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Arbatel of Magick

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PREFACE

To the unprejudiced Reader As the fall of man made himself and all other creatures subject to vanity; so, by reason thereof, the most noble arid excellent Arts wherewith the Rational soul was indued, are by the rusty canker of Time brought unto Corruption. For Magick itself, which the ancients did so divinely contemplate, is scandalized with bearing the badge of all diabolical sorceries: which Art (saith Mirandula) Pauci intelligunt, multi reprehendunt, & sicut canes ignotos semper allatrant: Few understood, many reprehend, and as dogges barke at those they know not: so doe many condemn and hate the things they understand not. Many men there are, that abhor the very name and word Magus, because of Simon Magus, who being not Magus, but Goes, that is, familiar with evil Spirits, usurped that Title. But Magicke and Witchcraft are far differing Sciences; whereof Pliny1 being ignorant, scoffeth thereat: for Nero (saith Pliny) who had the most excellent Magicians of the East sent to him by Tyridates king of Armenia, who held that kingdom by him, found the Art after long study and labour altogether ridiculous. Now Witchcraft and Sorcery, are works done merely by the devil, which with respect unto some covenant made with man, he acteth by men his instruments, to accomplish his evil ends: of these, the histories of all ages, people and countries, as also the holy Scriptures, afford us sundry examples.

But Magus is a Persian word primitively, whereby is expressed such a one as is altogether conversant in things divine; as Plato affirmeth, the Art of Magick is the art of worshipping God: and the Persians call their gods, hence Apollonius saith, that Magus is either [illegible Greek]2 or [illegible Greek]3, that is, that Magus is a name sometime of him that is a god by nature, & sometimes of him that is in the service of God: in which latter sense it is taken in Matt., 2.1,2. when the wise men came to worship Jesus, and this is the first and highest kind, which is called divine Magick; and these the Latins did entitle sapientes, or wise men: for the feare and worship of God, is the beginning of knowledge. These wise men the Greeks call Philosophers; and amongst the Egyptians they were termed Priests; the Hebrews termed them Cabalistos, Prophets, Scribes and Pharisees; and amongst the Babylonians they were differenced by the name of Caldeans; & by the Persians they were called Magicians: and one speaking of Sosthenes, one of the ancient Magicians, useth these words: Et verum Deum merita majestate prosequitur, & angelos ministros Dei, sed veri ejus venerationi novit assistere; idem dæmonas prodit terrenos, Vagos, humanitatis inimicos; Sosthenes ascribeth the due Majesty to the true God, & acknowledgeth that his Angels are ministers and messengers which attend the worship of the true God; he also hath delivered, that there are devils earthly and wandering, and enemies to mankind.

So that the word Magus of itself imports a Contemplator of divine & heavenly Sciences; but under the name Magick, are all unlawful Arts comprehended; as Necromancy and Witchcraft, and such Arts which are effected by combination with the devil, and whereof he is a party.

These Witches and Necromancers are also called Malefici or venefici; sorcerers or poisoners; of which names witches are rightly called, who without the Art of Magick do indeed use the help of the devil himself to do mischief; practising to mix the powder of dead bodies with other things by the help of the devil prepared; and at other times to make pictures of wax, clay, or otherwise (as it were Sacramentaliter) to effect those things which the devil by other means bringeth to pass. Such were, and to this day partly, if not altogether, are the corruptions which have made odious the very name of Magick, having chiefly sought, as the manner of all impostures is, to counterfeit the highest and most noble part of it.

A second kind of Magick is Astrologie, which judgeth of the events of things to come, natural and humane, by the motions and influences of the stars upon the lower elements, by them observed and understood.

Philo Judaeus affirmeth, that by this part of Magick or Astrologie, together with the motions of the Stars and other heavenly bodies, Abraham found out the knowledge of the true God while he lived in Caldea, Qui Contemplatione Creaturarum, cognovit Creatorem (saith Damascen) who knew the Creator by the contemplation of the creature. Josephus reporteth of Abraham, that he instructed the Egyptians in Arithmetic and Astronomy; who before Abraham’s coming unto them, knew none of these Sciences.

Abraham sanctitate & sapientia omnium præstantissimus, primum Caldæos, deinde Phoenices, demum Egyptios Sacerdotes, Astrologia & Divina docuerit. Abraham the holiest and wisest of men, did first teach the Caldeans, then the Phoenicians, lastly the Egyptian Priests, Astrologie and Divine knowledge.

