The Real History of the Rosicrucians, by Arthur Edward Waite, , at sacred-texts.com
THE immediate result of the "Fama" and "Confessio Fraternitatis" in Germany has been so well described by Professor Buhle that I cannot do better than transcribe this portion of his work as it is interpreted by Thomas De Quincey.
"The sensation which was produced throughout Germany . . . is sufficiently evidenced by the repeated editions . . . (of the manifestoes) which appeared between 1614 and 1617, but still more by the prodigious commotion which followed in the literary world. In the library at Göttingen there is a body of letters addressed to the imaginary order of Father Rosy Cross, from 1614 to 1617, by persons offering themselves as members. These letters are filled with complimentary expressions and testimonies of the highest respect, and are all printed, the writers alleging that, being unacquainted with the address of the society, they could not send them through any other than a public channel. As certificates of their qualifications, most of the candidates have enclosed specimens of their skill in alchemy and cabbalism. Some of the letters are signed with initials only, or with fictitious names, but assign real places of address. Many other literary persons there were at that day who forbore to write letters to the society, but threw out small pamphlets containing their opinions of the Order, and of its
place of residence. Each successive writer pretended to be better informed on that point than all his predecessors. Quarrels arose; partisans started up on all sides; the uproar and confusion became indescribable; cries of heresy and atheism resounded from every corner; some were for calling in the secular power; and the more coyly the invisible society retreated from the public advances so much the more eager and amorous were its admirers, and so much the more bloodthirsty its antagonists. Meantime, there were some who, from the beginning, had escaped the general delusion, and there were many who had gradually recovered from it. It was remarked that of the many printed letters to the society, though courteously and often learnedly written, none had been answered; and all attempts to penetrate the darkness in which the order was shrouded by its unknown memorialist were successfully baffled. Hence arose a suspicion that some bad designs lurked under the ostensible purposes of these mysterious publications. Many vile impostors arose, who gave themselves out for members of the Rosicrucian order; and upon the credit which they thus obtained for a season, cheated numbers of their money by alchemy, or of their health by panaceas. Three in particular made a great noise at Watzlar, at Nuremburg, and at Augsburg; all were punished by the magistracy--one lost his ears in running the gauntlet, and one was hanged. At this crisis stepped forward a powerful writer, who attacked the supposed order with much scorn and homely good sense. This was Andrew Libau. He exposed the impracticability of the meditated reformation, the incredibility of the legend of Father Rosy Cross, and the hollowness of the pretended sciences which they professed. He pointed the attention
of governments to the confusions which these impostures were producing, and predicted from them a renewal of the scenes which had attended the fanaticism of the Anabaptists." 1
Andreas Libavius was born at Halle in Saxony about the year 1560. He was appointed professor of history and poetry at Jena in 1588, practised as a physician at Rotembourg on the Tauber from 1591 till 1605, when he became rector of the college of Casimir at Coburg in Franconia, where he died in 1616. He was the first writer who mentioned the transfusion of blood from one animal to another, and the property of oxide of gold to colour glass red. He also invented a chemical preparation, called the liquor of Libavius, "a highly concentrated muriatic acid, much impregnated with tin," and which has been long used in laboratories. He has been falsely represented by M. Hoefer as a follower of Paracelsus, but appears to have believed in the transmutation of metals, and in the medical virtues of various auriferous preparations. He is considered to rank among the first students of chemistry who pursued experimental researches upon the true method. His "Alchymia Recognita" and his "History of Metals" are among the best practical manuals of the period. Though seeking the Philosophick Stone, he attached no credit to the Rosicrucian manifestoes, and was one of the first writers who attacked them, in two Latin folios dated 1615, and in a smaller German pamphlet which appeared in the following year. The first of these works contains an exhaustive criticism of the Harmonico-Magical Philosophy of the mysterious Brotherhood. It is entitled "Exercitatio Paracelsica nova de notandis ex scripto Fraternitatis de
[paragraph continues] Rosea Cruce," and forms part of a larger "Examen Philosophiæ Novæ, quæ veteri abrogandæ Opponitur."
