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XI. Rosicrucian Apoloigsts: Robert Fludd

CHAPTER XI.

ROSICRUCIAN APOLOGISTS: ROBERT FLUDD.

THE central figure of Rosicrucian literature, towering as an
intellectual giant above the crowd of soufflers, theosophists,
and charlatanic professors of the magnum opus, who,
directly or otherwise, were connected with the mysterious
Brotherhood, is Robertus de Fluctibus, the great English
mystical philosopher of the seventeenth century, a man of
immense erudition, of exalted mind, and, to judge by his
writings, of extreme personal sanctity. Ennemoser describes
him as one of the most distinguished disciples of
Paracelsus, but refuses to number him with “those consecrated
theosophists who draw all wisdom from the fountain
of eternal light.” He does not state his reasons for this
depreciatory judgement, and the brief and inadequate notice
which he gives of Fludd’s system displays such a cursory
acquaintance with the works in which it is developed, that
it is doubtful whether he had taken pains to understand his
author. I should rank the Kentish mystic second to none
among the disciples of the “divine” Theophrastus, while
in the profundity and extent of his learning, there can be
no question that he far surpassed his master, who is said to
have known little but to have divined almost everything,
and who is, therefore, called divinus, in the narrower sense of
that now much abused term.

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Robert Fludd was born at Milgate House,1 in the parish
of Bersted, Kent, during the year 1574. By his mother’s
side he was descended from the ancient family of Andros
of Taunton in Somerset. His father, Thomas Fludd, was a
representative of a Shropshire stock, and successively
occupied several high positions. He was victualler of
Bewick, and then of Newhaven in France; afterwards he
was made Receiver of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, and being
appointed treasurer of the army sent under Lord
Willoughby to Henry IV. of France, “he behaved so honourably
that he was knighted, and on his return to England
was made treasurer of all her Majesty’s forces in the Low
Countries.”2 This was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; he
was constantly a justice of the peace where he resided, and
was also treasurer of the Cinque ports. “He bore for his
arms‚ÄĒvert, a chevron between three wolves’ heads erased,
argent, which coat, with his quarterings, was confirmed to
him by Robert Cook, Clar., Nov. 10, 1572.”3
I have succeeded in compiling from various sources the
following scanty genealogy of the Fludd family:‚ÄĒ

1 “The seat of Milgat was formerly esteemed a manor. It was
anciently possessed by the family of Coloigne, one of whom, Robert
de Coloigne, died feifed of it in the 35th year of Edward III. In process
of time his descendants came to be called Coluney, one of whom,
Thomas Coluney, as appears by an old survey of Bersted, possessed
it in the 14th year of Edward IV. In the beginning of the reign
of Henry VII. it was become the property of the family of Stonehouse,
whose ancient seat was at Hazelwood, Roughton Malherbe
(Philpot, p. 68). Robert Stonehouse was of Bersted, Esquire, at
the latter end of Henry VIII. His son George, at the beginning of
Queen Elizabeth’s reign, alienated this seat to Thomas Fludd,
Esquire, afterwards knighted, and who considerably improved and
augmented it.” One corner of this edifice is still said to remain built
in the manor-house erected on its site when the old house fell into
ruins.”‚ÄĒHasted, “History of Kent,” vol. ii., pp. 486, 487.
2 Hasted’s “History of Kent,” vol. ii., p. 486.
3 “Visitation of County of Kent, 1574 and 1619.”

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Real History of the Rosicrucians

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According to this genealogy, Robert Fludd was the
youngest of five sons. He was entered of St John’s College
in the year 1591, at the age of seventeen. Having graduated
both in arts and medicine he appears to have travelled
extensively, for the space of six years, in France, Germany,
Italy, and Spain. On his return to England, he was made
a member of the London College of Physicians, and took
his degree of Master in Arts in the year 1605. His first
published work appeared in 1616, about which time he was
visited by Michael Maier, by whom he was probably acquainted
with the Rosicrucian controversy, and with whom
he corresponded after the renowned German alchemist had
returned to his own country. Fludd appears to have resided
chiefly in London, then as now the great intellectual
centre of England. He had a house in Fenchurch Street,
according to Fuller,1 and another in Coleman Street, where
he died in the year 1637, on the 8th day of September.
He was buried in the chancel of Bersted Church, under a
tomb which he had previously erected‚ÄĒ”An oblong square
of dark, slate-coloured marble, occupying a large space of
the chancel wall on the left side as you stand before the altar,
looking up the body of the small church towards the door.
There is a seated half-length figure of Fludd, with his hand
on a book, as if just raising his head from reading to look
at you. Upon the monument are two marble books inscribed
Misterium Cabalisticum and Philosophia Sacra.
There were originally eight books. The inscription to his
memory is as follows:‚ÄĒ
” ‘VIII. Die Mensis VII. Ao Dm, M.D.C.XXXVII. O doribus
vrua vaporat crypta tegit cineres nec speciosa tvos ovod
mortale minvs tibi. Te committimus vnvm ingenii vivent

