Testi magici: Of Occult Philosophy – Book III. (part 4) – Johannes Trithemius
Chapter XLII By what wayes the Magicians and Necromancers do think they can call forth the souls of the dead.
By the things which have been already spoken, it is manifest that souls after death do as yet love their body which they left, as those souls do whose bodies want a due buriall: or have left their bodies by violent death, and as yet wander about their carkasses [carcasses] in a troubled and moist spirit, being as it were allured by something that hath an affinity with them; the means being known by the which in times past they were joyned to their bodi, they may easily be called forth & allured by the like vapours, liquors and savours, certain artificiall lights being also used, songs, sounds and such like, which do move the imaginative and spirituall Harmony of the soul; also sacred invocations, and such like, which belong to Religion, ought not to be neglected, by reason of the portion of the rationall soul, which is above nature: So the witch is said to have called up Samuel, and the Thessalian prophetesse in Lucan, to have caused a carcasse to stand upright: Hence we read in Poets, and those who relate these things, that the souls of the dead cannot be called up without blood and a carkasse [carcass]: but their shadowes to be easily allured by the fumigations of these things; eggs being also used, and milk, honey, oil, wine, water, flowre [flour], as it were yeelding a fit medicine for the souls to reassume their bodies, as you may see in Homer, where Circe at large instructeth Ulysses; yet they think, that these things can be done in those places only where these kinds of souls are known to be most conversant, either by reason of some affinity, as their dead body alluring them, or by reason of some affection imprinted in their life, drawing the soul itself to certain places, or by reason of some hellish nature of the place; and therefore fit for the punishing or purging of souls: places of this kind are best known by the meeting of nocturnall visions and incursions, and such like Phantasmes; Some are sufficiently known by themselves, as buriall places and places of execution, and where publike [public] slaughters have lately been made, or where the carkasses [carasses] of the slain, not as yet expiated, nor rightly buried, were some few yeers since put into the ground; for expiation and exorcisation of any place, and also the holy right of buriall being duely perfomeed to the bodies, oftentimes prohibiteth the souls themselves to come up, and driveth them farther off the places of judgement; Hence Necromancy hath its name, because it worketh on the bodies of the dead, and giveth answers by the ghosts and apparitions of the dead, and subterrany spirits, alluring them into the carkasses [carcasses] of the dead, by certain hellish charms, and infernall invocations, and by deadly sacrifices, and wicked oblations; such we read in Lucan of Erichthone the witch, who called up the dead, who foretold to Sextus Pompey all the events of the Pharsalian War: There were also in Phigalia a city of Arcadia, certain magicians, priests most skilful in sacred rites, & raisers up of the souls of the dead: and the holy scriptures testifie, that a certain woman, a witch called up Samuels soul: even so truely the souls of the saints do love their bodies, and hear mote readily there, where the pledges of their reliques [relics] are preserved: but there are two kinds of Necromancy, the one called Necromancy, raising the carkasses [carcasses], which is not done without blood. The other Sciomancy, in which the calling up of the shadow only sufficeth: to conclude, it worketh all its experiments by the carkases [carcasses] of the slain, and their bones and members, and what is from them, because there is in these things a spirituall power friendly to them. Therefore they easily allure the flowing down of wicked spirits, being by reason of the similitude and propriety very familiar: by whom the Necromancer strengthened by their help can do very much in humane and terrestriall things, and kindle unlawfull lusts, cause dreams, diseases, hatred and such like passions, to the which also they can confer the powers of these souls, which as yet being involved in a moist and turbid spirit, and wandering about their cast bodies, can do the same things that the wicked spirits commit; seeing therefore they experimentally find, that the wicked and impure souls violently plucked from their bodies, and of men not expiated, and wanting buriall, do stay about their carcases, and are drawn to them by affinity, the witches easily abuse them for the effecting of their witchcrafts, alluring these unhappy souls by the apposition of their body or by the taking of some part thereof, and compelling them by their devillish charmes, by entreating them by the deformed carkases dispersed through the wide fields, and the wandering shadowes of those that want burials, and by the ghosts sent back from Acheron, and the guests of hell, whom untimely death hath precipitated into Hell; and by the horrible desires of the damned, and proud devils revengers of wickedeesses. But he which would restore the souls truely to their bodies, must first know what is the proper nature of the soul from whence it went forth, with how many and how great degrees of perfection it is replenished, with what intelligence it is strengthened, by what means diffused into the body, by what harmony it shall be compacted with it; what affinity it hath with God, with the intelligences, with the heavens, elements, and all other things whose image and resemblance it holdeth. To conclude, by what influences the body may be knit together again for the raising of the dead, requireth all these things which belong not to men but to God only, and to whom he will communicate them, as to Elishai who raised up the son of the Shunamite; so also Alcestis is reported to have been raised by Hercules, and to have lived long after; and Apollonius Tyanensis restored a dead maid to life. And here is to be noted that sometimes it happeneth to men, that their vivifying spirit is retracted in them, and they appear as dead and without sense, when as yet the intellectuall nature remaineth united to the body, and it hath the same form, and remaineth the same body, although the power of vivifying extendeth not it self into it actually, but remaineth retracted in the union with the intellectual nature; yet it ceaseth not to be; and although that man may truly be said to be dead, inasmuch as death is a want of a vivifying spirit, yet is it not truly separated; and that body can be wakened again and live; and thus many miracles appear in these; and of this kind many have been seen amongst the Gentiles and Jewes in former ages, in the number of which is that which Plato reciteth in his tenth book de Republ. [Republic], viz. that one Phereus of Pamphilia lay ten dayes amongst the slain in battle, and after that he had been taken away and laid to the fire two dayes, he revived and told many wonderfull things which he had seen in the time of his death; and concerning these things we have spoken partly in the first book, and shall yet speak further anon where we shall speak of Oracles, which come forth in a Rapture, Extasie [ecstasy], and in the Agony of dying men.
Chapter XLIII Of the power of mans soul, in the mind, reason and imagination.
Mans soul consisteth of a mind, reason and imagination; the mind illuminates reason, reason floweth into the imagination: All is one soul. Reason unless it be illuminated by the mind, is not free from errour: but the mind giveth not light to reason, unless God enlighten, viz. the first light; for the first light is in God very far exceeding all understanding: wherefore it cannot be called an intelligible light; but this when it is infused into the mind, is made intellectuall, and can be understood: then when it is infused by the mind to the reason, it is made rationall, and cannot only be understood but also considered: then when it is infused by the reason into the phantasie [phantasy] of the soul, it is made not only cogitable, but also imaginable; yet it is not as yet corporeall; but when from hence it goeth into the Celestiall vehicle of the soul; it is first made corporeall, yet not manifestly sensible till it hath passed into the elementall body, either simple and Aerial, or compound, in the which the light is made manifestly visible to the eye; The Chaldean [Chaldaean] Philosophers considering this progresse of light, declare a certain wonderfull power of our mind: viz. that it may come to passe, that our mind being firmly fixed on God, may be filled with the divine power; and being so replenished with light, its beams being diffused through all the media, even to this grosse, dark, heavy, mortall body, it may endow it with abundance of light, and make it like the Stars, and equally shining, and also by the plenty of its beams and lightness lift it on high, as straw lifted up by the flame of fire, and can presently carry the body as a spirit into remote parts. So we read of Philip in the Acts of the Apostles, who baptizing the Eunuch in India, was presently found, in Azotus. The like we read of Habacuc in Daniel: so others going through the doors being shut, escaped both their keepers and imprisonment; as we read of Peter the Apostle and of Peter the Exorcist: He may the less wonder at this, who hath seen those famous melancholick men, who walk in their sleepes and passe through places even unpassible, and ascend even unaccessible places, and exercise the works of those that are awake, which they themselves being awake could not do; of the which things there is no other reason in nature, then a strong and exalted imagination: but this power is in every man, & it is in the soul of man from the root of his Creation; but it is varied in diverse men, in strength and weakness, and is encreased and diminished according to his exercise and use, by the which it is drawn forth from power into act, which thing he that rightly knoweth, can ascend by his knowledge, even untill his imaginative faculty doth transcend and is joyned with the universall power, which Alchindus, Bacon, and Gulielmus Parisiensis do call the sense of nature; Virgil the Etheriall sense, and Plato the sense of the vehicle: and his imagination is made most strong, when that etherial and Celestiall power is poured out upon it, by whose brightness it is comforted, untill it apprehend the species, notions and knowledge of true things, so that that which he thought in his mind, cometh to passe even as he thought, and it obtaineth so great power, that it can plunge, joyn and insinuate it self into the minds of men, and make them certain of his thoughts, and of his will and desire, even thorow large and remote spaces, as if they perceived a present object by their senses; and it can in little time do many things, as if they were done without time; yet these things are not granted to all, but to those whose imaginative and cogitative power is most strong and hath arrived to the end of speculation; and he is fitted to apprehend and manifest all things, by the splendour of the universall power, or intelligence and spirituall apprehension which is above him: and this is that necessary power, which everyone ought to follow