Professor Buhle is one of those interesting literary characters, by no means uncommonly met with, whose luminous hypotheses completely transfigure every fact which comes within the range of their radiation. Few persons who have taken the pains to labour through the ponderous folios of Libavius would dream of terming him a powerful writer, and personally I have failed to discern much of that "homely good sense" which manifested itself so gratuitously before the discerning eyes of the acute German savant. The criticisms, on the contrary, are weak, verbose, and tedious, and the investigations, as a whole, appear to have little raison d’être. It may, in fact, be impartially declared that there is only one thing more barren and wearisome than the host of pamphlets, elucidations, apologies, epistles, and responses written on the Rosicrucian side, and that is the hostile criticism of the opposing party, and the dead level of unprofitable flatness which characterises its prosaic commonplace is an infliction which I honestly trust will be spared to all my readers.
Master Andreas Libavius, though he wrote upon Azoth, was a practical thinker, and he refused to contemplate the projected universal reformation through the magic spectacles of the Rosicrucian. He had not read Wordsworth, and he had no definite opinions as to "the light that never was on land or sea." So he penned what Professor Buhle might call a searching criticism; he was right in so far as the reformation is still to come, but in these days we have read Wordsworth, and we prefer the vague poetry of Rosicrucian aspirations to the perditional dulness of Master Libavius' prose. Still we respect Professor Buhle, chiefly
because we love De Quincey, and we have a thin streak of kindly feeling for his alchemical protégé, so we recommend him as an antidote to Mr Hargrave Jennings, who has doubtless never read him, and seems only to have heard by report of such documents as the Fame and Confession of the meritorious order of the Brethren R. C.
Though he disbelieved in the universal reformation, Libavius did not reject the signs of the times. "No one doubts that we are in the last age of the world, by reason of the signs which have preceded nearly every important event, and are still at this day repeatedly appearing." He takes exception to the philosophical peregrination of the high illuminated C. R. C. in Arabia, because it was superfluous to seek magicians in the east when they abounded at home. Some of his objections are, however, sufficiently pertinent. "If the society hath been ordained and commissioned of God, it ought to be in a position to prove its vocation in some conclusive manner." Incidentally he denounces astrology. "We have heard and read innumerable astrological theories, but we have not discovered their rational basis. On the contrary, we are daily deceived by lying predictions." With regard to the secrecy of the Order, he flings at it the following text--Omnis qui male agit, odit lucent et non venit ad lucem, ne arguantur opera ejus. Condemning their anonymous mystery, he asks--"Is their danger greater than Luther's, threatened by the proscription of the Pope and the Emperor both?" Representing the Rosicrucians as promising a new Theologia, Physica, and Mathematica, he asks--"What manner of new theology is this, seeing there is nothing new under the sun? Again, where is its novelty, if it be that of the primitive Church? Is it of the Gentile, Mahometan, Jew, Papist,
[paragraph continues] Arian, Anabaptist, Lutheran, or disciple of Paracelsus? Make unto yourselves also a new God, with a new heaven, and beware lest you are plunged into the old perdition! On our part, we will cling to the antiquity of the canonical Scriptures." And then in regard to the new physics, "If it be after the fashion of Parcelsus, chew the cud of your own reflections in silence, and slumber placidly in your absurdity. . . . If ye come with the cabalistic calculations concerning the fifty gates of understanding, scrutinising the mysteriarcham Dei, take care that ye are not consumed by the fire which is therein, for those who will become searchers of majesty shall be overwhelmed with glory."