1 “Worthies of Great Britain,” p. 78 of the second part.

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hic monumenta tua nam tibi qui similis scribit moriturque
sepulchrum pro tota eternum posteritate facit. Hoc monumentum
Thomas Flood Gore Court in oram apus Cantianos
armiger infoelissimam in charissimi patrin sui memoriam
nexit, die Mensis Augusti M.D.C.XXXVIII.’ “1
Bersted Church is situated on high ground, at a small
distance south of Bersted Green. It is dedicated to the
Holy Cross, and, according to Hasted,2 is a handsome
building, consisting of two aisles and two chancels, with a
square beacon tower at the west end of it. This is in the
Perpendicular style; and at three angles of the summit are
three rude figures, said to be three dogs or bears sciant, but
so defaced by time that they cannot well be distinguished.
The list of Fludd’s works is as follows:‚ÄĒ
Apologia Compendiaria Fraternitatem de Rosea Cruce
suspicionis et infamiæ maculis aspersam, veritatis quasi
Fluctibus abluens et abstergens. Leyden, 1616. 7vo.
Tractatus Apologeticus integritatem Societas de Rosea
Cruce defendens. Lugduni Batavorum, 1617. 8vo. A
duplicate of the preceding with a new title.
Utriusque Cosmi majoris scilicet et minoris metaphysica,
physica atque technica historia in dua volumina secundum
cosmi differentiam divisa. 2 tom. Opponheimii, Francofurti,
1617-24. Fol.
Veritatis Proscenium . . . seu demonstratio quædam
analytica, in qua cuilibet comparationis particulæ, in appendice
quadam à J. Kepplero, nuper in fine Harmoniæ suæ
Mundanæ edita, factæ inter Harmoniam suam mundanam et
illam R. F. ipsissimis veritatis argumentis respondetur.
Francofurti, 1621. Fol.

1 Hargrave Jennings, “The Rosicrucians, &c.,” p. 364.
2 “History of Kent,” vol. ii., p. 489.

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Monochordum Mundi Symphoniacum, seu, Replicatio R.
F. . . . . ad apologiam . . . J. Kepleri adversus demonstrationem
suam analyticam nuperrime editam in qua Robertus
validioribus Joannis objectionibus Hermoniæ suæ legi repugnantibus,
comiter respondere aggreditur. Francofurti,
1622. 4to.
Antomiæ Amphitheatrum effigie triplici, more et conditione
varia designatam. Francfurte, 1623. Fol.
Philosophia Sacra et vere Christiana, seu Meteorologica
Cosmica. Francofurti, 1626. Fol.
Medecina Catholica, Ben mysticum artis medicandi sacrarium.
5 parts. Francofurti, 1629-31.
Sophiæ cum moria certamen, in quo, lapsis Lydius a
falso structore . . . M. Mersemio . . . reprobatus, celeberrima
voluminis sui Babylonici figmenta accurate examinat
(Summum bonum, quod est verum subjectum veræ
magicæ, cabalæ, alchymiæ fratrum Roseæ Crucis verorum
in dictarum scientiarum laudem, et insignis calumniatoris
. . . M. Mersenni dedecus publicatum, per J. Frizium).
2 pt. Francofurti, 1629. Fol.
Doctor Fludd’s Answer unto M. Foster, or the squesing
of Parson Foster’s Sponge, ordained by him for the wiping
away of the weapon-salve. London, 1631. 4to.
Clavis Philosophiæ et Alchymiæ. (A Reply to Father
Gassendi.) Francofurti, 1633. Fol.
Phylosophia Mosaica. In qua Sapientia et Scientia
creationis et creaturarum sacra vereque Christiana. . . .
ad amussim et enuncleate explicatur. Goudæ, 1638. Fol.
It will be seen from this List that the Rosicrucian manifestoes
found an immediate defender in Robert Fludd, that
is, if the “Apologia” which bears his name is to be considered
his work. There is some uncertainty on this point,

