek out the land. If she bring thee an olive branch be sure that God has helped thee, and thou shouldst in turn help the poor. But if the dove stays away without a sign then go into thy herb garden and feed thyself meanwhile upon the lovely herb "patientia" (in so far as it has been planted in thy garden), but beware, as thou lovest thy soul, of the weed "desperation", for although Iulianus says: "He who is not ready today shall be less so tomorrow" which is to be applied to presumptuous heads who would break into wisdom against the laws of God and nature - may the thrown dice fall! This I say: walk with a stick, for thou who art not ready today shall be so one day, for not all the day is evening, and what is not to be hoped for today shall yet come to pass. Do thou only what thou canst (as the aforementioned Campanus says) and thou shalt be in his good time released from the flood of ignorance.
There is a building, a great building lacking windows and doors, a princely, aye imperial palace, everywhere visible, but hidden from the eyes of men, adorned with all kinds of divine and natural things, the contemplation of which in theory and practice is granted to every man free of charge and remuneration, but heeded by few because the building appears as bad, little worth, old and well-known to the mind of the mob who are ever heedless and seekers after things new; but the building itself is so precious, so delicate, artistic and wonderful in its construction that no wealth, gold, jewel, money, goods, honour, authority or reputation in the whole world can be named which is not to be found in that high reputable palace in high degree. It is itself so strongly fortified by God and nature, and preserved against the onslaught of the ignorant, that even though all the mines, cannon, battering-rams and petards and such recently invented military devices were used against it all human endeavour and toil would be useless and in vain. This is the Collegium ad S.S. of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood, this is the royal, nay more than imperial palace of which the brethren in their "Fama" make mention, herein are hidden the inexpressible costly treasures and riches - let this be a sufficiently lucid account thereof. Oh how many men go unknowing and without understanding through all the rooms, all the secret hidden places of this palace, unseeing, uncomprehending, worse than a blind man, or as the saying goes, as a donkey on a bagpipe, because they have not been sufficiently prepared and made worthy. He who hath ears, let him hear.
It is not possible to speak more clearly, but it is possible, and unfortunately more than common to twist the meaning of the words. Try it at your peril. I vow to thee by the salvation of my soul, that what I write and describe here is from no presumptuous or deceptive intent, but from a true and well intentioned brotherly heart. But not long ago I was taken by a person of rank in an imperial city who had written about the Fraternity in friendly fashion, and was heard by the judges not without some despite to mine own person; and nothing was made of it than of a philosophical display and a figment of the printers just for the benefit and trouble of bookworms, so you can see how such societies are discovered and unexpectedly disappear again so that no more is heard of them just like the people on the first of April. O uncomprehending man "phy tibi tuisque?" thou think that the brethren have nothing else to do than to call upon thee with writings, beseeching thee and supplicating thee? Nay, if thou wilt not prepare thyself and adjust thyself to the signs of favour already given, thou hadst better leave it alone - herein use thy senses. I tell thee in truth, whereas the brotherhood was once in being and growing, it exists now, and there are such a number of well intentioned "collegari" (members?) (God be praised) that they do not need thee nor thy like calumniants, stay behind the stove lest the hairsplitting "philosophia" will cudgel thy lofty reason, and thou seest no more therein than buffoonery, barrel-organ, low songs and other such shameful verses, which serve only to bring some money into the booksellers' bag. Nevertheless all and sundry who hitherto have dealt with the writings of the brethren (as they must confess themselves) have suffered little harm from them, which in no way detracts from their innate, intrinsic and essential authority, but happens only by accident; and in this another benefit is hidden than can be got by a coarse intellect and perception, but I go too far.