The "Analysis Confessionis Fraternitatis de Rosea Cruce pro admonitione et Instructione eorum, qui, quia judicandum sit de ista nova factione scire cupiant," extracts, after the author's own fashion, the thirty-seven "reasons of our purpose and intention" which are to be found hidden in that Rosicrucian manifesto, and criticises the Viæ accedendi, or methods of approaching the Order, which are--I. By a written petition. II. By the study of the Scriptures and their interpretation in the cabilistico-magical manner of the Paracelsists. III. By the writings and precepts of Paracelsus. IV. By the symbolical characters inscribed on the Macrocosmos.
These two Latin treatises were supplemented by a less tedious German pamphlet, which appeared at Francfurt in 1616 under the title of "Well-wishing objections concerning the Fame and Confession of the Brotherhood of the R. C., and their universal reformation of the whole world before the day of Judgment, and transformation thereof into an Earthly Paradise, such as was inhabited by Adam before the fall, and the restitution of all arts and wisdom as
possessed by Adam, Enoch, Salomon, &c. Written with great care, by desire and command of some superior persons, by Andrew Libavius." It claims to be inspired by a spirit of friendly criticism, decides that the Order does exist, advises the accomplishment of a limited and private reformation, leaving the universal one to God, as the world is far too corrupt for improvement before the judgment day, and that a pretension so large will never by any possibility be carried out. Though posing as a critic, he advises all persons to join the Order, because there is much to be learned and much wisdom to be attained by so doing. He praises their sound doctrine in matters of religion, particularly the denunciation of the Pope and Mahomet, the value they set upon the Bible, &c. It is evident, in fact, that in spite of his "homely good sense" he had radically changed his ground. The treatise is divided into forty-three chapters, and among the subjects discussed are the Spheric Art, the Lapis Philosophorum, and the Magical Language.
What we seek as vainly in the most authoritative Rosicrucian apologists as in their critics, is any additional information concerning the society, its members, or its whereabouts. Such information is promised frequently on the title-pages of the innumerable pamphlets of the period, but it is not given, and the proffered proofs of the existence of the Order are confined to abstract considerations devoid of historical value.
Professor Buhle considers that the attacks of Libavius joined to other writings "of the same tendency" might possibly have dispelled the delusion, except for the conduct of Andreas, whom he represents as doing his best to increase it by the publication of other documents, and for
that of the Paracelsists. "With frantic eagerness they had sought to press into the imaginary order; but, finding themselves lamentably repulsed in all their efforts, at length they paused; and, turning suddenly round, they said to one another, 'What need to court this perverse order any longer? We are ourselves Rosicrucians as to all the essential marks laid down in the three books. We also are holy persons of great knowledge; we also make gold, or shall make it; we also, no doubt, give us but time, shall reform the world: external ceremonies are nothing: substantially it is clear that we are the Rosicrucian Order.' Upon this they went on in numerous books and pamphlets to assert that they were the identical Order instituted by Father Rosycross, and described in the 'Fama Fraternitatis.' The public mind was now perfectly distracted; no man knew what to think; and the uproar became greater than ever."
Here is a dramatic situation well conceived and described; its only fault is the very slender foundation of actual fact on which it appears to be based. I have failed altogether to discover those numerous books and pamphlets wherein the Paracelsists assert that they are to all intents and purposes identical with the invisible and unapproachable Brotherhood. Their anxiety to be admitted into its ranks may be freely granted, but it is remarkable how few of the pamphleteers who wrote favourably on the Rosicrucian mystery made any claim to be personally connected therewith.
In the pages which follow I shall give a brief account, arranged in chronological order, of the most important and interesting publications that appeared in elucidation of this mystery.