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but it has been disputed on insufficient grounds. As a
maiden effort, it will not of course bear comparison with
the dialectical skill of his mature productions, but the principles
it propounds are those of the “Mosaicall Philosophy”
and the “Tractatus Varii.” “What was the particular occasion
of his own first acquaintance with Rosicrucianism is
not recorded,” says Buhle. “All the books of Alchemy or
other occult knowledge, published in Germany, were at
that time immediately carried over to England‚ÄĒprovided
they were written in Latin; and if written in German, were
soon translated for the benefit of English students. He
may therefore have gained his knowledge immediately from
the Rosicrucian books, but it is more probable that he
acquired it from his friend Maier. . . . At all events, he
must have been initiated into Rosicrucianism at an early
period.”
By whomsoever written, the “Tractatus Apologeticus”
is an exceedingly curious work, so astonishing occasionally
in the nature of its arguments that it is difficult to suppose
that they ware put forward seriously. It was called for by
Andrew Libavius’ “searching and hostile analysis” of the
Rosicrucian Confession, and was written to clear the Society
from the Infamiæ maculæ cast on it by the accusations then
brought forward, and above all from the charges of detestable
magic and diabolical superstition. It is divided into
three parts, and various chapters are illustrated by appropriate
quotations from the manifesto it is defending, whose.
underlying principles are developed and explained. The
first part treats of the various departments of magical
science, of the Cabala of the Books of God, both visible
and invisible; of the secret characters of Nature, and of the
value of astrological portents. The second part is devoted

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to a lugubrious consideration of the impediments and degeneracy
of the arts and sciences in modern times-‚ÄĒde
scientiarum hodierno die in scholis vigentium impedimentis. It
enlarges on the urgent necessity for a reformation in
Natural Philosophy, Medicine, and Alchemy.
Concerning the first, the author declares it to be impossible
for any one to attain to the supreme summit of the natural
sciences unless he be profoundly versed in the occult meaning
of the ancient philosophers, but the minute and most
accurate observer who does achieve this height will not find
it difficult to adapt the materials which are prepared by
Nature in such a manner as to produce, by the application
of actives to passives, many marvellous effects before the
time ordained by Nature; and this, he adds, will be mistaken
by the uninitiated for a miracle.
Like others of his school, he insists on the uncertainty of
à posteriori and experimental methods, to which he unhesitatingly
attributes all the errors of the natural sciences.
“Particulars are frequently fallible, but universals never.
Occult philosophy lays bare Nature in her complete nakedness,
and alone contemplates the wisdom of universals by
the eyes of intelligence. Accustomed to partake of the
rivers which flow from the Fountain of Life, it is unacquainted
with grossness and with clouded waters.”
In Medicine he laments the loss of that universal panacea
referred to by Hippocrates:‚ÄĒ”But absolutely nothing remains
of that one and only medicament of which Hippocrates
makes mention (darkly and mystically, I admit) in
several places, and still less are its operations understood,
inasmuch as no one now searches with lynx-like eyes into
the profound depths of true natural philosophy, to gain an
accurate knowledge of its composition and its virtues.”

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Concerning Arithmetic, he asks mournfully, and with
apparent earnestness, “Which of us has, at this day, the
ability to discover those true and vivific numbers whereby
the elements are united and bound to one another?” And
then, with regard to music, which, as he remarks, non alitur
succedit Arithmeticæ quàm medicina Philosophia Naturali, he
cries after the same fashion:‚ÄĒ”But, good God, what is
this when compared with that deep and true music of the
wise, whereby the proportions of natural things are investigated,
the harmonical concord and the qualities of the whole
world are revealed, by which also connected things are
bound together, peace established between conflicted elements,
and whereby each star is perpetually suspended in
its appointed place by its weight and strength, and by the
harmony of its lucent spirit.” It is impossible to read without
a smile when the author urges the necessity for a musical
reformation, on the ground that we have lost that art of
Orpheus by which he moved insensible stones, and that of
Arion by which the fishes were charmed.
The cursory review of alchemy is equally gloomy:‚ÄĒ”The
art, also, of alchemy or chemistry is surrounded with such
insoluble enigmas that we can scarcely gain anything but
ignorance therefrom, and ignotum per ignotius.” He enlarges
on its fictitious vocabulary, and quotes Maricinus as follows:‚ÄĒ”
The magisterium of the philosophers is hidden and
concealed, and wherever found is known by a thousand
names; moreover, it is surrounded by symbols and is revealed
to the wise alone, yet this is, notwithstanding, the
one, only, and lineal way of the whole operation.” Then
he himself continues:‚ÄĒ”Neither common fire, but Nature
herself, neither artificial furnaces, but natural matrices, are
needed in this work, which is the work of Nature only, and

