IV. Confessio Fraternitatis

IV. Confessio Fraternitatis


THE translation of this manifesto which follows the
Fama in the edition accredited by the great name of
Eugenius Philalethes is prolix and careless: being made
not from the Latin original but from the later German version.
As a relic of English Rosicrucian literature I have
wished to preserve it, and having subjected it to a searching
revision throughout, it now represents the original with
sufficient fidelity for all practical purposes. The “Confessio
Fraternitatis” appeared in the year 1615 in a Latin work
entitled “Secretioris Philosophiæ Consideratio Brevio à
Philippo à. Gabella, Philosophiæ studioso, conscripta; et
nunc primum unà cum Confessione Fraternitatis R. C.,” in
lucem edita, Cassellis. excudebat G. Wesselius, a 1615.
Quarto.” It was prefaced by the following advertisement:—
“Here, gentle reader, you shall finde incorporated in our
Confession thirty-seven reasons of our purpose and intention,
the which according to thy pleasure thou mayst seek
out and compare together, considering within thyself it they
be sufficient to allure thee. Verily, it requireth no small
pains to induce any one to believe what doth not year appear,
but when it shall be revealed in the full blaze of day, I
suppose we should be ashamed of our questionings. And
as we do now securely call the Pope Antichrist, which was

page 86
formerly a capital offence in every place, so we know
certainly that what we here keep secret we shall in the future
thunder forth with uplifted voice, the which, reader, with
us desire with all thy heart that it may happen most
speedily. “FRATRES R. C.”

Confessio Fraternitatis R. C. ad Eruditos Europæ.
Whatsoever you have heard, O mortals, concerning our
Fraternity by the trumpet sound of the Fama R. C., do not
either believe it hastily, or wilfully suspect it. It is Jehovah
who, seeing how the world is falling to decay, and near to
its end, doth hasten it again to its beginning, inverting the
course of Nature, and so what heretofore hath been sought
with great pains and dayly labor He doth lay open now to
those thinking of no such thing, offering it to the willing and
thrusting it on the reluctant, that it may become to the good
that which will smooth the troubles of human life and break
the violence of unexpected blows of Fortune, but to the ungodly
that which will augment their sins and their punishments.
Although we believe ourselves to have sufficiently unfolded
to you in the Fama the nature of our order, wherein
we follow the will of our moot excellent father, nor can by
any be suspected of heresy, nor of any attempt against the
commonwealth, we hereby do condemn the East and the
West (meaning the Pope and Mahomet) for their blasphemies
against our Lord Jesus Christ, and offer to the chief head
of the Roman Empire our prayers, secrets, and great treasures
of gold. Yet we have thought good for the sake of

page 87
the learned to add somewhat more to this, and make a better
explanation, if there be anything too deep, hidden, and set
down over dark, in the Fama, or for certain reasons altogether
omitted, whereby we hope the learned will be more
addicted unto us, and easier to approve our counsel.

Concerning the amendment of philosophy we have (as
much as at this present is needful) declared that the same
is altogether weak and faulty; nay, whilst many (I know
not how) alledge that she is sound and strong, to us it is
certain that she fetches her last breath.
But as commonly even in the same place where there
breaketh forth a new disease, nature discovereth a remedy
against the same, so amidst so many infirmities of philosophy
there do appear the right means and unto our Fatherland
sufficiently offered, whereby she may become sound again,
and new or renovated may appear to a renovated world.
No other philosophy we have then that which is the head
of all the faculties, sciences, and arts, the which (if we behold
our age) containeth much of Theology and Medicine,
but little of Jurisprudence; which searcheth heaven and
earth with exquisite analysis, or, to speak briefly thereof,
which doth sufficiently manifest the Microcosmus man, whereof
if some of the more orderly in the number of the learned
shall respond to our fraternal invitation, they shall find
among us far other and greater wonders than those they
heretofore did believe, marvel at, and profess.

Wherefore, to declare briefly our meaning hereof, it becomes
us to labor carefully that the surprise of our chal-

page 88
lenge may be taken from you, to shew plainly that such
secrets are not lightly esteemed by us, and not to spread an
opinion abroad among the vulgar that the story concerning
them is a foolish thing. For it is not absurd to suppose
many are overwhelmed with the conflict of thought which is
occasioned by our unhoped graciousness, unto whom (as yet)
be unknown the wonders of the sixth age, or who, by reason
of the course of the world, esteem the things to come like
unto the present, and, hindered by the obstacles of their
age, live no otherwise in the world than as men blind, who,
in the light of noon, discern nothing onely by feeling.