As far as the Collegium is concerned, I know no more than this: Look about thee and pray earnestly to God and thou shalt certainly find it. The brethren are nearer unto thee than thou thinkest, whosoever thou beest, wheresoever thou art, good or evil, high or low, poor or rich, near or far, and yet they are no "ubiquitists" or devil's artists, but Theosophi. I beg thee for God's and thine own salvation's and advantage's sake, only follow, thou shalt not regret it, for thus it is if I may bring the Collegium to light in a few words to the advantage and profit of many erring persons, and beg the same heartily they will seek it in vain and they should cease from their quest, for if they are not worthy, it will not avail them as I have already said, neither blowing the horn, nor ringing the bell, nor knocking and yelling, neither writing nor travelling, for thus it must be. Moreover it is not necessary that thou go into much danger, for it must be a mean place where no brother has been within four weeks (consider my wheel in the figure) the same brother knows and recognises the thoughts better than thou canst shew him, therefore only be calm, still, place thy hope in God, pray unto him without ceasing, hearken unto and read diligently his word and ponder it in thy heart. From my heart I speak: go into thyself, put all worldly things behind thee, contemplate the two old theological works of Thomas a Kempis of 150 years ago, follow after them, in them thou hast the whole art so worthily and beautifully that they are worth setting in silver, gold and precious stones, and guarded as thy highest treasure. If thou canst and doest this thou art more than half a Rosicrucian, and soon the "Magnalia macro and microcosmica" will be found; and I will assure thee that a brother will appear in person to thee. It seems wonderfully incredible, but I beg thee, as thou lovest thy soul and thy salvation, follow the two aforementioned more than costly little books as much as thou canst, and contemplate besides with diligent study the "Parergon", and I assure thee, thou shalt find the Art and Collegium, and this is the only way, for else there is no avail to seek the palace, for it is not and yet it is.
Seek not, in vain is all thy toil,
Mark now what I inform thee here,
If thou doest it, and followest my teaching
A brother will soon be with thee.
Write not, thou hast then proved thyself,
With prayer hast been admitted to the school.
ERGON ET PARERGON FRATERNITATIS TYPICE
(The Work and Secondary Work of the Fraternity - In the Figure)
Now that we, in a true-hearted mind, have made public the Collegium, and by means of divine help so far demonstrated that hopefully the same may bring to many that labour no little profit and advantage, we shall now, in so far as is permitted to us, take the matter further in hand and reveal faithfully the Axiomata and Conones breviter of the above mentioned Rosicrucian Order. But herein the well-meaning reader, desirous of art, shall so know how to comport himself that instead of proceeding in a Rhodo-staurotosophic manner (as he should) he will avoid browsing without understanding upon the writings, all and sundry and without discrimination, of the peripatetics, stoics, the Ramists, Lullianists, Paracelcists, and what more of that ilk, and posing as a monarch of this literary empire (of which such antisophic heads there are now plenty to be found); but he will be mindful that the intention of the highly laudable fraternity is wholly and totally set - as the writings of the above mentioned and other authors stand to be mildly (mildly I say) corrected - on holding the concordances against one another and bringing them to the centre of truth in a pansophic globus. In order that this may be brought about it is imperative that thou first empty thy heart before God, thy Creator, and as St. Paul enjoins, examine all thy human dealings, especially thine own possessions, and cast out utterly all cursed "philautie" (love of self), and go with thy thoughts into thyself, into the inner man, and contemplate the remaining sparks of divine goodness: to God thy merciful Father (in whom all wisdom has her source) call fervently beseeching his grace and support; that he may be helpful to thee in the difficult work which thou hast undertaken, and know thyself too small and weak for it, and bethink thee as soon as thou trustest to thine own forces and faculties thou takest a step upon the right pansophical general road.
I know now that many who read this my brotherly admonition and the recently published "Pandoram" will hold this against me; thinking to himself: "Thou hast promised before in thy 'Speculo pandoram ante publicata' to explain thoroughly, but all thou dost is to go on singing the old song about knowing God and thyself." To him I give this answer: "If only thou knewest, dear brother, how much store the work of the brethren sets not only on thee as a philosophus, but on all and every individual human being thou wouldst not take exception to these my repetitions; other words I cannot use unto thee in this, only the 'Parergon' as thou shalt hear more extensively of."