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wherein nothing is required save the brief co-operation of
her minister, by whom things natural to things also natural,
and species to their congruents, are duly and accurately
applied.” Mathematics, optics, and astronomy he treats
after the same fashion, comparing their tame and commonplace
frivolities with the sublime knowledge of the
ancients.
The third part is entitled “De Natura Arcanis,” and
treats of the mysteries of Light, &c., developing in a small
space a curious and profound philosophy. It describes God
as the ens entium, eternal form, inviolable, purely igneous,
without any intermixture of material, unmanifested before
the creation of the universe, according to the maxim of
Mercurius Trismegistus, “Monas generat molem, et in seipsum
reflectit ardorem suam.” Earth is defined to be a gross water,
water a gross air, air a gross fire, fire a gross ether, while
the ether itself is the grosser part of the empyrean, which
is distinguished from the ethereal realm, and is described as
a water of extreme tenuity, constituted of three parts of
luminous substance to one aqueous part; it is the purest
essence of all substances, and is identical with the luminiferous
ether of the latest scientific hypothesis. Its place is the
medium mundi, wherein is the sphæra æqualitatis, in which
the sun performs its revolution. The sun itself is composed
of equal parts of light and water. Light is the cause of all
energies‚ÄĒnihil in hoc mundo peractum fuerit, sine lucis mediatione
aut actu divnio. “It is impossible for man to desire
more complete felicity than the admirable knowledge of
light and its virtues,” by which the ancient magi constructed
their ever-burning lamps, forced fire out of stones and wood,
kindled tapers from the rays of stars, and naturally, by
means of its reflections, produced many wonders in the air,

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such as phantom writing, and, more than all, by the true
use of the lux invisibilis, made men themselves invisible.
The information scattered through the various parts of
the apology on the different departments of magic is also
noteworthy. It distinguishes between natural, mathematical,
venific, necromantic, and thaumaturgic magic.
“That most occult and secret department of physics by
which the mystical properties of natural substances are
extracted, we term Natural Magic. The wise kings who
(led by the new Star from the East) sought the infant
Christ, are called Magi, because they had attained a perfect
knowledge of natural things, whether celestial or sublunar.
This branch of the Magi also includes Solomon, since he
was versed in the arcane virtues and properties of all
substances, and is said to have understood the nature of
every plant from the cedar to the hyssop. Magicians who
are proficient in the mathematical division construct
marvellous machines by means of their geometrical knowledge;
such were the flying dove of Archytas, and the
brazen heads of Roger Bacon and Albertus Magnus, which
are said to have spoken. Venific magic is familiar with
potions, philtres, and with the various preparations of
poisons; it is in a measure included in the natural
division. because a knowledge of the properties of natural
things is requisite to produce its results. Necromantic
Magic is divided into go√ętic, maleficient, and Theurgic.
The first consists in diabolical commerce with unclean
spirits, in rites of criminal curiosity, in illicit songs and
invocations, and in the evocation of the souls of the dead.
The second is the adjuration of the devils by the Virtues of
Divine Names. The third pretends to be governed by
good angels and the Divine Will, but its wonders are most

