Friday, 26 February 2016

"The Laws of the Fraternity of the Rosie Crosse" by Michael Maier (1618)



First published in Latin in 1618, the English version was printed in 1656. Thanks to
Gregory John Papadopoulos ( and Dawn Kwiatkowski for their help with some Greek in Chapters 14 and 16 (I've substituted the modern greek)  γλυκόπικρο [modern greek - "Bittersweet"] , ενδελεχεια [modern greek - "Soul"] εγτελεχια [modern greek - "Entelechia is a growth, fruition and rebirth of any possibility."]

I'm sure we'll be hearing more of the Entelechia when I'm finished a translation of 
Chansons Intelectuelles sur la resurection Du Phenix.









Written in Latin by Count
 And now in English for the Information
of those who seek after the knowledge of that
Honourable and mysterious
Society of wise and renowned Philosophers.

—Quae non fecimus ipsi Vix ea nostra voco —

Whereto is annexed an Epistle to the Fraternity in Latin,
from some here in ENGLAND.

Printed for N. Brooke at the Angel in
Cornhill: 1656.

To the most excellently Accomplish't, The only Philosopher in the present age: The Honoured, Noble, Learned, ELIAS ASHMOLE, Esq.

So few and precious is that number of the sons of wisdom, which the Creator (as so many Jewels) has laid up in his Treasury from the beginning, for the adornation of the World, as that more then one cannot be afforded to stand as a Golden Candlestick for the holding forth that Lucerna Dei to the sons of men, by the light whereof the most reclused Mysteries, both natural and divine, may in some measure (such as is fit for us to know while we remain in these earthly tabernacles) be discovered to those diligent & humble seekers who make it their business to search after the knowledge of the Creator in the works his hands have made.

That this was the principal end and design of the divine goodness in bestowing yourself upon the world, we are fully convinced by those Scintillations which our eyes (dim as they are) have seen darted from that luxor solis which has its habitation in your breast: and although we should be frustrate of our ends in the present design, tis an happiness great enough that we have lived at such a time, and in such a place as has given us the opportunity to know and be acquainted with a man in whose bosom God has so abundantly stored up the treasures of all sorts of wisdom and knowledge. The main of our wishes are that we may so acquit our selves as that you may have no cause to repent of those kindnesses and respects wherewith you have or shall honour

Your servants,
N. L.
T. S.
H. S.

The Preface.

THe Goddess Themis after the Deluge being asked of Deucalion and Pyrrha, how Mankind swept away with the overflowing of the Waters, should again be restored and multiplied, commanded them to throw over their heads the Bones of their Great Mother: the which Oracle they rightly interpreted concerning the stones of the Earth, and thereby attained their desired end; For which cause Themis was afterwards accounted the first Promulgatrix of Laws. But without doubt Her answer was not thus understood by the ancient Poets, who supposed that she rather meant that Mankind was generated by two stones, the Male, and the Female, whence proceeds the wonderfull multiplication of that Golden Medicine: For the Man Deucalion, and his Wife Pyrrha are the Gabritius and Beia, the Sun and the Moon, which two by projection of their Specific stones can multiply even to a thousand. Pyrrha within is ruddy, not unlike the colour of Flesh, although Her outward garments are white, and some have named Her according to her clotheing: Deucalion is a Lyon, not in body, but spiritually; not in shape, but operation; because He is so cruel to his Wife that he kills her, and then bewraps her with his bloody mantle. But very few have attained the true knowledge of the Oracle; since most men apprehend it to be only an History, and thence draw some wholesome Morals, which here have no place, neither were they ever intended.

And now this Title is vindicated viz. why we call it the Golden Themis which I Dedicate to the Courteous Reader.

For seeing it is as much the Property of a man to reason, and judiciously to determine, as it essentially belongs to a bird to fly, or an horse to run and traverse the Fields; we would not impose on any, or seem to deprive them of their native freedom by captivating any ones Judgement.

It is said of the whetstone, that being it self blunt, yet it sharpens other things; and though the Steele and flint have not actually fire in them, yet being struck against each other, they mutually send forth sparks; give me leave (I pray thee) to apply. For if thou reapest any profit hereby, I shall think my self to have been serviceable.

Be Candid and Farewell.

Viris clarissimis, sapientissimis & verè Philosophis, Fratribus{que} conjunctissimis R. C. S. P. D. Theod. Verax. Theophil. Caelnatus.

That all Laws which beare the Title of Themis, ought to respect their profit for whom they were made.

As Laws do differ not only in their Institutions, but their acceptance; so, if not Tyrannically imposed, they center in the Public good; For if by them Humane Society is maintained, Justice excecuted, Virtue favoured, so that no man may fear the insolency and oppression of another, we may conclude that they profit and advance a Common-wealth: If every man duly receives whatever belongs to him, he has no cause of commencing a Suit with any, or to complain, much less to engage in a War; but on the contrary, All (as in the golden Age) shall enjoy peace and prosperity: But the Laws defend this justice by which only Peace is established, contention ended, Themis worshipped, and lastly, all things in a flourishing state and condition. Whence the Poets advisedly assigned Themis to be the Daughter of Heaven and Earth, to be the Sister of Saturn, and Aunt to Jupiter, and have done her very much honour, and celebrated her Fame, because she so constantly administered Justice: for Equity and upright dealing were by her enjoined, and all Virtues which might render men either acceptable to the gods, or serviceable to each other, were to be embraced. She therefore taught them to live justly and contentedly, to show violence, injuries and robbery; that they should ask nothing of the gods (as Festus observes) but what should savour of honesty and Religion, or otherwise that their prayers would have no good issue. She furthermore said that the great God did look down upon the earth, and view the actions of men, whether good or evil and that he severely punished the wicked for their iniquity with eternal punishment; that he rewarded the good son their integrity with a life which shall neither end nor decay.

Others were of an opinion that this Themis was a Prophetesse amongst the Grecians, and did foretell what should happen, by which endowment she got great Authority; so that they esteemed her an Enthusiastesse, and thought that she had familiarity with Spirits, nay even with the gods themselves, from whom she sprung and had her Original; to whom also after her decease she was supposed to have returned, where they have enlarged her Commission in relation to mankind. When she was accounted the Goddess of Justice, by her Kings held their Dominions; she instructed them in their duties to their Subjects, and made the rude multitude pay due homage and subjection to their lawful Princes. She laid the foundation of Magistracy, and built an orderly structure of Politics; for which cause she was in so high estimation amongst the Heathens, that they supposed the World by her Divinity to be upheld and supported. They erected Temples to her, and Instituted divine Rites and Ceremonies in honour of her. The first that was dedicated to her was in Boetia near to the River Cephissus, at which after the Flood, Deucalion and Pyrrha are said to have arrived; where they enquired of the Oracle, how mankind which had perished in the Deluge, might again be restored, as Ovid Lib. primo.

O Themis, show what Art tis that repairs,
Lost mankind, vouchsafe t' help our sunk affairs.

This also was Allegorically spoken concerning our Themis, that she being very prudent and more beautiful then all her Contemporaries, was beloved of Jupiter; but after much sollicitation he was repulsed, and all intercourse broken off, till at length she was surprised in Macedonia, and forced to be espoused to him, by whom she was with child, and brought forth three Daughters; Equity, Justice, and Peace. She is reported to have had by the same Jupiter a son named Medius Fidius or the righteous, being Faiths Guardian; wherefore an Oath sworn by his name was sacred and unalterable: and this solemnity the Roman Patriarchs challenged to themselves as their due, because it was held an execrable thing for an ingenious man to be forsworn.

Although we are confident that there was never upon the face of the earth any such Themis, who after consultation returned that Oracle; much less that she was translated into heaven, as the Heathens ignorantly imagined; yet we confess that the true Idea of Justice, or an universal notion of Virtue may herein (though occultly) be insinuated; for out of her springs good Laws, and not as some think out of Vice, which is only a thing accidental.

This Equity keeps Kingdoms in safety, Commonwealths and Cities in order, and lastly, improves small beginnings to a great height and degree of perfection.

This Equity is that rule by which men ought to frame their words and actions of Polycletus a famous Statuarie made a Book in which was proportionably expressed to the life each member in mans body, and he called this a pattern by which other Artificers might examine and prove their pieces. Such Rules indeed there are in all Arts and Sciences named Axioms, which by deduction of things from their principles do rightly conclude.
This Equity doth so poise all our manners and actions that they are not swayed to injustice and wickedness, whereby very many inconveniences are eschewed which happily might lead us away: For as Luxury and Riot are the causes of diseases, so injustice has annexed to it as an inseperable companion loss and punishment: and on the contrary, as Health renders men most happy, not only because of it self, but as it is big with other Benefits: so by this Equity, wholesome Laws are enacted to the great comfort and advantage of mankind. But because this is so clear to every Rational man, in vain are words spent to demonstrate it.

Those Laws which the Founder of this Fraternity prescribed to the R. C. are all good and just.

As no Rational man can deny the absolute necessity of good Laws; so it is most fit that such Laws should have their due praise and commendations; that the sluggard hereby might be pricked on to Virtue, and the diligent might have his deserved reward.
Seeing therefore that these Positions or Laws, laid down by the Father of the honourable Fraternity are worthy of special view, we shall truly according to their nature, and the advantages men may receive from them, Crown them with due commendations, counting them not only worthy of acceptance, but an Encomium.

First it is most reasonable that every Society if it be good, should be governed by good Laws; if otherwise, by bad: but that this Society is good and lawful, we do not only suppose, but may gather from particular circumstances to which their Positions are agreeable.

Something may be said concerning their number of six, which has very much of perfection in it; so that the Society by an abundance of Laws is not in confusion, nor yet by the paucity and fewness tied up from all liberty. When there are multitudes and great diversity of Laws, we may probably conjecture that there will happen many crimes and enormities; for he that sleighteth the straight path of Nature and Reason, will certainly be misled into many windings and labyrniths before he comes to his journeys end. From these inconveniences our Laws are free, as well in quality as number; they are voluntary, and such to whom all may easily assent as most Rational.

They follow in their order:

  1. That every one of them who shall travel, must profess Medicine and cure Gratis.
  2. That none of them, notwithstanding their being of the Fraternity, shall be enjoined one habit; but may suit themselves to the Custom and Mode of those Countries in which they reside.
  3. That each Brother of the Fraternity shall every year upon the day C. make his appearance in the place of the holy Spirit, or else signify by Letters the true cause of his Absence.
  4. That every Brother shall choose a fit person to be his Successor after his decease.
  5. That the word R. G. shall be their Seal, Character, or Cognisance.
  6. That this Fraternity shall be conceal'd an hundred years.

The Brethren are solemnly sworn and strictly engaged to each other, to keep and observe these Conditions and Articles; in all which we find nothing either prejudicial to themselves, or hurtful and injurious to others; but that they have an excellent scope and intention, which is the glory of God and the good of their Neighbour. We shall further prosecute these things, and by running thorow their several causes and circumstances, give any one a greater light into them.

In the first place, as touching the first Author of these Laws, it will be worthy our consideration to examine whether he had power and authority to make such Laws for himself and others, and of requiring obedience thereto; then who was the Author? and why his name has been hitherto concealed?

It is most certain that a Prince who is as it were an Head to his Subjects that are his Members, it is indeed a thing questionable, but that he has full power of making and ratifying of Laws: For chiefly it belongs to the Emperor, then to each King, because they have right to govern. Lastly it concerns any Princes or Civil Magistrates.

But Laws that are brought in by Inferiors, extend only to those that have a particular Relation to them; neither are they long lived, nor do they excuse from the Laws of Superiors, being only obligations which respect Time, Place, the Person and Subject.
Amongst the Antients those men who were of best repute for their Wisdom, Learning, Authority, Sincerity, and of greatest Experiences, might set up Laws in any City or Nation. Thus we see that Moses was made Ruler and Cheiftain amongst the Hebrews, and amongst the Heathen the first Law-givers were called Zephyrians: after them Zaleueus in imitation of the Spartans and Crotians (who were thought to have received Antient Laws from Minos) wrote severe Laws, and found out suitable punishment; he left rules whereby men might try their actions, so that many afterwards were fretted into good manners; for before him Laws were not written, but the sentence and state of the cause lay in the Judges breast.

Afterwards the Athenians received Laws from Draco and Solon; upon which they proceeded in all Courts of Judicature, from whom the Romans who lived after the building of the City three hundred years, had their Laws of the twelve Tables published by the Decemviri; and these in process of time being enlarged by Roman Magistrates and the Caesars, became our Civil Law which at this time is used amongst us.
Other Nations also had their respective Lawgivers, as Egygt had Priests, and Isis, who were taught by Mercury and Vulcan. (These were golden Laws, and such as owed their birth to the fire.) Babylon had the Caldeans, Persia had Magitians, India had Brachamonds, Aethiopiae had the Gymnosophists; amongst the Bactrians was Zamolsis, amongst the Corinthians was Fide, amongst the Nilesians was Hippodamus, amongst the Carthaginians was Charonda; lastly amongst the Brittaines and French the Druids.
From what has already been said there may be gathered thus much, viz. That any one has liberty (his Companions complying and faithfully engaging) to prescribe Laws to himself and them, especially if such Laws are founded upon Reason and Equity; For (as the Comedian has it) amongst the good ought to be transacted just and honest things; but as the combination of the the wicked is unlawful, so are those bands that oblige them damnable, whose trust and fidelity are but true cheats and sure deceits; their constancy but obstinacy, their oaths cursings, their rules methods of villainy, their laws are commands to wickedness.

Our Author indeed was a private man, and no Magistrate; but in his particular relation he was invested with much Authority, whereby he might oblige and bind others, be both Lord and Father of the Society, and the first Author and Founder of this golden Medicine and Philosophical Order. If any one shall attempt to usurp jurisdiction over any against their wills and consent, he shall find his labour to be in vain; for he must needs suppose them to have a prejudice against such designs since he plays the Bishop in anothers Diocesse: But certainly the case is different here, because by a faire resignation they devoted themselves to his command.

Surely for confirmation we may take notice of the Time; They have been kept and observed for many Ages, and this doth not a little strengthen the first Authority; for if you prescribe Laws to any who were not under such before, and and such Laws continue a long season unviolated, it will follow that those Laws being just and good may yet endure: for that nothing hinders, but that this private Legislative power may be in force, being neither contrary to Divine or Civil Statutes, the Laws of Nature, any positive Law, or Custom of Nations.

