Three Books of Occult Philosophy/Judicious reader!
|←To the Revernd Father in Christ, and most Illustrious Prince, Hermannus, ... Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettes-heym, sendeth greeting||Three Books of Occult Philosophy by , translated by John French
- Judicious Reader!
Here is the outside, and the inside of Philosophy; but the former without the latter is but an empty flourish; yet with this alone most are satisfied. To have a bare notion of a Diety, to apprehend some motions of the Celestials, together with the common operations thereof, and to conceive of some Terrestial productions, is but what is superficiall, and vulgar; But this is true, this is sublime, but Occult Philosophy; to understand the mysterious influences of the intellectuall world upon the Celestial, and of both upon the Terrestiall; and to know how to dispose, and fit our selves so, as to be capable of receiving those superiour operations, whereby we may be enabled to operate wonderfull things, which indeed seem impossible, or at least unlawfull, when as indeed they may be effected by a naturall power, and without either offence to God, or violation of Religion. To defend Kingdoms, to discover the secret counsels of men, to overcome enemies, to redeem captives, to increase riches, to procure the favor of men, to expell diseases, to preserve health, to prolong life, to renew youth, to foretell future events, to see and know things done many miles off, and such like as these, by vertue of superior influences, may seem things incredible; Yet read but the ensuing Treatise, and thou shalt see the possibility thereof confirmed both by reason, and example. I speak now to the judicious, for as for others, they neither know, nor believe, nor will know any thing, but what is vulgar, nay they think, that beyond this there is scarce any thing knowable; when as indeed there are profound mysteries in all beings, even from God in the highest heavens, to the divels in the lowest hell; Yea in very numbers, names, letters, characters, gestures, time, place, and such like, all which are by this learned Author profoundl discussed. I cannot deny but in this his work there is much superstition, and vanity. But remember that the best Gold must have the greatest allowance; consider the time of darkness, and of his youth, when, the place where, and the things which he hath discovered and wrote, and thou wilt rather admire his solidity, then condemn his vanity. Gold hath much blackness adhearing to it assoon as it is taken out of the earth. Mysterious truths do not presently shine like rayes of the Sun assoon as they are recovered from a long darkness, but are clouded with some obscurity. Nay I will say but this Agrippa might obscure these mysteries like an Hermeticall Philosopher, on purpose, that only the sons of Art might understand them. He perhaps might mix chaffe with his wheat, that quick-sighted birds only might find it out, and not swine trample it underfoot.
From saying much as touching the excusing, or commending this Author, I am already prevented; For at the beginning and ending of this book there are several Epistles of his own to others, wherein he excuseth what may be excepted against him; and of others to him sufficiently commending what is praise worthy in him; to which may be added that honorable testimony given to him by the author of that most witty, & sublime The-anthroposophia Theo-magica, lately set forth. All that I shall say to perswade thee to read this book, is but to desire thee to cast thine eye upon the Index of the Chapters contained therein, which is at the end thereof: and thou shalt therein see such variety of wonderful subjects, that at the sight thereof thou wilt be impatient till thou hast read them. I shall crave leave now to speak one word for my self. If this my translation shall neither answer the worth of the Author, or expectation of the reader; consider that the unquothness of the Authors stile in many places, the manifold Errata’s, as well literall, as those in respect of Grammatical construction, may happily occasion some mistakes in this my translation. Yet notwithtstanding, I hope I have, though without much elegancy (which indeed the matter would not bear) put it into as intelligible an English phrase as the original would afford. As for the terms of art, which are many, divers of them would not bear any English expression, therefore I have expressed them in Latinisms or Grecisms, according as I have found them. I hope an Artist will be able to understand them; as for Errata’s, as I cursorily read over the book, I observed these as you see mentioned. If thou shalt meet with any more, as it is possible thou mayst, be thou candid, and impute them to the Printers mistake; for which, as also for taking in the best sense, what here I present thee withall, thou shalt for ever oblige thy friend,