Now concerning the first part, we hold that the meditations
of our Christian father on all subjects which from the
creation of the world have been invented, brought forth,
and propagated by human ingenuity, through God’s revelation,
or through the service of Angels or spirits, or through
the sagacity of understanding, or through the experience of
long observation, are so great, that if all books should
perish, and by God’s almighty sufferance all writings and
all learning should be lost, yet posterity will be able thereby
to lay a new foundation of sciences and to erect a new
citadel of truth; the which perhaps would not be so hard
to do as if one should begin to pull down and destroy the
old, ruinous building, then enlarge the fore-court, after-wards
bring light into the private chambers, and then
change the doors, staples, and other things according to our
Therefore, it must not be expected that new comers shall
attain at once all our weighty secrets. They must proceed

page 89
step by step from the smaller to the greater, and must not
be retarded by difficulties.
Wherefore should we not freely acquiesce in the onely
truth then seek through so many windings and labyrinths,
if onely it had pleased God to lighten unto us the sixth
Candelabrum? Were it not sufficient for us to fear neither
hunger, poverty, disease, nor age? Were it not an excellent
thing to live always so as if you had lived from the
beginning of the world, and should still live to the end
thereof? So to live in one place that neither the people
which dwel beyond the Ganges could hide anything, nor
those which live in Peru might be able to keep secret their
counsels from thee? So to read in one onely book as to
discern, understand, and remember whatsoever in all other
books (which heretofore have been, are now, and hereafter
shal come out) hath been, is, and shal be learned out of
them? So to sing or to play that instead of stony rocks
you could draw pearls, instead of wild beasts spirits, and
instead of Pluto you could soften the mighty princes of the
world? O mortals, diverse is the counsel of God and your
convenience, who hath decreed at this time to encrease and
enlarge the number of our Fraternity, the which we with
such joy have undertaken, as we have heretofore obtained
this great treasure without our merits, yea, without any
hope or expectation; the same we purpose with such fidelity
to put in practice, that neither compassion nor pity for our
own children (which some of us in the Fraternity have)
shal move us, since we know that those unhoped for good
things cannot be inherited nor be conferred promiscuously.

page 90
If there be any body now which on the other side will
complain of our discretion, that we offer our treasures so
freely and indiscriminately, and do not rather regard more
the godly, wise, or princely persons then the common people,
with him we are in no wise angry (for the accusation is not
without moment), but withall we affirm that we have by no
means made common property of our arcana; albeit they
resound in five languages within the ears of the vulgar,
both because, as we well know, they will not move gross
wits, and because the worth of those who shal be accepted
into our Fraternity will not be measured by their curiosity,
but by the rule and pattern of our revelations. A thousand
times the unworthy may clamour, a thousand times may
present themselves, yet God hath commanded our ears that
they should hear none of them, and hath so compassed us
about with His clouds that unto us, His servants, no
violence can be done; wherefore now no longer are we
beheld by human eyes, unless they have received strength
borrowed from the eagle.
For the rest, it hath been necessary that the Fama should
be set forth in everyone’s mother tongue, lest those should
not be defrauded of the knowledge thereof, whom (although
they be unlearned) God hath not excluded from the happiness
of this Fraternity, which is divided into degrees; as
those which dwell in Damcar, who have a far different
politick order from the other Arabians; for there do govern
onely understanding men, who, by the king’s permission,
make particular laws, according unto which example the
government shall also be instituted in Europe (according to
the description set down by our Christianly Father), when

page 91
that shal come to pass which must precede, when our
Trumpet shall resound with full voice and with no prevarications
of meaning, when, namely, those things of which a
few now whisper and darken with enigmas, shall openly fill
the earth, even as after many secret chafings of pious people
against the pope’s tyranny, and after timid reproof, he with
great violence and by a great onset was cast down from his
seat and abundantly trodden under foot, whose final fall is
reserved for an age when he shall be torn in pieces with
nails, and a final groan shall end his ass’s braying, the
which, as we know, is already manifest to many learned
men in Germany, as their tokens and secret congregations
bear witness.