and obey, who followeth the truth; if therefore now the power of the imagination is so great, that it can ininuate itself unto whom it pleaseth, being neither hindered nor let by any distance of time or place, and can sometimes draw its heavy body along with it, whither it imagineth and dreameth: There is no doubt but that the power of the mind is greater, if at any time it shall obtain its proper nature, and being no way oppressed by the allurements of the senses, shall persevere both uncorrupted and like it self; but now for example, that the souls abound with so plentifull Light of the Celestiall Stars, and hence, a very great abundance of light redoundeth into their bodies; so Moses face did shine, that the children of Israel could not behold him by reason of the brightness of his countenance; thus Socrates was transfigured, as we read, that in light he overcame the luciferous wheels of the Sun; So Zoroastes [Zoroaster] being transfigured, his body was taken up. So Eliah and Enoch ascended to heaven in a certain fiery chariot, so Paul was rapt up into the third heaven: So our bodies after the judgement of the world, shall be called Glorified, and in like manner be rapt up, and we may say by this means, shall shine as the Sun and Moon; which thing that it is possible, and hath formerly been done, Avicebron the Moore, and Avicen the Arabian and Hippocrates of Cous, and all the school of the Chaldeans [Chaldaeans] do acknowledge and confirm: Moreover it is reported in Histories, that Alexander the great being circumvented and in great danger in India, did so burn in mind, that he seemed to the Barbarians to cast forth light; the father of Theodoricus also is reported to have cast forth sparks of fire tilmugh his whole body; the same thing a wise man also delivered concerning himself, so that sparkling flames did break forth here and there even with a noise; neither is this power of the soul found in men only, but sometimes even in beasts, as in the horse of Tiberius, who seemed to send forth flames out of his mouth. But the mind is above fate in providence, therefore is not affected either with the influences of the heavenly bodies, or the qualities of naturall things; Religion therefore can only cure it; but the sensitiveness of the soul is in fate, above nature, which is in a certain manner the knot of the body and soul, and under fate, above the body; therefore it is changed by the influences of the heavenly bodies, and affected by the qualities of naturall and corporeall things: now I call the sensitiveness of the soul, that vivifying and rectifying power of the body, the originall of the senses; the soul it self doth manifest in this body its sensitive powers and perceiveth corporeall things by the body, and locally moveth the body, and governeth it in his place, and nourisheth it in a body. In this sensitiveness two most principal powers predominate; viz. one which is called the Phantasy, or imaginative or cogitative faculty, of whose power we have already spoken, where we have handled the passions of the soul: the other which is called the sense of nature, of the which also we have spoken, where we made mention of witchcraft. Man therefore by the nature of his body is under fate; the soul of man, by the sensitiveness moveth nature in Fate; but by the mind is above fate, in the order of providence; yet reason is free at its own choice; therefore the soul by reason ascendeth into the mind, where it is replenished with divine light; sometimes it descendeth into sensitiveness and is affected by the influences of the heavenly bodies, and qualities of naturall things, and is distracted by the passions and the encountring of sensible objects: sometimes the soul revolveth it selfe wholly into reason, searching out other things either by discourse, or by contemplating it self: for it is possible, that that part of the reason, which the Peripateticks call the possible Intellect, may be brought to this, that it may freely discourse and operate without conversion to his Phantasmes: for so great is the command of this reason, that as often as any thing incurreth either into the mind, or into the sensitiveness, or into nature, or into the body, it cannot passe into the soul, unless reason apply it self to it; by this means the soul perceiveth it self neither to see, nor hear, nor feel, nor that it suffereth any things by the externall senses, untill cogitative reason first apprehend it; but it appiehendeth it when it is at leisure, not when it earnestly gapeth after another thing, as we manifestly see by these who heed not those that they meet, when they more seriously think on something else. Know therefore that neither the superiour influences, nor naturall affections, nor sensations, nor passions either of the mind or body, nor any sensible thing whatsoever, can work or penetrate into the soul unless by the Judgement of reason it self. Therefore by its act, not by any extrinsecall violence, can the soul be either affected or disturbed, which thing even innumerable Martyrs have proved by their Martyrdom: So Anasarchus a Philosopher of Abdera, who, by the command of Nicocreontes a tyrant of Cyprus, being cast into a concave stone neglecting the pains of his body, while he was pounded with iron pestils [pestles], is reported to have said: pound, pound the shell of Anasarchus, thou nothing hurteth Anasarchus himself: The tyrant commanded his tongue to be cut off, but he with his own teeth did bite it off, and did spit it in the face of the Tyrant.
Of the degrees of souls, and their destruction, or Immortality.
The minde, because it is from God, or from the intelligible world, is therefore immortal and eternal; but reason is long-lived by the benefit of its celestial original from the Heaven; but the sensitive because it is from the bosome of the matter and dependeth on sublunary nature, is subject to destruction and corruption: therefore the soul by its minde is immortall, by its Reason long-lived in its etherial vehicle, but resolvable unless it be restored in the circuit of its new body; therefore it is not immortal, unless it be united to an immortal mind: therefore the sensitiveness of the soul or the sensitive or animal soul, because it is produced out of the bosome of a corporeal matter, the body being resolved, perisheth together with it, or the shadow thereof remaineth not long in the vapours of its resolved body, partaking nothing of immortality, unless it be also united to a more sublimed power; therefore the soul which is united to the minde, is called the Soul standing not falling; but all men obtain not this minde, because (as Hermes saith) God would propound it as it were a prize and reward of the souls, which they that shall neglect, being without minde, spotted with corporeall senses, and made like to irrational creatures, are allotted to the same destruction with them, as Ecclesiastes saith: there is the same destruction of man and beasts, and the condition of both is equall; as man dieth, so also they dye [die], yea they have all one breath, so that man hath no preheminence [preeminence] over a beast; thus far he. Hence many Theologians think, that the souls of men of this kinde have no immortality after they have left their body, but an hope of the resurrection only, when all men shall be restored. Austin relateth that this was the heresie [heresy] of the Arabians, who affirmed that the souls perished together with their bodies; and in the day of judgement did arise again with them; whosoever therefore being upheld by the divine grace have obtained a mind, these according to the proportion of their works become immortal (as Hermes saith) having comprehended all things by their understanding, which are in the earth, and in the sea, and in the Heavens, and if there be any thing besides these above heaven, so that they behold even goodness it self: but they who have lived a middle life, though they have not obtained the divine intelligence, but a certain rationall intelligence of it; these mens souls, when they shall depart from their bodies, are bound over to certain secret receptacles, where they are affected with sensifive powers, and are exercised in a certain kind of act; and by imagination, and the irascible & concupiscible vertues, do either extreamly rejoyce [rejoice], or greivously [grievously] lament. Of which opinion Saint Austin also was, in his book which he wrote of the spirit and soul; The wise men of the Indians, Persians, AEgyptians & Chaldeans [Chaldaeans] have delivered, that this soul superviveth much longer then its body, yet that it is not made altogether immortal, unless by Transmigration. But our Theologians do philosophize far otherwise concerning these things, that although there be the same common originall and beginning of all souls, yet they are distinguished by the creator with divers degrees, not only accidentall, but also intrinsecall, founded in their very essence, by the which one soul differeth from another, by that which is proper to it self; which opinion John Scotus also holdeth, and the Parisian Theologians have so decreed in their articles; Hence the wise man saith, I was an ingenuous child, and obtaihed a good soul, viz. a better then many others; and according to this inequality of souls, every one is capable in their degree, of their charge; which gift is freely given by God, as we read in the Gospel, that he gave to one five Talents, to another two, to another one, to every one according to his vertue; and the Apostle saith, he hath given some to be Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists and Doctors, for the consummation of the Saints in the work of the Ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ; for there are (saith Origen) certain invisible perfections, to the which are committed those things which are dispensed here upon earth, in which there is no small difference, as also is required in the men; wherefore some one attaineth the highest degree of wisdome and dignity; another little differeth from beasts, & feeding beasts is made half a beast; another aboundeth in vertues and in wealth; another hath even little or nothing, & oftentimes that little which he hath is taken away from him, & given to him that hath; and this is the divine justice in the distribution of gifts, that they may correspond to the vertues of every receiver, to whom also rewards are given according to their works: that what proportion there is, of gifts to gifts, and of deserts to deserts, there may be the same proportion of rewards to rewards; to conclude, we must know this, that every noble soul hath a fourfold operation; First divine, by the Image of the divine propriety; the second intellectual, by formality of Participation with the intelligences; the third rational, by the perfection of its proper essential essence; the fourth animal or natural, by communion with the body and these Inferior things; So that there is no work in this whole world so admirable, so excellent, so wonderfull, which the soul of man, being associated to his Image of divinity, which the Magitians [magicians] call a soul, standing and not falling, cannot accomplish by its own power without any externall help: Therefore the form of all Magical power is from the soul of man standing and not falling.
Chapter XLV Of Soothsaying, and Phrensie [phrensy].
