THE Authors of this important Book--such must obviously be the fact of any work speaking with authority in regard of that extraordinary Brotherhood the 'Rosicrucians'--feel assured that it will only be necessary to penetrate but to the extent of two or three pages therein, to secure vivid curiosity and attention. The Producers--particularly in the instance of this much enlarged Second Edition--are particularly desirous that no one shall identify them with, or consider them as maintaining personally, the strangely abstruse, and, in some instances, the startlingly singular ideas of these Princes among the Mystics. We are--and desire etc) be viewed as--the Historians only of this renowned Body; of whom it may most truly be asserted that no one can boast of having ever--really and in fact--seen or known in any age any supposed (or suspected) 'Member' in the flesh. It is sufficient honour to offer as the medium only, or the Intermediaries to the reading-world--of this Illustrious Membership; whose renown has filled, and whose mystical doctrines (assumed or supposed) have puzzled the ages:--in the intenser degree, still, in the present time; as the inquisitive reception of the Authors' First Edition of The Rosicrucians abundantly proved.
Dr. Ginsburg says of the Cabala, or Kabbalah (regarding the mysteries of which the Rosicrucians claimed to be the only true exponents), that it is a
system of religious philosophy, or more properly of theosophy, which has not only exercised, for hundreds of years, an extraordinary influence on the mental development of so shrewd a people as the Jews, but has captivated the minds of some of the greatest thinkers of Christendom in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 'It--and all that refers to it'--therefore claims the greatest attention of both the philosopher and the theologian. 'The thinkers of the past days, after restlessly searching for a scientific system which should disclose to them the "deepest depths" of the Divine Nature, and approve to the understanding the real tie which binds all things together, found the craving of their mind SATISFIED by this Theosophy.'
We say enough in reference to the august possessors of this knowledge when we remind the reader that among those who knew how to wield (and to adapt) the stupendous acquisition to which they were supposed to have at last penetrated, were Raymond Lully, the celebrated scholastic, metaphysician, and chemist (died 1315); John Reuchlin, the renowned scholar and reviver of oriental literature in Europe (born 14J5, died 1522); John Picus di Mirandola, the famous philosopher and classical scholar (1463-1494); Cornelius Henry Agrippa, the distinguished philosopher, divine, and physician (1486-1535); John Baptist von Helmont, a remarkable chemist and physician (1577-1644); Dr. Henry More (1614-1687), and lastly and chiefly (in regard of whom this whole Book is but the translation and exposition of his highly-prized and very scarce works), our own countryman 1, Robert Flood or Fludd (Robertus de Fluctibus)
the famous physician and philosopher (1574-1637).
LONDON, April 6th, 1879.
viii:1 In regard to the value and rarity of Robert Fludd's books it may be mentioned that Isaac D’Israeli says that 'forty' and p. ix 'seventy' 'pounds' were given for a 'single volume' abroad in his time--such was the curiosity concerning them. At the present time the value of these books has greatly increased. Fludd's volumes, and any of the early editions of Jacob Bœhmen's books, are worth much money. Indeed they are so scarce as to be caught up everywhere when offered--especially when encountered by foreigners and Americans.