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frequently performed by evil spirits, who assume the names
of God and of the angels. This department of Necromancy
can, however, be performed by natural powers, definite
rites and ceremonies, whereby celestial and divine virtues
are reconciled and drawn to us; the ancient Magi promulgated
in their secret books many rules of this doctrine.
The last species of magic is the thaumaturgic, begetting
illusory phenomena; by this art the Magi produced their
phantasms and other marvels.”
When speaking of the wonders wrought mechanically by
Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, and Bo√ętius, the apologist
of the Rosicrucians tells us that he himself, by his assiduity in
mechanical arts, constructed a wooden bull which lowed and
bellowed after the fashion of the living animal; a
dragon which flapped its wings, hissed, and vomited forth
fire and flames upon the bull; and a lyre which played
melodies without human intervention, as well as many
other things, which by the simple mathematical art, apart
from natural magic, could not have been accomplished.
The scientific and philosophical principles of Robert
Fludd were attacked by Father Mersenne, with special
reference to his belief in the Rosicrucian Society. Some
twelve years had passed since the appearance of the
“Tractatus Apologeticus,” which he probably no longer
valued. He replied to the attack in the work entitled
“Sophi√¶ cum Mori√Ę Certamen,” without mentioning the
Rosicrucians. But the “Summum Bonum.” by Joachim
Fritz, which accompanied this reply, contains an elaborate
defence of the Order, to which, in one of its phases, Fludd
is said to have belonged. The authorship of this defence
he is supposed to have disavowed. Buhle, however, points
out that as “the principles, the style, the animosity towards

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Mersenne, the publisher, and the year, were severally the
same as in the ‘Sophi√¶ cum Mori√Ę Certamen’ which
Fludd acknowledged, there cannot be much reason to doubt
that it was his.” But as I am unwilling to consider that a
man of Fludd’s high character would be guilty of deliberate
falsehood, and as it was not his habit to write either
anonymously or pseudonymously, I prefer the alternative
offered by the German critic when he says, “If not Fludd’s
it was the work of a friend of Fludd’s.” In either case,
his opinions are represented. On the title-page of the
“Summum Bonum,” there is a large Rose on which two
bees have alighted, with this motto above‚ÄĒDat Rosa mel
apibus. The book treats of the noble art of magic, the
foundation and matter of the Cabala, the essence of veritable
alchemy, and of the Causa Fratrum Roseæ Crucis. It
identifies the palace or home of the Rosicrucians with the
Scriptural house of wisdom. Ascendamus ad montem
rationabilem, et ædificemus domum Sapientiæ. The foundation
of the mountain thus referred to is declared to be the
Lapis angularis, the corner-stone, cut out of the mountain
without hands. This stone is Christ. It is the spiritual
palace which the Rosicrucians desire to reveal, and is therefore
no earthly or material abode. There is a long disquisition
on the significance of the Rose and the Cross, a
purely spiritual interpretation being adopted. At the
conclusion, the writer anticipates the question whether he
himself is a brother of the Rose Cross, since he has settled
all questions as to their religion and symbolism. His
answer is that he least of any has deserved such a grace of
God; if it have pleased God to have so ordained it, it is
enough. To satisfy, however, the curiosity of his readers,
he supplies them with a curious letter supposed to have

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emanated from the society, and which has been quaintly
translated in a manuscript of the seventeenth century.
This Epistle was written and sent by ye Brethren of
R. C. to a certaine Germaine, a coppy whereof Dr. Flud
obtained of a Polander of Dantziche his friend, which
he since printed in Latin at ye end of his tract, intituled
De Summo Bono.
Venerable and Honourable Sr.
Seeing that this will be ye first yeare of thy
nativity, wee pray that thou mayst have from ye Most High
God, a most happy entrance into and departure from out of
thy life, and because thou hast hitherto been with a good
mind a constant searcher of holy philosophy, well done!
Proceed, fear God, for thus thou mayest gaine Heaven.
Get to thyself the most true knowledge, for it is God who
hath found out every way; it is God who alone in circumference
and centre. But draw thee neree, listen, take this to
thee †, for he who increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow,
because that in much knowledge is much griefe, wee speake
by experience. For all worldlings, and vaine-glorious,
vauntinge boasters, gorgious men, talkers, and vaine
people doe unworthily scandalize, yea, and curse us for an
unknown matter. But we wonder not that ye ungrateful
world doe persecute ye professors of ye true Arts, together
with ye truth itself. Yett for thy sake wee shall briefly
answer to these questions, viz.: What wee doe? What
can wee doe? Or whether are any such as wee? In John,
therefore, wee reade that God is ye Supreme Light, and in
light wee walke, so that wee exhibit light (although in a
lanthern) to ye world. But thou man of ye world that
deniest this, thou knowest not or seest not it behoves thee