A work of considerable interest was printed in 1615, under the title "Echo of the God-illuminated Brotherhood of the Worthy Order R. C., to wit, an absolute proof that not only all which is stated in the 'Fama' and 'Confessio' of the R. C. Brotherhood is possible and true, but that it has been known already for nineteen years and more to a few God-fearing people, and has been laid down by them in certain secret writings; as it has all been stated and made public in an excellent magical letter and pamphlet by the Worshipful Brotherhood R. C., in print in the German language." The accredited author was Julius Sperber of Anholt, Dessau. This work was printed at Dantzig by Andreas Huenfeldts. It maintains that there have been only a few human beings who have been worthy to become recipients of the wisdom of God, the reason being that so few have sought it with the necessary earnestness. When Christ was on the earth he had innumerable listeners, of whom only a small portion could discern the significance of His teachings. It was for this cause that He said to his disciples--"To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given." Peter, James, and John were the only three of His apostles to whom he revealed these mysteries, and to them He showed the same sight that had been vouchsafed by God to Elias and Moses. Only those who renounce the world and their own fleshly lusts can become worthy to know such secrets. Nobody who is addicted to mundane wisdom can ever attain them, for the wisdom of God and the wisdom of this world are contradictory.
The preface is addressed to the R.C. Brotherhood. It admonishes the members to persevere in the way they have chosen, and to get possessed of the secrets of God. It
praises their wisdom and knowledge, but says that much of what is stated in the "Fama" and "Confessio" must appear foolish to the worldly wise. It calls upon the Brethren to meet together in the name of the Holy Trinity, and to teach the true light to the world, as it is contained in the secret meaning of Holy Scripture and of Nature. Some curious information, not always relevant to the main object, is scattered throughout the volume. The second preface mentions a certain Petrus Wirtzigh of Presslau as one of the greatest and wisest men of his time, who, being by profession a medical man, studied the secret arts with such zeal that he became master of many wonderful mysteries. He was the author of many large unpublished volumes which the writer of the "Echo," being his great friend, has been allowed to dip into, and he avers that they contain much wisdom and curious lore. Another wise and God-loving man was Ægidius Guttmann in Suaria, who wrote a book which he divided into twenty-four volumes. The author of the "Echo" compares this work, having regard to the wisdom of its contents, with the seventy volumes which God dictated by His angel to the prophet.
Like other writers on the Rosicrucian side, the author of the "Echo" deals in vague generalities, and even the Laws of the Fraternity which he publishes are worthless as regards information. They run as follows:--
1. Love your neighbour.
2. Talk not badly of him, neither hold him in contempt.
3. Be faithful.
4. Be modest and obedient.
5. Do not ridicule the secret studies.
6. Keep silent about what you learn from these studies.
7. Share your fortune with your fellow-creatures.
According to this apologist of the secret order, "Adam was the first Rosicrucian of the Old Testament and Simeon the last." The golden chain of the esoteric tradition was not broken by Christ, who established "a new college of magic."
In 1615, Julianus de Campis published an "open letter or report," addressed to all who have read anything concerning the new Brotherhood of R. C., or have heard anything of the position of this matter. It accounts for the Rosicrucians not revealing their whereabouts, "and not answering the letters addressed to them. He was himself," he said, "a member of the Order; but in all his travels he had met but three other members, there being (as he presumed) no more persons on the earth worthy of being entrusted with its mysteries." It is needless to say that an initiate of the Fraternity would be accurately acquainted with its numerical strength, and that the writer's statement on this point contradicts the "Fama Fraternitatis." The pamphlet otherwise is not of great importance. "There are many who run for, but few who gain, the jewel. Therefore I, Julianus de Campis, admonish all who are governed by a fortunate disposition not to be made obstinate by their own diffidence, nor by the judgments of ignorant people." Many great secrets are concealed by Nature, and those who study them are worthy of every praise. The R. C. are defended against various accusations, and the theologians who attack them are reminded that the questions raised are without their province, because they are theologi and not theosophi. The secret art of the R. C. is declared to be a matter of fact, and not an abstract or fanciful thing; and the profanum vulgus are assured that those who are in the possession of such an imperial secret can dispense with the praise of the world.