Soothsaying is that which the priests or others were stricken withall, and discerned the causes of things, and foresaw future things, viz. when Oracles and Spirits descend from the Gods or from Demons upon them, and are delivered by them; which descendings the Platonists call the falling down of superior souls on our souls; and Mercurius calls them the senses of the Demons, and the spirits of Demons. Of which sort of Demons the Ancients called Eurideae, and Pythonae, who, as the Ancients believed, were wont to enter into the bodies of men, and make use of the voyces, and tongues, for the prediction of things to come; of which Plutarch also made mention in his dialogue of the causes of defect of Oracles. But Cicero following the Stoicks [Stoics], affirms that the foreknowing of future things belongs only to the Gods; and Ptolomie [Ptolomy] the Astrologer saith, that they only that are inspired with a diety [deity] foretell particular things. To these Peter the Apostle consents, saying, Prophesying is not made according to the will of man, but holy men spake as they were moved by the holy ghost. Now that the foretellings of things to come are properly the fallings down of the Gods. Isaiah affirms, saying, And tell unto us those things that are coming, and we will tell them, because ye are Gods; But these kinds of fallings down, or senses, come not into our souls when they are more attently busied ahout any thing else; but they pass into them, when they are vacant. Now there are three kinds of this vacancy, viz. phrensie, extasie [phrensy, ecstasy], and dreams, of each of which in their order.
Chapter XLVI Of the first kind of phrensie [phrensy] from the Muses.
Phrensie [phrensy] is an illustration of the soul coming from the Gods, or Demons. Whence this verse of Ovid,
God is in us, Commerces of the throne
of God, that spirit from above came down.
Plato defines this by alienation, and binding; for he abstracts from those by which the corporeal senses are stirred up, and being estranged from an animal man, adheres to a diety [deity] from whom it receives those things which it cannot search into by its own power; for when the minde is free, and at liberty, the reines of the body being loosed, and going forth as out of a close prison, transcends the bonds of the members, and nothing hindring of it, being stirred up by its own instigations, and instigated by a divine spirit, comprehends all things, and foretells future things. Now there are four kinds of divine phrensie [phrensy] proceeding from several dieties [deities], viz. from the Muses, from Dionysius, from Apollo, and from Venus. The first phrensie therefore proceeding from the Muses, stirs up and tempers the mind, and makes it divine by drawing superior things to inferior things by things natural. Now Muses are the souls of the celestial spheres, according to which there are found several degrees, by which there is an attraction of superior things to inferior. The inferior of these resembling the sphear [sphere] of the Moon, possesseth those things which are from vegetables, as plants, fruits of trees, roots, and those which are from harder matters, as Stones, Metals, their alligations, and suspensions. So it is said that the stone Selenites i.e. Moon-Stone, and the stone of the Civet-cat cause divination; also Vervain, and the Hearb [herb] Theangelis cause soothsaying, as hath been ahove said. The second degree resembling Mercury, possesseth those things which are from animals, and which are compounded of the mixtion of divers natural things together, as Cups, and Meats; upon this account the heart of a Mole, if anyone shall eat it whilest it is warm, and panting, conduceth, as it is said, to the foretelling of future events. And Rabbi Moses in his commentaries upon Leviticus tells, that there is an animal called òåãç Jedua, having a humane shape, in the midle [middle] of whose navel comes forth a string, by which it is fastened to the ground like a gourd, and as far as the length of that string reacheth, it devours and consumes all that is green about it, and deceiving the sight, cannot be taken, unless that string he cut off by the stroke of a dart, which being cut off, it presently dies. Now the bones of this animal being after a certain manner laid upon the mouth, presently he whose mouth they are laid on, is taken with a phrensie [phrensy], and soothsaying. The third degree answers to the sphear [sphere] of Venus; This possesseth subtile powders, vapours, and odours, and oyntments [ointments], and suffumigations, which are made of these of which we have spoke above. The fourth degree belongs to the sphear [sphere] of the Sun; this possesseth voyces [voices], words, singings, and harmonical sounds, by the sweet consonancy whereof it drives forth of the minde any troublesomeness therein, and chears [cheers] it up. Whence Hermes, Pythagoras, Plato, advise us to compose a discontented minde, and chear [cheer] it up by singing and harmony. So Timotheus is said to have with sounds stirred up King Alexander to a phrensie [phrensy]: so the Priest Calame (Aurelius Augustus being witness) was wont at his pleasure by a certain shrill harmony to call himself forth out of his body into a rapture, and extasie [ecstasy]; of these also we have before spoken. The fifth degree is answerable to Mars: this possesseth vehement imaginations, and affections of the minde, conceits also, and motions thereof, of all which before. The sixth degree answers to Jupiter: this possesseth the discourses of reason, deliberations, consultations, and moral purgations: of these we have spoken in part above, and further we shall speak afterwards; It possesseth also admirations, and venerations, at the astonishment of which, the phantasie [phantasy], and reason are sometimes so restrained, that they suddenly let pass all their own actions: whence then the minde it self being free, and exposed to a diety [deity] only, whether to any God, or Demon, doth receive supernal, and divine influences, viz. those concerning which it did deliberate before. So we read that the Sybils [Sibyls], and the Priests of Pythia were wont to receive oracles in the caves of Jupiter, and Apollo. The seventh degree resembles Saturn: this possesseth the more secret intelligencies, and quiet contemplations of the minde. I call here, the contemplation, the free perspicacity of the minde, suspended with admiration upon the beholding of wisdom. For that excogitation which is made by riddles, and images, is a certain kind of speculation, or discourse belonging to Jupiter, and not a contemplation. The eighth degree resembles the starry heaven; this observes the situation, motion, raies [rays], and light of the celestial bodies: it possesseth also images, rings, and such like, which are made after the rule of celestials, as we have abeve spoken. The ninth degree answers to the primum mobile, viz. the ninth sphear [sphere], as the very universe: this possesseth things more formal, as Numbers, Figures, Characters, and observes the occult influences of the intelligences of the heaven, and other mysteries, which because they bear the effigies of celestial dieties [deities], and invocated spirits, easily allures them, and compelleth them being forced by a certain necessity of conformity to come to one, and detains them, that they shall not easily go back, of which we read in the Oracles in Porphyrie [Porphyry].
Cease now at length, spare words, to life give rest,
Dissolve, and leave old shapes (I thee request),
Dishape the members, and the winding sheet
And in another place in the same book.
Ye Garlands loose the feet, with water clean
Let them be sprinkled, and the Laurel green
Be taken off from th’ hands, and every line
And Character be blotted out —–
Of these we have sufficiently treated already, and shall afterwards treat further of them.
Chapter XLVII Of the second kinde from Dionysius [Dionysus].
Now the second phrensie [phrensy] proceeds from Dionysius: this doth by expiations exterior, and interior, and by conjurations, by mysteries, by solemnities, rites, temples, and observations divert the soul into the mind, the supream [supreme] part of it self, and makes it a fit and pure temple of the Gods, in which the divine spirits may dwell, which the soul then possessing as the associate of life, is filled by them with felicity, wisdom, and oracles, not in signs, and marks, or conjectures, but in a certain concitation of the mind, and free motion: So Bacchus did soothsay to the Beotians, and Epimenides to the people of Cous, and the Sybil [Sibyl] Erithea to the Trojans. Sometimes this phrensie [phrensy] happens through a clear vision, sometimes by an express voyce: So Socrates was governed by his Demon, whose counsel he did diligently obey, whose voyce [voice] he did often hear with his ears, to whom also the shape of a Demon did often appear. Many prophesying spirits also were wont to shew themselves, and be associats with the souls of them that were purified; examples of which there are many in sacred Writ, as in Abraham, and his bond maid Hagar, in Jacob, Gideon, Elias, Tobias, Daniel, and many more. So Adam had familiarity with the Angel Raziel. Shem the son of Noah with Jophiel; Abraham with Zadkiel: Isaac and Jacob with Peliel; Joseph, Joshua and Daniel with Gabriel; Moses with Metattron [Metatron]; Elias with Malhiel; Tobias the younger with Raphael; David with Cerniel; Mannoah with Phadael; Cenez with Cerrel; Ezekiel with Hasmael; Esdras with Uriel; Solomon with Michael. Sometimes the spirits by vertue of the souls enter into, and seize upon organical bodies, whether of brutes or men, and using the souls thereof as the basis, utter voyces [voices] through organical instruments, as is manifest in Baalams Ases, and in Saul, on whom the spirit of the Lord fell, and Prophecyed. Of these Apollo in his answers in Porphyry thus;
Phebean fulgor charmed, did from on high
Come down, and through pure air was silently
Conveyed; came into souls well purified
With a sonorous breath, a voyce uttered
Through a mortal throat —–
Chapter XLVIII Of the third kind of phrensie [phrensy] from Apollo.
