The Philosophy of Natural Magic, by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, L. W. de Laurence ed. , at sacred-texts.com
Little disguised by Hebrew admixture, and little pervaded by the speculations of the Platonists of Alexandria, Philo the Jew, Plotinus, and Iamblichus, whom the young student quotes most frequently, we have again the Attic Moses, Plato, speaking through a young and strong heart to the world. Very great was the influence of Plato in this period of wakening to thought. Nothing was known by experience of Nature, for little had been learnt since the time when Plato, theorising upon Nature, owned it to be impossible to arrive at any certain result in our speculations upon the creation of the visible universe and its authors; "wherefore," he said, "even if we should only advance reasons not less probable than those of others, you should still be content." In this spirit alone Cornelius Agrippa taught his age: "There are these marvels well accredited; there is this cumbrous and disjointed mass of earthly, sensible experience, which there is no way of explaining left to me but one. I accept the marvels, foolish as they seem; they are as well accredited as things more obviously true. With God all things are possible. In God all things consist. I will adopt Plato's belief, that the world is animated by a moving soul, and from the soul of the world I will look up to its Creator. I cannot rest content with a confused mass of evidence; I will animate with my own soul, and a faith in its divine origin, the world about me. I will adopt the glorious belief of Plato, that we sit here as in a cavern with our faces held from looking to the cavern's mouth, down which a light is streaming and pours in a flood over our heads, broken
by shadows of things moving in the world above. We see the shadows on the wall, hear echoes, and believe in all as the one known truth of substance and of voice, although these are but the images of the superiors. I also will endeavor to climb up out of the cave into the land flooded with sunlight. I connect all that we see here with Plato's doctrine of superior ideas, I subdue matter to spirit, I will see true knowledge in apparent foolishness, and connect the meanest clod with its divine Creator. I will seek to draw down influences, and to fill my soul with a new strength imparted by the virtue of ideas streaming from above. The superior manifest in the inferior is the law of Nature manifested in the thing created. My soul is not sufficient for itself; beyond it and above it lie eternal laws, subtle, not having substance or form, yet the cause of form and substance. I cannot hope to know them otherwise than as ideas; to unborn generations they will be revealed, perhaps; to me they are ideas, celestial influences, working intelligences. I believe in them, and I desire to lay open my soul to their more perfect apprehension. They are not God, though God created them; they are not man, though they have by divine ordainment formed him. The more I dwell upon their qualities, the more I long for the divine, the more shall I be blessed by the reception of their rays. The more intensely I yearn heavenward, the more shall I bring down heaven to dwell in my soul."
So we may hear, if we will, the spirit of the young inquirer pleading to us from across the centuries, and if our own minds ever yearned for an escape from the delusions of the grosser sense and the restriction set by crowds on free inquiry, there is no true heart that will not say: "You labored well, my brother."