Without doubt, Hermes Trismegistus, that divine Magician and Philosopher, who (as some say) lived long before Noah, attained to much Divine knowledge of the Creator through the study of Magick and Astrologie; as his writings testifie. The third kind of Magick containeth the whole Philosophy of Nature; which bringeth to light the innermost virtues, and extracteth them out of Nature’s hidden bosome to humane use: Virtutes in centro centri latentes; Virtues hidden in the centre of the Centre, according to the Chymists: of this sort were Albertus, Arnoldus de villa nova, Raymond, Bacon and others, &c.

The Magick these men professed, is thus defined. Magia est connexio a viro sapiente agentium per naturam cum patientibus, sibi, congruenter respondentibus, ut inde opera prodeant, non sine corum admiratione qui causam ignorant. Magick is the connexion of natural agents and patients, answerable each to other, wrought by a wise man, to the bringing forth of such effects as are wonderful to those that know not their causes.

In all these, Zoroaster was well learned, especially in the first and highest: for in his Oracles he confesseth God to be the first and the highest; he believeth of the Trinity, which he would not investigate by any natural knowledge: he speaketh of Angels, and of Paradise; approveth the immortality of the soul; teacheth Truth, Faith, Hope, and Love, discoursing of the abstinence and charity of the Magi.

Of this Zoroaster, Eusebius in the Theology of the Phoenicians, using Zoroaster’s own words: Hæc ad verbum scribit (saith Eusebius) Deus primus, incorruptibilium, sempiternus, ingenitus, expers partium sibi ipsi simillimus, bonorum omnium auriga, munera non expectans, optimus, prudentissimus, pater juris, sine doctrina justitiam per doctus, natur perfectus, sapiens, sacræ naturæ unicus inventor, &c. Thus saith Zoroaster, word for word: God the first, incorruptable, everlasting, unbegotten, without parts, most like himself, the guide of all good, expecting no reward, the best, the wisest, the father of right, having learned justice without teaching, perfect, wise by nature, the onely inventor thereof.

So that a Magician is no other but divinorum cultor & interpres, a studious observer and expounder of divine things; and the Art itself is none other quam Naturalis Philosophiæ absoluta consummatio, then the absolute perfection of Natural Philosophy. Nevertheless there is a mixture in all things, good with evil, of falsehood with truth, of corruption with purity. The good, the truth, the purity, in every kinde, may well be embraced: As in the ancient worshipping of God by Sacrifice, there was no man knowing God among the Elders, that did not forbear to worship the God of all power, or condemn that kinde of Worship, because the devil was so adored in the image of Baal, Dagon, Astaroth, Chemosh, Jupiter, Apollo, and the like.

Neither did the abuse of Astrology terrify Abraham, (if we believe the most ancient and religious writers) from observing the motions and natures of the heavenly bodies. Neither can it dehort wise and learned men in these days from attributing those vertues, influences, and inclinations, to the Stars and other Lights of heaven, which God hath given to those his glorious creatures.

I must expect some calumnies and obtrectations against this, from the malicious prejudiced men, and the lazie affecters of Ignorance, of whom this age swarms: but the voice and sound of the Snake and Goose is all one. But our stomacks are not now so queazie and tender, after so long time feeding upon solid Divinity, nor we so umbragious and startling, having been so long enlightened in God’s path, that we should relapse into that childish Age, in which Aristotle’s Metaphysicks, in a Council in France, was forbid to be read.

But I incite the Reader to a charitable opinion hereof, with a Christian Protestation of an innocent purpose therein; and intreat the Reader to follow this advice of Tabæus, Qui litigant, sint ambo in conspectis tuo mali & rei. And if there be any scandal in this enterprise of mine, it is taken, not given. And this comfort I have in that Axiome of Trismegistus, Qui pius est, summe philosopatur. And therefore I present it without disguise, and object it to all of candor and indifferencie: and of Readers, of whom there be four sorts, as one observes: Spunges, which attract all without distinguishing; Hour-glasses, which receive, and pour out as fast; Bags, which retain onely the dregs of Spices, and let the Wine escape; and Sieves, which retain the best onely. Some there are of the last sort, and to them I present this Occult Philosophy, knowing that they may reap good thereby. And they who are severe against it, they all pardon this my opinion, that such their severity proceeds from Self-guiltiness; and give me leave to apply that of Ennodius that it is the nature of Self-wickedness, to think that of others, which themselves deserve. And it is all the comfort which guilty have, not to find any innocent. But that amongst others this may find some acceptance, is the desire of R. Turner London, ult. Aug. l654.

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