Now the third kind of phrensie [phrensy] proceeds fom Apollo, viz. from the mind of the world. This doth by certain sacred mysteries, vows, sacrifices, adorations, invocations, & certain sacred arts, or certain secret confections, by which the spirits of their God did infuse vertue, make the soul rise above the mind, by joyning it with dieties [deities], and Demons: so we read concerning the Ephod, which being applied, they did presently prophecie [prophesy]: so we read in the books of the Senats [Senates] in the chapter of Eleazar, that Rabbi Israel made ceraain cakes, writ upon with certain divine and angelicall names, and so consecrated, which they that did eat with faith, hope, and charitie [charity], did presently break forth with a spirit of prophecie [prophecy]. We read in the same place that Rabbi Johena the son of Jochahad, did after that manner enlighten a certain rude countryman, called Eleazar, being altogether illiterate, that being compassed about with a sudden brightness, did unexpectedly preach such high mysteries of the Law to an assembly of wise men, that he did even astonish all that were neer him. And it is reported of a certain man called Herviscus, an Aegyptian, that he was endowed with such a divine nature, that at the very sight of images that had any diety [deity] in them, he was forthwith stirred up with a kind of divine phrensie [phrensy]. We read also in the scripture, that when Saul was amongst the Prophets, the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he prophecied, and when he went forth from the assembly of the Prophets, he ceased to prophesie; the same happened to those officers which Saul sent to catch David: who when they saw the company of the Prophets, and Samuel standing in the midst of them, received the spirit of the Lord on them, and prophesied also. So great is the abounding of divine light oftentimes in the prophets, taken with a divine phrensie [phrensy], that it also seiseth [seizeth] on them that are neer them, and makes them have the same spirit of phrensie [phrensy]: It is not therefore incredible, that an ignorant man should presently be made wise, and again that a wise man become ignorant: for there is a certain art (known but to few) of informing, adorning, & illustrating a pure mind, so that it should presently be recovered out of the darkness of ignorance, and brought to the light of wisdom: and on the contrary, there is a way by certain hid secrets, to make them that have unclean, and unbelieving minds to become ignorant again, although for the present they are learned and wise. Mans mind also, especially when it is simple, and pure, may (Apuleius being witness) by some sacred, and mysterious recreation, and appeasing, be so brought into a sleep, and astonied, that it may forget things present so utterly, as to be brought into its divine nature, and so be enlightned [enlightened] with the divine light, and inspired with a divine phrensie [phrensy] that it may foretell things to come, and withall receive the vertue of some wonderfull effects. Whence Iamblicus saith, when the prophets are inspired with a diety [deity], they fear nothing, for they go through wayes unpassable, and are carried into the fire without any hurt, and passe over rivers. So we read of certain caves, as of Apollo, Trophonius, the three footed stools, dens, fountains, lakes, and such like, that were consecrated to the gods after this manner, or made by that mysterie [mystery], that from thence the priests might draw the spirit of prophecying, as Iamblicus in Porphyrie [Porphyry]: The Sybill [Sibyl] (saith he) in Delphi was wont to receive God after two wayes: either by a subtill [subtile] spirit, and fire, which did break forth somewhere out of the mouth of the cave, where she sitting in the entrance upon a brazen three footed stool dedicated to a diety [deity], was divinely inspired, and did utter prophecyings; or a great fire flying out of the cave did cirround [surround] this prophetess, stirring her up, being filled with a diety [deity], to prophesie, which inspiration also she received as she sate upon a consecrated seat, breaking forth prently into predictions. Moreover there was a prophetess in Branchi which sate upon an extree, and either held a wand in her hand, given to her by some diety [deity], or washed her feet, and sometimes the hem of her garment in the waters, or drew the vapour of fire from the waters. By all these she was filled with divine splendour, and did unfold many Oracles. We also read that in the country of Thracia there was a certain passage consecrated to Bacchas, from whence predictions, and Oracles were wont to be given: the Priors of whose temples having drank wine abundantly did do strange things. Amongst the Clarians also, where the temple of Clarius Apollo was, to whom it was given to utter divine things, they having drank much wine did strange things. There was also a propheticall fountain of Father Achaia, constituted before the temple of Ceres, where they that did enquire of the event of the sick did let down a glass by degrees tied to a small cord, to the top of the water, and certain supplications and fumes being made, the event of the thing did appear in the glass. There was also not far from Epidaurus a City of Laconia a deep Fen, which was called the water of Juno, into which cakes of corn being cast, answers were given, fortunate, if the waters did quietly retain what was cast in; but unhappy, if they did as it were, scorning of them, cast them back. The like they say do the caves of Aetna, into which money or sacrifices did shew the same presage of good or ill, by being retained, or rejected. The like things reports Dion in his Romane History, in a place which they call the Nymphs: where Frankincense being cast into the flames, Oracles were received concerning all those things which he did desire to know, especially concerning death, and those things which belonged to marriages. Wonderfull also is that which Aristotle relates of a certain fountain of the Paliscans of Sicilia, to which they that did take an oath did go, and whatsoever they did affirm upon oath writ it upon tables, which they cast into the fountain. If those things were true, the tables would swim; if false, sink; then fire coming suddenly forth burned him that was perjured into ashes. There was also in the City Dodona an Oak, which assoon as any one entered in to receive an answer, did forthwith move, and make a sound; there was also a statue holding a wand, which did strike a bason [basin], whereby the bason made answer by moderated strokes. Whence it is read in the Epistle of Austinus to Paulinus,
Answers did give the Dodonean brass,
With moderated strokes; so docile t’was.
Chapter XLIX Of the fourth kinde of Phrensie [phrensy], from Venus.
Now the fourth kind of Phrensie proceeds from Venus, and it doth by a fervent love convert, and transmute the mind to God, and makes it altogether like to God, as it were the proper image of God; whence Hermes saith, O Asclepius! Man is a great miracle, an animal to be honoured and adored: for he passeth into the nature of God, whereby he becomes God: He knows the rise of Demons, and he knows himself to have his originall with them, despising the part of his humane nature in himself, having a sure confidence of the divinity of the other; The soul therefore being converted, and made like to God, is so formed of God, that it doth above all intellect, know all things by a certain essential contract of Divinity: therefore Orpheus describes love to be without eyes, because it is above the intellect. Now then the soul being so converted into God by love, and sublimated above the intellectuall spear [sphere], doth beside that it hath by its integrity obtain’d the spirit of prophecie [prophecy], sometimes work wonderfull things, and greater then the nature of the world can do, which works are called miracles. For as the heaven by its image, light, and heat, doth those things, which the force of the fire cannot do by its naturall quality (which in Alchymie [alchemy] is most known by experience) so also doth God by the image and light of himself do those things, which the world cannot do by its innate vertue. Now the image of God is man, at least such a man that by a phrensie [phrensy] from Venus is made like to God, and lives by the mind only, and receives God into himself. Yet the soul of man according to the Hebrew Doctors and Cabalists, is defined to be the light of God, and Created after the image of the word, the cause of causes, the first example, and the substance of God, figured by a seal whose Character is the eternall word. Which Mercurius Trismegistus considering, saith, that such a man is more excellent then they that are in heaven, or at least equall to them.
Chapter L Of rapture, and extasie [ecstasy], and soothsayings, which happen to them which are taken with the falling sickness, or with a swoune [swoon], or to them in an agonie [agony].
A rapture is an abstraction, and alienation, and an illustration of the soul proceeding from God, by which God doth again retract the soul, being falled from above to hell, from hell to heaven. The cause of this is in us a continuall contemplation of sublime things, which as far as it conjoyns [conjoins] with a most profound intention of the mind, the soul to incorporeal wisdom, doth so far recall it self with its vehement agitations from things sensible and the body, and (as Plato saith) in such a manner sometimes, that it even flieth out of the body, and seemeth as it were dissolved: even as Aurelius Austin reporteth concerning a Priest of Calamia; (or whom we have made mention before) he lay (saith he) most like unto a dead man, without breath; and when he was burnt with fire and wounded, he felt it not; so great therefore is the command of the soul: viz. when it hath obtained its own nature, and is not oppressed by the allurements of the senses, that by its own power it suddenly ascendeth, not only remaining in the body, but even sometimes loosed from its fetters, and flyeth forth of the body to the supercelestiall habitations, where now it being most nigh, and most like to God, and made the receptacle of divine things, it is filled with the divine Light and Oracles. Whence Zoroastes [Zoroaster] saith, thou must ascend to the light it self, and to the beams of the Father, whence thy soul was sent thee, clothed with very much mind; and Trismegisius saith, it is nccessary that thou ascend above the heavens, and be far from the quire of spirits; and Pythagoras saith, if thou by leaving the body shalt pass into the spacious heavens, thou shalt be an immortall god. So we read that Hermes, Socrates, Xenocrates, Plato, Plotine [Plotinus], Heraclitus, Pythagoras and Zoroastes [Zoroaster], were wont to abstract themselves by rapture, and so to learn the knowledge of many things: also we read in Herodotus, that there was in Proconnesus a Philosopher of wonderfull knowledge, called Atheus, whose soul sometimes went out of the body, and after the visitation of places far remote, returned again into the body more learned: Pliny reporteth the same thing, that the soul of Harman Clazomenius was wont to wander abroad, his body being left, and to bring true tidings of things very far off; and there are even to this day in Norway and Lapland very many who can abstract themselves three whole dayes from their body, and being returned declare many things which are afar off; and in the meantime it is necessary to keep them, that not any living creature come upon them or touch them; otherwise they report that they cannot return into their body. Therefore we must know, that (according to the doctrine of the Aegyptians,) seeing the soul is a certain spirituall light, when it is loosed from the body, it comprehendeth every place and time, in such a manner as a light inclosed in a Lanthern [lantern], which being open, difffseth it self every where, and faileth not any where, for it is every where, and continually; and Cicero in his book of Divination saith, neither doth the soul of man at any time divine, [except] when it is so loosed that it hath indeed little or nothing to do with the body; when therefore it shall attain to that state, which is the supream [supreme] degree of contemplative perfection, then it is rapt from all created species, and understandeth not by acquired species, but by the inspection of the Ideas, and it knoweth all things by the light of the Ideas: of which light Plato saith few men are partakers in this life; but in the hands of the gods, all: also they who are troubled with the syncope and falling sickness, do in some manner imitate a rapture, and in these sicknesses sometimes as in a rapture do bring forth prophesie [prophecy], in which kind of prophesying we read that Hercules and many Arabians were very excellent, and there are certain kinds of soothsayings, which are a middle betwixt the confines of naturall predictions, and supernaturall Oracles, viz. which declare things to come from some excess of passion, as too much love, sorrow, or amongst frequent sights, or in the agony of death, as in Statius, of the mother of Achilles;
———-Nor she without parents dear
Under the glassie [glassy] gulf the oars did fear.