The "Fama Remissa ad Fratres Roseæ Crucis," which appeared in 1616, is to a great extent an anonymous pamphlet written against the pretensions and ideas of the Brethren, principally denouncing their impracticable and Utopian ambition to reform the whole world. It complains bitterly of their religious opinions, and absolutely declines to acknowledge them as a good society until they openly accept and subscribe to the Confession of Augsbourg. A brief Latin appendix incidentally discusses the doctrine of transubstantiation and to reconcile the words of Jesus, "Hoc est corpus meum," with the statement of this Evangelist, et ascendit in cœlum, it speculates on the distance which intervenes between the earth and the Empyrean. According to Pencerus the eighth sphere is distant 20081 1/28 semidiameters of the earth, and the distance, according to the "Fama Remissa," from the Mount of Olives to the Empyrean Heaven is, in its summa tota, 17,266,001 milliaria Germania!
The following year beheld the publication of Brotoffer's curious and perverse alchemical interpretation of the Universal Reformation, another edition of the Rosicrucian manifestoes, with additions by Julianus de Campis and Georg Molthers, and two works from the pen of Michael Maier, which will be noticed in the next chapter. Among the curious pamphlets of this year professing to treat of the mysterious Order, must be included the "'Fraternitatis Rosatæ Crucis Confessio Recepta,' to wit: A short and well-wishing report concerning the Confession or Faith of the Brethren of the Rosy Cross, useful to all readers who not only consider their well-being in this world, but their salvation in the next. Written by A. O. M T. W." This appeared in defence of the Order, and maintains that it is a good and useful Society, which is not merely in possession
of many and great secrets, but is righteous in the eyes of Almighty God. The author distinguishes at length between the different ways whereby God makes Himself known, and declares that it requires much study and careful research, as well as personal sacrifice, to become the possessor of transcendental secrets, but that anyone can do so by following the Divine counsels. He concludes with an admonition to "the highly-wise and God-beloved R. C." to press on with their sublime work.
About this time a somewhat vicious attack was made on the supposed Society by a writer calling himself Fredericus G. Menapius, but whose real name was Johann Valentin Alberti, and who is associated by Buhle with Irenæus Agnostus as a personal friend of Andreas. It is clear, however, from the evidence of all the pamphlets, that Agnostus and Menapius are one and the same person. "Epitimia, F. R. C., to wit: The final manifestation or discovery and defence of the worthy and worshipful Order R. C. Also of the true and well-known confession addressed to all classes of literati and illustrious persons in Europe. Written by command of the above-mentioned society by Irenaeus Agnostus (Menapius)." The only edition of this work which I have seen is dated 1619, but it seems to have been originally published about two years previously. It is a skit written against the R. C. by Menapius, but pretends to be printed and published by the command of the Order. The principal purpose of the pamphlet is to prove that the Rosicrucian Fraternity was founded by the Jesuits for the purpose of the secret propaganda of their doctrines in opposition to the Protestant religion. It begins with a lengthy and pseudo-authoritative laudation of the writer, who is declared to be an eminently learned and godly man,
having saved the lives of a number of persons in a miraculous manner, and disputed victoriously with the most learned Catholic divines. It proceeds to a vigorous denunciation of the Roman Church for its manifold corruptions and abuses, citing a good many historical examples of princes who have expressed themselves in similar terms, and concluding with an admonition to live well and act uprightly. Speaking in his own person, the author addresses his supposed confrères in the following fashion:--"I know not, my Brothers of the R. C., what manner of men to consider you. T have troubled my mind about you this long time, but can attain to no conclusion, because all that you set down in your writings has been so long familiar. Could you tell me anything of the unicorn, or anything more trustworthy than has emanated from Andreas Baccius, 1 your productions would be much more valuable. A number of hooks have been written by you, or have appeared in your name, but they teem with such violent contradictions that I should imagine you were yourselves in doubt as to who or what you are, and as to your own performances." Afterwards he very reasonably declares that if the Rosicrucians are the depositaries of a beneficial knowledge, they ought to proclaim it publicly in their own persons and not in anonymous pamphlets. He upbraids them as magicians who falsely pretend to great power, says that he has travelled in many countries without hearing anything concerning them, and concludes by expressing his conviction that
their supposed wisdom is a shallow pretence, and that they are in reality ignorant people.