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to know that in thy vile boddy Jesus dwelleth. This thou
hast from ye apostle. “And Jesus knew all their thoughts,”
to whom if thou adherest, thou are at length made one
spirit with Him, and being such, who prohibeteth thee with
Solomon to know as well ye wicked and good contentions of
men. And this thou mayest take from me out of ye
premises. And hence it is that wee doe not answer to all,
viz., became of the deceitfull minds of some. For whosoever
are alienated from God are contrary to us, and who is
so foolish as to permit a new-come stranger to enter into
another man’s house? But if thou objectest that this union
is onely to be expected in ye world to come, behold now in
this thou showest thyself for a worldling who extinguishest
light by thy ignorance. Also thou are not shamed to
make ye apostle a liar, in whom those things are more
clearly manifested in these wordes‚ÄĒ”So that you may be
wanting in no grace, expectinge ye Revelation of our Lord
Jesus Christ.” But thou sayest that this is not to be understood
of this inferiour life. What therefore does ye
followinge verse intend? “”Who shall confirme you even
to the end, for in the Kingdome of God there is noe end,
therefore in this temporal state will appear ye glory of ye
Lord, and Jesus glorified. If any thinge is further demanded
concerning our office, our endeavours is to leade
backe lost sheepe to ye true sheepefold. You labore therefore
in vaine, O miserable mortals, who enter upon another
way than that ye apostle wills by putinge off your tabernacle,
which way is not walked in through dyinge, but as
Peter willeth when he saith: “As Christ hath taught
mee,” viz., when he was transfigured in ye mount, which
laienge down, if it had not bine secret and hidden, ye
apostle had not said, “as Jesus taught mee,” neither had ye

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Supreme Truth saide: “Tell this to no man,” for accordinge
to ye vulgar way, vulgarly to die was known to all
men from ye beginninge of ye world. Be yee changed
therefore, be yee changed from dead stones into living
philosophical stones. The apostle shews ye way when he
saith: “Lett the same minde be in you as in Jesus.” Also
he explains that minde in ye followinge words, viz., when
as beinge in ye form of God, he thought it no robbery to
be equal to God. Behould these things, O all you that
search into ye abstruse secrets of nature! Yee heare these
matters, but you believe them not, O miserable mortals,
who doe so anxiously run into youre own ruine, but wilt
thou be more happy, O thou most miserable, wilt thou be
elevated above ye circles of ye world, O thou proud one, wilt
thou command in Heaven above this earth, and thy darke
body, O thou ambitious, will yee performe all miracles, O
yee unworthy? Know yee, therefore, ye rejected, of what
nature it is, before it is sought. But thou, O Brother,
hearken! I will speake with S. John, that thou mayest
have fellowshippe with us, and indeed our fellowshippe is
with ye Father and with Jesus, and wee write unto you
that yee may rejoyce because God is light, and in Him there
is no darkness at all. But that thou mayest come unto us,
behould this light, for it is impossible for thee to see us
(unless when wee will) in another light. In this, therefore,
follow us, whereby thou mayest be made happy with us, for
our most immoveable pallace is ye centre of all things,
likewise is it much obscured, because covered with many
names. Enter, enter into ye glory of God and thy own
salvation, ye gates and Schoole of Philosophicall Love, in
which is taught everlastinge charity and fraternall love,
and that some resplendent and invisible castle which is

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built upon the mountains of ye Lord, out of whose roote
goeth forth a fountaine of livinge waters, and a river of
love! Drinke, drinke, and againe drinke, that thou mayest
see all hidden things, and converse with us! Againe
beware! But what? For thou knowest very well that
nature receives nothing for nutriment but that which is
subtile, the thick and foeculent is cast out as excrements.
It is also well disputed by thyself, that those who will live
in ye minde, rather than in ye body, take in nourishment
by ye spirit, not by ye mouth. As for example, it is lawful
to know Heaven by Heaven, not by earth, but ye virtues
of this by ye other, and if you understand me aright, no
man ascends into Heaven, which thou seekest, except He
who descended from Heaven, which thou seekest not, enlighteneth
him first. Whatsoever therefore is not from
Heaven is a false immage, and cannot be called a virtue.
Therefore, O Brother, thou canst not be better confirmed
then by virtue itselfe, which is ye Supreme Truth, which
if thou wilt religiously, and with all thy might, endeavour
to follow in all thy wordes and workes, it will confirm thee
daily more and more, for it is a very spirite, a glisteninge
sparke, a genuine impossible, never diinge, subliminge his
own body, dwellinge in every created beeinge, sustaininge
and governinge it, go1d burninge, and by Christ purged,
pure in ye fire, allwaye more glorious and pure, jubilatinge
without diminution, this shall (I say) confirme thee daily,
untill (as a certaine learned man saith) thou art made like
a lion in battle, and canst take away all ye strength of ye
world, and fearest not death, nor any violence whatsoever
a divellish tyranny can invent, viz., seeinge thou art become
such a one as thou desirest, a stone and a worke.
And that God may bless thy labours which thou shalt