The Holy Divine Scripture is the fount and fundament of the fraternity, neither what thou buildest upon it shall ever fall: yea they shall bring humanity to the sustenance of life, but the Theosophi prefer to hear, curing the soul before the body. Imprint this firmly on thy mind, else is all further toil and work in vain, thou shalt lose work and reward if thou lose God. Consider thine own salvation and let this Ergon be acceptable unto thee, and then in the following "parergi" thou shalt progress the more happily in understanding. More I cannot say unto thee of this, but if thou desirest more information concerning this fundament and preparatory work, thou shalt find more thereon in the aforementioned little books of Thomas a Kempis, for the author in the same book does nothing else but teach thee to practise this work rightly and well, and so it may be called his golden writing, well and truly a fount and origin of the Rhodo-staurotic teaching. Hoc de priori.
Now thou descendent from the heights and betakest thyself among the creatures and Magnalia of God to serve thy neighbour. In this is all learned wisdom and philosophia which hitherto has been practised by many hundreds and right little understood and brought to a happy conclusion. Is this parergon general or special? The more widely it is practised the better is its effect, and so it shall be spoken of here next. Thou shalt see its theory in the figure on the page: His father Sun (which Trismegistus says), Mother Moon; he bore the wind in his belly, his nurse is the earth. This is the matter and subject of our philosophy or of our general physiology, which are provided by time and occasion not by money. For this thou needest no wishing-cap or bag of fortune, nor special art or athletic speed, but only time and place. Contemplate my figure properly and well, the most important thing is hidden therein and it is impossible to indicate it more clearly. No father would place it more clearly before the eyes of his son than I have done before thee, wherefore I beg and enjoin thee (lest thou desire aught more useful and profitable to find in this): let this figure be highly and well recommended to thee, observe it, contemplate it, examine it not once but often, for there is nothing included in it in vain, but can be seen with our open eyes, that thou mayest boldly believe, for I am not here as a deceiver but as a brother and friend, wherefore I have not minced my words) but spoken everything freely, openly and roundly, against the will and good opinion of many.
Twofold is the matter. One comes from heaven, the other out of the earth. How little and bad dost thou appear unto the children of men, how precious however to him who understands. If thou wilt mark it, I have told thee enough, more I may not say, draw back O Harpocratis, however much I should like. If God has helped thee so far, doubt not, though it may go forward but slowly, nature will obey thee (but on the bliss of thy soul bethink thee and use it not other than a parergon, otherwise it would be better for thee if thou hadst a millstone round thy neck and wert sunk to the bottom of the sea) and open unto thee her lovely art and treasure house. As far as the Operation and Practice is concerned, because the same are clear and distinct with both old and new, they are repeated without trouble in this "Methodicum speculum". Use the figure as an aid, and whether thou straightaway gettest the long desired treasure into thine arm and power, so be mindful at all times of this: O Jehova thou gavest, may the praise be unto thee.
And here we should speak of the Physiologia generalis from which the specialis is derived. But because at the present time on account of dangerous misuse it would appear inadvisable to bring it into the public, if my true-meaning request with the present figure should reach thee, art loving reader, that thou mayest make do with the figure until either conversation by word of mouth or other means of further instruction may be given thee. Phy: saeculo! in quos incindimus annos.
Mirror of Art and Nature - tam Naturantis, quam Naturatae the Whole Science of the Brotherhood.