This attack was presently followed by a tract entitled "I. Menapius Roseæ Crucis, to wit: Objections on the part of the unanimous Brotherhood against the obscure and unknown writer, F. G. Menapius, and against his being classed among the true brethren. II. A Citation of the same person to our final Court at Schmejarien contra Florentinus de Valentia. III. Finally, a convocation of the R. C. Fratres to the same invisible place. By order of the worshipful society. Written and published by Theophilus Schweighart. 1619." Here Menapius presents himself under another name, and poses as his own opponent. The pamphlet contains a sort of legal process, with citation, defence, &c. One of the arguments used against the Rosicrucian Fraternity, who believed in the manufacture of gold from ignoble metals, is as follows:--"A grown up man is a reasoning being; so is a young boy. A cow is an unreasoning being; so is a calf. But this does not prove that the cow is a calf; and the transmutation of ignoble metals into gold is just as easy as to transform a cow into a calf. of you ask why there is so little gold, it is for the same reason that there are so few cows, namely, in the one case, because the young calves are killed, and in the other, because the ignoble metals are not left long enough in the earth, but are extracted by avaricious people." Menapius is the most entertaining of the dull race of Rosicrucian critics, but his analogical arguments are not of a convincing nature. He concludes with an admonition to all and several--literati, nobles, merchants, peasants, &c.--to live well and to do their duty.
Menapius, as I have said, is represented by Buhle as a
friend of Andreas, and Andreas is accredited with two Rosicrucian pamphlets which appeared under the name of "Florentinus de Valentia." The authority may be questionable or not, but the reference is somewhat suicidal to the Buhle-Andrean hypothesis, for not only do we discover the pseudonymous author attacking his personal friend, but hurrying forward full of zeal to the defence of the Rosicrucian pretensions. "Rosa Florescens contra F. G. Menapii Calumniis, to wit: A short notice and refutation of the libels published on June 3, 1617, in Latin, and on July 15 of the same year in German by F. G. Menapius, against the Rosicrucian Society. Written by Florentinus de Valentia in great zeal." It is a reply to the first pamphlet of Menapius, the Latin original of which I have been unable to trace. It begins by blaming Menapius for his extravagant self-laudation, then refers to the attack on the secresy of the Society, and on the anonymous publication of their manifestoes. It declares any other method than that of secresy to be contrary to the will of God, and in other ways dangerous, asserting that nobody suffers by the concealment of their names and places of abode. The writer further accuses Menapius of blind hatred of the Rosicrucians, when he compares them to the devils, for the whole intent of the Society is the welfare of all humanity. He says:--"The opinion of the Fraternity is not that all men should be made or become equal, because the majority are too hard and sinful, but that the few who love God, and live to please Him, should be like Adam in Paradise." The desire of the Order is to serve God as faithfully as possible, to discover the secrets of Nature, and to use them in diffusing a true belief in Christ, and for the glory of God. Therefore, the author requests Menapius to desist from
blaming and libelling the members of the Fraternity, but rather to turn round and to love them, because they are true seekers of the veritable wisdom.
In a Latin appendix to a tract entitled "Fons Gratiæ," by Irenæus Agnostus, Johann Valentin Alberti, alias F. G. Menapius, alias Theophilus Schweighart, alias Irenæus Agnostus, published a short rejoinder in prose and verse to the defence of Valentia.