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receive in most approved authors under a shaddow, for a
wise man roads one thinge and understands another.
Art thou imperfect? Aspire after a due perfection. Art
thou foul and unclean? Purge thyself with teares, sublime
thyselfe with good manners and virtues, adorn and beautify
thyselfe with sacramentall graces! Make thy soule sublime
and subtile for ye contemplation of heavenly thinges, and
conformable to angelicall spirits, that it may vivify thy
vile ashes and vulgar body and make it white, and render
it altogether incorruptible and impassible by ye resurrection
of our Lord Jesus Christ. Doe these thinges, and
thou wilt confess that no man hath wrote more plainly
then I. These thinges the Lady Virtue hath commended
should be told to thee, from (or by) whom, accordinge to
thy deserts, thou shalt hereafter be more largely taught,
these read, if thou wilt, as the apostle willeth, keepe that
which is committed to thy trust. Farewell.
F. T. F., in Light and C.

By his talents and intellectual ability, Robert Fludd is a
character so important in English Rosicrucian literature,
that I propose to give a short sketch or syllabus of his singular
cosmical philosophy. The substance will be taken from
the “Mosaicall Philosophy,” and the folio volume entitled
Tractatus Varii, and it will be rendered as far as possible
in the philosopher’s own words.
The author distinguishes in several places between the
Divine ŌÉőŅŌÜőĮőĪ, the eternal sapience, the heavenly wisdom,
which is only mystically revealed to mankind, and the
wisdom which is derived from the invention and tradition
of men. He declares the philosophy of the Grecians, or the
ethnick philosophy to be based only on the second, and to

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be terrene, animal, and diabolical, not being founded on the
deific corner-stone, namely, Jesus Christ, who is the essential
substance and foundation of the true science.
The original fountain of true wisdom is in God, the
natura naturans, the infinite, illimitable Spirit, beyond all
imagination, transcending all essence, without name, all
wise, all-clement, the Father, the Word, and the ineffable,
Holy Spirit, the highest and only good, the indivisible
Trinity, the most splendid and indescribable light. This
Wisdom is the vapor virtutis Dei, and the stainless mirror of
the Majesty and beneficence of God. All things, of what
nature and condition soever, were made in, by, and through
this Divine Word or emanation, which is God Himself, as
it is the Divine Act, whose root is the Logos, that is, Christ.
This Eternal Wisdom is the fountain or corner-stone of the
higher arts, by which also all mysterious and miraculous
discoveries are effected and brought to light.
Before the spagirical separation which the Word of God,
or divine Elohim, effected in the six days of creation, the
heavens and earth were one deformed, rude, undigested
mass, complicitly comprehended in one dark abyss, but explicitly
as yet nothing. This nothing is compared by St.
Augustine to speech, which while it is in the speaker’s mind
it as nothing to the hearer, but when uttered, that which existed
complicitly in animo loquentis, is explicitly apprehended
by the hearer. This nihilum or nothing is not a nihilum
negativum. It is the First Matter, the infinite, informal,
primordial Ens, the mysterium magnum of the Paracelsists.
It existed eternally in God. If God had not produced all
things essentially out of Himself, they could not be rightly
referred to Him. The primeval darkness is the potentia
divina as light is the actus divinus‚ÄĒthe Aleph tenebrosum and

