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The Philosophy of Natural Magic, by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, L. W. de Laurence ed. [1913], at


What Magic Is, What Are the Parts Thereof, and How the Professors Thereof Must Be Qualified.

Magic is a faculty of wonderful virtue, full of most high mysteries, containing the most profound contemplation of most secret things, together with the nature, power, quality, substance and virtues thereof, as also the knowledge of whole Nature, and it doth

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instruct us concerning the differing and agreement of things amongst themselves, whence it produceth its wonderful effects, by uniting the virtues of things through the application of them one to the other, and to their inferior suitable subjects, joining and knitting them together thoroughly by the powers and virtues of the superior Bodies. This is the most perfect and chief Science, that sacred and sublimer kind of Philosophy, and lastly the most absolute perfection of all most excellent Philosophy. For seeing that all regulative Philosophy is divided into Natural, Mathematical and Theological: (Natural Philosophy teacheth the nature of those things which are in the world, searching and inquiring into their causes, effects, times, places, fashions, events, their whole and parts, also

The Number and the Nature of those things,
Called Elements—what Fire, Earth, Aire forth brings;
From whence the Heavens their beginnings had;
Whence Tide, whence Rainbow, in gay colors clad.
What makes the Clouds that gathered are, and black,
To send forth Lightnings, and a Thund’ring crack;
What doth the Nightly Flames, and Comets make;
What makes the Earth to swell, and then to quake;
What is the Seed of Metals, and of Gold;
What Virtues, Wealth, Both Nature's Coffer hold.

All these things doth Natural Philosophy, the viewer of Nature, contain, teaching us, according to Virgil's Muse:

                                   Whence all things flow—
Whence Mankind, Beast; whence Fire, whence Rain and Snow;
Whence Earthquakes are; why the whole Ocean beats
Over its banks and then again retreats;
Whence strength of Herbs, whence Courage, rage of Brutes
All kinds of Stone, of creeping Things, and Fruits.

But Mathematical Philosophy teacheth us to know the quantity of natural bodies, as extended into three dimensions, as also to conceive of the motion and course of celestial bodies.

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                             As in great haste,
What makes the golden Stars to march so fast?
What makes the Moon sometimes to mask her face,
The Sun also, as if in some disgrace?

And, as Virgil sings:

How th’ Sun doth rule with twelve Zodiac Signs,
The Orb that's measur’d round about with Lines—
It doth the Heavens' Starry Way make known,
And strange Eclipses of the Sun and Moon;
Arcturus also, and the Stars of Rain,
The Seven Stars likewise, and Charles, his wain;
Why Winter Suns make tow’rds the West so fast;
What makes the Nights so long ere they be past?

All which are understood by Mathematical Philosophy.

Hence, by the Heavens we may foreknow
The Seasons all; times for to reap and sow,
And when 'tis fit to launch into the deep,
And when to war, and when in peace to sleep;
And when to dig up trees, and them again
To set, that they may bring forth amain.

Now Theological Philosophy, or Divinity, teacheth what God is, what the Mind, what an Intelligence, what an Angel, what a Devil, what the Soul, what Religion, what sacred Institutions, Rites, Temples, Observations, and sacred Mysteries are. It instructs us also concerning Faith, Miracles, the virtues of Words and Figures, the secret operations and mysteries of Seals; and, as Apuleius saith, it teacheth us rightly to understand and to be skilled in the Ceremonial Laws, the equity of Holy things and rule of Religions. But to recollect myself.)

These three principal faculties * Magic comprehends, unites and actuates; deservedly, therefore, was it by the Ancients esteemed as the highest and most sacred Philosophy. It was, as we find, brought to light by most sage authors and most famous

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writers, * amongst which principally Zamolxis and Zoroaster were so famous that many believed they were the inventors of this Science. Their track Abbaris the Hyperborean, Charmondas, Danigeron, Eudoxus, Hermippus followed. There were also other eminent, choice men, as Mercurius Tresmegistus, Porphyrius, Iamblicus, Plotinus, Proclus, Dardanus, Orpheus the Thracian, Gog the Grecian, Germa the Babylonian, Apollonius of Tyana. Osthanes also wrote excellently of this Art, whose books being as it were lost, Democritus of Abdera recovered, and set them forth with his own Commentaries. Besides, Pythagoras, Empedocles, Democritus, Plato, and many other renowned Philosophers travelled far by sea to learn this Art; and being returned, published it with wonderful devoutness, esteeming of it as a great secret. Also it is well known that Pythagoras and Plato went to the Prophets of Memphis to learn it, and travelled through almost all Syria, Egypt, Judea, and the Schools of the Chaldeans that they might not be ignorant of the most sacred Memorials and Records of Magic, as also that they might be furnished with Divine things. Whosoever, therefore, is desirous to study in this Faculty, if he be not skilled in Natural Philosophy, wherein are discovered the qualities of things, and in which are found the occult properties of every Being, and if he be not skillful in the Mathematics, and in the Aspects, and Figures of the Stars, upon which depend the sublime virtue and property of everything; and if he be not learned in Theology, wherein are manifested those immaterial substances, which dispense and minister all things, he cannot be possibly able to understand the rationality

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of Magic. For there is no work that is done by mere Magic, nor any work that is merely Magical, that doth not comprehend these three Faculties.


40:* Natural, Mathematical and Theological (Spiritual) Philosophy.

41:* The author here gives a valuable list of mystic writers and teachers up to A. D. 1509. At this date Agrippa was a "teacher of theology" at Dole, France, where he "attracted great attention by his lectures; but having by his bitter satires on the monks drawn upon himself the hatred of that body, he was accused of heresy, and obliged to leave," going to Cologne.

Next: Chapter III. Of the Four Elements, Their Qualities, and Mutual Mixtions