To some it may seem a strange thing that our Authors name should not be known; to which we answer.

Our Father indeed has lien hid as being long since dead, and his Brethren although they live and retain in Record and Memory his Sacred Name; yet because of some secret and weighty causes, are not willing to have his name or person known. Besides they have a continual succession and genealogy from him to themselves; and they received afterwards a Lamp from a known confederate and colleague of their Fraternity; They can read the Authors soul in his Books, view the true Feature in the picture, judge of the truth of the cause by the effect; whose actions confirm their goodness and sincerity; their hands are set with eyes, so that their belief goes beyond their sight; where other men foolishly and ignorantly think incredible and vain, they know to be real and possible.

Shall we deny that those men who were chosen and selected to be of the Fraternity, were unacquainted with our Author? Surely they were most intimate and familiar with him, and performed with alacrity what ever he commanded or enjoined them.

To those indeed to whom the knowledge of him was no benefit, he was not, neither was it necessary that he should be known, unless such persons over curious pried into matters which concern them not; for as it belongs not to us to have intelligence what designs are in agitation within the walls of Troy, or who in India doth administer justice or give Laws; so likewise ought they not to intermeddle with this Author and his Brethren altogether unknown to them. If we behold smoke breathing out of an house, we presently conclude that there is fire within. And why should not we although the Father and the Fraternity have not been seen by outward eye, yet because of their works, by the eye of our minds discern and satisfy our selves concerning them? We can pass a judgement upon a Tree by the fruit, although the fruit be plucked off; it sufficeth to the knowledge of a man if we hear him speak: Whence Socrates spoke thus to a young virtuous man, but one that held his peace; speak (said he) that I may hear thee. A Dog discovers himself by his barking, a Nightingale by her sweet chaunting notes; and we judge of all other things according to their actings. And why then cannot we distinguish this our Author from cheats by his Positions and Laws, since it is the others whole design to delude? they make gain of their tricks; that which would be irksome to another, they take pleasure in, and make a sport of dangers and hazards.

Our Author is nameless, but yet worthy of credit, unknown to the vulgar, but well known to his own Society. And some may ask the reason of his concealment. We know that the Antient Philosophers counted themselves happy in a private life; and why may not Moderns enjoy the same privilege, since necessity may put these more upon it then them? The World is now more burdened with wickedness and impieties: Indeed the whole Creation as it flowed from God was exceeding good, but man's fall has brought a curse upon the Creatures. Polidorus had not been so credulous, could he have foreseen his Fate; by whose example others have got wisdom, they dare not entrust themselves with the rude multitude, but secretly do withdraw themselves; for commonly an handsome opportunity makes a Thief; and he that exposes his treasures upon an high hill to all men's eyes, invites Robbers. Men called Homines have both their name and nature ab humo, from the earth, which sometimes being parched with extreme heat opens; sometimes seems to be drowned with floods; which depend upon the Sun, Wind, Showers, either of them either yielding no influence at at all, for exceeding in their operations. Even so the mind of man is not always in the same condition; sometimes it enlargeth it self in covetousness, sometimes Vice is more pleasing to it then Virtue, and plundering is prefer'd before honesty and Justice. But I would not be thought to include all men in this censure; for we intend only those who having neither reason nor learning, do differ very little from the brute beasts.

Wherefore the Father of this Fraternity was not so much careful of concealing himself in respect of his own interest; but herein he wisely consulted the good and welfare of his successors and the whole Fraternity. Shall we esteem him a wise man who is not wise for himself? so that Aristippus, Anaxarchus and many others do worthily bear their disgraces.

Every one by dangerous atcheivements and noble exploits can get renown; and some have grown famous by notorious and execrable villainies; As Herostratus who fired the great Temple of Diana: But this our Author and his Successors conceal themselves, very well knowing what a sting Honour and Popularity carries in the taile of it; not that they hate or scorn humane Society, but that they may as it were at a distance behold the enormities of men, being only spectators and not actors. Democritus is reported to have put out his eyes that he might not see the vanity and emptiness of the world in respect of goodness and virtue, and its fullness of deceit, luxury, and all vice: But our Author and his Successors have taken a very wise course to conceal themselves: no man that would exactly see an object, will fix both his eyes upon it; neither will a wise man put himself into the hands of either Mercury or Mars, they being Patrons of Thief and Robbers; neither will he entrust himself with Jupiter or Apollo, since that the one is armed with thunderbolts, the other with arrows, by which the unfortunate Hyacinthus perished, and was Metamorphosed into a flower bearing his name.

Concerning the general intent and effect of these Lawes with the particular Circumstances of Place, Time, Meanes, and the End.

We have already at large discoursed of the maker and efficient cause of these Laws; now we shall treat of their Effects and Circumstances.

That is properly termed an effect which in all points agrees with its cause; so that if our Author was an upright man, these Laws which flow from him shall likewise be good, it being a very rare thing to see a virtuous off-spring degenerate from their Parents and Ancestors.

It is evident enough that these Laws do answer their intention, by that order and firm knot of friendship which yet continues amongst that Honorable Society; for if Reason, Nature, and Truth, had not justified their proceedings, doubtless they had long since been ruined and come to nothing. Many indeed aim well, but yet hit not the mark; and we know that a sudden storm crosses the endeavour and desire of the Mariner in arriving at his safe Haven: even so he that sets himself to any noble exploit, shall find blocks in his way; and if he goes thorow with it, God should have due thanks by whose providence and blessing he obtains so happy an issue.

Hitherto these Brethren have not repented of their condition, neither will they ever, being servants to the King of Kings, all the fruits of their labours they dedicate to him. Religion with them is in greater esteem then any thing in the World; as well in the Book of nature as the written word they read and study Gods Omnipotency, his Providence and his Mercy; they account it their duty to help and relieve the poor and oppressed; and surely such actions become Christians; so unworthy a thing it is that Heathens and Turks should outstripe us in them!

It is not necessary that any should know their place of meeting, but they whom it properly concerns. We are sure that it is not in Utopia, or amongst the Tartars, but by chance in the middle of Germany; for Europe seems to resemble a Virgin, and Germany to be her belly; it is not decent that a Virgin should discover her self, lest she rather be accounted a Strumpet then a Virgin: let it suffice that we know her not to be barren; to have conceived, yea and brought forth this happy Fraternity: although hers is a Virgin-womb, yet she have teem'd with many rare and unknown Arts and Sciences. We mean Germany which at present flowrisheth and aboundeth with Roses and Lilies, growing in Philosophical gardens where no rude hand can crop or spoil them.

The Hesperian Nymphs have their abode here; Aegle, Heretusa, and Hespretusa, with their golden boughs, lest they again become a prey to Hercules, are here secured. Here are Geryons vast bulls in faire and safe pastures; neither Cacus, nor any malicious person can steal or persecute them. Who can deny that the Golden Fleece is here, or the princely Garden of Mars and Aeta who is feigned to be Son of Phoebus and Phaetons Brother? here are fed the sheep and oxen of the Sun called Pecudes, whence is derived the word Pecunia, Money the Queen of the World.

It would be to no purpose to speak of the means by which these things have been deduced from their first Author; since that the Brethren in their Book entitled their Fame and Confession, and in other writing have at large declared them. He brought them first from Arabia into Germany his native Country, and then designed to make up the Fraternity; and these made the first part of the Book called M. of which there is so much mention in their Fama; which was afterward translated out of Arabic into Latin; out of which Book M. they learned many Mysteries, and in it as in a glass they clearly saw the Anatomy and Idea of the Universe: And doubtless shortly they will let the Book M. come abroad into the World, that those who covet after knowledge may receive satisfaction; nay I confidently believe that happy day to be at hand; so may we judge of the Lion by his Paw; for as the ebbings and flowings of the Sea (as Basilius Valentinus reports) doth carry much wealth to divers Kingdoms; so these secrets coming into public view, having much in them of the Worlds Harmony so much admired by Pythagoras, may yield us no less profit and content.

Neither has it been ever known that two have been so much alike as this to the M. yes this F. is the M. neither must we expect another M.

The end for which these Laws were made was the common good and benefit which partly belongs to the Brethren themselves, and partly respects others, either in their minds or bodies to the furnishing of that with knowledge, and to the remedying of the diseases of the other; for they being ambitious to profit and advantage others, have taken a course suitable to their intentions.

But if any shall object and say that they have not consulted their own safety, these things will confute; as also that they have endeavoured the good and welfare of others.
In this case the scales hang very even, inclining neither to the one nor other, and the first Unity is equivalent to the fifth, or second and third linked together; every one (as the Proverb has it) will christen his own child first; and Rivers (as the Wiseman speaks) stream not out, unless the fountain is full; he gives best, that gives so to one that he may give oftentimes.

But when were these Laws first promulgated, you may learn out of the Fama by chance about the year 1413! If he was borne in the year 1378. and travelled at 16. years of age, he was out 6. years, and returned at the end of 8. but expected 5. years before he brought his business to any end, and gave his Laws: But these things are rather conjectural then certain, in regard that we want the History in which they are distinctly set down.

Of the First Law, and the excellency of Medicine above other Arts, to which the Brethren are devoted.

We are now come to treat more particularly of each Law, and we will begin with the first, viz.

That whoever of them shall travel, must profess Medicine and cure gratis without any reward.

Necessity has forced men to invent Arts for their help; curiosity has set others on work to satisfy Fancy, and luxury has not been idle in seeking out means to please it self: Now amongst these Arts and Inventions, some are more noble and excellent, both in respect of themselves, as also in the estimation of men. Do not we count it a Divine and Majestical thing to govern? what more glorious then to wage War with success?

There are Merchants, Handicraftsmen, and Husbandmen, in a Common-wealth, and every one acts in his proper sphere. In any profound point in Divinity we consult the able Clergy; in a doubtful and subtile case we go to an able and honest Lawyer; in desperate sickness we seek to an experienced and learned Physician: But Medicine seems deservedly to have the preheminence; for a Physician in sickness governs the Emperor, prescribes Rules and Directions which the Lawyer cannot do; for the Lawgiver being present, the Law has no force, and may be changed and altered at his pleasure who first instituted them.
The Physician likewise fights with the diseases of man's body, and has sharp battles with them, he overcomes to preserving or restoring health almost lost and decayed. Hence Aristotle places health amongst those things in which all men agree; for every one knows that it is best, and desires to be well, and in the next place to be rich and wealthy.
Wherefore a Physicians employment is so far from being contemptible, that it is concerned in a man's chiefest outward good and happiness, in maintaining health and curing diseases. God at first created man; Nature Gods handmaid conduceth to the generation of him from the seed of both Sexes; and it is the Physicians office to recover man diseased, and to restore him to his native health, so that this Art has much in it of Divinity, having the same subject with the Creation and Generation, viz. Man who being created after the Image of God, was his by Creation, being begotten was Natures by Generation; nay Christ himself being incarnate did not disdain to be as well as the Physician of the soul, so also to be the Physician of the body. The Prophets amongst the Israelites practiced Physick, The Priests amongst the Egyptians out of whose number the Kings were chosen. Lastly great Princes have studied this Art, not covetously for the reward, but that they might help the sick. We have heard of some who having slain many in a just War, yet to clear themselves have freely given Physick, doing good to men to expiate the hurt they had formerly done.

Wherefore since the Profession of Physick is so high so noble and sacred, we need not admire that amongst other Arts and Sciences in which they excel, these Brethren of the Honourable Society should choose and prefer this above them all. I confidently believe that they knowing the most intimate secrets of Nature, can naturally produce very strange effects, which may as much amaze an ignorant Spectator as the Gorgons head; but Medicine was dearer to them, as being of most profit and greatest value.

But some perhaps may exclaim against these Brethren, saying that they are not Physicians, but mere Empericks who intrude upon Physick: Such indeed should first look at home, and then abroad. I confess that few of the Brethren have had their education, but yet they are great Scholars; not fresh or raw in profound learning, but the greatest proficients. They compound that Medicine which they administer, it being as it were the marrow of the great World.

To speak yet more plainly, their Medicine is Prometheus his fire which by the assistance of Minerva he stole from the Sun, and conveyed it into man; although diseases and maladies were afterwards by the gods (as the Poets feign) inflicted on men, yet the Balsome of Nature was more powerful then the distempers: This fire was spread over all the World conducing to the good both of body and mind, in freeing the one from infirmities, the other from grievous passions; for nothing doth more cheer and make glad the heart of man then this Universal Medicine; precious stones wrought into subtle powder, and leaf-gold are the Ingredients of this powder commonly called Edel heriz pulver: Aeschilus doth attribute the invention of Pyromancy, the composition of Medicines, the first working upon Gold, Iron, and other metals, to Prometheus; hence the Athenians erected an Altar common to him, Vulcan and Pallas, considering how much fire conduced to the finding out of the secrets of nature: But we must know that a fourfold fire is required to bring this Medicine to perfection, and if one of them is wanting, the whole labour is lost.

That the Cure of diseases by specific remedies of occult quality, which the Fraternity uses, is most suitable to mans Nature, and prevalent against all distempers.

We must not by what has been hitherto spoken suppose that the Brethren use Medicines which are not natural; for they have Vegetables and Minerals, but they having a true knowledge of the secret and occult operation of things, know what will be most effectual for their purpose.

They have their Panchresta, their Polychresta, their Manus Christi, and other great titles; their Narcoticas and Alexipharmaca, of which Galen and others do much boast, thinking them a present help at a dead lift; and to colour their cheats, strictly command that none shall either prescribe or give them without a large fee, as if the price added virtue to them, and the effect did much depend upon the cost.

The Brethren also have variety of Medicines; some called Kings, some Princes, some Nobles, and others Knights, each one being denominated according to its excellency and worth: But we must take notice that they prescribe not according to the purse, but the infirmity of the Patient; neither do they desire a reward before hand; they likewise fit not a childes shoe to an old man, because a due proportion ought to be carefully observed; a dram is sufficient for the one, and an ounce of the same Medicine for the other. Who would not think it absurd to apply the same Plaister to the hardened and brawny hand of a Plowman, and to the delicate and neat hand of a Schollar or Gentleman?