For there is in our minds a certain perspicuous power, and capable of all things, but encumbred and hindred by the darkness of the body and mortality, but after death it having acquired immortality, and being freed from the body it hath full and perfect knowledge. Hence it cometh to pass, that they who are nigh to death, and weakened by old age, have sometimes somewhat of an unaccustomed light, because the soul being less hindred by the senses, understandeth very acutely, and being now as it were a little relaxed from its bands, is not altogether subject to the body, and being as it were nigher to the place, to the which it is about to go, it easily perceiveth revelations, which being mixed with its agonies, are then offered to it; whence Ambrose in his book of the belief of the resurrection, saith, Which being free in the aerial motion, knoweth not whither it goeth, and whence it cometh; yet we know that it superviveth the body, and that it being freed, the chains of its senses being cast off, freely discerneth those things which it saw not before, being in the body, which we may estimate by the example of those who sleep, whose mind being quiet, their bodies being as it were buried, do elevate themselves to higher things, and do declare to the body the visions of things absent, yea even of celestial things.
Chapter LI Of Prophetical Dreams.
Now I call that a dream, which proceedeth either from the spirit of the phantasie [phantasy] and intellect united together, or by the illustration of the Agent intellect above our souls, or by the true revelation of some divine power in a quiet and purified mind; for by this our soul receiveth true oracles, and abundantly yieldeth prophesies [prophecies] to us: for in dreams we seem both to Ask questions, and learn to read and find them out; also many doubtfull things, many Policies, many things unknown, and unwished for, nor ever attempted by our minds, are manifested to us in Dreams: also the representations of unknown places appear, and the Images of men both alive and dead, and of things to come are foretold; and also things which at any times have happened, are revealed, which we knew not by any report; and these dreams need not any art of interpretation, as those of which we have spoken in the first book, which belong to divination, not fore-knowledge; and it cometh to pass that they who see these dreams, for the most part understand them not; for (as Abdala the Arabian saith) as to see dreams, is from the strength of imagination, so to understand them, is from the strength of understanding; whose intellect therefore, being overwhelmed by the too much commerce of the flesh, is in a dead sleep, or its imaginative or phantastick spirit is too dull and unpolished, that it cannot receive the species and representations which flow from the superior intellect, and retain them when received, this man is altogether unfit for the soothsaying by dreams. Therefore it is necessary, that he who would receive true dreams, should keep a pure, undisturbed, and an undisquieted imaginative spirit, and so compose it, that it may be made worthy of the knowledge and government by the mind and understanding: for such a spirit is most fit for prophesying, and (as Sinesius saith) is a most clear glass of all the Images which flow everywhere from all things: when therefore we are sound in body, not disturbed in mind, not dulled by meat or drink, nor sad through poverty, nor provoked by any vice of lust or wrath, but chastly going to bed, fall asleep, then our pure and divine soul being loosed from all hurtfull thoughts, and now freed by dreaming, is endowed with this divine spirit as an instrument, and doth receive those beams and representations which are darted down, and shine forth from the divine minde into it self; and as it were in a deifying glass, it doth far more certainly, clearly, and efficaciously behold all things, then by the Vulgar enquiry of the intellect, and by the discourse of reason; the divine power instructing the soul, being invited to their society by the opportunity of the nocturnal solitariness; neither further will that deity be wanting to him when he is awaked, which ruleth all his actions: whosoever therefore doth, by quiet and religious meditation, and by a diet temperate and moderated according to nature, preserve his spirit pure, doth very much prepare himself, that by this means he may become divine, and knowing all things; but whosoever, on the contrary, doth languish with a phantastick spirit, receiveth not perspicuous and distinct visions, but even as the divine sight, by reason of its weakness, Judgeth confusedly and indistinctly; and also when we are overcome with wine and drunkenness, then our spirit being oppressed with noxious vapours (as a troubled water is wont to appear in divers forms) is deceived, & waxeth dull; for which cause Amphiarus the Prophet (as we read in Philostratus) commanded those, who would receive Oracles, to abstain one whole day from meat, and three days from wine, that the soul could not rightly prophesie [prophecy] unless it were free from wine, and meat; for to sober and religious minds, attending on the divine worship, the Gods are wont to give Oracles; whence Orpheus crieth out,
—– Thou spirit great of prophecy
Dost go to souls that sleep fill quietly,
And them inspire with knowledge of the Gods,
And makest them soothsay —–
Hence it was a custom amongst the ancients, that they who should receive answers, certain sacred expiations and sacrifices being first celebrated, and divine worship ended, did religiously ly [lie] down even in a consecrated chamber, or at least on the skins of the sacrifices; of which ceremony Virgil makes mention in these verses,
—– Hence they sought
Answers to doubts; when gifts the priests had brought,
Here he reposed on skins of slaughtred sheep,
And under silent night prepares to sleep.
And a little after he singeth,
—– But now
Here King Latinus Oracles to know,
They did a hundred choyce sheep sacrifice,
And on their skins, and spreding fleeces lyes —–
And the rulers of the Lacedemonians (as Cicero saith) were wont to lye [lie] down in the Temple at Pasiphae, that they might dream. The same was done in the Temple of Aesculapius, from whom true dreams were thought to be sent forth. And the Calabrians, consulting Podalyrius the son of Aesculapius, did sleep neer his Sepulchre in lambes skins; for so doing they were told in their dreams whatsoever they desired to know; for the most usuall time for dreams is the night, when the senses are freed from wandring objects, and meridian errours, and vain affections; neither doth fear strike the minde, nor the thought tremble, and the mind being most quiet, doth steadfastly adhere to the Deity; for there are, (as Rabbi Johenan in his book of Senatours saith) four kinds of true dreams: the first Matutine, which is made betwixt sleep and awaking: the second, which one seeth concerning another: the third, whose interpretation is shewen to the same dreamer in the nocturnall vision: the fourth, which is repeated to the same dreamer, according to that which Joseph saith to Pharaoh, But that thou hast seen the dream belonging to the same thing the second time, it is a sign of confirmation; But that dream is most sure, which is concerning those things which one did meditate on, and revolve in his minde, when he goeth to bed, as it is written, Thou O King didst think upon thy bed, what should become of these things; but it is necessary, that he which interpreteth other mens dreams, hath the knowledge by the which he can distinguish and discern the similitudes of all things, and know the customes of all nations, according to the laws which they have received from God and his Angels; farther this must be known, that there is scarce any dream without some vanity, as no grain of corn without his chaffe, which thing even the dream of Joseph the Patriarch manifesteth; which his father Jacob interpreted, saying; what meaneth this dream, that thou hast seen? what shall I, and thy mother, and thy brethren fall down and worship thee? which effect concerning his mother, who shortly after died, followed not. Also Rabbi Johenan in the forecited book, saith these things; and also Rabbi Levi affirmeth, that no prophetical dream can be kept back from his effect longer then twenty two years; so Joseph dreamed in the seventeenth year of his age; which was accomplished in the thirty ninth year of his age; therefore whosoever would receive divine dreams, let him be well disposed in hody, his brain free from vapours, and his mind from perturbations, and let him that day abstain from supper, neither let him drink that which will inebriate, let him have a clean and neat chamber, also exorcised and consecrated: in the which, a perfume being made, his temples anoynted [anointed], things causing dreams being put on his fingers, and the representation of the heavens being put under his head, and paper being consecrated, his prayers being said, let him go to bed, earnestly meditating on that thing he desireth to know: So he shall see most true and certain dreams with the true illumination of his intellect: whosoever therefore shall know to joyn together those things which here and there we have delivered concerning this matter in these books, he shall easily obtain the gift of oracles and dreams.