"Judicia de Statu Fraternitatis de Rosea Cruce" is a mélange of prose and verse, with addresses ad venerandos, doctissimos, et illuminatissimos, viros Dom. Fratres S. Roseæ Crucis conjunctissimos, and as the judgment is professedly that of an outsider seeking initiation, it does not throw any light upon the proceedings of the Society. It is crammed with extravagant adulation of the pious, learned, and illuminated Brothers, but is otherwise not inelegantly written, and has apt classical quotations. A lofty ambition is claimed by the aspirant to association, who avers that he is in search of no common and metallic gold, but that Philosophical and Spiritual Treasure, one particle of which is sufficient to transmute and perfectionise the soul, and conduct it from illumination to illumination. This is that veritable gold, says the alchemical enthusiast, none other than the first and all-containing knowledge, whereby
None can expect to attain it unless he shall first have expelled--
Those who believe in the existence and magical endowments of the Rosicrucian Brethren will hope that this promising pupil received the recompense so undoubtedly due to the beauty of his aspirations. The Latin Epistle is supplemented by a post datum, which refers to the "Nuptiæ Chymicæ" as containing "the whole chymical artifice enigmatically delineated."
"Responsum ad Fratres Rosaceæ Crucis Illustres" is a printed letter addressed to the Fraternity in the year 1618, by Hercules Ovallodius, Alsatus; Heermannus Condesyanus; and Martinus à Casa Cegdessa Marsiliensis. It is a piece of piteous pleading for admission into the ranks of the Brethren by three writers who believe themselves to have fallen upon evil times, and know that there is no entrance into the mystic temple which is filled with the glory and power of God, till the seven last plagues have been poured out upon the earth. They acknowledge the Viri Fratres as the instruments of the Divine vengeance in the consummation of the age. Ipse est malleus noster et arma, vos ipsius servi.
A curious Rosicrucian reverie, entitled "F. R. C. Fama e scanzia Redux," written in execrable Latin, and printed in a style corresponding with its literary merits, appeared Anno Christi M.DC.XVIII., as the title has it. It professes to be the trumpet Jubilei ultimi, that is, presumably, of the last jubilee year among the Jews, and bears for one of its mottoes, "One woe hath passed; behold, there come yet two other woes after this one." It is precisely one of those mysterious and problematical productions which are sometimes supposed to conceal deep secrets, because they are completely unintelligible and barbarous. It professes to contain a Judicium de Fraternitatis R. C. Sigillo et Buccina et futuræ Reformationis
[paragraph continues] Mysterie, and is mystically separated into seven parts or chapters, each terribly intituled. Thus the seventh is the "voice of the dove speaking concerning the jawbone of the ass," and the "Judgment" itself is averred to proceed from a similar quarter "ex asini mandibula." The statement is apparently serious, for this extraordinary local habitation is parenthetically explained to be the fons vitæ, or fount of life. The whole pamphlet is a raving chaos of scriptural quotations concerning the Corner Stone, the Keys of David, and the proximity of the Regnum Dei. It concludes with the following triumphant admonition to the reader:--
It is needless to say that the whole pamphlet does not contain a single reference to the Rosicrucians.
"φλενσθιουρεδας. Hoc est Redintegratio," addressed to the "Brotherhood of the Rose-Cross," appeared in 1619, with the motto, Omnes de Saba veniunt, aurum et thus deferentes, et laudem Domini annunciantes, and prefaced by the following lines
This little pamphlet compares different expressions of opinions by opposed parties, and concludes that any person may take part with a good conscience in the Brotherhood,
and without prejudice to their Christianly convictions. It cites the common reproaches cast at the Order, to wit: that they are enemies of all lawful government, Jesuits, or Calvinists, also the suspicion that there is no order at all, but that the whole business is a farce, written for some undefined purpose. It maintains that there is such an order, and that it is in possession of great secrets, because it consists of pre-eminently learned men. Finally, the author exhorts all to join it.
Among the acknowledged works of Andreas which contain satirical references to the Rosicrucian mystery may be mentioned "Menippus, sive, Dialogorum Satyricorum Centuria, inanitatum nostratium speculum," 1673, 8vo; "Institutio Magica pro curiosis," and "Turris Babel, sive, Judicium de Fraternitatis Roseæ crucis Chaos." Argentorati, 1619, 12mo. They contain absolutely nothing which can be tortured into a confession of the authorship of the manifestoes, nor any gleam of light on any subject connected with the Society. They express simply the personal opinions of Andreas, and those who make a contrary assertion have read their own hypotheses between the lines of their author.