Hitherto we have specially treated of the Collegium, Work and Secondary Work (the Ergon and Parergon) of the highly to be praised Rosicrucian Brotherhood. But so that the true-hearted Philopansophus may have some information, and may not complain of the author's work, it seemed good to us to treat of what has been already mentioned in the foregoing work but not dealt with in detail. Therefore we shall repeat the matter in this third chapter as in a short compendiolum. May thou, O Reader desirous of art, give thine attention to the following figure, because in it are hidden many useful and highly necessary things, so shalt thou serve God and thou shalt not be able henceforth to thank the author enough, in so far as thou regardest thine advantage and salvation, nor desirest to misuse such divine Magnalia. Know however, O God-loving man, friend and brother in Christ, that what I, the author of this little tract, have in good faith revealed herein and uncovered, goes neither against God nor nature, but on the contrary is so much favoured of them both that all human efforts were too puny to overturn it in all eternity. It is not just an empty human trifling, or my own facile invention, but the eternal and only naked philosophical truth itself, which God the almighty creator of all things has implanted in nature from the beginning, and which right up into these our times has been preserved in sundry Christ-loving people in wonderful fashion: the greatest things though hidden to the examination and human cleverness may through the omnipotence of the Creator's goodness be resuscitated in the rational soul as divine sparks and flames. When thou apprehendest this aright like as in a mirror, bethink thee and believe firmly that thou shalt attain the highest point of human knowledge in this life happily, and wilt have satisfied thy mind so desirous of art. The sign of thine erudition will be a calm and peaceful conscience, contempt of all pride, and self-love (philautos), compassion on the poor, love of God and thy neighbour, hatred of the world, longing for eternal life, and all such divine virtues; but as long any one of their counterparts is allowed to remain in thee, thou mayest not think that the Virgin Sophia will take pity on thee and allow thee in time to enter her pleasure garden; as I myself (so that thou mayest know it) am not yet by any means perfect in my person, and human frailty and especially the devilish self-love gives me all too much pain and hindrance. But I have to thank God my merciful Father that through his grace and Holy Spirit I have climbed so high in my pansophical studies that I should not wish to exchange for it great riches and treasures of this world, and I hope also to be not too far from the goal (and I mean with the Ergon, not the parergon, that the things of others mean nothing to me) and may God grant me his grace in the future.
In order that I may not keep thee too long, gracious reader, so in God's name mark my speech, and imagine to thyself that it be no other than if thou wert hearing it from thine own father, for I desire thy harm less than my soul. Pray God the almighty Father of all wisdom, that he grant thee his grace and support herein, that thou mayst progress through God's visible help (for human power is all too slight for this). Fall with me therefore upon thy knees (mock not) and call to the creator of all things, setting all human affairs, frivolity and profitless thoughts behind thee, in the following words:
"Lord Father of all wisdom be gracious unto me poor sinner, illumine my heart to see thy wonders, and take from me all human frailty, that I may know thee and thy Magnalia in strong faith and true confidence, that I may understand the sparks of thy goodness which thou hast bequeathed, and that I may be useful to and understanding with my neighbour, for the sake of Jesus Christ thine only-begotten Son, who together with thee and the Holy Ghost ruleth, liveth and overshadoweth from now into eternity. Amen. Amen. Amen."
Quod igitur foelix faustumque esse velit
TER - MAX : Mundi MONARCHA.
Here begins auspiciously
THE PANSOPHIA RHODO-STAUROTICA
By God the Almighty established herein from eternity unto the world,
and graciously reserved for the sons of the blessed generation.
Rouse, rouse thine ears
Whosoever hath ears to hear with, let him hear
Whosoever hath eyes to see with, let him see
Whosoever hath a tongue to speak with, let him speak
And proclaim the almightiness of the All-highest.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." John 1.
This Word is the first that has been hereunto from eternity and again shall remain in eternity, without beginning and end, no thing before him, no thing after him, all things out of him one and alone. This is the Sun, the eternal, the perfect triad, sacratissima monas triade ligata in the upper sphere: from him is the life, the art of light and knowledge of all things in so far as it is granted to man in this life to explore, in short this is the highly-blessed God Jehova, the first creator, beginning, fount and origin of all creatures and Magnalia, so as the human being may wish and think of him; from him alone come riches, honour, favour, authority, skill, wisdom, health, strength and eternal life. Whoever has this has everything in him, for he Jehovah our God is almighty and an inexhaustible source of all that is good. Whoever obeyed him before the Fall need never be in care for wisdom, just as Adam suffered no lack and was free of doubt; and we his descendents would have been given the same form if the so cursed devilish Philauti (which our ancestors called the snares of the devil) had not come up behind us, and so obscured the divine eternal shining of light (alas may God have pity) that from those brightly shining flames hardly a few little sparks are left up to this last time that is coming to an end, whereby the long awaited rising of the Holy Gospel that alone imparts bliss, and the revelation of the Son of God shall finally dispel that darkness, the beams of divine wisdom shall shine forth more and more, and hopefully soon kindle the last fire to consume the godless world and with it the stubborn hearts of those wandering in error and perilous labyrinth, who have often seen the Parergon, and because of that same darkness did not desire to comprehend the shining of the eternal divine light.