Chapter LII Of Lots and marks possessing the sure power of Oracles.
There are also certain Lots having a divine power of Oracles, and as it were Indexes of divine judgement, being before sought for by earnest prayer, and sometimes commanded by God himself to be done, as is read in Leviticus concerning a goat to be offered to the Lord, and of the scape goat; and in the book of Numbers of the rods of the Tribes of Israel. Now both Moses and Joshua did by Lots in the presence of the Lord divide the lands, and inheritances to the tribes of Israel according to the command of God. The Apostles of Christ, prayers going before, did by lot choose Matthias into the place of Judas the traitor. Jonas the Prophet when he flying from the presence of God did sail to Tharsus, a dangerous storm being raised, was by lot found out by the Mariners to be the cause of the danger, and being cast into the sea, the tempest seased [ceased]. Caesar reports of M. Valerius Procillus, being taken by his enemies, concerning whom it was consulted whether he should be presently burnt, or reserved to another time, that by lot he escaped safe. There was formerly at Bura, a Town of Achaia, an oracle of Hercules constituted by a chest bord [chessboard], where he that went to consult of any thing, after he had prayed, cast four dice, the cast of which the Prophet observing, did find written in the chestboard [chessboard] what should come to pass: now all such dice were made of the bones of sacrifices. Now this you must know, that the Ancients were not wont upon every slight cause to cast lots, but either upon necessity, or for some advantageous end, and that not but with great devotion, reverence, expiations, fasting, purity, prayers, invocations, vowes, sacrifices, consecrations, and such like sacred mysteries of religion. For these sacred ordinances were wont to go before our works, especially to procure the divine good will, and pleasure, and the presence of the divine spirits, by whose dispensation the lot being directed, we may receive a true judgement of the things sought for. Every one therefore that works by lots, must go about it with a mind well disposed, not troubled, nor distracted, and with a strong desire, firm deliberation, and constant intention of knowing that which shall be desired. Moreover he must, being qualified with purity, chastity, and holiness towards God, and the celestials, with an undoubted hope, firm faith, and sacred orations, invocate them, that he may be made worthy of receiving the divine spirits, and knowing the divine pleasure; for if thou shalt be qualified, they will discover to thee most great secrets by vertue of lots, and thou shalt become a true Prophet, and able to speak truth concerning things past, present, and to come, of which thou shalt be demanded. Now what we have spoken here concerning lots, is also to be observed in the auguries of all discemings, viz. when with fear, yet with a firm expectation we prefix to our souls for the sake of prophecying some certain works, or require a sign, as Eleasar, Abrahams countryman, & Gideon Judge in Israel are read to have done. There was once at Pharis a City of Achaia in the midle of the market a statue of Mercury, where he that went to receive any omen, did, frankincense being fumed, and candies being lighted, which were set before it, and that country coin being offered on the right hand of the statue, whisper into the right ear of the statue whatsoever he would demand, and presently his ears being stopped with both his hands, did make haste away from the market place, which when he was past, did presently, his ears being opened, observe the first voice he did hear from any man for a certain Oracle given to him. Although therefore these kinds of lots seem to the ignorant to be casuall, or fortuitous, and to have nothing of reason in them, yet they are disposed by God, and the higher vertues by certain reasons, neither they do fall beside the intention of him that moderates them. Was not the lot in choosing Saul to be King of Israel, thought to fall upon him casually, and fortuitously? Yet he was before appointed by the Lord to be King, and annointed by the Prophet Samuel. And God that appointed him King, disposed of the Lot that it should fall upon him. And thus much of these.
Chapter LIII How he that will receive Oracles must dispose himself.
Whosoever therefore being desirous to come to the Supream state of the soul, goeth to receive oracles, must go to them being chastly and devoutly disposed, being pure and clean go to them, so that his soul be polluted with no filthiness, and free from all guilt. He must also so purifie [purify] his mind and body as much as he may from all diseases, and passions, and all irrationall conditions, which adhere to it as rust to iron, by rightly composing and disposing those things which belong to the tranquillity of the mind; for by this means he shall receive the truer and more efficacious Oracles. Now by what things the mind is purged, and reduced into a divine purity, we must learn by Religion, and wisdom. For neither wisdom without Religion, nor Religion without wisdom is to be approved off: For wisdom (as saith Solomon) is the tree of life to them that lay hold on it. And Lucretius saith that it is the intention of God, or the breathings of God, where he sings.
Most famous Memmius! This that god is he,
The prince of life, who reason, which all we
Call wisdom, first found out, and who by art
The life from troubles, darkness set apart
And freed, and unto light, and peace reduc’d.
He also understandeth that to be a divine illustration, whence Democritus thinketh that there are no men wise but they that are struck with some divine phrensie [phrensy], as was Menos that Cretensian, whom they report learned all things of Jupiter, whence he had frequent converse with God in the mount Ida: so also the Athenians report that Melosagora Eleusinus was taught by the Nymphs; so also we read, that Hesiod when he was a Shepherd in Beotia, and kept his flock neer the mountain Helicon, had some pens given him by the Muses, which having received, he presently became a Poet, which to become so sodainly [suddenly] was not of man, but by a divine inspiration; for God conveying himself into holy souls, makes men Prophets, and workers of miracles, being powerfull in work and speech, as Plato and Mercurius affirm, and also Xistus the Pythagorian [Pythagorean], saying that such a man is the temple of God, and that God is his guest: to whom assents our Paul, calling man the temple of God; and in another place speaking of himself, I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me; for he is our power, without which (as he saith) we can do nothing; which also Aristotle confesseth in his Meteors and Ethicks, saying, that there is no vertue whether naturall or morall but by God; and in his secrets he saith that a good and sound intellect can do nothing in the secrets of nature without the influence of divine vertue. Now we receive this influence then only, when we do acquit our selves from burdensome impediments, and from carnall and Terrene occupations, and from all external agitation; neither can a blear or impure eye behold things too light, neither can he receive divine things who is ignorant of the purifying of his mind. Now we must come to this purity of mind by degrees; neither can any one that is initiated newly unto those mysteries presenfly comprehend all cleer [clear] things, but his mind must be accustomed by degrees, until the intellect becomes more enlightened, and applying it self to divine light be mixed with it. A humane soul therefore when it shall be righfly purged, and expiated, doth then, being loosed from all impurity, break forth with a liberall motion, and ascends upwards, receives divine things, instructs it self, when happily it seems to be instructed from elsewhere; neither doth it then need any remembrance, or demonstration by reason of the industry of it self, as by its mind which is the head and the pilot of the soul, it doth, imitating by its own nature the angels, attain to what it desires, not by succession or time, but in a moment. For David when he had not learning, was of a Shepherd made a Prophet, and most expert of divine things. Solomon in the dream of one night, was filled with the knowledge of all things above and below. So Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the other Prophets, and Apostles were taught. For the soul (which is the common opinion of the Pythagorians [Pythagoreans], and Platonists) can by way of purification, without any other study, or searching, only by an easie, and adventitious collating on these intelligibles received from above, acquire the perfect knowledge of all things knowable. It can also by an extrinsecall expiation attain to this, as to understand all things Invisibly by its substantiall form. For the mind is purged, and expiated by cleansing, by abstinence, by penitency, by almes: and then also do thereunto conduce certain sacred institutions, as shall afterward be discovered. For the soul is to be cured by the study of Religions, and indeed these which are commonly called occult, that being restored to its soundness, confirmed by truth, and fortified by divine graces, may not fear any rising shakings.
Chapter LIV Of cleanness, and how to be observed.
We must therefore first observe cleanness in food, in works, in affections, and to put away all filthiness, and perturbations of the mind, and whatsoever sense or spirit that offends, and whatsoever things are in mind unlike to the heavens, not only if they be in mind and spirit, but also if they be in the body, or about the body: for such an externall cleanness is beleeved not to help a litde to the purity of the mind. For this cause the Pythagorian Philosophers being taken with the desire of Oracles, divine praises being celebrated, did wash themselves in a river as in a bath, & did put on white rayment and linen; for they did account wooll a prophane clothing being the excrements of beasts, and they did inhabit in a pure chamber, and altogether unspotted. In like manner the Bragmanni [Brahmans], the wise men of the Indians were wont to wash themselves naked in a fountain, which is called Dirce in Beotia, their heads being first annointed with amber drops, and odours fit for that purpose; then after they were according to custome sufficiently clean, they were to go forth about noon, clothed in white linen, with a white attire, having rings on their fingers and staves in their hands. In like manner amongst the Gymnosophists it was a custom to wash themselves thrice in a day, and twice in the night, in cold water, before they entred into the holy places. They did also every day use linen garments every day newly washed. We read also of the manner of this kind of washing in Hesiod in his books of works and dayes, where he sings,
None dare with hands unwashed unto Jove
Wine pour forth, nor unto the gods above;
For then they do refuse for to be heard,
Though being pray’d unto —–
When wicked men the rivers do passe by
With hands unwash’d, then are the gods angry
With them, and them afflict —–
Hence in Virgil, Aeneas thus speaks to his father,
O Father, take the household gods, and hold
Them in thy sacred hands; to be so bold
As them to handle after so great fights
I dare not till that washed in streams most bright.