He that practiseth Physick aright doth consider the different temper of persons in the same disease, as a learned Judge doth not always give the same judgement in the same cause, which circumstances may very much alter: The Brethren look chiefly to the constitution of the Patient, and do accordingly prescribe.

They have in all things experience to confirm their knowledge; they use very choice Vegetables which they gather when they are impregnated with heavenly influences, not deluded with common idle Astrological notions, but certainly knowing at what time they have received a signature effectual to such an end; and they apply these Vegetables to such diseases for which they were intended.

It is a most irrational thing when nature has afforded us simple Medicines to correct and amend its deficiences, that we should mix and compound with qualities hot, cold, moist, and dry, so that one Specific being perhaps secretly of a contrary operation to another ingredient, the proper virtues of both, if not lost, yet are much diminished.

The Galenists say that the first Qualities do alter, that the second do either thicken or attenuate, and so foolishly and ignorantly of the rest: Whereas each Vegetable has in it virtue essentially to chase away that disease to which it may rightly be applied. It is here in Medicine as in an Army, if each Souldier falls out with the other, or they mutiny against their Commander, the enemy gets strength, and makes use of their weapons to slay them.
Some may ask, what is here meant by Specific? I answer that I intend that which the illiterate Galenists calls an occult Quality, because it is neither hot, cold, moist, nor dry; because indeed true profound knowledge was above their reach or understanding.

Valescus de Taranta, lib. 7. cap. 12. defines or describes the Galenical occult Quality. A question is started how a Locust hanged about the neck doth cure a Quartane? To which they answer, that if these Empirical Medicines have any such virtue, they have it from their occult Quality, which contains the Specific form of the distemper conjoined with the influence of the Stars: but then we may ask what that totall propriety is? Averrboes calls it a Complexion; others say that it is the substantial form of a compound body; some will have it to be the whole mixture, viz. The Form, the Matter, and Complexion, which Avicenna names the whole substance, when he said that a body has neither operation from the Matter nor Quality, but the whole Substance or Composition.

But to speak truly and clearly as it becomes Philosophers, we hold that there is a natural virtue and certain predestination flowing from the influence of heavenly bodies, so particularly disposing the Form to be introduced, that it is (as it were) determined to its proper object, whereby after due preparation of the matter, and conjunction of the form, the whole Substance or mixed body necessarily produces a proportionable effect. And Avicenna perhaps meant thus much; whence Arnoldus in his Book De Caus. Sterilitatis, saith that the peculiar propriety of a thing is its nature which proceeds from the right disposition of the parts to be mixed, and this is called an occult Quality, to most men unknown because of its difficulty. Hence it is that Nature is stiled a Complexion, not because it is so properly, and found out by reason, its secrets being only discovered by experiment and practice: by this the understanding knows that experience is above reason; because there are so many experiments of which we can give no rational account, nor find out any method to satisfy our selves concerning them.

By what has hitherto been spoken, it plainly appears that the whole propriety of any thing is not the Complexion; for if it were so, all things which have the same propriety, would consequently have the same complexion, which is false; for Rubarb and Tamarinds from their whole propriety do attract and draw choler, and yet are not of the same complexion. Thus Valescus.

It is therefore evident that the true propriety of Medicinal things is only known by experiment, and not by the false Galenical rules of Art, which do not give us light into the nature of any simple. For instance, consider the Rose, it sends forth a most pleasant perfume, and is of a ruddy lovely colour, not in respect of the Quality cold and dry, but of that proper virtue essentially in it; neither can there be any deduction from those Qualities being not subject to Tast, to Feeling, to Hearing, and consequently none at all, because Specific have another original.

How are the first Qualities observed? Not from their essence and nature, but as sense discovers them, whence reason draws a conclusion: But we see not how reason can determine concerning the Qualities of a Rose, whether it is hot, cold, moist, and dry, unless it has been informed by the senses, as by the colour, sent, taste, or touch.
But these Rules are altogether uncertain and fallacious, and there are more experiments to overthrow then to confirm them; for who dare affirm that all cold things have no sent, that all hot things have sent? that all sented things are hot, that all that have no sent are cold; or that white▪ things are cold or hot, that red things are hotter then white, or contrarily that bitter things are hot, narcotic cold? &c. for Opium, the spirit of wine, the Rose and more things will confute such an opinion; so that the Qualities do depend upon such uncertainties in respect of every simple, that it is far better to trust to experience to search into the secrets of Nature, then vainly to trifle away time in gathering the second Qualities from the first, and the third from the second, or to gain reason by sense; a thing most ridiculous, unless it be in the cure of diseases where the Qualities are in confusion.

When the Egyptians understood this, they studied and most esteemed of that Physick which was experimental, and not notional; and therefore they used to place their Sick person in the streets, that if any one of the people that passed by had laboured under the same disease, he might tell the Specific remedy with which he was cured; whence it sometimes so falls out that an old woman or an Emperick in some certain diseases may effect more by one proper specific, then many Physicians by their methods and long courses.

I would not be misunderstood, as if there were no judgement to be used in the administration of Physick, but that experience should be the only guide; Medicine whether speculative or practical, must concur and meet in truth: I say we must not as to the invention or prescription of Physick trust too much to Reason informed falsely concerning the nature of things, but when experience has confirmed us in mysteries and secrets, because reason is too weak-sighted to reach them, we must not perversely slight them, disesteeming enviously what we cannot attain.

I do not account him a rational Physician who has only a large scrowl or bill of Simples in his memory, and can distinctly tell you what are hot in the first degree, what in the second, what in the third, and can run thorow the second Qualities and third; and if at any time he is called to a Patient, from this rabble as from the belly of the Trojan horse issue many Receipts, many bands, when he is ignorant of the most inconsiderable Simple, and knows not how rightly to apply it: Shall not he who understands and is well acquainted with his Medicine, be of more repute? A few select prescriptions that are infallible and effectual to the cure, are of more worth then a rude multitude of Galenical Receipts.

We have indeed now so great variety of Medicines, that it puzzles a Physician more to choose what is best then to invent for it is not the abundance of remedies that overcomes a disease, but the virtue, method, order, and choice of time and place, that give success.

We read in Histories of the courage and skill of a Spartan King, who with a band of 400. stout Lacedemonians possessed the streights by which Xerxes should pass with an Army of 1700000. and made there a great slaughter of them; when the insulting Persian boasted that they would close the Sun with their arrows; the Spartan King answered that then we will fight in the shadow. 

By these examples it appears that a select company of choice souldiers have great advantage against a confused multitude; And why are not a few choice remedies beyond an heap of vain receipts? Some have said that an Army is complete that has an hundred thousand; and if the number exceeds, it will be tumultuous, and in no order and discipline. We may assert the like of Medicine, if it increaseth to a great number, it rather kills then cures; for every Specific waging war or being opposite to another, must necessarily disturb Natures peace and tranquillity.

Although other Physicians may challenge, as indeed they deserve, a due reward; yet the Brethren do cure gratis, not valuing money.

We read in History that great persons, Kings and Princes, have entertained famous and learned Physicians, not only allowing them a considerable annual stipend, but have raised them to great preferment and honour: Erasistratus found out the disease of Antiochus, viz. his love of his mother in Law, of which he recovered him, and received of his Son Ptolomy an hundred Talents: Democides restores the Tyrant Polycrates for two Talents of Gold; The same person for curing Darius had given to him a very rich chain of Gold, and two golden Cups. Jacobus Cocterius Physitian to Lewis the second King of France, had 50000. Crowes yearly paid him; and Thaddeus the Florentine got 50 Crownes daily, travelling up and down to cure the sick.

The reward and gains Physick bringeth in has caused many Students to employ all their time and labour therein, who for the most part look more to the profit then health of their Neighbour, and good of the Common-wealth: If we indeed consider to how many infirmities we are subject, we shall find Physick to be as necessary as food and raiment; and then able Physicians are to be sought for, who may judiciously administer it; but no man will employ all his pains, cost, and labour, in that of which he shall reap no harvest; who will be anothers servant for no wages? Will a Lawyer plead without his Fee? neither is there any injunction or law to command and oblige a Doctor to cure for nothing. It would be very hard and rigorous, if any man should be forced to give away what properly belongs to him. Menecrates the Syracusan had nothing for his pains but affected Divinity; he would be thought and accounted Jupiter, which was worse then if he had required a reward suitable to his Calling.

The Brethren are so far from receiving a Fee, that they scorne it; so far from vain glory of their success, that they will not have such a favour acknowledged. They have not one Medicine for a great man, another for the poor, but equally respect both; frequent in visiting, comforters in affliction, and relievers of the poor; Their labour is their reward, their pains to them gain; no Mice or other Vermine can diminish their heap, no Dragon or wild Beast can either poison or exhaust their Fountain.

Coelius Lib. 16. Cap. 10. tells us of Philo a Physitian, who found out certain Medicines which he called The Hands of the gods; but this great Title was but as Ivie hung out for a show to take the eyes of the Spectatours, to surprise the ears of the Hearers, which promised more then they performed and rather deluded then helped any, having a glorious outside, but within dregs and corrupt: But the Brethren although they have the most efficacious Medicines in the World, yet they had rather conceal the Virtues then boast of them; their Powders perhaps may be accounted a little Cinaber or some slight stuff, but they effect more then seems to be expected from them: They possesse the Phalaia and Asa of Basilius, the Nepenthes that drives away sorrow of Homer and Trismegistus, the Oyntment of Gold, the fountain of Jupiter Hammon, which at night is hot, at noon is cold, lukewarm at sun rising and setting; for they contemn gains and income by their possession, neither are they enticed with Honour or Preferment; they are not so overseen as one of whom Tully speaks, who wrote against others affectation of esteem, and placed his name in the Frontispeice of his Book that he might be more known; they embrace security, and are not buried but live and are active in silence.
Is not this a rare Society of men who are injurious to none, but seek the good and happinesse of all, giving to each person what appertains to him? These Brethren do not adore the rising Sun, meere Parasites, who conforme themselves to the becks of great men, their words and actions are masked with cheats.

It is reported that the Statue of Diana by Art was so framed, that if a present was brought to her by a Pilgrim, she would show a cheerful and pleasing countenance; but if any one came empty she frowned, was angry, and seemed to threaten: even so is the whole World, wherein all things are subject to Gold; this dust of the earth is of no value with them, because those things are low in their eyes which others much adore. They had rather find out a Mystery in Nature then a Mine; and as Gold serves to help forward their studies, so they esteem of it: They wish and are ambitious of the age of Solomon wherein there was so great plenty at Jerusalem as tiles on the houses, silver as common as stones in the street: so in the golden age its use was not known; men were contented with what Nature freely afforded them, living friendly under the Government of the father of the family, without broiles, luxury, pride, much less war.

Abuses in Medicine censured; as the long bills for ostentation, that the Physitian may not seeme an Emperick, and for the Apothecaries gain, without respect to the benefit▪ and purse of the diseased, when a few choice Simples might do the cure.

WE daily see how many weeds sprung from Gold, have and do still overrun the whole World; it has not onely overthrown Cities, destroyed Common-wealthes, but also has corrupted the Arts, and of Liberal made them almost Servil.

Let us a little (passing by the rest) cast our eyes upon Medicine, whose streams the further they have run from the Fountain, the more dirt and mire they have drunk up, and now at last they are full of stanch and filthiness. We before have said that Nature is contented with a little, which holds good as well in sickness as in health; for the more simple diet is, the easier it is digested, because it is hard to turn many heterogeneous things into one substance: so likewise in diseases, the variety of Ingredients distracts, if not totally hinders Nature in her operation, in regard she struggles not only with the infirmity but the very remedy; and how can those things which are opposite and fight amongst themselves, procure and maintain peace?

We confess that a judicious composition is necessary, because one simple specific cannot confer to the cure of complicated distempers; so that more simples united may effect that which one could not; neither would we be thought so absurd as to question so good and requisite a Method.

That which we complain of is the great multitude of Omnium gatherum put together of Herbs, Roots, Seeds, Flowers, Fruits, Barks, hot or cold, in the first, second, and third, degree; so that you shall have thirty, forty, or more Ingredients in one Receipt, to show the Memory and Art of a dull and blockish Physitian, and to help the knavish Apothecary, who extols his gain for learnedness, the quick utterance of his drugs for experimental knowledge.

On the contrary, if any one making conscience of what he undertakes shall prescribe a few rare and approved Simples (as that famous Crato did, Physitian to three Caesars) he shall be thought an Ignoramus, if not a meer Empyrick; although he excel those Receipt mongers by far in all parts or learning.

Take notice how the Apothecaries slight a short though effectual Bill, because it brings in little profit; but if they receive one a Cubit long, they bless themselves; and thus the Patient pays for his sickness, when if he recovers, his purse will be sick.

Consider how injurious these are to each person and the Common-wealth; by destroying the one they diminish the other; for if they remain, yet are they but poor members thereof; the disease is protracted by the contrariety of Medicines, and Nature weakened: We account it absurd when a straight way leads to the wood, for haste to countermarch and make windings which may confound and not further: multitude breeds in most things confusion, but especially in Medicine, when the essences of Simples are not known.

We may fetch examples to confirm this from a Court, where if every one at the same time may plead and declare his opinion, the case would be made more intricate, so far would they be from deciding the controversy: Wherefore a few wise Counsellers on each side will clearly state the Case, and bring it to a sudden and safe determination. The same discord will appear in Physick, if each Simple in the same disease should have its operation, when a few select ones may quickly do the business.

It is therefore an expedient course out of many things to choose a few, out of those that are good to pick the best, which may assist and strengthen Nature in her conflict; if these observations were taken notice of, a Physitian would not be reputed able for his large rude Bills, but for the Quality of his Ingredients; the Apothecary would have more custom, because men would not be frighted with the charge, and dye to save expenses, but willingly submit to an easy and honest cure.

Every thing is not to be esteemed according to its bulk; we see that brute Beasts in body and quantity exceed a man; but yet the less being Rational and wise doth govern the other: a little Gold is more worth then an heap of stones, then a Mine of base metals; so in Medicine, a small quantity may have more virtue in it then a great measure of many Simples.