By the year 1620, the subject of the Rosicrucians was completely exhausted in Germany. It had been discussed from all standpoints by men of the most various character, but, in the absence of ascertainable facts, no man was wiser; and as the Rosicrucians, supposing them to have existed, kept silent amidst the confusion of opinions and the unproductive clamour which they had created, making no further sign, the interest concerning them gradually died away. Seekers for the magnum opus, and persons imbued with the ambition to reform the world, looked elsewhere for light
and assistance. Pseudo-Rosicrucian societies, of course, appeared on the field, and gangs of miserable tricksters who traded on individual credulity by the power of the magical name. Buhle cites from the "Occulta Philosophia" of Ludovicus Conradus Orvius, the unhappy personal experience of that writer concerning such a society, "pretending to deduce themselves from Father Rosy-Cross, and who were settled at the Hague in 1622. After swindling him out of his own and his wife's fortune, amounting to eleven thousand dollars, they kicked him out of the order, with the assurance that they would murder him if he revealed their secrets, 'which secrets,' says he, 'I have faithfully kept, and for the same reason that women keep secrets--viz., because I have none to reveal; for their knavery is no secret.'"
Vague rumours of veritable Rosicrucian adepts were occasionally heard, but in spite of their boasted powers, in spite of their projected reformation of all the world, and in spite of the seven years’ strife of tongues which they occasioned, they had no influence whatsoever upon the thought of their age. An isolated and doubtful transmutation is occasionally ascribed to them, which is the sum total of their alchemical achievements. They posed principally as a healing fraternity, yet their influence on the medical science of their century is less still than that which they exerted upon alchemy. "In medicine," says Figuier, "that art which they were pledged to practise wherever they wandered, according to the first commandment of their master, the catalogue of their triumphs is speedily exhausted. We have already seen that they boasted of having cured the leprosy in an English count. They also claimed to have restored life to a Spanish King after he had been dead for
six hours. Apart from these two cures, the second of which is doubtless a miracle, but can boast only of their own testimony, their whole medical history consists in vague allegations and a few unimportant facts, as, for instance, that which Gabriel Naudé cites in the following terms:--
"In the year 1615 a certain pilgrim suddenly appeared in a German town, and assisted, as a doctor, at the prognostication of the death of a woman whom he had helped by some of his remedies; he assumed to be proficient in several languages, related what had occurred in the town during his sojourn at this house; in a word, apart front the doctrine in which he shone still more, he was in every way similar to that Wandering Jew described by Cayot in his "Histoire Septenaire"--moderate, reserved, carelessly clad, never willingly remaining a long time in any one place, and still less desirous to be taken for what he nevertheless claimed to be, the third brother of the R.C., as he testified to the doctor Moltherus, who could not be so certainly persuaded to give credence to his statements, but has presented us with this history, leaving our judgment free to decide if it could establish a certain proof of the existence of this Company." 1
According to Sprengel, a true Rosicrucian had only to gaze fixedly on a person, and however dangerous his disease, he was instantaneously healed; the Brethren claimed to cure all diseases, without the help of drugs, by means of imagination and faith. But the matter remains at this day just where the claim originally left it, wholly unsupported by fact.
248:1 De Quincey, "Rosicrucians and Freemasons," c. ii.
259:1 A voluminous writer on medicine, philosophy, natural history. and antiquities. The reference is to a treatise entitled "De Monocerote seu Unicornu ejusque viribus et usu tractatus per A. B.," afterwards published in Italian, Fiorenza, 1573, 4to. Bacci flourished at the end of the sixteenth century; he was physician to Sixtus V., and professor of botany at Rome from 1557 to 1600.
267:1 "L’Alchimie et les Alchimistes," p. 301.