It was also a custom amongst the Gentiles, when they were wont to perform any holy services to the gods, to cleanse their bodies by washing; and when they were to contend with the infernall gods, sprinkling only did suffice. Hence in Virgil, Dido, when she did perform any solemnities to the gods, saith,
Cause that my sister Ann (my nurse most dear:)
Come, and my body wash with water clear.
And in another place where Aeneas is brought in amongst the infernals bringing a bough to Proserpina, he sings thus,
The passage doth Aeneas keep, and wash
His body with fresh water —–
Also when he relates of Misenas to be buried, he sings,
His friends he thrice did wash with water new,
And with an Olive branch, wett in the dew,
He did them sprinkle —–
Now man being made thus clean becomes celestiall, and spirituall, and is fitted for the sight of and union with God, whilest he ministers to God with a clean body, and pure mind, and delights in the cleanness of all things, as inwards, skin, garments, houses, utensils, oblations, gifts, and sacrifices; the cleanness of all which even purifies the air, and attracts the most pure influence of celestiall, and divine things, and allures the pure ministers of God, and good Demons: although sometimes impure spirits, and ill Demons, as the apes of the good Demons, take upon them this kind of cleanness, that either they may be adored, or may deceive: therefore first of all we must observe that the mind be pure, and the heart pure, and then the impure powers cannot ascend.
Chapter LV Of abstinence, fastings, chastity, solitariness, the tranquillity and ascent of the mind.
Abstinence also doth commonly fortifie, and defend the observers thereof against vices, and evil Demons, and makes the mind an unpolluted temple of God, uniting it to God. For nothing doth more conduce to health, and temperance of the complexion, then not to heap together superfluities, and not to exceed the bounds of necessary food. Neither is nutriment to be taken that is too strong for nature, but rather, let nature be stronger then the meat, as some affirm of Christ, that he took meat in that proportion that it should not breed any excrement of the third concoction. Many others also taking meat sparingly, enjoyed thereby health and agility of body, as Moses, and Elias, who fasted fortie [forty] dayes: whence his face shined, and he lifted up, could easily guide his body as if it were a spirit. For Magicians, and Philosophers affirm that our spirit is not as a terrene thing, or body nourished by nutriment received through certain organs by the concoction of meat, and drink, but draws in their aliment like sponges through the whole body, viz. from the thin vapours penetrating the body on all sides. Therefore they that desire to have this spirit pure, and potent, let them use dryer [drier] meats, and extenuate this gross body with fastings, and they make it easily penetrable, and least by the weight thereof, the spirit should either become thick, or be suffocated, let them preserve the body clean by lotions, frictions, exercises, and clothings, and corroborate their spints by lights, and fumes, and bring it to a pure and thin [finess] fineness. We must therefore in taking of meats be pure, and abstinent, as the Pythagorian Philosophers, who keeping a holy and sober table, did protract their life in all temperance. The temperance therefore of life and complexion, because thereby no superfluous humour is bred, which may dull the phantasie [phantasy], makes, that our soul oftentimes dreaming, and sometimes watching, is alwayes subjected to the superiour influences. Moreover the Pythagorians, if any one doth by abstinence moderate prudently every motion of the mind, and body, promise perpetuall health of both, and long life. So the Bragmani [Brahmins] did admit none to their colledge [college], but those that were abstinent from wine, from flesh, and vices, saying that none could understand God, but they that emulate him by a divine conversation: which also Phraotes in Philostratus taught the lower Indians. Moreover we must abstain from all those things which infect either the mind, or spirit, as from covetousness, and envy, which are handmaids to injustice (as Hermes saith) enforcing the mind and the hand to evil practices; also from idleness, and luxury; for the soul being suffocated with the body, and lust, cannot foresee any celestiall thing. Wherefore the priests of the Athenians who are called in Greek Hierophantae (as Hierom reports) that they might live more chastly in their sacred employments, and might follow their divine affairs without lust, were wont to castrate themselves by drinking of hemlock. Moreover the chastity of a mind devoted to God doth make our mind (as Orpheus teacheth Museus in the hymne of all the gods) a perpetuall temple of God. Also we must abstain from all multitude and variety of senses, affections, imaginations, opinions, and such like passions, which hurt the mind and pervert the judgement of reason, as we manifestly see in the lascivious, the envious, and ambitious. Wherefore Cicero (in his Tusculans questions) cals these passions the sicknesses of the mind, and the pestiferous diseases thereof. But Horace calls them furies or madness, where he sings,
Girles have a thousand furies, so have boyes.
The same also seems to he of opinion that all men are fools in something. Whence is read in Ecclesiasticus, there are an infinite number of fools. Therefore the Stoicks deny that passions are incident to a wise man; I say such passions, which follow the sensitive apprehension: for rational, and mental passions, they yeld [yield] a wise man may have. This opinion did Boetius seem to be of, where he sings that some passions are to be laid aside in the inquisition of truth, in these verses,
If truth thou wouldst discover with clear sight,
And walk in the right path, then from thee quit
Joy, fear, grief, hope expel; for where these raign,
The mind is dark, and bound —–
We must therefore acquit and avert our minds from all multitudes, and such like passions, that we may attain to the simple truth; which indeed many Philosophers are said to have attained to in the solitude of a long time. For the mind by solitude being loosed from all care of humane affairs is at leisure, and prepared to receive the gifts of the celestial dieties [deities]. So Moses the law-giver to the Hebrews, and the greatest of prophets, and learned in all the knowledge of the Chaldeans [Chaldaeans] and Aegyptians [Egyptians], when he would abstract himself from senses, went into the vast wildernesses of Ethiopia, where all humane affairs being laid aside, he applied his mind to the sole contemplation of divine things, in which thing he so pleased the omnipotent God, that he suffered him to see him face to face, and also gave him a wondrous power of miracles, as sacred writ testifies of him. So Zoroastes [Zoroaster] the father and prince of the Magicians, is said to attain to the knowledge of all naturall and divine things by the solitude of twenty years, when he wrot, and did very strange things concerning all the art of divining, and soothsaying. The like things do the writings of Orpheus to Museus declare him to have done in the deserts of Thracia. So we read that Epimenides of Crete because learned by a very long sleep, for they say that he slept fifty years, i.e. to have lay hid so long; Pythagoras also in like manner to have layen hid ten years, and Heraclitus, and Democritus for the same cause were delighted with solitariness. For by how much the more we have [relinquished] the animal and the humane life, by so much the more we live like angels, and God, to which being conjoyned [conjoined], and brought into a better condition, we have power over all things, ruling over all. Now how our mind is to be separated from an animal life, and from all multitude, and to be erected, untill it ascend to that very one, good, true, and perfect, through each degree of things knowable, and knowledges, Proclus teacheth in his Commentaries upon Alcibiades, shewing how that first sensible things are to be shunned, that we may pass to an incorporeal essence, where we must exceed the order of souls yet multiplied by divers rules, habitudes, and various proportions, many bonds, and a manifold variety of forces, and to strive after an intellect, and intelligible kingdome, and to contemplate how far better these are then souls. Moreover we must bear an intellectual multitude, although united, and individuall, and come to the superintellectual and essential unity, absolute from all multitude, and the very fountain of good, and truth. In like manner we must avoid all knowledge that doth any ways distract, and deceive, that we may obtain the most simple truth. The multitude therefore of affections, senses, imaginations, and opinions is to be left, which in it self is as different, as some things are contrary to others in any subject; and we must ascend to sciences, in which although there be a various multitude, yet there is no contrariety. For all are knit one to the other, and do serve one the other, under one the other, untill they come to one, presupposed by all, and supposing none beyond it; to which all the rest may be referred: yet this is not the highest top of knowledges, but above it is a pure intellect. Therefore all composition, division, and various discourse being laid aside, let us, ascending to the intellectual life, and simple sight, behold the intelligible essence with individual and simple precepts, that we may attain to the highest being of the soul, by which we are one, and under which our multitude is united. Therefore let us attain to the first unity, from whom there is a union in all things, through that one which is as the flower of our essence: which then at length we attain to, when avoyding all multitude we do arise into our very unity, are made one, and act uniformly.
Chapter LVI Of Penitency, and Almes.