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Aleph lucidum. Void of form and life, it is still a material
developing from potentiality into the actual, and was informed
by the Maker of the world with a universal essence,
which is the Light of Moses, and was first evolved in the
empyrean heaven, the highest and supernatural region of
the world, the habitaculum fontis lucidi, the region not of
matter but of form‚ÄĒform simple and spiritual beyond all
imagination. There is a second spiritual heaven, participating
in the clarity and tenuity of the first, of which it is
the base; this is the medial heaven, called the sphæra
æqualitatis and it is corporeal in respect of the former. The
third heaven is the locality of the four elements. The progression
of the primordial light through the three celestial
spaces was accomplished during the first three days of creation.
Christ the Wisdom and Word of God, by His apparition
out of darkness, that is, by the mutation of the first
principle from dark Aleph to light Aleph, revealed the waters
contained in the profound bosom of the abyss, and animated
then by the emanation of the spirit of eternal fire, and then
by his admirable activity distinguished and separated the
darkness from the light, the obscure and gross waters from
the subtle and pure water, disposing the heavens and
spheres, as above stated, and dividing the grosser waters
into sublunary elements. Those elements are described as
follows:‚ÄĒEarth is the conglomeration of the material
darkness and the refuse of the heavens; Water is the more
gross spirit of the darkness of the inferior heaven, nearly
devoid of light; Air is the spirit of the second heaven;
Fire, the spirit of the darkness of the Empyrean heaven.
Fludd’s theory of the Macrocosmus is enunciated in the
following manner.

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According to Fludd’s philosophy, the whole universe was
fashioned after the pattern of an archetypal world which
existed in the Divine ideality, and was framed out of unity
in a threefold manner. The Eternal Monad or Unity,
without any egression from his own central profundity,
compasses complicitly the three cosmical dimensions, namely,
root, square, and cube. If we multiply unity as a root, in
itself, it will produce only unity for its square, which being
again multiplied in itself, brings forth a cube which is one
with root and square. Thus we have three branches
differing in formal progression, yet one, unity in which all
things remain potentially, and that after a most abstruse
manner. The archetypal world was made by the egression
of one out of one, and by the regression of that one,
so emitted, into itself by emanation. According to this
ideal image, or archetypal world, our universe was subsequently
fashioned as a true type and exemplar of the
Divine Pattern; for out of unity in his abstract existence,
viz., as it was hidden in the dark chaos, or potential mass,
the bright flame of all formal being did shine forth, and
the Spirit of Wisdom, proceeding from them both, conjoined
the formal emanation with the potential matter, so
that by the union of the divine emanation of light and the
substantial darkness, which was water, the heavens were
made of old, and the whole world.
God, according to these abstruse speculations, is that
pure, catholic unity, which includes and comprehends all
multiplicity, and which before the objective projection of
the cosmos must be considered as a transcendent entity, reserved
only in itself, in whose divine puissance, as in a place
without end or limit, all things which are now explicitly

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apparent were then complicitly contained, though in regard
to our finite faculties it can only be conceived as nothing‚ÄĒ
nihil, non finis, non ens, aleph tenebrosum, the Absolute Monad
or Unity.
Joined to the cosmical philosophy of Robert Fludd,
there is an elaborate system of spiritual evolution, and the
foundation of both is to be sought in the gigantic hypotheses
of the Kabbalah. His angelology is derived from
the works of pseudo-Dionysius on the celestial hierarchies,
and he teaches the doctrine of the pre-existence of human
souls, which are derived from the vivifying emanation
dwelling in the Anima Mundi, the world’s spiritual vehicle,
the catholic soul, which itself is inacted and preserved by
the Catholic and Eternal Spirit, sent out from the fountain
of life to inact and vivify all things.
These mystical speculations, whatever their ultimate
value, are sublime flights of an exalted imagination, but
they are found, in the writings of Robert Fludd, side by
side with the crudest physical theories and the most exploded
astronomical notions. He denies the diurnal revolution
of the earth, and considers the light of all the stars
to be derived from the one “heavenly candle” of the sun.
Rejecting the natural if inadequate explanations of
Aristotle and his successors, he presents the most extravagant
definitions of the nature of winds, clouds, snow, &c.
The last is described as a meteor which God draweth forth
of His hidden treasury in the form of wool, or as a creature
produced out of the air by the cold breath of the Divine
Spirit to perform his will on earth. Thunder is a noise
which is made in the cloudy tent or pavilion of Jehovah,
lightning a certain fiery air or spirit animated by the

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brightness, and burning from the face or presence of
Jehovah. Literally interpreting the poetic imagery of
Scripture, he perceives the direct interference of the Deity
in all the phenomena of Nature, and denounces more
rational views as “terrene, animal, and diabolical.”