Superphysics Superphysics

Preface

by Paracelsus
8 minutes  • 1494 words

Courteous Reader,

Seeing I might not write more cleerly, then other ancient Philosophers have wrote; haply thou mayst not bee satisfied with my writings: especially since thou hast so many other bookes of Philosophers already in thy hands:

but beleeve me, neither have I any need to write books, because I seek neither profit, nor vain glory by them; therefore I doe not publish who I am. Those things which I have now publisht for thy profit, and advantage, seem to mee to be more then enough; I purpose that other things, which remain, shall bee referred to the book of Harmony, where I have largely treated of naturall things: yet by the perswasion of some friends I must needs also write this Treatise of Sulphur; in which whether it be needfull to add anything to what is written before, I know not. Yea, neither shall this satisfie thee, if the writings of so many Philosophers cannot satisfie thee: And especially, if the daily operation of Nature bee not a sufficient example, no other examples shall doe thee good.

For if thou wouldst consider with a mature judgement, how Nature works, thou wouldst not have need of so many volumes of Philosophers: because in my judgement it is better to learn of Nature the Mistris, then of her scholars. Thou hast enough in the Preface of the book of the Twelve Treatises, as also in the First Treatise it self, because in this Art there be so many, and so great books to bee found, that they rather hinder, then help those that are studious of this Art: and so indeed it seems to be, because the Writings of Philosophers are out of that little Schedule of Hermes grown up unto so great, and erroneous a Labyrinth, and daily doe decline into obscurity:

And this I beleeve is done only by envious Philosophers, when as the ignorant doe not well know what ought to be added, or left out, if haply the Authours hand cannot well be read. If in any Science, or Art it doth much help, or hurt to have one word lacking, or added, then much more in this: As for example: It is written in one place: Then mix these waters together, another addes Not, hee indeed added but a little, and yet by this he turned the whole Chapter quite contrary: yet let the diligent Student know, that a Bee doth gather honey out of poisonous hearbs. But if he judgeth what hee reads, according to the possibility of Nature, hee will easily get beyond all the Sophistry of Philosophers: yet let him not give over reading, because one booke ex[Pg 77]plaines another. And by this meanes I understood that the bookes of Geber the Philosopher (and who could know it, but they that read other Authours?) are so wonderfully enchanted, that they cannot possibly be understood, unlesse they be read over a thousand times, and this also by a witty Reader; fooles must bee utterly excluded from reading of them.

There bee indeed many that undertake to interpret him as they doe other Authors; but I see their explication is more difficult then the text: My advice is, that thou dost persist in the text, and whatsoever thou readest apply to the possibility of Nature; and in the first place enquire diligently what Nature is. All indeed write, that shee is a thing of small account, easy, common; and indeed it is true, but it should have been added, that shee is so unto wise men. The wise man knows her to be amongst dung, and the ignorant man doth not beleeve her to bee in gold. And all these men, which have made such hard bookes, if they were now ignorant of the Art, but must find it out of such bookes (which books indeed are very true) would with more difficulty find it out, then men, that in these days search into the art, doe. I will not commend mine owne Writings, hee shall judge of them that shall apply them to the possibility, and course of Nature; and if by my Writings, Counsell, Examples, hee shall not know the operation of Nature, and her ministring vitall spirits constringing the aire, as also the subject of the first matter, hee will scarce understand them by Raimundus Lullius. It is a hard thing to beleeve that spirits have such a power and force in the belly of the wind.

This Wood I also am constrained to goe[Pg 78] through, and also I have helped to multiply it, yet in such a manner as my plants shall be signes, a light, and guides to the true Sons of Art, and Students in this sacred Science, that are willing to goe through this Wood; for my plants are as it were corporeall. Those times are now past, when fidelity amongst friends flourished, and this Art was communicated by word of mouth; but now it is not obtained but by the inspiration of the most high God alone. Therefore let not him that searcheth diligently, and fears God despaire.

If he seeks after it, hee shall find it. Because it is more easily obtained from God, then from man: for hee is a God of infinite compassion, and knowes not how to forsake him that puts his trust in him; with him there is no respect of persons; the contrite and humble heart hee will not despise, and hee hath taken compassion upon mee, the most unworthy of his creatures; whose power, goodness, unspeakable compassion which he hath vouchsafed to shew to mee, I am not able to expresse: but if I am able to give no better thankes, yet I shall not cease with my pen to set forth his praise for ever. Bee of good courage therefore, Courteous Reader, and hee will also not deny this favour to thee, if thou puttest thy whole trust in him, worship him, and call upon him, hee will open to thee the gate of Nature; then thou shalt see how most plainly Nature works. Know for certain that Nature is most plain, and simple, and delights in nothing so much as in plainnesse; and beleeve mee, whatsoever in Nature is more noble, by so much also the more easy, and plain it is, because all truth is plain, and simple: God the most High Creator of all things put nothing that is hard, or difficult[Pg 79] in Nature. If thou wilt therefore imitate Nature, let mee perswade thee to abide in the simple way of Nature; and thou shalt find all good things.

But if neither my writings, nor advise pleaseth thee, then go to other authors. Wherefore I write not great Volumes that thou maist not lay out too much money, or time upon them, but maist read them over quickly, and bee at the more leisure to have recourse to other authors: and cease not to seek, for to him that knocks, it shall bee opened. Now those times are coming, in which many secrets of Nature shall bee revealed. Now that fourth Monarchy of the North is about to begin: Now the times are at hand; the Mother of Sciences will come: greater things shall bee discovered then hath been done in these three last past Monarchies. Because this Monarchy (as the Ancients have foretold) God will plant by one of his Princes, being enriched with all manner of vertues, whom haply times have already brought forth.

For wee have in this Northerne part a most wise Prince, and most warlike, whom none of the Monarchs doth goe beyond in victories, or excell in humanity, and piety. In this Northerne Monarchy God the maker of all things, will without doubt bring to light greater secrets in Nature, then in those times, when Pagan, and Tyrant Princes reigned. But the Philosophers reckon these Monarchies, not according to the powerfulnesse of them, but according to the corners of the world: the first was Easterne, the next Southerne; this which they now possesse is Westerne: the last which they expect in this Northerne part is Northerne: but of these further in my booke of Harmony. In this Nor[Pg 80]thern Monarchy, where the attractive pole is (as the Psalmist speaks) Mercy and Truth are met together; Peace, and Justice shall kisse each other; Truth shall rise out of the earth, and Justice shall looke from heaven. One sheepfold, and one Shepheard. Many Arts without envy: All which I doe earnestly expect. Doe thou also, Courteous Reader, call upon, love, feare God, read over my Writings diligently, and then thou maist foretell to thy selfe good things. And if thou shalt, through the favour of God, and the help of Nature (whom thou must imitate) arrive to the desired haven of this Monarchie; then thou shalt see, and say that all things that I have said to thee, are good, and true.

Farewell.

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