We, however, who now see the grace of God near at hand, should open our hearts, and amend our ways and life, receiving the good news with joy, and go towards the brightly shining Sun with a calm conscience and thoughts of God (not thoughts of gold). We, I say, ought to seek the little spark of divine omnipotence which has been hidden for so long, and the Pansophical Concordances which have been concealed for so many hundreds of years up till now, with earnestness and Christian zeal, and not remain sworn the whole time to slavish human opinions which are for the most part in every respect erroneous. Bethink thee, dear son, of the nature of our study, and I will proceed a little. Go to the universities, academies, gymnasia, whithersoever thou wilt, thou shalt not find aught else than useless and vain quarrelling, unnecessary questions on the meaning of this or that Aristotelian, Platonic or any other philosopher's texts, many hundreds of disputations over doubtful things, from which thou wilt come out knowing no more than before, and rarely shalt thou find a matter really and truly elucidated to its kernel. There they do not enter into experience of nature or reasoning of the mind and the senses, but for the most part it is what this one or that one says, and that is right and must stay right even though it drives nature back - may the professors and doctors forgive me, I do not speak of them all but of the majority - though they would deny that they do it to win praise. Be that as it may take thou timely advice. I do not forbid Aristotle, Hypocrates, Ramus, Paracelsus or such like, but only where they err I would not approve, but correct such error with the light of nature by means of God's help: herein is to be found the first beginning of Pansophic wisdom. If thou askest, who teaches me such correction? I answer, if thou wilt and desirest and follow the advice of good-hearted and true people then read this our Pansophia Rhodo-staurotica briefly outlined often and diligently which further declares:
God the Almighty, after having, as already stated, created in the beginning heaven, earth and all creatures, set the same under the dominion of man (as his image), intending for him as well as for the whole universe a future perfection, and so implanted in each and every creature a hidden divinely working force, by means of which all creatures might be sustained in their being and in their growth. This is called Nature, a rule and guide for all art, a handmaid of God and mistress of all human artifices, a mother of all animals, vegetables and minerals, a bright shining of divine flames.
This Nature is understood by human reason (which is directly inspired solely and only by the Creator) (for the spirits or intelligences will not be communicated here for certain reasons). All the things that Nature operates and does happen and are ordered by four of the same handmaids or rather four kinds of matter which are and are called the four elements of all things, fire, air, water and earth (concerning the special matter of the sky and the stars we shall be bounden to no one) out of whose appropriate mixing and contemporation all things have their second origin or as long as it pleases God their indefinite continuation, not however to be understood as directly and immediately, as believed by many hitherto, but through seed and a soil (medium) according to the twelve little chymical tracts which constitute no mean prelude to my pansophic studies: thus the four elements give birth out of themselves by the stimulus of Nature sperma or seeds which are cast into the centre of the earth and there elaborated and transformed by different kinds of adaptations, and this sperma is the Sun, the one perfect triad, the most precious monad triply bound, in the lower or sublunar sphere, out of which secondarily everything has its origin, in which all health, strength, wealth, treasures, skill and goods of the whole world are to be found dependent; and the Physiologia generalis, which has already been mentioned, treats of these. He who knows this will soon grasp the particularia. In the previous figure it is so plainly and clearly set before the eye that it is impossible to write it more clearly.
