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cause they are procured by forbidden means, and have a culpable object, but because they are effected by the magnetic power, must for the same reason believe that all magnetic phenomena whatever are sorcery, and the work of the devil.
"Magnetism is an unknown property of a heavenly nature; very much resembling the influence of the stars, and not at all restrained by any boundaries of space. He, therefore, who avails himself of a magnetic means undertakes a Godpleasing business, which has in both worlds, by one order and in equal degree, the same conductor. Therefore, even the relics have a greater power when they are carried about and touched; as it is necessary to carry the magnet, to rub it, or touch it that it, may attract" (p. 712.)
"That which Paracelsus has done is therefore far from being evil. For he has placed aloft magnetism, which was unknown to the aneients, as an actuality indispensable to the enquiry into things and a fundamental study of nature; has placed it aloft as the most enlightening and fruitful of sciences, when it had in all schools been laid aside as utterly barren. He is, therefore, to be considered the monarch who has dragged forth all the secrets of all his predecessors, and we must value him highly, if we will not, as ignorant judges, join with haters of all good deeds in slandering him.
"Every created being possesses his own celestial power, and is allied to heaven. Therefore, it is no wonder if the astral spirits of men show themselves after death still wandering about. The outward man is animal, and yet, notwithstanding, the true image of God. If, therefore, God acts through a hint or a word, man must be able to do the same, if he be God's true image. This is not alone the property of God-the devil, too, though the most abandoned of beings, moves by a mere will bodies from their place. This original power must, therefore, belong to the inner man, if he will represent the spirit of God, and not of a frivolous being. And if we call this a magic power, the uninstructed only can be terrified by the expression. But if you prefer it, you can call it a spiritual power, (spirituale robur vocitaveris). About the name I do not trouble myself; but I am accustomed to contemplate the thing itself as near as I can. There is, therefore, such a
magic power in the inner man.
But as there exists a certain
relationship between the inner and the outer man, this strength must be diffused through the whole man, only that it is more active in the soul than in the body" (1. c. p. 720). "This magic power of man, which thus can operate externally, lies, as it were, hidden in the inner man. It sleeps and acts, without being awakened, like one drunken in us daily. This magical wisdom and strength thus sleeps, but by a mere suggestion is roused into activity, and becomes more living the more the outer man of the flesh and the darkness is repressed. While, however, that outward man reposes in sleep, dreams sometimes of a prophetic nature come, and God is on that account frequently nearer to man in sleep than in waking" (1. c. p. 722).
Therefore, all our contemplations, prayers, watches and fastings, all the castigations of our bodies, tend to the repression of the power of the flesh, and to maintain that divine and living spirit-strength in activity; and, therefore, should we praise God, who only in the spirit, that is, in the innermost heart of man, can be worshipped; and this, I say, the Cabbalistic art effects; it brings back to the soul that magical yet natural strength which like a startled sleep had left it."
"This natural strength is through sin gone to sleep in us, and it is necessary that it should be awoke up again. This may be effected either through the illumination of the Holy Ghost, or man can, through Cabbalistic art, procure it for himself at pleasure. These may be called goldmakers, but their guide is the spirit of God himself."
"This strength, I have said, is also in the outer man ; that is, in flesh and blood. Nay, not only in the outer man, to a degree also in the animals, and perhaps in all other things, as all things in the universe stand in a relation to each other; or at least God is in all things, as the ancients have observed with a worthy correctness. It is necessary that the magic strength should be awakened in the outer as well as in the inner man; but the devil has power only to awake what is in the outer man: in the inner, in the bottom of the soul, is that kingdom of God to which no created thing has entrance" (p. 725).
"I have also farther taught that between the spiritual powers there is an interchange; and, finally, I have endeavoured to show that man rules the physical creatures through his natural magic, and can use the strength of other things. "The magnetism of magnets, and of all other lifeless things, occurs through the natural feeling of accordance.
"Finally, magical power is, as it were, separated from the body, which is put in motion by the inner power of the soul; whence the mightiest events, the deepest impressions, and the most decisive effects proceed.
"I have hitherto avoided revealing the great secret, that the strength lies concealed in man, merely through the suggestion and power of the imagination to work outwardly, and to impress this strength on others, which then continues of itself, and operates on the remotest objects. Through this secret alone will all receive its true illumination,—all that has hitherto been brought together laboriously of the ideal being out of the spirit-all that has been said of the magnetism of all things-of the strength of the human soulof the magic of man, and of his dominion over the physical world" (p. 731).
