Friar Bacon His Discovery of the Miracles of Art, Nature, and Magick

Chap. I.

Of and against fictitious Apparences and Invocation of Spirits.

THAT I may carefully render you an answer to your desire, understand, Nature is potent and admirable in her working, yet Art using the advantage of nature as an instrument (experience tels us) is of greater efficacy than any natural activity.

Whatsoever Acts otherwise than by natural or artificial means, is not humane, but merely fictitious and deceitfull.

We have many men that by the nimblenesse and activity of body, diversification of sounds, exactness of instruments, darkness, or consent, make things seem to be present, which never were really existent in the course of Nature. The world, as any judicious eye may see, groans under such bastard burdens. A Jugler by an handsome sleight of hand, will put a compleat lie upon the very sight. The Pythonissæ sometimes speaking from their bellies, otherwhile from the throat, than by the mouth, do create what voices they please, either speaking at hand, or farre off, in such a manner, as if a Spirit discoursed with a man, and sometimes as though Beasts bellowed, which is all easily discovered by private laying hollow Canes in the grasse, or secret places, for so the voices of men will be known from other creatures.

When inanimate things are violently moved, either in the Morning or Evening twilight, expect no truth therein, but down-right cheating and cousenage.

As for consent, men by it may undertake any thing they please, if so be they have a mutual disposition.

These I mention, as practices wherein neither philosophical Reasons, Art, or power of Nature is prevalent. Beyond these there is a more damnable practice, when men despising the Rules of Philosophy, irrationally call up wicked Spirits, supposing them of Energy to satisfie their desires. In which there is a very vast errour, because such persons imagine they have some authority over Spirits, and that Spirits may be compelled by humane authority, which is altogether impossible, since humane Energy or Authority is inferiour by much to that of Spirits. Besides, they admit a more vast mistake, supposing such natural instruments, as they use, to be able either to call up, or drive away any wicked Spirit. And they continue their mistake in endeavouring by Invocations, Deprecations or Sacrifices to please Spirits, making them propitious to their design. Without all question, the way is incomparably more easie to obtain any thing, that is truly good for men, of God, or good Angels, then of wicked Spirits. As for things which are incommodious for men, wicked Spirits can no further yeeld assistance, then they have permission, for the sins of the sonnes of men, from that God, who governs and directs all humane affairs. Hence therefore I shall conclude (these things being beyond, or rather against the Rules of Wisdome) No true Philosopher did ever regard to work by any of these six wayes.

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31