Three Books of Occult Philosophy/Book 2/Chapter 3

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Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, translated by John French
Book 2, Chapter 2

flow, as well in naturall, as divine, and heavenly things. By it is there a way made for the searching out, and understanding of all things knowable. By it the next access to naturall prophesying is had: and the Abbot Joachim proceeded no other way in his Prophecies, but by formall numbers.


How great vertues Numbers have, as well in Naturall things, as in Supernaturall.

THat there lyes wonderfull efficacy, and vertue in numbers, as well to good as to bad, not only most eminent Philosophers do unanimously teach, but also Catholike Doctors, and especially Hierom, Austin, Origen, Ambrose, Gregory of Nazianzen, Athanasius, Basilius, Hilarius, Rubanus, Bede, and many more confirm. Hence Hilarius in his Commentaries upon the Psalms, testifies that the seventy Elders, according to the efficacy of numbers, brought the Psalms into order. Rabanus also, a famous Doctor, composed an excellent book of the vertues of numbers: But now how great vertues numbers have in nature, is manifest in the hearb which is called Cinquefoil, i.e. five leaved Grass; for this resists poysons by vertue of the number of five; also drives away divells, conduceth to expiation; and one leafe of it taken twice in a day in wine, cures the Feaver of one day: three the tertian Feaver: foure the quartane. In like manner four grains of the seed of Turnisole being drunk, cures the quartane, but three the tertian. In like manner Vervin is said to cure Feavers, being drunk in wine, if in tertians it be cut from the third joynt, in quartans from the fourth. A Serpent, if he be once struck with a Spear, dieth, if twice, recovers strength. These and many such as these are read, and testified in divers Authors. We must know now whence these are done, which certainly have a cause, which is a various proportion of various numbers amongst themselves. There is also a wonderfull experiment of the number of seven, that every seventh male, born without a female coming betwixt, hath power to cure the Kings evill by his touch alone, or word. Also every seventh daughter that is born, is said wonderfully to help forward the birth of children: neither is the naturall number here considered, but the formall consideration that is in the number. And let that which we spake before, be alwaies kept in mind, viz. that these powers are not in vocall, or numbers of merchants buying, and selling, but in rationall, formall, and naturall; These are distinct mysteries of God, and nature. But he that knows how to joyn together the vocall numbers, and naturall with divine, and order them into the same harmony, shall be able to work and know wonderfull things by numbers; the Pythagorians profess that they can prognosticate many things by the numbers of names, in which truly, unless there did ly a great mysterie, ' 'John had not said in the Revelation, He which hath understanding, let him compute the number of the name of the beast, which is the number of a man, and this is the most famous manner of computing amongst the Hebrews, and Cabalists, as we shall shew afterwards. But this you must know, that simple numbers signifie Divine things: numbers of ten; Celestiall numbers of an hundred; terrestriall numbers of a thousand; those things that shall be in a future age. Besides, seeing the parts of the mind are according to an Arithmeticall Mediocrity, by reason of the identity, or equality of excess, coupled together. But the body, whose parts differ in their greatness, is according to a Geometricall mediocrity, compounded: But an animall consists of both, viz. soul and body, according to that mediocrity, which is sutable to harmony: Hence it is that numbers do work very much upon the soul, figures upon the body, and harmony upon the whole animall.

Chapter iv. Of unity, and the Scale thereof. Now let us treat particularly of numbers themselves: and because number is nothing els but a repetition of Unity, let us first consider Unity it self. For Unity doth most simply go through every number, and is the common measure, fountain, and originall of all numbers, contains every number joyned together in it self intirely, the beginner of every multitude, alwayes the same, and unchangable: whence also being multiplyed into it self, produceth nothing but it self: it is indivisible, void of all parts: But if it seem at any time to be divided, it is not cut, but indeed Multiplied into Unities: yet none of these Unities is greater or lesser then the whole Unity, as a part is less than the whole: It is not therefore Multiplyed into parts, but into it self: Therefore some called it concord, some piety, and some friendship, which is so knit, that it cannot be cut into parts. But Martianus, according to the opinion of Aristotle saith, it is named Cupid, because it is made one alone, and will alwaies bewail it self, and beyond it self it hath nothing, but being void of all haughtiness, or coupling, turns its proper heats into it self. It is therefore the one beginning, and end of all things, neither hath it any beginning, or end it self: Nothing is before one, nothing is after one, and beyond it is nothing, and all things which are, desire that one, because all things proceeded from one, and that all things may be the same, it is necessary that they partake of that one: And as all things proceeded of one into many things, so all things endeavour to return to that one, from which they proceeded; it is necessary that they should put off multitude. One therefore is referred to the high God, who seeing he is one, and innumerable, yet creates innumerable things of himself, and contains them within himself. There is therefore one God, one world of the one God, one Sun of the one world, also one Phoenix in the World, one King amongst Bees, one Leader amongst Flocks of Catel,