"When, therefore, this peculiar magical power of man is shown to be a natural one, it was hitherto an absurd thing to believe that the devil through its agency effected his own ends; that the devil in his fall had retained that magical function by which merely with a suggestion he could accomplish what he pleased, this being a natural gift of his own; and that this equally natural endowment of man was taken from him and conferred on the devil, the most despised of all creatures. Open then your eyes; the devil has hitherto in your excessive ignorance been exalted to great glory, while you, so to say, have offered to him the incense and dignity of fame, at the same time robbing yourselves of your natural advantage and giving it to him.'
"I have also said the magical power of man sleeps, and needs to be awakened; which always remains true, if the object on which men will operate be not of itself already too much disposed to it; if its inner imaginative strength be not utterly opposed to the strength of the operator; or if the suffering part be not equally strong, or even stronger than the operative one" (p. 732).
"See, then, that is a Christian philosophy, and not the madness of the heathen, or idle dreams! Take heed in future, I say unto thee, that thou dost not compel me again to become a judge, and to decide that thou in thy decision wast too hasty."
These are all the words of Van Helmont himself, which I have literally translated, without making a single observation; they, indeed, being so clear of themselves that they by no means required it.
In another place he says:- "In the pit of the stomach there is a more powerful sensation than even in the eye, or in the fingers. The stomach often will not tolerate a hand to be laid upon it, because there is there the most acute and positive feeling, which at other times is only perceived in the fingers."
In the rest of his writings you find admirable thoughts, and excellent illustrations of magnetism, and particularly in his "De magna virtute rerum et verborum," and his book "De lampedæ vitæ."
Van Helmont sought the explanation of magnetic phenomena in some kind of sympathy, by which certain things and influences were transferred to others. As a proof of this sympathy in all things, he says that, amongst other things, it is shown by the fact that wine ferments, works, and is thrown into agitation in spring when the vine begins to blossom. But the question is whether this well-known fermentation is not rather to be attributed to the general requickening nature in all things which awakes a new life, and which is the most easily observable in active and readily fermenting fluids? Beer, for instance, displays a still more vivid fermentation, though it cannot be because the barley is then in bloom. The hops and the barley, which indeed do bloom, but not at that period, cannot, I think, be brought into the account.
Amongst the facts of sympathetic influence mentioned by Van Helmont, the following particularly deserve notice : "I know an herb," he says, "of an extraordinary nature. Warm it whilst thou crushest it in thy hand; then take the hand of another, and hold it till it is warm; and this person will have a great liking for thee for several days." He made this experiment
with a strange dog, on which the dog quitted its mistress and followed; him and this he showed before a number of witnesses. Another example related by him is of a lady with the gout, who had always an attack of the complaint whenever she sat down upon a seat on which her brother, who had been dead for five years, used to sit.
Van Helmont says, in his description of the nature of magnetism :-" The means by which this secret property enables one person to affect another mutually, is the MAGNALE MAGNUM, called the great magic play, though Paracelsus uses invariably the word MAGNALE. But this is not a physical substance, which we inspissate, measure, and weigh, but it is an ethereal spirit, pure, living, which pervades all things, and moves the mass of the universe."
"It gives wonderful revelations through certain ecstasies, which the inner man experiences; the outer man also, or the animal, may receive revelations, if the imagination be exalted. Many examples prove this.
"Before the fall of man, his soul had an inborn wisdom, and a prophetic gift of an extraordinary power. capacities the soul still possesses; and if they are not visible, it is because of the many sensual obstructions which they encounter. Especially in sleep are men often enlightened by this supernatural light, since they are not then, as in the waking state, so much repressed by the attractions of
"That inward wisdom man has lost, to a certain degree, through the worldly knowledge which he acquired by eating the forbidden fruit; and he is now placed in the lower condition of being confined to the movements and guidance of the body. Paracelsus says on this head-'As they came out of Paradise, they were as they never had been before; and they then perceived what the world was. They then perceived the influence of the moon, of Mars, Jupiter, and every star in heaven.' But these magic powers again awoke, and man desired also that wisdom and the capacity for operating beyond himself. And in this consists pure primeval magic; not in superstitious practices and vain ceremonies, which the devil, never idle in destroying what is good, has introduced. The spirit is everywhere diffused; and the spirit is the medium of magnetism;