It is sufficiently known to wise men, that the same herbs do alter under several Climates; and that which is innocent in one may be poison in another; wherefore it is not safe to compound India, Arabia, America, Germany, and England together; for the Sun and Planets have a different influx upon this or that Country, and accordingly alter the Planets; Nay we cannot be ignorant that the same field abounds, as with wholesome so with venemous herbs; we have examples of this truth in Minerals; for common salt alone is harmelesse, as also your vulgar Mercury; but if these two be sublimed together they become venemous and rank poison: but perhaps some may think that this proceeds from Mercury; which indeed is false; for it may be brought by Art to run again, and then its innocency returns; so likewise the spirit of Vitriol may be taken without danger mixed with another liquor, and the water of Salt-Peter may be received into the body; but if these two be distilled together, they make a water that will eat any mettle except Gold, and certain death to any one that shall take it; but if you add to the former Armoniacks, its strength is increased, and it will reduce Gold into a watery and fluid substance, yet its nature is pure and perfect.

It may be objected that Treacle, Mithridate, and Confection of Hamech with others were compounded of many Simples, which being after long fermentation well digested became most sovereign remedies, and have been in use almost 600. years, and have helped many thousands of people.

We deny not but these compositions are excellent, and have been in great esteem in foregoing and latter Ages; we likewise approve perhaps of six hundred more, if they are grounded upon experience; for they who first invented these Medicines did not consider whether the Qualities were hot or cold, but to their Nature and Essence, as they either resisted poison, or conduced to the Evacuation of ill Humours in the body, as in Treacle there is vipers flesh, and many others of the same virtue. Our discourse is against the vain extemporary ostentation in prescribing of Medicines compounded of Plants hot, dry, cold, and moist, in this and that degree.

We knew a Physician who was wont to boast that he knew not any one particular experiment, but all remedies were alike to him respective, the first, second, and third Qualities: and this surely proceeded from his ignorance of what was to be known; but a wise and prudent spirit searches more narrowly, and descends to particulars; For indeed it is more easy by general rules to pass a judgement of Simples, then by experience to find out the proper virtue of Specifics; and the reason is because each Simple has a peculiar property which distinguisheth it from another, and sometimes contrary; nay the Qualities do not only differ in respect of others, but the same Simple may have effects differing in it self, as it appears in Rubarb, which in respect of its first Qualities, hot and dry, it doth increase Choler in man's body, but in respect of its essence and specific nature it purgeth it. To pass by Opium and Vinegar with many others, we see how the same thing in their first, second, and third Qualities have many times contrary operations; so Runnet makes thin thickened blood of the hare, but if it be very fluid it thickens it; so also Vitrioll according to its nature doth penetrate and is astringent, yet it doth repel and disperse Lead outwardly applied to it: though Quicksilver is most weighty, yet by the fire it i• sublimed and ascends; and though it is a thick grosse body, it may yet by Art be made to peirce any body, and afterwards be reduced to its own native purity.

Many more proofs might be brought; for their is nothing in the World how abject and low soever but it has a stamp upon it, as a sure seal of its proper virtue, of which he that is ignorant has hitherto attained but the husk and shell, the outside of knowledge.
Lest therefore this error in judgement should corrupt practice, and men's lives thereby should be in danger, we thought it a good piece of service to desire those who bend and employ their studies in the Honorable faculty of Medicine, to seek more after a few rare and certain Specifics, then to follow generals which so commonly deceive. We ought not to show our selves so impious and undutiful, as being in honour, having increase of riches, to scorn our poor parents; so Experience is the mother of Art; and shall we now contemn her as having no need of her? Experience has been styled the Mistress of Fools, and Reason the Queen of Wise men; but in a different respect they ought not to be separated; as many Experiments beget Reason, so Reason maintains and adorns Experience.

That many Medicines because of their high titles, and the fond opinion of men, who think that best which costs most, are in great esteem; though others of less price, proper to the Country, are far above them in excellency and worth.

Besides the abuses mentioned in the foregoing Chapter, another is crept in; the former were cheats in respect of Quantity and Quality; here by this the purse is emptied; for they fall in with men's humours, who then think a thing good when they have well bought it.
Hence Galen concealed his Golden Emplaister for the Squinancy, by which he got an hundred Crowns, which indeed was in it self of little worth; for there are many things of excellent use which if they were divulged, would be foolishly despised, because vulgar hands pollute whatever comes into them; some reason may be why after they are not so successful, because the Imagination and Fancy works not so strongly, and desponds as to the cure from such slight means, and so hinders the operation; for although another man's imagination has little force upon me, yet mine own much alters the body, and either hinders or furthers a remedy in its working.

As this is clear in many diseases, so especially in Hypocondriac Melancholy, called the shame of Physicians, because rarely cured; wherein the non-effecting of the cure depends upon the prejudiced imagination of the Patient, who despairs of help; for cares, grief, and despair, do alter and change the blood, corrode the heart, overwhelm the spirits, that they cannot perform their offices; if therefore these can first be removed, there is very great hope of recovery.

Under this Cloak many cover their knavery and covetousness, who seek nothing but gain by their practice; for they call their Medicines by great names, that the imagination of the Patient closing with so rich and precious remedies may promote the cure; and therefore they compound their Medicines of rare Ingredients, as Gold, Silver, Pearls, Pezoar, Ambergrease, Musk, and many more; and then they christen them according to their birth. They call them the Balsome of Life, the Great Elixer, the Restorative of Life, Potable Gold, Butter and Oil of the Sun: and who indeed can reckon up their tricks by which they draw in and delude such multitudes of ignorant people? yet their great names are not altogether insignificant; for by their Balsom of Life, they mean that which maintains and keeps themselves alive.

But grant these costly Medicines to be good and useful, yet they must confess that others not so chargeable have greater virtues in them.

We may also question whether they deal honestly, and do not sell a little salt for Gold, and rank poison for the Balsom of life; we have known some at deaths door by their Mercury: I speak this that others may be cautious; think what would come of it, when one mistaking administred Opium for Apium or Parsly: thus they try experience upon men's bodies, and kill one to save another.

Besides, though these may be very excellent Cordials or Antidotes, ye take they not appropriated to the disease, and so consequently little conducing to the grief.
Consider then the abuse; the Patient pays a great price for that which is of small advantage to him, and scorns those means which are at an easy rate; wherein also there is no danger, as being by experience confirmed, and by all hands received.
It is not hard to prove that each Country abounds with Simples suitable to the Diseases of that Country, and that we need not go India, or use Exotic Drugs.

This Question has been handled by many learned men; at present we will not spend much time about it. We deny not men the use in Food and Physick of India and Arabic Spices; neither do we condemn other most excellent gifts of God, but here we find fault with the price; let us therefore use them in their place and time: Perhaps such precious things were intended for great persons, but yet great care must be used in the preparation that they be not Sophisticated. I say rich men may afford to pay for these Medicines, who delight to eat and drink Gold, and hope as by that they can purchase all earthly things, so they may buy health.

Neither would we be thought ignorant of the great virtues and rare efficacy of Gold; but we speak against the abuse of those Impostors who instead thereof do cheat and rob: and we can assure all, that there is no worth in the boiling and reboiling of Gold: They indeed give their menstruous stuffs for dissolved Gold, which being reduced to a spirit may corrode; and let all men beware of it; imitating a careless Cook, who if he has lost the broth in which the meat has been boiled, sets new upon the Table which has no heart nor strength in it: So they when they have consumed and lost their Gold with Salts and other ways, they sell that which remains; when the Bird is gone they sell the Nest; and this they call Potable Gold spiritualized because invisible: it may be they put Gold into their furnace; but that they by those means can produce such Medicines we deny: There were many Alexanders, many called by the name of Julius, but yet but one Alexander the Great, one Julius Caesar, the others agree only in name.

Should any one enquire into the excellency of our own Countries Simples, he would have work enough upon his hands. We shall leave this to another time and place.
But besides the price, may we not justly suspect the preparation, that they instead of true may sell false compositions failing in their Art and Profession? for the balance of Humane frailty being at the one end by Justice, at the other by Profit, the last overweighs; because honesty may be an hinderance to us, but profit brings pleasure and delight along with it. So now Merchants count it part of their Trade to learn and skill the adulterating of their Commodities; when the Thebans would admit no such persons to the Magistracy, unless they had left off their Trade at least ten years before, by which time they might forget to cozen; but I will not here censure all of that Calling: the same may be said of those who sell Medicines, whether Physicians or Apothecaries, if they abuse their profession.

It remains to show that Specifics of Vegetables and things of little worth, are more powerful against any disease then those which are of so great price; neither is the reason fetch'd farre; for they whose Property absolutely resists the malady, they (I say) must needs be more effectually then those who accidentally suit the disease, and by mere chance work a cure. In Mechanic Arts if a man excellent in one should boast of his skill in another which he never saw, you would find him a bungler in it; but employ the same in that Trade wherein he has been brought up, and he will show himself to be a workman: So in diseases, when each Specific doth its own office, there is an happy issue, but applied to another proves of no effect; neither can it be expected from one man (thought he had an hundred hands) to conquer an Army, which yet choice Bands of experienced Souldiers may easily overcome; but we have been tedious about this subject.

That many are haters of Chymistry, and others scorne the use of Vegetables and Galenical compositions, either of which may be useful in proper Cases.

As the Palats of men are not all taken with the same taste, but what is pleasing to one, is loathsome to another; so men's judgements do differ, and what one approves the other assents not unto; both which happen or are caused as by Sympathy or Antipathy, drawing them on to embrace, and provoking them to hate such a thing; so also by prejudice or reason corrupted.

Some dare not taste Cheese all their life; some abstain from it a few years; some drink only water, refusing Wine or Ale; and in these there is great variety; no less is the difference among Minds: Whence it is that two meeting when neither has seen or heard of the other, at the first sight, shall desire and seek each others friendship; and on the contrary, whence is it that one hates another from whom he never received injury? as evidently appears by one coming where two are gaming, he presently shall find his affection to close with the one, and if his wish might succeed he should win; and he would gladly have the other lose, though he neither received courtesy from the one, nor harm or ill word from the other.

Now as much as the understanding excels the taste, and dull and sensual faculty; so much a truly wise man surpasseth one that only outwardly seems judicious; one by reflection considers and weighs the matter, the other not so acutely apprehending is tempted to rashness. Thus many learned men whose Fancies have not been in due subjection to their understandings, have abused themselves, and have heedlessly embraced this as good, and cast off that as evil.

It may seem as strange in Medicine that some Doctors should only prescribe Vegetables and Galenical Physick, perfectly hating Chymistry, and that others wholly inclined to novelty should refuse all Medicines that are not Chymically prepared.

Both parties (in mine opinion) are swayed more by Fancy then Reason; for I suppose it absolutely necessary to study first your ancient dogmatical Medicine both as to the Speculative and the Practical part, and to correct the faults as we have already pointed in the first, second, and third Qualities; and the same course is to be taken in Chymistry, so that they be without suspicion and deceit: and first we will begin with the old, and then proceed to the new.

We have sufficiently proved that there are occult properties and specific virtues in Simples, as no learned Galenist ever denied; who have also confessed that these did not work from their Qualities or degrees, but their natures to mitigate Symptoms, take away the cause of the disease, and to Enthronize health in mans body.

If this be true, why are not Physicians more careful in gathering and rightly understanding the nature of Simples?

Fernelius in his Book De abditis rerum causis, saith that this Specific virtue which he calls the Form, lies hid in every part of a Simple, and is diffused throughout all the Elements; hence if by Chymistry water is drawn off, oil is extracted, and Salt made out of the ashes each of these, the Water, Oil, and Sal has the Specifical virtue of the Simples▪ but I suppose one not so much as another, yet all joined together are perfect and complete.

These things being laid down and confirmed, we must confess that the outward tangible body of any Simple that may be beaten, cut, sifted, boiled, mingled with any other, to be the bark, the carcass, and habitation of the Specifik Quality which is the pith, the soul, the householder: And now what shall we say of our common preparations in Apothecaries shops, which have good and bad, nay most corrupt in them? would not all laugh him to scorn who being commanded to call a Master out of his house, will needs have the house along too? that cannot use the birds unless the nest be an Ingredient, that cannot eat Oysters unless he may also devour the shells? But the Apothecaries think this lawful enough, because they can do no better; these occult Qualities indeed are so subtle, that they make an easy escape, unlesse they be narrowly watch'd, and with a great skill housed or incorporated. Camphire loseth its strength unless it be cherished with flaxseed; Rubarb is preserved by wax and the spirits of Wine; the Salt of goats blood does evaporate, if it be not close stopp'd in glasses.

What shall we then say of these Specifical Qualities separated from their bodies? will not they return to their first principles? for who can seperate the Quality of burning from the fire? the quality of moistening from the water? but if this be impossible in simple bodies, how much more difficult is it in compound?

I could therefore wish that Medicines were used which were lawful, possible, and reasonable, that laying aside ostentation and pride, truth might flourish.

Perhaps we might allow of Syrups, Juleps, Conserves, did not that great quantity of Sugar clog the natural operation of the Simple: Perhaps we might approve of Electuaries, Opiats, Antidotes, unless the multitude of simples confusedly put together did hinder, if not totally extinguish the true virtue: Perhaps Pills, and all bitter, sour, sharp, stinking Medicines are good; but yet they destroy appetite, cause loathsomeness, that a Patient had better endure the disease then the remedy; if bitterness, sourness, sharpness, and an ill savour, are the Specifical Qualities, they should be rather checked then let loose; and indeed they are but handmaids to their Mistress, but subservient to the specifical Quality; and the true difference is discovered by Chymistry; for it separates the impure parts from the pure, if rightly used: yet mistake not, we say not that Chymical preparations are altogether spiritual and without any body, but are more piercing and subtle, more defecated then gross bodies made more heavy by a great quantity of Sugar, so that they are not free and at liberty to act and play their parts.

By this time you may see the folly and madness of those who hate Chymistry, which ought to be used, but with care and judgement; for it is not the part of a Physitian to burn, lance, cauterize, and to take away the cause of the disease, by weakening the Patient, and endangering his life; but Symptoms must be abated, nature restored and comforted by safe Cordials. One Archagatus was the first Chirurgian that came to Rome, and was honourably received; but coming to use lancing and burning, he was thought rather an hangman; and for the like cause at one time all the Physicians were banished Rome. One Charmis a Physitian condemning the judgement of his Predecessors, set up new inventions of his own, and commanded his Patients in frost and snow to bath in cold water, as Pliny reports; who saith also that he has seen old men set freezing them by his direction. Acesias about to cure the Gout, looked more to the disease then pain, which by neglect increased, whence the Proverb had its Original, Acesias medicatus est, as Erasmus has it, when the condition grows worse, Acesias his Cure.

