The Real History of the Rosicrucians, by Arthur Edward Waite, , at sacred-texts.com
EUGENIUS PHILALETHES, the author of the renowned "Introitus apertus ad occlusum Regis Palatium," the "Entrance opened to the Closed Palace of the King," is so far connected with the Rosicrucians that he published a translation, as we have seen, of the "Fama" and "Confessio Fraternitatis," and his philosophical doctrines are very similar to those of the mysterious Brotherhood, of which he has been erroneously, and despite his express and repeated denials, represented as a member. Like them, he expected the advent of the artist Elias who was foretold by Paracelsus, represents his most important alchemical work as his precursor, and declares that problematical personage to be already born into the world. The entire universe is to be transmuted and transfigured by the science of this artist into the pure mystical gold of the Spiritual City of God, when all currencies have been destroyed.
"A few brief years," he cries in his prophetic mood, "and I trust that money will be despised as completely as dross, and that we shall behold the destruction of this vile invention, so opposed to the spirit of Jesus Christ. The world is bewitched by it, and the infatuated nations adore this vain and gross metal as a divinity. Is it this which will help towards our coming redemption and our lofty future hopes? By this shall we enter that New Jerusalem
when its ways are paved with gold, and its gates are of pearls and precious stones, and when the Tree of Life, planted in the centre of Paradise, will dispense health to the whole of humanity? I foresee that my writings will be esteemed as highly as the purest gold and silver now are, and that, thanks to my works, these metals will be as despised as dung."
The date of this author's birth was 1612; he is supposed to have been a native of Scotland, but the fact of his placing a Welsh motto on the title of one of his books, together with his true name, Thomas Vaughan, which is pure Welsh, is a strong argument of his Welsh nationality. He adopted various pseudonyms in the different countries through which he passed in his wanderings as an alchemical propagandist. Thus in America he called himself Doctor Zheil, and in Holland Carnobius. According to Herthodt, his true name was Childe, while Langlet du Fresnoy writes it Thomas Vagan, by a characteristic French blunder. His nom de plume was Eugenius not Irenæus Philalethes, as Figuier states. 1 The life of this adept is involved in an almost Rosicrucian uncertainty; he was a mystery even to his publishers, who received his works from "an unknown person." Nearly all that is ascertained concerning him, and concerning his marvellous transmutations, rests on the authority of Urbiger, who has been proved inaccurate in more than one of his statements. His sojourn in America is an established fact, according to Louis Figuier, and the projections which he there accomplished in the laboratory of George Starkey, an apothecary, were subsequently published by the latter in London.
[paragraph continues] His writings shew him to be a supreme adept of spiritual alchemy, and he despised the gold which he claimed to be able to manufacture. The history of this man who roamed from place to place, performing the most lavish transmutations, but always anonymous, always obliterating his personality, often disguised to conceal his identity, by his own representation in continual dangers and difficulties through the possession of his terrific secret, and gaining nothing by his labours, is a curious study of the perversity of human character for those who disbelieve in alchemy, and some ground for the faith of those who believe in it. The essential elements of fraud are wanting, and the intellectual nobility of the man, illuminated, moreover, by lofty religious aspirations, is conspicuous in all his works.
The list of his writings is as follows:--
"Anthroposophia Magica;" or a Discourse of the Nature of Man and his State after Death. "Anima Magica Abscondita;" or a Discourse of the Universall Spirit of Nature. London, 1650. 8vo.
"Magia Adamica;" or the Antiquities of Magic, and the descent thereof from Adam downwards proved. Whereunto is added a perfect and full discovery of the "Cœlum Terræ." London, 1650. 8vo.
The Man-Mouse taken in a Trap . . . for Gnawing the Margins of Eugenius Philalethes. (A satire on Henry More, who attacked him in a pamphlet entitled "Observations upon 'Anthroposophia Magica,'" etc.) London, 1650. 8vo.
"Lumen de Lumine;" or a New Magicall Light discovered and communicated to the World, with the Aphorismi Magici Eugenianii." London, 1651. 8vo.
The Second Wash; or The Moore Scour’d once more,
being a charitable cure for the distractions of Alazonomastix (i.e., Henry More). London, 1651. 8vo.
The Fame and Confession of the Fraternity of R. C., with a Preface annexed thereto, and a short declaration of their physicall work. London, 1652. 8vo.
Euphrates; or The Waters of the East; being a short discourse of that great fountain whose water flows from Fire, and carries in it the beams of the Sun and Moon. London, 1655. 8vo.
A Brief Natural History, intermixed with variety of Philosophical Discourses and Observations of the Burnings of Mount Etna, &c. London, 1669. 8vo.