We could here relate and declare what all the time from
the year 1378 (when our Christian father was born) till now
hath happened, what alterations he hath seen in the world
these one hundred and six years of his life, what he left
after his happy death to be attempted by our Fathers and
by us, but brevity, which we do observe, will not permit
at this present to make rehearsal of it; it is enough for
those which do not despise our declaration to have touched
upon it, thereby to prepare the way for their more close
union and association with us. Truly, to whom it is permitted
to behold, read, and thenceforward teach himself
those great characters which the Lord god hath inscribed
upon the world’s mechanism, and which He repeats through
the mutations of Empire, such an one is already ours, though
as yet unknown to himself; and as we know he will not
neglect our invitation, so, in like manner, we abjure all
deceit, for we promise that no man’s uprightness and hopes

page 92
shall deceive him who shall make himself known to us under
the seal of secrecy and desire our familiarity. But to the
false and to impostors, and to those who seek other things
then wisdom, we witness by these presents publikely, we
cannot be betrayed unto them to our hurt, nor be known to
them without the will of God, but they shall certainly be
partakers of that terrible commination spoken of in our
Fama, and their impious designs shall fall back upon their
own heads, while our treasures shall remain untouched, till
the Lion shall arise and exact them as his right, receive and
imploy them for the establishment of his kingdom.

One thing should here, O mortals, be established by us,
that God hath decreed to the world before her end, which
presently thereupon shall ensue, an influx of truth, light,
and grandeur, such as he commanded should accompany
Adam from Paradise and sweeten the misery of man:
Wherefore there shall cease all falshood, darkness, and
bondage, which little by little, with the great globe’s revolution,
hath crept into the arts, works, and governments
of men, darkening the greater part of them. Thence hath
proceeded that innumerable diversity of persuasions, falsities,
and heresies, which makes choice difficult to the wisest men,
seeing on the one part they were hindered by the reputation
of philosophers and on the other by the facts of experience,
which if (as we trust) it can be once removed, and instead
thereof a single and self-same rule be instituted, then
there will indeed remain thanks unto them which have
taken pains therein, but the sum of the so great work shall
be attributed to the blessedness of our age.

page 93
As we now confess that many high intelligences by their
writings will be a great furtherance unto this Reformation
which is to come, so do we by no means arrogate to ourselves
this glory, as if such a work were onely imposed on
us, but we testify with our Saviour Christ, that sooner shall
the stones rise up and offer their service, then there shall be
any want of executors of God’s counsel.

God, indeed, hath already sent messengers which should
testifie His will, to wit, some new stars which have appeared
in Serpentarius and Cygnus, the which powerful
signs of a great Council shew forth how for all things which
human ingenuity discovers, God cal1s upon His hidden
knowledge, as likewise the Book of Nature, though it stands
open truly for all eyes, can be read or understood by only
a very few.
As in the human head there are two organs of hearing,
two of sight, and two of smell, but onely one of speech, and
it were but vain to expect speech from the ears, or hearing
from the eyes, so there have been ages which have seen,
others which have heard, others again that have smelt and
tasted. Now, there remains that in a short and swiftly
approaching time honour should be likewise given to the
tongue, that what formerly saw, heard, and smelt shall
finally speak, after the world shall have slept away the
intoxication of her poisoned and stupefying chalice, and
with an open heart, bare head, and naked feet shall merrily
and joyfully go forth to meet the sun rising in the morning.

page 94
Those characters and letters, as God hath here and there
incorporated them in the Sacred Scriptures, so hath He
imprinted them most manifestly on the wonderful work of
creation, on the heavens, the earth, and on all beasts, so
that as the mathematician predicts eclipses, so we prognosticate
the obscurations of the church, and how long they
shall last. From these letters, we have borrowed our
magick writing, and thence have made for ourselves a new
language, in which the nature of things is expressed, so
that it is no wonder that we are not so eloquent in other
tongues, least of all in this Latin, which we know to be by
no means in agreement with that of Adam and of Enoch,
but to have been contaminated by the confusion of Babel.1

But this also must by no means be omitted, that, while
there are yet some eagle’s feathers in our way, the which
do hinder our purpose, we do exhort to the sole, onely,
assiduous, and continual study of the Sacred Scriptures,
for he that taketh all his pleasures therein shall know that
he hath prepared for himself an excellent way to come into
our Fraternity, for this is the whole sum of our Laws, that
as there is not a character in that great miracle of the world
which has not a claim on the memory, so those are nearest
and likest unto us who do make the Bible the rule of their
life, the end of all their studies, and the compendium of
the universal world, from whom we require not that it
should be continually in their mouth, but that they should

1 The original reads Babylonis confusione, “by the confusion of

page 95
appropriately apply its true interpretation to all ages of the
world, for it is not our custom so to debase the divine
oracle, that while there are innumerable expounders of the
same, some adhere to the opinions of their party, some
make sport of Scripture as if it were a tablet of wax to be
indifferently made use of by theologians, philosophers,
doctors, and mathematicians. Be it ours rather to bear
witness, that from the beginning of the world there hath
not been given to man a more excellent, admirable, and
wholesome book then the Holy Bible; Blessed is he who
possesses it; more blessed is he who reads it, most blessed
of all is he who truly understandeth it, while he is most
like to God who both understands and obeys it.