It is clear enough from what has been delivered that Nature is best satisfied when profitable and wholesome things are applied. Asclepiades an intimate friend of Cn. Pompey first showed the benefit of Wine to sick persons, recovering a man carried to his grave; he taught to maintain health by a moderate use of meat and drink, an exact care in excercise, and much rubbing; he invented delightful and pleasing potions, he commanded bathing, and for ease to his Patients invented hanging beds, that sleep might surprize them in such a careless posture. The same Pliny saith that Democritus was a Physitian, who in the Cure of Confidia Daughter to Consul Sereilius, did forbear harsh means, and by the long and continual use of Goats milk recovered her.

Agron as Coelius reports, Lib. 13. cap. 22. was a Physitian at Athens, who in a great Plague when many were infected, did onely cause to be made great fires nigh to the place; and thus did Hippocrates, for which he was much honoured.

Whence we may learne that mild and gentle usage in a disease is more efficacious to the taking away of the cause, and to healing the Symptoms, then harsh and rugged dealing. The Mariner doth pray for a full gale many times to force him into his desired Harbour; neither doth the Traveller go in a direct line, yet both in the end attain their hopes. We read that Fabius by delay conquered his enemy; so that it is a Masterpiece of prudence well and maturely to deliberate and then to execute; yet the method of curing remains and the Axioms are firm; viz. If the cause be taken away, the effect ceaseth; if the disease is cured, the Symptoms do vanish and wear away.

But Chymistry stores and supplies us with Medicines which are safe, pleasant, and soon perform that for which they were intended: and others have abundantly set forth this in their writings, and therefore it will not be requisite to stand longer upon it.

Now let us face about and view those who are mre Chymists; these would be called young Theophrasts, affecting like their Master a Divine Title, which he neither had by his Father nor Mother, but assumed it to himself as most Magnificent and glorious: but without all doubt he was a man of eminent and admirable knowledge in the Art of Physick; yet surely it would be worthily judged madness for his sake alone, to forsake the Ancients and follow his new inventions.

It may seem an absurd thing for one to undertake to restore a very old man to his former strength, because death it then approaching, and every man as length must submit to his Scepter.

Is not the World now ancient and full of days, and is it not folly to think of recovering and calling back its youth? surely their new Medicine cannot revive the dying World, it may weaken it and hasten its end: yet stay I pray you, do not imagine that I do at present censure the excellent and plainly divine Preparations of Chymistry; but rather the persons who profess it, who make it their business to destroy, but endeavour not to build, who trample on others to raise and exalt themselves; as Thessalus of old did, railing against all men who were not his followers: So Chrysippus Master to Erasistratus, to gain preheminence, despised and changed Hippocrates. These and such like men are wont to promise much, but perform little; for we may certainly conclude, that although such persons may affect greatnes, yet they shal never attain it by such indirect means.

I would many of the Paracelsians did not too much conform to their Masters vices; if many late writings were scanned, and their abuses and tart language against others left out, I doubt their volumes would very much shrink; it were much better that diseases the common enemies were more looked after, then private grudges amongst Physicians themselves revenged: Brute beasts do bark, show their teeth, and spit venom; a mans weapon is Reason by which he should foil his adversaries.

As touching Chymistry, we highly commend and admire those things in it which are good, but yet so as not to despise Galenical Medicine, which in some cases is as effectual: my opinion is that each ought to be used in its proper place. Men are not mere spirits but corporeal Substances, and therefore need not Medicines exalted to their highest degree of perfection, at least in every greife applied to every person and to every part or member. There are some diseases which being hot and dry are not to be cured by Chymical prescriptions, whose Ingredients or Preparations have the like Qualities. In a Common-wealth there is a Merchant, there is an Husbandman, but one ought not to supplant the other; so a prudent Physitian will make use of both as he sees occasion; the one for a Country man, the other for a delicate Person; the one in slight distempers, the other in dangerous cases; the one for pleasantness, the other for efficacy as necessity requires.

Concerning the unsufferable vices of many Physicians, from which the Fraternity of R. C. is free.

We have not without sufficient cause said something of the abuses of Medicine, which the Brethren warily shunned by their first Law, which was, That they should cure the sick Gratis; for the greediness of Physicians puts them upon unjust and illegal actions. Whence come those terrible long Bills?

those short dear Bills, but from coveteousness? every one more striving to enrich himself then to help the diseased; yet we deny to none their honest gains. Justice and Truth should sway them in their practice: let them follow the method of Hippocrates and Galen; yet Nature indeed is more to be look'd after then either of them, as a sure guide into its own most intricate secrets: but from the faults of remedies we will come to the faults of Physicians themselves, by which so many Patients do and have miscarried.

They are commonly these; Self-conceit, Pride, Malice, Hatred, Calumniation in word and writing, Coveteousness, Ignorance, joined with a great stock of Confidence, or rather Impudence.

This Self-conceit becomes no man; if a man is puffed up like a bladder, he may be sooner broken, and his glory will vanish; his greatness increaseth his danger; neither is Pride to be allowed of; it blaits all parts and endowments, and if the man escape the envy of others, yet death or a slight Fever makes him fall, and he who even now was lifted up through ambition, is brought down to the earth. It is not true learning that causeth men to swell, but an emptiness; they suppose themselves to be knowing men, when as indeed they understand not the depths of Nature. Socrates had learned a lesson of ignorance, after much study he found out his insufficency; if these vapourers would turn over a new leaf, they would see their former presumption.

Mark how Malice and Hatred prospers when two are set against each other, they endeavour by making themselves a common laughing stock, utterly to undo both, and each at length is whipped with his own rod. There is this benefit in having an envious adversary, that he spends and wastes away; his malice feeds upon himself; so that it is better for any man to deserve the envy of another rather then his pity, the one supposing him happy, the other miserable: This vice as the Ivy by embracing trees doth spoil them; this vice I say clings to great persons, and secretly corrodes their Honour and Fame; what noble exploits, what virtuous deeds have been performed but they have been blown upon by some pestilential breath? This was the cause of furious Caines murthering his righteous Brother Abel, and that Jupiter struck Aesculapius with a thunderbolt: to avoid this many have forsaken their Countries and lived amongst strangers, as did Iphicrates in Thracia, Timotheus in Lesbos, Chabrias in Aegypt, Chares in Sigeum, who were all Grecians; amongst the Romans, Pompey after so many magnificent Triumphs, for his great and and famous Victories withdrew into the Country, and came seldom in public, that he might escape the envy and malice which he feared, because of his innocency and greatness.

What shall we think of that monster Aristotle, who (as it is reported) was so spitetful to his Master Plato, that he caused many of his works to be burnt that he might shine brighter? he was fearful his honour should be eclipsed by his Masters greatness. Aiax hated Vlysses, Zoilus Homer; Didimus Alexandrinus was enemy to M. Tull. Cicero. Palemon the Grammarian to M. Varro, Caesar to Cato, Adrianus to Traian, M. Crassus to Pompey, Alexander to Achilles at the sight of his Sepulcher, Julius Caesar to Alexander, and many others who were all possessed with this evil spirit; but in Medicine such practices are more dangerous, because the body of man being of more worth then Arts or other trifles, is engaged, as being the subject of Medicine.

This flame increaseth and most commonly breaketh out; envy turns to Calumniation; hence is it that so many vain Pamphlets are sent abroad full of bitter expressions, which become no rational prudent man; but this vice has been by many set out, and we will spend no more pains upon it.

Coveteousness is another vice which has infected many Physicians, who make it their only study to heap up riches; and though their strength of body is decay'd through age, yet with a most rigorous desire do they endeavour after money; nay though they have one foot in the grave, they will have another in a bag to counterpoize them. Physicians indeed above others are tempted to this vice; for when they grow old they are most sought unto because of their experience; and by this means they are encouraged to set Silver above Justice, and Gold above Conscience. But if an Apothecary be coveteous and greedy, more mischiefs do ensue; all his compositions will be made up either of stale or false Ingredients, so that both the Physitian and Patient are cheated; the one is censured for ill success, the other is not only not cured, but may complain of the bad Physick as of a new disease.

I shall speak nothing concerning the abilities and qualifications of a tried, examined, and licensed Physitian; but of the unskilfulness of those who rashly undertake to practice when they want knowledge and learning to guide and direct them; they study impudence; and note, that an illiterate rude fellow in maintaining his opinion shall always appear most confident: their Geese are Swans, their absurd receipts are Oracles and Mysteries, and they are enjoined to conceal what they know not; if any one opposeth them, they either slander him or envy him perfectly.

These and the like vices have no place amongst our Fraternity; they are not Emulous or Arrogant, they are not Spiteful and Envious, but delight in instructing one another in Mysteries; no brawling or disgraceful speeches are uttered amongst them, much less are they coveteous.

The Book M. declares their skill as well in other Arts as in Medicine; if any one please to consult their other Books, and weigh diligently their nature and all circumstances, he shall find what we have said abundantly there confirmed.

Whether any one of the Fraternity being called to a Patient, is bound to appear? and whether they are able to cure all Diseases; as well those that are accounted incurable, as those that are thought curable?

The actions of men as well as their persons are subject to many miscarriages; as the one may die, so the other may be forgotten; as the one may be infirm, so the other may be abused; wherefore an Act was invented by which all worthy deeds might faithfully be kept and transmitted to posterity. Persons indeed whose Offices are public, in performance of their duties of trust, are necessarily bound if occasion requires, to act publicly in their place: But if in the little World any disorder happens, as a disease subverting health, the sick person immediately goes not to a Magistrate, but a Physitian; wherefore Medicine properly respects not the public, but the private health of this or that Patient; therefore it will follow that a Physitian being not compelled by the Law, nor engaged by service, shall be forced to visit any Patient who sends for him; for a Physitian doth not prescribe to all, but to a particular sick man, and is a servant to Nature, but not to the diseased whom he governs by his rules till he has restored them to health.

We may enquire more strictly concerning these Brethren, whether since they profess only Medicine as their first Law enjoin, if wrote unto, or spoken to for the taking away of a difficult disease, whether in any particular place they must appear being engaged thereto, either by promise, or charity? We answer negatively; for if other Physicians are not so streightned, much less are they, who do their Cures without price, who expect not a reward from men but from God, to whom as also to the lawful Magistracy they are obedient.

Furthermore, whether all diseases are cured by them, even those whom others judge past help, as the Leprousy, the Dropsy, the Pestilence, the Cancer, the Hectic, the Gout, and many others? We answer, that they ingeniously confess in their writings that they know not the time of their own death, and they acknowledge that all men must pay their debt to death, which cannot be hindered or prevented by any Medicines, if according to predestination it seizes upon any man; and to endeavour against Providence were impious and vain.

But there are three degrees considerable in the aforementioned maladies; The beginning, the increase, the state: At the first all or most of these diseases are cureable; when they prevail somewhat over Nature remedies may be had; and doubtless the Brethren have Medicines which will effect the cure, Gods providence assisting them in their lawful endeavours: such diseases in their height wich have a tendency to death are incurable; as for common sicknesses we find that either Galenical or Chymical Preparations may remove them.

We will now declare the reasons why sometimes the most able Physicians are foiled and disappointed. First we must know that diseases are the effects of sin, and deserved punishment doth often times shut out favour, so that tedious sicknesses and death are means which God uses to check sinners, or chastise his people; in vain therefore will man labour to frustrate the Decree of the Almighty in his will and pleasure. The second reason may be drawn from the nature of Diseases, which are either deadly in themselves, or as they are consequences of others being produced by them. The Plurisie or the Inflamation of the Pleura although it is dangerous, yet if direct means be applied in time, it is helped and cured: But if the matter inflamming is not evacuated by letting blood, or by expectorations there will follow a corrosion of the Pleura, and the corruption flows into the cavity of the breast, and thus another disease is generated called Empiema: and now if Nature stands not much the Patients friend, and doth not convey this matter into the water courses, as often is seen, or also by Art some Muscles are opened, and the corruption within forty days carried away, the Lungs will be ulcerated, and a Consumption will ensue altogether incurable.

The Question is whether cureable Diseases are by them helped? Such indeed would end without any application, and Nature needs no assistance to such enemies, so that then Medicine were useless; for who will trouble himself to seek after means, when his grief will shortly of it self cease and go away? Though here be many difficulties couched, yet we shall briefly state the case: Let those who are unsatisfied in large Treatises show whether in the World it was absolutely necessary that all things should be done which are done, or whether they might have been otherwise disposed of. Cardanus and the Stoics do attribute all events to fatal necessity, to which they do subject God himself, as not being able to resist; so blasphemous are they.

We hold that God is a free Agent omnipotent, he can do what ever he pleaseth; he has made Nature his handmaid, and she having received a Commission doth accordingly act; she produceth all things either for the good and happiness of men, or else to plague and punish them, and of this rank are Diseases, and Death it self cometh from such prevalent diseases: But God alone disposeth of good or evil to every one; he indeed generally lets Nature keep its course, but sometimes to show his freedom, he interrupts that order, and by a particular providence thwarts the intention of Nature whether it tend to health or sickness; it is in his power to shorten a disease which to us may seem tedious, he can keep off Death when we give over the use of means. Now if God foresees the the evils which naturally hang over men, and doth not prevent such evils but therewith will punish men, he is not the Author of that evil foreseen and brought upon any one by nature, although sometimes he sends miraculous plagues upon his enemies. Hence is that saying; O Israel thy destruction is from thy self, because thy wickedness has drawn down judgements upon thine head. When some of the wise Heathens had taken notice of this; they feigned Pleasure and Sorrow, to be linked together, as if the excess thereof were to it self a sufficient punishment: They also said that a Disease was brother to Death, that by sweat virtue was attained; and to this purpose is that place in Scripture; There is no evil in the City that is not from God, where is meant the evil of punishment, either brought upon any person miraculously and by the immediate hand of God, or else naturally falling upon him.