This sperma divides its creatures out in three principal kingdoms, in animal, vegetable and mineral, and is found in each one although thou and others may read otherwise in the writings of the philosophers, but mark that everything which thou hast seen hitherto and contemplated comes together in thyself as in one centre and image of God, for all things are from one, and all things go to one, whence comes the same "Know thyself", "Know thyself" I say, and so thou shalt come to pansophic perfection, which (that thou mayest be truly informed) proceeds as follows:
Man is composed or made up of two parts, the visible transient body and invisible, imperishable soul. The more the latter is like to be of glorious, precious and divine nature, the more its perfection is to be regarded as high and great, and so we become released from our human nature and frailty, and are reunited blissfully with our Archetype, God the Almighty, we die away from the evil godless world and are new-born into the heavenly blessed Jerusalem. This is the most blissful and best art which human understanding may apprehend. Of this Boetius writes: it is a great crime that we do not love the best - and he says rightly and truly - the best should be the dearest, and this love should not regard profit or unprofit, furtherance or harm, win or loss, praise or blame, or spite, or any of these things (as our Thomas a Kempis says), but what in truth is the noblest and best that must be our dearest, and that for no other cause than that it is the noblest and best. The best, however, is the soul's perfection which comes about when we rightly recognise the inner man, and contemplate his sin and impotence, be mindful of God's mightiness and mercy, put behind us all human thoughts, commending unto him all things, obey his will, hallow his name, pray, praise, call upon and glorify him without ceasing. This is the Ergon, the preliminary work, the greatest and foremost art and science of not only the brethren of the Rose-Cross but also of all Christ-loving men. To the eyes of the worldly-wise it seems slight, but they will find with ruth how glorious and precious this treasure is, which is no other than the perfect treasure of which St. Paul speaks (I Corinthians 13). When the perfect shall come, the partial shall cease. This perfect is a being that contains and comprises everything in him and in his being, without which and outside of whom no true constant being is, in whom all things have their being, for it is the being of all things and is in himself unchanging, unmoving, and yet changes and moves all things (Acts 13). But the partial or imperfect is that which arises from the perfect, and in which it has its origin and goes forth like a splendour and a shining flowing from the sun or a light, and is formed into whatever it may be, and is called creature or imperfect and among these imperfect things there is nothing perfect. And here is to be noted that the created soul of man has two spiritual eyes; the right eye can see into eternity, and the left eye can see into time and creatures. To recognise the difference between what is better or less, and what shall best give the body life and maintain it, that is the Parergon.
Now mark, even as much as the soul (as already mentioned) is more glorious than the body, so is the superior Ergon more glorious than this afterwork the parergon, and know and bethink thee, if thou shouldst fail in the first, thou shalt never come to the latter. Mark also what our dear brother a Kempis further says. These two eyes of the human being may not practise their work together at the same time, but when the soul looks into eternity with the right eye, the left eye must refrain from its work and not look at the creatures, but keep itself as if it were dead; but if the left eye is practising its work looking outward into time and dealing with the creatures then the right eye is hindered in its contemplation (of man is to be understood) and in its Rhodostaurotosophic experience, above which there is nothing more blissful in the world, namely thus:
Look first with the right eye into eternity, know God thy creator and thyself, beseech him for gracious sustenance and for the forgiveness of thy sins, - this is the one and foremost thing - and keep thy left eye shut the while. Afterwards climb down from the mountain and look with thy left eye (but with the right eye maintaining its precedence) into time and the creatures. Look first at Nature at what is possible for it (and that thou canst learn as well from experience anf by thine own eye as from good and error-free writings which have partly and and partly not yet published), then the elements and how they operate through it, the sperma, and then the three different kingdoms of Nature, mineral, vegetable and animal, and then therein finally thyself again, whence thou mountest up again to God the Almighty, thy Creator, contemplatest his mercy and remainest thus in the globe of truth, contemplating with inward pleasure God and his creatures, yet all the while casting thy left eye no further than thy body's needs and thy neighbour's obligations require.