Now the greatest part of purgations is a voluntary penitency for faults: for (as saith Seneca in Thyeste) he whom it grieves that he hath offended, is in a manner innocent. This brings to us the greatest expiation, whilest it opposeth afflictings to delights, and purgeth out of the soul a stupid joyfulness, and gives a certain peculiar power, reducing us to the things above. Penitency therefore is not only a mortification of vices, but a spiritual Martyrdome of the soul; which with the sword of the spirit is on all sides mortified; Now the sword of the spirit is the word of God; whence Jeremiah the Prophet saith, and also Paul, writing to the Ephesians, Cursed is he that with-holdeth his sword from blood; and the Psalmist sings: A sword is in their lips. Therefore our cogitations, affections of our mind, and all evils that proceed from our heart and mouth, must be uttered to the priest in confession, that he may according to the word of God judge those things; and according to the power granted to him by God, penitency being joyned with it, may purifie [purify], & purge them, & direct them to that which is good; neither is there found in religion for the expiating hainous [heinous] offences a stronger Sacrament. Hence the Gods themselves (Ovid in Pontus being witnes),
Do often ease the pains, restore the lights
Which were caught away, when that mortall wights
They see repenting of their sins —–
There is as yet another Sacrament of expiation, viz. Almsgiving, of which as I remember I have read very little in Philosophers, but the very truth taught us that, saying, Give ye almes, and all things shall be clean to you; and in Ecclesiasticus it is read; as water extinguisheth fire, so almes doth sin; and Daniel taught the King of Babylon, that he should redeem his sins by almes; and the Angel Raphael testifieth to Tobias; because alms frees from death, and is that which purgeth sins, and make us find eternal life. Hence Christ commanded us to pray to the Father, Forgive as we forgive others, give us as we give to others; of which he said in another place, ye shall receive an hundred fold, and shall possess eternal life. He shall when he comes to judge the quick and the deed, upbraid the wicked above all things for their neglect of almes and works of mercy, when he shall say, I was hungry, and thirsty, and ye gave me neither meat, nor drink; and in another place he speaks of the poor; what ye have done to any one of them ye have done to me. Which Homer also seems to be sensible of, when he brings in a young man wooing Antinoe, saying these words, Antinoe how plausibly hast thou slain a poor begger! he shall destroy thee if God be in heaven; for the Gods themselves being likened to strangers, and guests, go out into the whole world, overturning Cities, and beholding the injuries, and wickednesse of men.
Chapter LVII Of those things which being outwardly administred conduce to Expiation.
It is believed, and it is delivered by them that are skilful in sacred things, that the mind also may be expiated with certain institutions, and sacraments ministred outwardly, as by sacrifices, baptismes, and adjurations, benedictions, consecrations, sprinklings of holy water, by anoyntings [annointings], and fumes, not so much consecrated to this, as having a naturall power thus to do; upon this account sulphur hath a place in Religions, to expiate ill Demons with the fume thereof. An egge also was wont to be used in Purgations; hence eggs are called holy, whence Ovid,
Let the old woman come, and purge the bed,
And place, and bring sulphure and eggs sacred
In her trembling hand —–
Proclus also writes, that the priests in purifyings were wont to use sulphur, and bitumen, or the washing of sea water: For sulphur purifies by the sharpness of its odour, and sea water by reason of its fiery part; In like manner the hearb [herb] Cinquefoil: wherefore by reason of its purity the ancient priests did use it in purifications, also the boughs of Olives. For these are said to be of so great purity, that they report that an olive tree planted by an harlot is thereby for ever made unfruitfull, or else withers. In like manner, frankincense, myrrhe, vervain, valerian, and the hearb called phu condace to expiation. Also the blessed Clove flower; and the gall of a black dog being fumed is said to be very powerfull in these, as well for expiating of ill spirits, as any bewitchings: also the feathers of a lapwing being fumed, drives away Phantasmes. It is wonderfull, and scarce credible, but that that grave and worthy Author Josephus relates it in his history of Jerusalem, of a root of Baaras, so called from a place neer Machernus, a Town of Judea, being of a yellow colour, that in the night it did shine, and was hard to be taken, that it did oftentimes deceive the hands of them that went to take it, and go out of their sight, never stood still, till the urine of a menstrous woman was sprinkled on it. Neither yet being thus retained, is it pulled up without danger, but suddain death fals upon him that drawes it up, unless he were fortified with an amulet of the said root; which they that want, sacrificing about the earth do bind the root to a dog by a cord, and presently depart: at length the dog with a great deal of pains drawes up the root, and as it were supplying the place of his master presently dies, after which anyone may handle the root without danger; the power of which is much excellent in expiations, as is manifest for the delivery of those that are vexed with unclean spirits; now that these kind of matters should act upon spirituall substances by putting them to flight, or by alluring them, or mitigating them, or by inciting them, they are of no other opinion then that the fire of Sicilia acts upon souls: which (William of Paris being witness) not hurting the bodies, doth most intolerably torment the souls of them that are neer. But of those in part we have treated before.
Chapter LVIII Of Adorations, and vowes.
Adorations, and vowes, sacrifices, and oblations are certain degrees in sacred things to find out God, and those things which principally provoke the divine pleasure, and procure a sacred and indissolvable communion of God with souls; for by prayers which we utter with true and sacred words, sensibly, and affectionately, we obtam a great power, when by the application of them to any diety [deity] we do so far move it, that he may direct his speech and answer by a divine way, by which (as saith Dionysius) God speaks with men, but so occultly that very few perceive it. But oftentimes that King and Prophet David perceives it, when he saith, I will hear what the Lord will speak in me. Adoration therefore being a long time continued, and often ftequented, perfects the intellect, and makes the soul more large for the receiving of divine lights, inflaming divine love, producing faith, hope, and sacred manners, purifieth the soul from all contrariety, and what is any away adverse to it, and doth also repell divers evils, which would otherwise naturally fall out. Hence Ovid sings,
—– With prayers mov’d is Jove;
I oftentimes have seen when from above
He would seed dreadfull lightnings, him to be
Appeas’d with frankincense —–
Now man is returned to God by prayers, by which coming he (saith Plato in Phedrus [Phaedrus]) stops horses, and enters into the chambers of repose, where he feeds upon Ambrosia, and drinks Nectar. Therefore they that desire to enjoy any vertue, must pray, and supplicate often to him who hath all vertue in himself. Now that is the best prayer, which is not uttered in words, but that which with a Religious silence and sincere cogitation is offered up to God, and that which with the voice of the mind and words of the intellectuall world, is offered to him. Now a vow is an ardent affection of a chast [chaste] mind given up to God, which by vowing wisheth that which seems good. This affection (as Iamblichus, and Proclus testifie) doth so joyn the soul to God, that the operation of the mind and of God is one; viz. of God as an artificer, of the mind as a divine instrument: all antiquity testifies that by vowes sometimes miracles are done, diseases are cured, tempests are diverted, and such like. Hence we read that the most excellent and wise in all nations, the Bragmanni [Brahmins] of the Indians, the Magicians of the Persians, the Gymnosopists [Gymnosophists] of the Aegyptians, the divines of the Greeks, and Caldeans [Chaldaeans] which did excell in divine secrets, did apply themselves to divine vowes, and prayers, and thereby did effect many wonderfull things. Now to the perfection of a vow, and adoration (for a vow cannot be perfect without an adoration, nor an adoration without a vow) there are two things especially required, viz. First the knowledge of the thing to be adored, and to which we must vow, and in what manner, and order, and by what Mediums it must be worshiped; for there are various cooperators and instruments of God, viz. The heavens, Stars, administring spirits, the celestiall souls, and Heros, which we must implore as porters, interpreters, administrators, mediators, but first of all him, who goeth to the Archetype God, who only is the utmost term of adoration; the other dieties [deities] are as it were passages to that very God. Know therefore that adorations and vowes must with a pure and pious mind be principally made to that one only God, the highest father, King and Lord of all the gods. But when they shall come before to the inferiour gods, let the intention of the administration be terminated in them; therefore to adorations, and vowes, when they be directed to the inferiour dieties [deities], Zoroastes [Zoroaster], and Orpheus thought fitting that suffumigations and characters should be used; but when they are erected to the majesty of the supream [supreme] God, they must not in any wise; which also Hermes, and Plato forbid to be done. Whence Hermes to Tatius; This (saith he) is like to sacrilege when thou prayest to God to be willing to kindle frankincense, and such like; for (saith Porphyrie [Porphyry]) they are not agreeable to piety. For there is not any materiall thing can be found, which to the immateriall God is not unclean. Therefore neither is that prayer which is uttered by words agreeable to him, nor that prayer which is mentall, if the mind be polluted with vice; Secondly there is also required a certain assimilation of our life to the divine life, in purity, chastity and holiness, with a lawfull desire of that which we wish for; for by this means we especially obtain the divine benevolence, and are subjected to the divine bounty; for unlesse we, having our minds purged, be worthy to be heard, and also those things which we desire, be worthy to be done, it is manifest that the gods will not hearken to our prayers; whence divine Plato saith, that God cannot be bound by our prayers or gifts to do unjust things; therefore let us desire nothing of God, which we think uncomely to wish for: for by this means only, we see that very many are frustrated of their prayers and vowes, because that neither they themselves are Religiously disposed, nor are their desires and prayers made for those things which are well pleasing to God, neither do they know to discern in what order they ought to pray, and through what mediatours they ought to go to God; the ignorance of which doth very oft reduce our prayers and supplications to nothing, and causeth our desires and wishes to be denied.
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