Hence we learn the birth and original of Vice, it proceeds from the corrupted Nature of fallen man; his will enjoys its liberty in respect of earthly things, but as to heavenly things its not free: Its with a man as with a weak infirm person who cannot lift his hands to his head, but with ease he can let them hang downwards. So sinful man naturally inclining to sinfulness, without any pains falls into wickedness, he needs no particular instinct from God; but the strength which must support his infirmities, exalt him to Heaven, so that he may obey God, is not from man himself; but from the free grace and mercy of his heavenly Father, who has mercy on whom he will; but yet excludes none from his favour who forsaking earthly things do accept of the true means and receive the benefit thereof, who pray and endeavour to their utmost ability to be what they should be, committing themselves first and chiefly to God, and then to Nature, who faithfully obeys him in all things,

That the Brethren of the Fraternity do use only lawful and natural remedies.

The holy Scripture makes mention of a King of Judah who being sick of the plague and death seemed to approach, by divine providence was healed by having Figs applied to the sore, and he lived many years after; so that we see that God can miraculously direct to means which in themselves are natural, as indeed this was a very lawful remedy, and the reason is not unknown: so here we will examine whether the means which the Brethren use be of themselves lawful and warrantable. A certain Author thinking to insinuate himself into the favour of the Brethren, speaks of rare blessings and Exorcisms by which a man may promote the happiness of his Patients and curse and endamage his Adversaries; but who will esteem this lawful and good? Such things may catch some silly old women and by them be accounted secrets: they would be the greatest slander imaginable to the learned Fraternity; for the Brethren use natural means without any mixture of superstition, as we may see by the example of him at Wetz'ar; who with application of one Simple took away the raging pain of an Ulcerated Cancer, whom Phanias applauds for his rare Art; for by the same herb he also did the Cure, the same Brother carried a bag of roots and herbs always about with him; he much commended the Bryony root, but chose the bitter one; he taught also the occult virtue and proper use of many Simples, which are lost and forgotten.

We will not decide the controversy whether the Simples ought to be gathered according to particular constellations; many very learned men do favour this opinion: As first of all Barthol. Carrichterus, who divided the most approved and effectual Simples according to four Triplicities of the Signs in the Zodiac, and in each of them made three degrees. I have known many who addicting themselves to this study, have thereby been able to cure very dangerous sicknesses, especially old Ulcers and outward griefs.

That so many lights should be placed in the Heavens to no end and purpose, it were profane to imagine, because God created all things to act according to their nature; and surely the Stars were made to yield their influences, and there is not any doubt but that Vegetables, Minerals, and Animals, do receive their occult Qualities from them; he therefore is an happy man who can search out the effect by the cause, and by the effect is able to judge of the cause. Plants have relation as well to the heavens as to the earth, and he who knows this community is a great Artist; but the Brethren employ all their time in these Mysteries, as they confess as well in their Fama and confession as in other writings.

We dare not affirm that their Astrology is the same with that which is vulgarly professed, or their Botanic common; for theirs are founded upon certain and true Axioms; subject to no change but always continuing the same worth and virtue.

Other Axioms are so infirm, that they often times are proved false and admit of correction. It is an Axiom that all Wine is hot, which hitherto has been received as true; but if from some Country be brought Wines whose nature is cold, the falsity will appear. He who never saw a Bat or doth not consider infects will immediately say, that every thing that flies has feathers; when there are also flying fish which make use of their fins, so that there are many exceptions belong to the general rule: Who would not conclude this for a certain truth that four-footed creatures cannot pass thorow the Air as well as they pass on the Earth but by flying? but experience confutes this; for the Indian Cat by spreading some membranes (not wings) from her hinder feet to her former, goes in the Air whether she pleaseth: But the Axioms laid down and followed by the Brethren are such which fail not, their principles always attain their end; so that there is nothing deficient in them which may exclude or diminish their perfection; wherefore cures wrought by properties truly drawn from the Stars and the Planets, must necessarily be true & certain; for the effects do surely result from their causes not anticipated or mistaken. He who promiseth with fire, to heat, to dry, to burn, is not deceived, neither doth he deceive, because he has that which can perform all these offices: so if they undertake a Cure, there is no doubt but that they can effect it; because they know and can make use of the true and proper means, which Mediums are purely natural, the hidden treasure of Nature, the extraordinary gifts of God. They apply themselves only to the study of Natural Magick, which is a Science containing the deep Mysteries of Nature, neither is this divine knowledge given to any by God, but to those who are Religious, good and learned. Origen tractatu. 5. super Matth: saith, that the Magical Art doth not contain any thing subsisting, but although it should, yet that must not be evil or subject to contempt and scorn. The same 23. Homil. super Num. speaking of Natural Magick, doth distinguish it from the Diabolical: many hold that Tyaneus exercised the Natural Magick only, and we do not deny it. Philo Hebreus lib. de Legibus, speaks thus; That true Magick by which we come to the knowledge of the secret works of Nature, is so far from being contemptible, that the greatest Monarchs and Kings have studied it; nay amongst the Persians none might Reign unless they were skilful in this great Art.

Magick (as some define it) is the highest, most absolute, and divinest knowledge of Natural Philosophy advanced in its wonderful works and operations, by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true agents being applied to proper Patients, strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced; whence Magicians are profound and diligent searchers into Nature; they because of their skill know how to anticipate an effect which to the Vulgar shall seem a miracle: As if any one shall make Roses bud in December, Trees to flourish in January; shall cause a Vintage in May, produce Thunder and Rain in the Air; as Joh. Baptista porta teacheth lib. 2. De Magia naturali; also Roger Bacon did the same: Julius Camillus a man to whom we may give credit, affirms that he saw a childe formed by an Alembick, which lived some hours: a very strange thing, if true. Coelius de Budda writes, that he brought forth a Virgin out of his side; but we leave these things as we found them, we will not dispute the truth of them. We need not stand longer upon the praise of Magick, it being of it self so honourable; but yet this noble Science doth oftentimes degenerate, and from Natural becomes Diabolical, from true Philosophy turns to Negromancy; which is wholly to be charged upon its followers, who abusing or not being capable of that high and mystical knowledge, do immediately hearken to the temptations of Satan, and are misled by him into the study of the black Art. Hence it is that Magick lies under disgrace, and they who seek after it are vulgarly esteemed Sorcerers; wherefore the Brethren thought it not fit to stile themselves Magicians; but Philosophers they are not ignorant Empirics, but learned and experienced Physicians, whose remedies are not only lawful but divine: and thus we have at large discoursed of their first Law.

Of the second Law of the Fraternity of the R. C. viz. That none of the Brethren shall be enjoined one habit, but may suit themselves to the Custom and Mode of those Countries in which they are.

Many perhaps may blame my prolixity upon the first Law; to whom I shall answer, that weighty businesses are not to be perfunctorily run over; transactions in the little World may only deserve to be touched upon, but the affairs of the great World ought to have an answerable consideration; so that I must necessarily crave pardon for my brevity, because I could not wrap up the due commendations of such subjects in so narrow a compass.

This second Law gives birth to the first; for without it the Brethren would have no opportunity of doing good, who by its benefit are secure and fear no danger: for as a Bird although it singeth not, is known by the colour of its feather; so every one accustoming himself to one Habit is thereby distinguished. We find in History that many by their enemies have been discovered by their apparel, and the disguise has often times procured liberty. Otho being overcome and making his escape by Sea was taken by Pirates, who not knowing him because he had changed his clothes, suffered him to ransom himself.

On the contrary King Richard coming back from the Holy Land, affairs being there illy managed and to the displeasure of many, especially the Duke of Austria, passing with his Navy by the Adriatic Sea was discried and became a prey to the said Duke, who was forced to redeem himself, to pay a vast sum of money; and he was known and found out by his garments.

If danger attends Kings and great persons in such cases, much worse would be the condition of private men if they should have so sad a restraint upon them. Men in mean apparel do not fear the attempts of Robbers, neither do they suspect a poisoned glass; whereas Potentates are a prey to the one, and very often are taken away by the other.
Besides a poor habit is sufficient to cover Learning, and a Cottage may become Wisdoms habitation; nay men's parts and abilities are censured by their outside, and that which is willingly concealed must not have a being; tis a Courtier who must only be accounted a Scholar; but indeed the soul is clothed with the body, which to add ornament to it needs no help of Tailors or Painters, it is graced with true Philosophy, and secret Arts are its glory.

Margaretha a Queen of France is said to have kissed the beautiful soul of Alanus a Philosopher when he was asleep thorow his body, the which action being much admired at; she answered that she then perceived not the deformity of his body, being ravished with the amiableness of his soul. Thus we see that a gallant spirit may dwell in an unhandsome house, and that a poor habit may be worn by the most excellent and profound Philosopher.

There are yet many reasons which may persuade to a decent clothing, for by every vulgar eye the mind is judged of by the garment; but we in other Books have largely treated of this subject. Very many have instead of modest and comely apparel run into excess, as Poppea Wife to Nero, and Cleopatra Queen of Egypt to set forth their beauty; but this is not commendable, since Seneca's rule is to be observed which requires a due moderation.

Our Brethren change their Habit for a virtuous end, which as it is not gaudy, so it is not contemptible; they are always civilly clad, and not affectedly, they are especially careful of the inside, that their hearts are real and honest; neither would they impose on any by their actions.

There are many ways by which men may be deluded, as by a Fallacy, Equivocation or Amphiboly, but these do appertain to Logic: The Brethren are vigilant as well in respect of disgrace as damage; it is a very difficult matter to cheat and deceive them.
Whereas others take the liberty to cozen a cozener, and think it a piece of justice to repay in the same coin; The Brethren are not so revengeful, they count it an happiness to have an opportunity of expressing their patience; yet although they are as innocent as Doves, they endeavour to be as wise as Serpents, for there may be an harmeless subtlety. We may judge easily that they affect not vanity by the often change of their apparel, because they would not be known, but obscure their names and relation.

If the intentions are sincere not thereby to wrong any one but to do good, we may allow not only of a disguise in clothes, but a change of names; the sign doth not alter the thing signified, neither doth an Accident destroy the Substance. Names are notes by which one man is known and distinguished from another, clothes are coverings as the one hides our nakedness, so the other keeps from obscurity. The Ancient Philosophers and Egyptian priests did wear a linen white robe which distinguished them from others, as Pythagoras and his followers, to express both the cleanliness of body, and unspotted innocency of soul. Nature has so befriended some birds that they change both voice and feathers in the Winter, and thereby being not known, are safe from other ravenous birds: In some Countries Hares become white in the Winter, but in Summer keep their wonted colours. The Camelion by being like no every thing she comes near doth often escape, the Ants and many Insects have wings and can scarcely be known what they first were, so happy is that change which guides to safety.

Shall reason withstand the lawful dictates of Nature? where necessity compels, custom forces, shall men run upon the one, and to their damage slight the other? The Brethren being in all points careful, will neither violate Natures Commands, nor contemn civil rights, though they alter their apparel, their mind is unchangeable.

The third Law enjoins each Brother to appear on a particular day, and at a certain place every year, that they may all meet together and consult about their affairs.

Every Society has Laws and rules binding them to some Duties, so that the Governor or chief when he pleaseth and thinks it necessary may summon all to one place to consider what is most fit and convenient to be done on some emergent occasions, for if a company be separated, their minds and Councils are disjoined, the one cannot be helpful to the other either in example or advice: who knows not that most intimate familiarity, and the nearest friendship is broken off by absence, and want of visitation, so that they who were not long since highest in our thoughts are utterly forgotten, besides, wherein can a friend profit, who is distant from another, even Brethren become as it were unnatural when thus separated: we confess that letters may supply this defect, yet writing doth not so much delight and enliven, as discourse, papers are mute, if any doubt arise they cannot frame a ready answer, but where a man appears, he can resolve all Questions, satisfy all scruples.

Wherefore the Brethren of the R. C. thought it most expedient, if not altogether requisite to meet at least once in the year in a certain prefixed place: This Law as it is the third in order, so also in Dignity, by which the true Pythagorean assembly is obliged to appearance; neither is their meeting vain and to gaze upon each other, for they do imitate the rule of Pythagoras, who enjoined his Scholars every day to examine themselves, where they had been, and what good memorable act they had performed: so the Brethren of the R. C. at their convention create what rare cures they have done, what progress they have made in the Arts and Sciences, and observe how their practice agrees with their principles; and if any new knowledge confirmed by often experience comes to them, they write it in Books that it may safely come to the hands of their successors: Thus true and certain learning is increased till at length it shall attain to perfection.

This School is not like to Aristotle, for there were frequent wrangling disputes, one opposing the other, and perhaps both the Truth, however they have no Questions free from debate, not contradicted by some of the same sect: for example: What is the soul of man? Whether the First Act, or something else, whether ενδελεχεια [modern greek - "Soul"] or εγτελεχια [modern greek - "Entelechia; a growth, fruition and rebirth of any possibility."] whether born, generated, or infused, given from heaven, and many Thousand such fobberies, and at length they rest in Opinion.
They have therefore framed a Method to regulate disputes, and supply terms, whereby they more darken knowledge, and willingly shut their eyes: Let them discuss to weariness, the nature and original of Metals, and whether there can be a transmutation, and who will be better informed and satisfied? Thus idle Disputation is a sport of Wit, and only a recreation of Fancy, no solid and real Truth is to be found out by it.

A certain Philosopher hearing some dispute what Virtue is, made answer that as they could not come to an end of the Question, so neither to the use thereof: if any one professes himself to have skill in Physics, why then doth he not let the world see what he can doe? and laying aside vain babblings perfect the great work of natural tincture, but by chance he will utterly deny that there is any such thing to be found out, and hereby gets a cloak for his ignorance, for he will censure all which he knows not.

But who will call him a horseman, who yet did never ride? who will call him a Smith, who never wrought in that Art? and why should we esteem him a Philosopher, who has never experienced his philosophy, but has only uttered some foolish and fantastical words.

