THIS Preface to the Prognostications was given in the Strassburg Edition of the Collected Works of Paracelsus, vol. ii, p. 594. It runs as follows:
'It may be questioned whether we can at all describe the effects of the stars, since we do not see that which passes even upon earth and what lies at our feet, and often stumble and strike against it; far less can we know of the Heavens. But the reply thereto is, that for this purpose we do not use our eyes nor our feet.
'Further can this instruction be given: it is God's will that we should have our experience in all His works, and that we should have knowledge in Nature's secrets, that nothing may be wanting, but that we should know it.
'In this wise were discovered many great arts such as would be tedious to relate.
'As it is God's will that we should know these things, He only can teach them to us, for such knowledge is not of man. Who can tell how letters were invented? Only by divine inspiration, for it
pleased God that we should have such knowledge, therefore has man learned it.
'Even as God created His miraculous works, that man should know them, He also created a school wherein we learn this knowledge, but this school is not visible or known to everyone.
'The fisherman draws fish that he never saw from many fathoms beneath the water, the miner brings gold from the depths out of the earth, through which his sight cannot pierce. In this wise has God taught it.
'As there is nothing so occult that it shall not become manifest, so the same must be made known. Be it in the celestial firmament, in the sea, in the earth, all things must become manifest; but through man who discovers all things.
'Who will now show the first teacher and point with the finger at him? For he is not of Adam; but in him acts, and through him becomes manifested in his creatures all that is within him. He teaches it.
'To describe the courses this world will pass through in 24 years is lamentable enough. That man should have made himself so greedy and should have so wholly deluded himself and have failed to realise that his days must needs thereby
be shortened; and that man should so wholly have forgotten God, his master, and should live not in accordance with His Law. To understand this requires the consideration of the mysteries shown by the signs of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. It is also a subject for contemplation in what manner the people on earth inflict misery on each other, whereby no one will grant his fellow that the Sun shall shine upon him.
'There is but one number alone wherein we should walk upon earth, that is the One, and we should not count more. In God there are three, but the three are one.
'Thus we men, as God transmutes Himself into one, we likewise on earth should resign ourselves and become one.
'In that number and in no other is there rest and peace (Unity).
'That which is more than this is full of unrest and contention, one against the other.
'For if a reckoner puts a number and counts more than one, how many are the errors in root and result? Hence comes the dire distress and the worm gnawing us.
'How pleasant and good it is when we walk in the One! Heaven has also its physical course in
that number; the earth and all are therein contained. 'But when that is not, then the Sun, Moon and Stars appear as signs that have to be considered.
'The end however is not yet, although there are signs thereof, but the calamity is only beginning.
'Blessed is he that sitteth not in the chair of pestilence, and who doth not dwell with sinners, for they shall be visited.
'Every man that is against God may know in his own conscience that he shall not prevail against nor overcome Him.
'It is hard to oppose Him, and no one is able to overcome Him. Therefore it is a great folly that man should strive against what is impossible to overcome.
'Thus there are 32 Symbols of that which is to be. May they not fly higher, so they but fall into the time for which they are intended.
'They are brought forth in all humility, but their course is through much misery. For as a serpent will they wind and turn until the end comes.
'But who would therefore grieve as the salvation from all arrogance and pride draweth nigh?
'Who would not rejoice that again the One shall be the Shepherd, and in the One shall be set the habitation?
'How peaceful will it be when there shall be no need for counting and numbers.
'Then will the precious ointment be poured upon the beard of Aaron, giving blessing from above. Then will the blessing issue from God.
'Even as there was no weeping in Heaven at the casting out of Lucifer into the abyss of Hell, why should it trouble us if in like manner Pride fall, so that One only and not more be in the Government?
'For many years past changes in the world have been foretold, but the signs indicated only the beginning. The end is not yet in operation, only the beginning.
'But the time of the nations is now at hand that they shall come to an end. And also that the just may not be seduced must the breaking-up take place.
'To me it is not known whom God will accept, but without regard to them all is the Prognostication set forth.
'Others may better discern this than I and understand whom it concerns.
'Thus hath the Kabbala given it, as a mother and beginner of Astronomy.
'The course of things is however so secret that they are right before us and yet we know of them
only when they are already past.
'For everyone should know that it is not the Will of God they should not be converted and that they should not be saved from their doom.
'Therefore are the things seen with seeing eyes, and yet they are not seen.
'Let no one cast suspicion on anyone but let the End generate all things.
'Many speak and write, each one according to his ability. What others have also in this wise made, I will not reject, for the forerunners are many when such Monarchy is to be dissolved.'