Behold, dear Christian, this is Pansophia Rhodo-staurotica, this is man's highest perfection in this world, wherein (as already stated) all treasure, riches and skill is hidden, outside of which and without which there is nothing on the surface of the earth. All theological acumen and spirituality, all justice of the law, all medical healing, all mathematical subtlety, all ethical, political, economic practice, all metaphysical, logical, rhetorical, grammatical finesse, in sum all that a man may speak and think is contained in it, only how and in what way it is not necessary here to paint as it were before the eye and so offer any ill-disposed person the instructions and occasion to misuse it in the forgetting of honour.
But to any one who means well and is Christian, and with whom the Ergon goes from the heart, I will give my sincere advice. Let him not grudge a little money, but buy at the booksellers the oft-mentioned little book of Thomas a Kempis, read it and re-read it often, and order his life as humanly possible accordingly, and if he does this from his heart, a brother or such like will soon present himself (as was stated in the first chapter) either in writing or orally to him with the Parergon. Let him not weary the while, but let him wait in patience, hope and quiet silence. Praise be to God the brotherhood against all expectation goes mightily forward, and I do not believe there is a place in Europe where at least one brother if not more is hidden, but it is not yet time to cry out and write about it abroad on account of certain motives and causes. But if thou wilt take my writing aright thou shalt also proceed haply to the Parergon, for I have given thee instruction as far as it behoves me ; more I cannot do, more I may not do, yea I bethought me before I revealed this, and it had never come about, had not a faithful good friend with Christ-loving earnestness and zeal held me to it insistently for some time ; therefore take it in truth and goodness and be mindful that thou has a little script but a great work before thee. For further information concerning this (for further speaking is forbidden until a later time) consult the attached figure whose truth cannot be paid for with all the goods of the world.
To this belongs the figure of the cup.
Herafter the tree of Pansophia.
Resolution to the God-loving and Art-loving Reader.
Behold now, gracious reader, I write to thee little of what thou shalt receive in future and of what thou mayest expect from the Brotherhood, but if thou understandest this then thou understandest more than if thou hadst imagined thou hadst all the writings of the philosophers (without exception) at thy finger-tips.
What wonderful judgements will be made of my writings I know and understand beforehand, but little I care.
"Let each man write what pleases him, my work is not affected thereby; and whether it is held in high or low esteem, what I have written once I will write again."
Nevertheless I have often been in great danger and pestered on account of my only beloved Pansophia, but how much I seek thereafter my writings show. Whosoever will not be instructed may remain who he is, for I remain who I am ; and let the noble symbol of Theophrastus be highly commended unto thee when he says : Let him not be another's who can be his own. Verily, verily, let this be a brotherly warning unto thee : begin not higher than thou trustest to accomplish. I remember the time when I thought myself fortunate when I was in high authority and esteem, but I revoke, I revoke. Nay, nay, I desire this no longer (thus speaks the innocent studiosus and can content me a while with much less. From youth up I have been pregnant with greater pansophic thoughts (though my ill-wishers say I have dreaming of the devil), and I have through God's help proceeded not to the end but a long way, and I trust to serve my neighbour and myself in time with this, but that I should boast, be that far from me, for I cannot boast of aught save my own weakness and knowledge of God - and a good wine needs no label or certificate - for it speaks for itself, nor is it necessary to cry the pansophical precepts and method far and wide. If thou understandest and art devoted thereunto thou needest not much enjoiner. Why should I not be content that I have no particular gain from this, but what I do, I do for the sake of the common good and Christian love. God the true Father of all wisdom grant his grace and Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ the true and right Brother of the Cross, and may he haply continue the reformation which has truly begun. Amen. Amen. Amen.
TIBI NON NOBIS
If you have problems understanding these alchemical texts, Adam McLean now provides a study course entitled How to read alchemical texts : a guide for the perplexed.
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Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum
Emerald tablet of Hermes
Texts from Musaeum Hermeticum
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