But some may here object that one part of Philosophy is contemplative, to which Mathematics and Metaphysics doe relate, the other consists in Action, to which Ethics and Politics do guide. Plato was displeased that Mathematics were brought to sensible Subjects, as Arithmetic to Numbers, Music to Sounds, Geometry to Measures, but we must acknowledge that he in this was envious to mankind,and in his passion prevailed over his reason: For what profiteth it any man by mere speculation to view the mysteries of God and Nature? is it a more commendable thing to think well, then to be good? the same holds true in Physics, for barely to contemplate of it is as unuseful, so absurd and ridiculous, how can you call that a true Cause, of which you never saw an effect? There has been some ancient Philosophers who have searched after experimental knowledge, and studied more Nature than Art, more the thing, then the signification and Name, as the Magicians amongst the Persians, the Brahmins amidst the Indians, and the Priests in Egypt: and now the Brethren of R. C. in Germany. Thus wee see plainly they meet for a good end, for each Court has  its appointed time in which justice may be duly executed, and no wrongs further heightened: The Brethren assemble to vindicate abused Nature, to settle Truth in her power, and chiefly that they may with one accord return thanks to God for revealing such mysteries to them: if any man is promoted to an high Office, and neglects or contempts the Ceremonies and circumstances of admission, the Prince will immediately put him out as one sleighting his favours and scorning of Him: so since God has been pleased to honour these Brethren with such rare endowments, and they should not appear to show their gratitude, He might justly take from them His Talent, and make them subjects of His wrath.

This Law has a Limitation if they cannot appear, they must either by others their Brethren, or by letters tell the cause of their absence, for infirmity, sickness, or any other extraordinary casualty may hinder their journey.

Wee cannot set down the places where they meet, neither the time, I have sometimes observed Olympic Houses not far from a river and a known City which wee think is called S. Spiritus, I mean Helican or Pernassus in which Pegasus opened a spring of everflowing water, wherein Diana wash'd her self, to whom Venus was handmaid, and Saturn Gentleman-usher: This will sufficiently instruct an Intelligent reader, but more confound the ignorant.

Concerning the fourth Law, that every Brother shall choose a fit person for his Successor after his decease, that the Fraternity may be continued.

All things in the world have their vissitudes & changes, what was to day is not to morrow, and this appears most of all in mankind, who are as sure once to die, as they at present do live, wherefore God out of his heavenly Providence granted Generation and propagation, that though Individuals do perish, yet the Species may still be preserved. And this is that innate principle which is the Cause of Multiplication, so that Plants, Annimals, Minerals, and man the noblest Creature shall to the end of the world be increased. Many philosophers have complained of the shortness of man's life, who though he be more excellent then others, yet he lives not their ages. The Eagle, the raven, the Lion and what not, endures longer then man, as though Nature was a stepmother to him, and the others were her true progeny.

Wherefore since that the Brethren, being Mortals, must certainly once cease to be, and undergo the common Lot of their Nature; their wise Lawmaker did not rashly make this Law, that each Brother should chose to himself a fit person to be his Successor: in which choice they do not look to the obligations of friends, their natural relation neither to Sons or Brethren, but purely to Qualifications, as Learning, secrecy, Piety and other such like endowments.

Amongst the Egyptians the sons did not only inherit their Fathers estate, but used the same trade and employment, the Son of a potter, was a potter, a Smiths son was a Smith: But the Kings were chosen out from amongst the Priests, the Priests from amidst the Philosophers, and the Philosophers were always Sons of Philosophers, but many times there happened a great difference of parts between the Son and Father; outward Goods may be conveyed to posterity, and the Son may be his Fathers heir, but the gifts of mind, especially such as this Fraternity has, is rarely by Generation communicated to the offspring: He that shall be induced either by entreaty, or hired with money to reveal ought to any one, but a truly virtuous man, doth injure the first Giver of such a Talent, the Lawgiver and the whole Fraternity, for perhaps enemies thereby would be able to further their designs, God would be dishonoured, and virtue banished.

The Philosophers would have mysteries revealed to none but those, who God him self shall enlighten, that their understandings being refined, they may apprehend the deepest sayings & profoundest secrets: Others say, that we must not trust him with whom we have not eaten a Bushell of Salt; that is, him with whom they have not had much converse to the sure experience of his abilities and faith, for friendship is not to be compared to Horses that bear price according as they are young, but to wine and Gold which are bettered by Age: So the Brethren entertain no man to be a member of the Fraternity, but men of approved parts, and very virtuous.

There were certain rites and Ceremonies done at Athens in the honour of Prometheus, Vulcan, and Minerva after this manner: many were appointed to run into the City with lighted torches, and he whose light was out, gave place to the others, so that the victory was obtained by him who could come first at the goal with his flaming torch: The meaning was to express the propagation of secrets for the putting out of the torch is the death of a Predecessor, so that another living with his lighted torch succeeds him, by which means the rare mysteries of Chymistry come safe to after generations.

Chymistry indeed is a Science above all Sciences, the Minerva that sprang from Jupiter's brain, an heavenly ray which doth display it self to the comforting of things below: This is the birth of the understanding, whose propagation is as necessary as that of the body: we may observe the antipathy of some bodies to others, and we may see as great difference in minds: men's dispositions are to be fully known, least a sword be put into a mad man's hand; for a good thing may be evilly used, as wholesome wine put into a stinking cask doth change both colour and taste: Armhomedes boasted that if he could fix his foot in a sure place, he could by his skill move the whole world, and what would not ill affected persons do if they were matters of such secrets? doubtless they would endeavour the accomplishment of all their wicked devices.

Some may aske why they have such an Election, and do not rather let their knowledge be buried with them (or if not so unworthy) why do they not print, that every one may have, read, and understand their mysteries, or else why do they not chuse more to augment the Fraternity? we shall answer to each of them to satisfy those thus do Question.

First, why do they select a few persons? and will not have their secrets perish? we answer, there is good reason for both. Augustus Caesar would not suffer the Enneads of Virgill to be burnt although he had designed it so by his will, least Romes glory should suffer thereby, and yet this Poet as Homer amongst the Grecians had instead of Truth produced fictions: And is there not a greater cause why Brethren of the R. C. should endeavour the keeping in memory such secrets? may this learning never be forgotten in which there are no Fables but true devine experiments.

We may woefully lament the loss of secrets which being writ have unhappily been burnt, not writ have been forgotten, therefore for prevention of both it is convenient that they should be entrusted in a few hands, and by those careful be transmitted to others. Before the flood, the Arts were engraven on two pillars least either fire or water should blot them out, and afterward (as some write) the Cabalistical Art was found out, and by word of mouth communicated, and the Rabbins have at this day rather a shadow then the substance of that Science.

The Heathens had their Colleges in which were admitted none but such as were of an unblameable conversation and of choice parts; so that every one who was educated in a Scholastic way was not thought a fit person to be of their Societies, but they would pick of the most able and they were few, the which rule is observed by the Fraternity of the R. C. who admitted few and those upon good desert.

In the next place we come to the reason why they do not print and make their Knowledge public? there are many things in Policy, more in Divinity, not a few in nature, which ought not to see the light, but are to be kept in private breasts, least thereby some have written of the secrets of the Commonwealth, no one yet durst reveal the mysteries of God.Alexander the great being in Egypt learned of Leon the priest, that the Gods there and those which were every where else worshipped as Jupiter, Dionysius, Mars and others were no Gods, and He by letter informed his mother, but commanded that the Letter should forthwith be consecrated to Vulcan, least the multitude adoring those Gods should run into confusion: so likewise in Nature if their mysteries were known, what would become of order? but indeed how can that be called a secret which is revealed to many: though many may be judged fit persons to receive the knowledge; yet few have such command over themselves as to keep them, who will tie his tongue and deny himself the liberty he might otherwise enjoy? very few will let their words by long abiding there corrupt in there mouths, an ancient Philosopher being accused of a stinking breath, said, that it was caused by letting secrets putrify in it.

Why all who are desirous of the Fraternity are not chosen, is not their fault, but the others lottery: in courts they are soonest promoted who are most pleasing to their Princes, and they who are known preferred before the strangers, although their parts be better deserving, but of this Law enough.

The fifth Law: that the letters R. C. shall be their seal, Character, and Cognizance.

The Egyptians had two sorts of letters, the one holy called Hieroglyphics, only known to the Priests; the other profane commonly known: The Holy were the images af Animal vegetables, or mathematical Figures engraven in marble, which yet are to be seen at Rome being yet brought whole thither in Augustus his raigne, for the impression being inward, it will endure long. The Proflune were made by lines, as the Greek and Hebrew, the Priests used both the one to the Commonwealth, the other to the wise and learned. Hieroglyphics were signs and Characters of deep knowledge which none might expound to others under oath and the pleasure of the Gods.

Junior Philosophers have employed all their pains and study to find out the meaning of these Hieroglyphics: the Phoenix (properly belonging to Chymistry) was accounted a creature dedicated to the Sun, and this Emblem agrees to all the holy marks: so likewise the R. C. have diverse letters to discover their minds to their friends, and to conceal it from others.

Their Characters are R. C. which they use that they may not be without Name, and every one according to his capacity may put an Interpretation upon the letters, as soon as their first writing come forth; shortly after they were called Rosie Crucians, for R. may stand for Roses and C. for Cross, which appellation yet remains, although the Brethren have declared that thereby they Symbolically mean the Name of their first Author. If one man could pierce into another's breast and espy his thoughts, we should need neither words nor writings; but this being denied us, and only granted to Angels, we must speak and write each to other. These Letters do contain the whole Fraternity, and so darkly, that you cannot by their Names know their families, by their families know their persons, by their persons learn their secrets.

Each order has its Formalities and coat of Arms or Emblem, The Rhodians have the double cross, they of Burgundy the golden fleece; others a Garter, in honour of a woman who lost her garter in a dance, The Brethren have the letters R. C. and as some of the others are Hieroglyphics and serve to cover mysteries; so the Brethren have a particular intention in this. I am no soothsayer, no prophet, yet under favour I have spoken to the purpose in my other books: for R. signifies Pegasus, C. Iulium if you look not to the letter but right interpretation; have a Key to open secrets, and attain the true knowledge thereof:

D. wmml. zii. w. gqq bka x

understand if thou canst, thou needst make no further search: Is not this a claw of the Rosy Lion, a drop of Hippocrene? and yet I have not been so unfaithful as publish their holy mysteries; for no man can pick any thing out of it, unless he is very skillful both in words and things. Some out of proper names will make Anagrams, see what is included in R. C. the Rosy cross γλυκόπικρο [modern greek - "Bittersweet"].  Ha, Ha, Eheu, in the same is contain'd a laughter and a complaint, sweetness and bitterness, joy and sorrow, for to live amidst Roses, and under a cross are two contrary things. Man being about to be borne partly by change of places, partly by the navel string cut, is said most commonly to shed tears, and rarely doe rejoice; so there whole life is but a continued sorrow, and have more of the Cross then Rose in it: But I rather take R. for the substantial part, C. for the Adjective which holds not good in that interpretation of the Rosy-Crosse.

The Caesars of Germany, Charles the Great C. his Successors were wont to use hand seals, and to set them to their subscriptions, it was meet that the Brethren should not be deficient in this, and therefore let Ingenious persons judge of this Anagram,

For in this R. C. are Acrostics, diligence will find out the rest: But none I hope will bee so foolish as to think any virtue to lie in this Figure, as it suspected to be in the word Abracadabra, for we mean nothing less, but we have only given in our verdict, and let others have the freedom as to have their opinions: But we matter not words; but look more after things, for things should be although they were unnamed, but words are without things vain and insignificant: When a certain King threatened the Laconians for their long letter, and desired a speedy answer, they sent back one, these letters O Y, by the one meaning that they would Not, by the other that they valued not his threats one jot; so that multitude of words are often times to no purpose, and a few carrying weight in them may be sufficient.

Hence these Elements of the letters are not to be sleighted, R. Rabies madness and the middle, L. Luna the Moon doe express, for if the Sun be between them, they make an heart, which is the first thing in man, and if it is sincere may be an acceptable sacrifice to God.

Concerning the sixth and Last Law, which is, that the Fraternity of the R. C. shall be concealed an hundred years.

When the common people take notice of the secret managing of public affairs, they because of their ignorance, suspect it to be a plot upon them, and openly censure it, as not fitting to see the Sun; for treacheries and wickedness desires the night and darkness to cover and conceal them, and therefore actions are bad because they are private.

Besides the rude multitude many graver heads have inconsiderately called apparent things good, and the other nought, saying, if they be virtuous, why should they not be known that they may be embraced by honest men?

As if all lawful secrets because of their lawfulness were to be made public: would it not savour of folly if a Princes treasure because it was rightly gained should therefore be exposed to all men? surely such an opinion would only become a thief and robber.
The Brethren are thought guilty of concealing themselves, for they might probably doe more good if they were known, because they should be sought after, and have opportunities put into their hands, and why will they keep close both their persons and place; but let us consider that they travel; and they, as all wise men else, acknowledge no particular Country, but the whole world to them is as their own native soil, now in travel diverse entertainments are to be found, much flattery, little sincerity, much falsehood and deceit, no truth, honestly: He who is known by his Family, name, or office may be taken notice off to his disadvantage.

The Scripture calls men pilgrims, who have no true country and home but heaven; so that men are strangers and travellers in their own land, in their inheritances, and why then may they not scarcely be known to live when they shall not abide long? Their actions are such as become those who hope to appear and shine in Heaven though they are obscure below.

How great is their madness who spend their times in drunkenness and gluttony, who are known by their vices; or imitate him who boasted that he never saw the rising or setting Sun, and had no God but his Belly: whatever is rare and brought from far Countrys that they desire to eat, as though the whole world in short time should be devoured by the filling their guts more then their brains; perhaps, these may have Rational souls; but so clogged that they cannot soar aloft who drink not, eat not that they may live, but live to drink and eat.

The Lacedaemonians placed drunkards before a company of children, that they seeing the abominable naughtiness and deformity, might shun and hate that vice, as Lycurgus commanded: but such beastly persons do very often draw in others who keep them company, and their sight is too too often dangerous and destructive.

Wherefore such vices should be covered as filthy, that others may not be provoked and stirred up to the like enormities; nay let such things not only be conceal'd but buried, and things more profitable be used in their room: But if all good and honest secrets were brought to light, I dare say, the Fraternity of the R. C. would not be the last as having no cause of fear upon them, but I doubt whether yet we shall see those happy days.

There are many things bad which by custom have been in good esteem, and the continuance of vice makes it be thought at length Virtue: The Brethren would give no occasion of suspicion, for that which is not known, cannot be practised; without practise no custom; without custom no such mistake, although their being altogether honest need not be so censured or entertained.