Now, whatsoever hath been said in the Fama, through
hatred of impostors, against the transmutation of metals
and the supreme medicine of the world, we desire to be so
understood, that this so great gift of God we do in no
manner set at naught, but as it bringeth not always with
it the knowledge of Nature, while this knowledge bringeth
forth both that and an infinite number of other natural
miracles, it is right that we be rather earnest to attain to
the knowledge of philosophy, nor tempt excellent wits to
the tincture of metals sooner then to the observation of
Nature. He must needs be insatiable to whom neither
poverty, diseases, nor danger can any longer reach, who, as
one raised above all men, hath rule over that which doth
anguish, afflict, and pain others, yet will give himself again
to idle things, will build, make wars, and domineer, because
he hath of gold sufficient, and of silver an inexhaust-

page 96
ible fountain. God judgeth far otherwise, who exalteth
the lowly, and casteth the proud into obscurity; to the
silent he sendeth his angels to hold speech with them, but
the babblers he driveth into the wilderness, which is the
judgment due to the Roman impostor who now poureth
his blasphemies with open mouth against Christ, nor yet
in the full light, by which Germany hath detected his caves
and subterranean passages, will abstain from lying, that
thereby he may fulfil the measure of his sin, and be found
worthy of the axe. Therefore, one day it will come to
pass, that the mouth of this viper shall be stopped, and his
triple crown shall be brought to nought, of which things more
fully when we shall have met together.

For conclusion of our Confession we must earnestly admonish
you, that you cast away, if not all, yet most of the
worthless books of pseudo chymists, to whom it is a jest to
apply the Most Holy Trinity to vain things, or to deceive
men with monstrous symbols and enigmas, or to profit by
the curiosity of the credulous; our age doth produce many
such, one of the greatest being a stage-player, a man with
sufficient ingenuity for imposition; such doth the enemy of
human welfare mingle among the good seed, thereby to
make the truth more difficult to be believed, which in herself
is simple and naked, while falsehood is proud, haughty,
and coloured with a lustre of seeming godly and humane
wisdom. Ye that are wise eschew such books, and have
recourse to us, who seek not your moneys, but offer unto
you most willingly our great treasures. We hunt not after
your goods. with invented lying tinctures, but desire to
make you partakers of our goods. We do not reject par-

page 97
ables, but invite you to the clear and simple explanation of
all secrets; we seek not to be received of you, but call you
unto our more then kingly houses and palaces, by no motion
of our own, but (lest you be ignorant of it) as forced thereto
by the Spirit of God, commanded by the testament of our
most excellent Father, and impelled by the occasion of this
present time.

What think you, therefore, O Mortals, seeing that we
sincerely confess Christ, execrate the pope, addict ourselves
to the true philosophy, lead a worthy life, and dayly call,
interest, and invite many more unto our Fraternity, unto
whom the same Light of God likewise appeareth? Consider
you not that, having pondered the gifts which are in
you, having measured your understanding in the Word of
God, and having weighed the imperfection and inconsistencies
of all the arts, you may at length in the future deliberate
with us upon their remedy, co-operate in the work
of God, and be serviceable to the constitution of your time?
On which work these profits will follow, that all those good
which Nature hath dispersed in every part of the earth
shall at one time and altogether be given to you, tanquam
in centro solis et lunæ. Then shall you be able to expel from
the world all those things which darken human knowledge
and hinder action, such as the vain (astronomical) epicycles
and eccentric circles.

You, however, for whom it is enough to be serviceable
out of curiosity to any ordinance, or who are dazzled by
the glistering of gold, or who, though now upright, might

page 98
be led away by such unexpected great riches into an effeminate,
idle, luxurious, and pompous life, do not disturb our
sacred silence by your clamour, but think, that although
there be a medicine which might fully cure all diseases, yet
those whom God wishes to try or to chastise shall not be
abetted by such an opportunity, so that if we were able to
enrich and instruct the whole world, and liberate it from
innumerable hardships, yet shall we never be manifested
unto any man unless God should favour it, yea, it shall be
so far from him who thinks to be partaker of our riches
against the will of God that he shall sooner lose his life in
seeking us, then attain happiness by finding us.