Introitus Apertus ad Occlusum Regis Palatium. Philalethæ Tractatus Tres. I. Metallorum Metamorphosis. II. Brevis Manductio ad Rubrium Cœlestem. III. Fons Chymicæ Veritatis. 1678. 4to.
It is only in the introduction to the "Fame and Confession" that Philalethes makes any important reference to the Rosicrucian Society. There his opinions are expressed in the following manner:--"I am in the humour to affirm the essence and existence of that admired chimæra, the Fraternitie of R. C. And now, gentlemen, I thank you, I have aire and room enough; methinks you sneak and steal from me, as if the plague and this Red Cross were inseparable. Take my Lord have mercy along with you, for I pitty your sickly braines, and certainly as to your present state the inscription is not unseasonable. But in lieu of this, some of you may advise me to an assertion of the Capreols of del Phæbo, or a review of the library of that discreet gentleman of La Mancha, for in your opinion those knights and these brothers are equally invisible. This is hard measure, but I shall not insist to disprove you. If there be any amongst
the living of the same bookish faith with myself, they are the persons I would speak to."
The preface proceeds to discourse upon the contempt which magic has undergone in all ages, and then the author distinctly denies his personal acquaintance with the Rosicrucian Society. "As for that Fraternity, whose History and Confession I have here adventured to publish, I have, for my own part; no relation to them, neither do I much desire their acquaintance. I know they are masters of great mysteries, and I know withal that nature is so large they may as wel receive as give. I was never yet so lavish an admirer of them as to prefer them to all the world, for it is possible, and perhaps true, that a private man may have that in his possession whereof they are ignorant. It is not their title and the noise it has occasioned which makes me commend them. The acknowledgment I give them was first procured by their books, for there I found them true philosophers, and therefore not chimæras, as most think, but men. Their principles are every way correspondent to the ancient and primitive wisedome--nay, they are consonant to our very religion, and confirm every point thereof. I question not but most of their proposals may seem irregular to common capacities, but when the prerogative and power of Nature is known, there they will quickly fall even, for they want not order and sobriety. It will be expected, perhaps, that I should speak something as to their persons and habitations, but in this my cold acquaintance will excuse me, or, had I any familiarity with them, I should not doubt to use it with more discretion. As for their existence (if I may speak like a schoolman), there is great reason we should believe it; neither do I see how we can deny it, unless we grant that Nature is studied, and books
also written and published, by some other creatures then men. It is true, indeed, that their knowledg at first was not purchased by their own disquisitions, for they received it from the Arabians, amongst whom it remained as the monument and legacy of the children of the East. Nor is this at all improbable, for the eastern countries have been always famous for magical and secret societies."
He compares the habitation of the Brachmans, as it is described by Philostratus in his life of Apollonius, with the Rosicrucian Locus Sancti Spiritus, concerning which he quotes the following curious passage by a writer whom he does not name:--"Vidi aliquando Olympicas domos, non procul a Fluviolo et Civitate notâ, quas S. Spiritus vocari imaginamur. Helicon est de quo loquor, aut biceps Parnassus, in quo Equus Pegasus fontem aperuit perennis aquæ adhuc stillantem, 1 in quo Diana se lavat, cui Venus ut Pedissequa et Saturnus ut Anteambulo, conjunguntur. Intelligenti nimium, inexperto minimum hoc erit dictum." Quoting afterwards the description of the Elysium of the Brachmans--"I have seen (saith Apollonius) the Brachmans of India dwelling on the earth and not on the earth; they were guarded without walls, and possessing nothing, they enjoyed all things"--this is plain enough, says Philalethes, "and on this hill have I also a desire to live, if it were for no other reason but what the sophist applyed to the mountains--
[paragraph continues] But of this place I will not speak any more, lest the readers should be so mad as to entertain a suspicion that I am of the Order." He attempts, however, to show "the conformity
of the old and new professors,"--namely, the Rosicrucians and the Indian initiates. "When we have evidence that magicians have been, it is proof also that they may be. . . . I hold it then worth our observation that even those magi who came to Christ Himself came from the East; but as we cannot prove they were Brachmans, so neither can we prove they were not. If any man will . . . contend for the negative, it must follow that the East afforded more magical societies then one. . . . The learned will not deny but wisdom and light were first manifested in the same parts, namely, in the East. From this fountain also, this living, oriental one did the Brothers of R. C. draw their wholesom waters."
He concludes by reiterating his previous statement--"I have no acquaintance with this Fraternity as to their persons."
309:1 Irenæus Philalethes was the pseudonym of George Starkey, the American disciple of Thomas Vaughan.
313:1 See Introduction, ante, p. 10.