Besides, perhaps the First Author by the Law that the Fraternity should be concealed an hundred years, would give the world time to lay aside their vanities, folly and madness, and by that time be fitted to receive such knowledge.

And truly every man that has eyes may see a great and happy change in the world, that many rare inventions are discovered, many abuses in the Arts rectified; and that they shall shine to perfection, and what then should hinder but that the name of the Fraternity should be published in their Fama Confessione and other books?

Two hundred years are past since the first Law was made, viz. ab A. C. 1413. in A. C. 1613. about which time the Fama came forth: although there is no clear manifestation of the discovery, yet it may sufficiently be gathered out of it, and afterwards the tomb of the first Author being opened, which was A. C. 1604. to which add the years of the prophesy, after 120 years I will be known, for 106. ab A. C. 1378. doe make 1484. and afterwards 120 doe make 1604: Some having this from their Predecessors have certainly affirmed this Truth.

Concerning the advantage or disadvantage arising to Learning from the total concealment, or discovery (as now is) of the Fraternity of the R. C.

I Cannot imagine that any man can justly accuse me for my prolixity on the the Laws of the R. C. perhaps some may suck spider like out of wholesome flowers destructive poison; and that which to others is pleasant and sweet, to them disaffected may seem loathsome and ugly: they erring and being vain themselves, scoff and laugh at our Fraternity, scorn their laws; say they, what benefit shall we receive from the discovery of them? indeed we doe hear that many under that title doe abuse themselves, and cheat others, for by such relations they vent their sophisticated drugs, and confuse all method in medicine.

We do not deny but that the best thing may be abused, but that is not to be charged upon the thing it self; but upon the person so employing of it: so none can truly say that the Fraternity and Laws thereof are unlawful, whose institution and intention may be justified; but yet envious persons who have devoted themselves to malice may carp at them; and endeavour the dissatisfaction of men's minds, wherefore in this Chapter we will show the profit and disprofit arising either from them detected or concealed.
There are four kinds of Good, Necessary, Honest, Pleasant and Profitable, by each of them men may be drawn to the affectation or disrelish of any Subject; the two first amongst these have the pre-eminency, the others are of less authority; but yet very often the latter prevail above the first, and many had rather enjoy pleasure and profit suitable to their natures; then the others as being somewhat harsh, wherefore we will treat of them, but not as separated from necessary and honest Good.

To what purpose should there be such a Society, if the profit and benefit thereof should be wholly concealed? the Ethiopians and Indians having never heard of their Fama and Confession are not taken with the Fraternity, but if they should believe that there is such a select company of men, yet they would be heedless, because they should receive no advantage by them: we care not for the richest minds, if we cannot enjoy them, and affairs translated at a great distance from us, are nothing to us, we do not take notice how the "Indians fight, and they neglect our Arts.

If the Fraternity had not made known themselves, there might seem to have no great damage thereby accrued to learning, since it is not more augmented; for heretofore cure of diseases, and preservations of health were practised and professed, the Sciences have been so reformed, especially the last hundred years past, that they have attained their utmost perfection: On the contrary if the Fraternity had been concealed, many might have great hopes and expectations of profit, for all kind of curiosity had been laid aside, men would not have vexed themselves with searching diligently after them, whom they should with the greatest difficulty hardly find, so many desires had not been unsatisfied, so many promises frustrated, so many sighs and tears vain: lastly, no occasion of confusion, but, because all these things are so false and absurd we shall not think them worthy of an answer; we shall therefore proceed to the profit of the Fraternity as it is detected and made known. There is in the world such an abundance of all things by the diversity of Species; multitude of Individuals that it is almost impossible to discern either their increase or decay. Hence is it that persons of Quality being taken away by death are not mist, because others do succeed them, and the rising Sun makes us take little notice of the Set.

Had the Fraternity not been discovered, the world had lacked nothing; for that which is unknown is not desired and sought after, & the absence of it is no loss, and we doubt not but that there are very many such things in nature: who ever dreamed of a new world now called America before it was found out? who thought of usefulness of writing and printing till they were invented? but now it is sufficiently known what benefit the whole world receives by them, although there seemed before to be no want.

For as no line is so long, nor any body so big, to which something cannot be added; so the perfection of the world was not so absolute but that it was capable of addition.
Thus the detection of the Fraternity did increase the worlds glory, and we shall show after what manner, viz. by revealing secrets and finding out others much conducing to the profit of mankind.

The Poets report of Anteus that he fighting with Hercules, and by him beaten often to the ground, did as often recover himself by virtue received from the touch of the earth (for he was thought to be Son of the earth) by which help he was always victorious, till he strove with Hercules, who finding out this mystery caught him in his arms and holding him in the air crushed him to death. By Hercules is understood a laborious and skilful Philosopher, by Anteus the subject to be wrought upon in which are contrary Qualifications: This matter is not easily known, because it lies hid every where, and at the same time lies open, understand the first in respect of men's intellects, the other in respect of Sense, and if it were known, yet the preparation is so difficult little good can be expected, The Philosophical earth is his Parent whose virtue is not easily attained, Hence it is that this Anteus is secretly strengthened from his mother, and so all endeavour of killing Anteus is in vain and to no purpose.

Therefore Osiris being about to travel into India did not unadvisedly consult with Prometheus, join Mercury as a Governor, and Hercules as President of the Provinces, by whose direction and his own industry he always accomplished his end, he used Vulcan's shop, the golden house where Apis is fed and nourished, for those three forementioned have their several offices in the Philosophical work: but some may say what is this to the Fraternity of the R. C.? it properly appertains to them, for they have overcome Anteus, they have sufficiently declared their Herculean strength, the wit of Mercury, and the Providence of Prometheus: This, this is the knowledge in which the Fraternity is skilled, fetched from the innermost depths of nature; which to neglect or to suffer to perish were folly and madness: There is no Chymist who understands not what we mean.

They who take a voyage to the East-Indies, cannot be without sweet fresh water, and if they find out a spring, they take a special notice of it, set it down in their writings, that others travelling that way may enjoy the like benefit, much greater reason is there that in the Philosophical voyage, having gotten a fountain sending forth pleasant streams, which can easily quench thirst and satisfy, how great reason is there that this should be highly esteemed and valued: I mean here the Philosophers living water and not any dead, which when once attained, the whole business will succeed, for the whole work is perfected by one artifice, by one way, by one fire which is natural (not neglecting the other three, unnatural, against nature and occasional) in one vessel, at one time, with one labour, which must be cautiously understood. 

2. The Book M always in the hand and mind of the Fraternity, and transmitted still to posterity, doth sufficiently lay open the knowledge of this Nature, in which Book is contained the perfection of all the Arts, beginning with the Heavens and descending to lower Sciences. For the mind of a wise man covets after the knowledge of all truths, to confute errors, and to adorn it self with glory and excellency, but this is not obtained by idle vain Speculation; but by diligent practise which is the only true wisdom: 

3. I have spoken enough before of their remedies for the cure of diseases. 

4. The Brethren lastly have a secret of incredible virtue, by which they can give Piety, justice and truth the upperhand in any person whom they affect, and suppress the opposite vices, but it is not my duty to express what this is: I beseech the Great God who governeth the whole world by his providence, so to dispose of all things that such mysteries may never be lost, but that the whole world may receive benefit thereby; and that hereafter men may not think it sufficient superficially to look into nature; but deeply prying into it may have more knowledge of God the Center, and praise him always for his Goodness.

That many Fables have passed under the name of the Fraternity, raised by the multitude who always misjudge of that which they doe not understand.

It cannot be otherwise, the Fraternity being in respect of it self well known, in respect of the persons thereof concealed, but that many strange, horrible, and incredible falsities should be cast upon them: for if we hear, see, or by any other sense have experienced any thing, yet in discourse this will be altered, if not altogether changed, because he that relates will either add or diminish; and the other not apprehending it aright, or perhaps failing in memory, or for affection favouring or envying the business, will unfaithfully report it: They who want those two faculties of memory and judgement are not competent judges in matters of so great concernment; what can a blind witness affirm that he saw? one deaf that he heard? or one not capable of understanding that he apprehended? for all these mistake one thing for another, they blame the subject and not themselves; they suppose all things as low as their parts, and because they want abilities, they acknowledge no deficiency: whoever they are who ignorantly or maliciously doe cast out any words aiming thereby to wrong the Fraternity, doe only expose themselves; but let these geese kept only to fill the belly leave off to hiss at our Swans: The water of which we now speak, is not that in which fishes doe swim; neither is this a fit study for such dolts and blocks. Leave off to discover what you are by your idle words: Learned and wise men are not censured by them, and why should they receive evil for good? But some may ask, what Fables are thus vented against the Fraternity? we answer, that many have detracted and traduced their innocent Fama and harmless confession, that they have accounted them Heretics, Necromancers, deceivers, disturbers of the Commonwealth: O harsh times, O evil manners! what is the world come to when slanders shall pass for Truths, and they who devote themselves to God, holiness, and make the Scripture their Rule, shall be called heretics, when they who study the depths of Nature shall be accounted conjurers, when they who make it their business to doe good to others, shall be esteemed cheaters; lastly when they who doe to their utmost power advantage their Country, shall be held the greatest enemies thereof?

I can think these absurd railors to be none others then those who are employed in the distillation of simple waters for Apothecaries; they hate nothing more then learning, and count themselves so much happier by how much more ignorant; and some (I confess) acting from a more noble and divine principle, have enlarged minds, willing and desirous to contain the Universe, who doe not only employ their time in study and meditation, but experiment what they learn; a wise man endeavours after the knowledge of all things; as a Prince has intelligence of all transactions, and as by the one he is distinguished from a fool, so by the other from a peasant; But the Fraternity doe imitate both, so that nothing is wanting to hinder their perfection.

As for that reproach they lie under concerning their disturbing of the Commonwealth, it is altogether false and by them coined; therefore let it return upon the first broachers of it, to whom it properly belongs as being their own: they might justly complain of such indignities offered to them, but they account it virtuous to suffer.

That there are so many Heresies abroad in the world, is not to be charged upon the holy Scripture; but the obstinacy of men forcing the text to confirm their will, is to be check'd; so it is no fault of the Fraternity that they are abused, but theirs who are so wicked as to calumniate them; for if to accuse any man were sufficient to prove him guilty, justice and injustice, truth and falsehood, white and black would not be distinguished, which is altogether unreasonable.

That the Brethren of the R. C. doe neither dream of, hope for, or endeavour any Reformation in the world by Religion, the conversion of the Jewes, or by the Policies of Enthusiasts which seemingly would be established by Scripture, but that they both acknowledge and show themselves lovers of truth & justice.

AS that which in the day time most runs in mens thoughts, doth in the night disturbe and work upon their Fancies; so every man is careful to let no opportunity slip of indeavouring to accomplish his intention; they who set their minds upon riches, are very laborious and painful to advance their estates; they who bend their thoughts to change Commonwealths, to alter Religion, to innovate the Arts, make use of very often most despicable instruments to doe their business: from this spring head has issued many murmuring streames; such Causes (I say) have produced many tumults and confusions in Commonwealths, where men have been acted by vain thoughts and foolish dreames, as it now doth evidently appeare both in the Anabaptists and Enthusiasts: are there not many even in this our age, who being ambitious to be ringleaders in new waies, instead of a Reformation, have disturbed all order, and law? they forsooth would have Religion and Learning suit with their fantastical opinions.

As soon as these had heard of this Honourable Society, they assured themselves that their desires would have an happy issue; for knowing that these Brethren were able in learning and riches, they doubted not but that they would employ both those talents to cause an Universal Reformation in the world; they therefore immediately promised to themselves one Empire, one Religion, unity and concord; but in all these things they were belied and abused; for they did never assert any such things; neither is there any ground of them in their writings: Out of their Books something may be gathered concerning the Reformation of the Arts which was endeavoured by the first Author about 217. years ago, about A. C. 1400. and at that time they had need of a Reformation; witness the labour and study of eminent men who have to good purpose spent their time to promote learning, as Rudolphus Agricola, Erasmus Roterodamus, D. Lutherius, Philippus Melanchthonus, Theop. Paracelsus, Joh. Regiomontanus, Copernicus with many others: and there is no doubt but the Arts may be more increased, their lustre more polished, many more secrets discovered. 

But herein Religion is not at all concerned. Let Rome therefore that Whore of Babylon, and her Idolatrous affecting an Ecclesiastical tyranny, who with menacies makes not only inferiors, but Kings their slaves and vassals, who belch out proud words against the true Church of God, without any attempt of the Fraternity, forsaking their toys and vanities, their blasphemy & profaneness, return into the right way; so may a reformation be produced, and piety and religion shall flourish. I fear yet that these as they who are rich and powerful will not judge that true which may any ways prejudice them, they I doubt will not embrace naked Truth, honest simplicity: But such Reformations belong more to God then man, who can turn the hearts of men at his pleasure, and so dispose all affairs that a severe check may be put to the growth of Popery. However the Brethren (as all good men ought) count it their duty to pray for and expect such a Reformation: the business lies more in the enlightening of the understanding, then changing the will, which is Gods own work; for he gives to doe and will as he thinks fit: who can (although he had the power of miracles) convert the obstinate Jews, when the scripture more confounds them and becomes a stumbling-block? Observe how their own writings doe disagree; how one thwarts another; and yet they consider not that wherein is concord. As for your Enthusiasts their Revelations of which they so much boast, are sometimes to Sin, but that cannot be from God; doe they not dream interpretations on scripture, and when either the Devil doth delude them or they are distracted, they count their conditions happy: they acknowledge no superiority, though commanded and allowed in the Scriptures: But our Brethren have always had one amongst them as chief and governor to whom they are obedient; they pity such persons whom they find cheated and often possessed; lastly, as it is impossible to separate heat from fire, so its as impossible to separate Virtue from this Society: they bestow their time in duty to God, in diligent of search of the scripture, in charity, in healing gratis, in experimenting the secrets of Nature: they have the true Astronomy, the true Physics, Mathematics, Medicine and Chymistry by which they are able to produce rare and wonderful effects; they are very labourious, frugal, temperate, secret, true; lastly, make it their business to be profitable and beneficial to all men, of whom when we have spoken the highest Commendations, we must confess our insufficiency to reach their worth.


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