The lofty sciences of the Qabalah and of Magic promise man an exceptional, real, effective, efficient power, and one should regard them as false and vain if they do not give it.
Judge the teachers by their works, said the supreme Master. This rule of judgment is infallible.
If you wish me to believe in what you know, show me what you do.
God, in order to exalt man to moral emancipation, hides Himself from him and abandons to him, after a fashion, the government of the world. He leaves Himself to be guessed by the grandeurs and harmonies of nature, so that man may progressively make himself perfect by ever exalting the idea that he makes for himself of its author.
Man knows God only by the names which he gives to that Being of beings, and does not distinguish Him but by the images of Him which he endeavours to trace. He is then in a manner the creator of Him Who has created him. He believes himself the mirror of God, and by indefinitely enlarging his own mirage, he thinks that he may be able to sketch in infinite space the shadow of Him Who is without body, without shadow, and without space.
To Create God, to create one's self, to make one's self independent, immortal and without suffering: there certainly is a programme more daring than the dream of Prometheus. Its expression is bold to the point of impiety, its thought ambitious to the point of madness. Well, this programme is only paradoxical in its form, which lends itself to a false and sacrilegious interpretation. In one sense it is perfectly reasonable, and the science of the adepts promises to realize it, and to accomplish it in perfection.
Man, in effect, creates for himself a God corresponding to his own intelligence and his own goodness; he cannot raise his ideal higher than his moral development permits him to do. The God whom he adores is always an enlargement of his own reflection. To conceive the absolute of goodness and justice is to be one's self exceeding just and good.
The moral qualities of the spirit are riches, and the greatest of all riches. One must acquire them by strife and toil. One may bring this objection, the inequality of aptitudes; some children are born with organisms nearer to perfection. But we ought to believe that such organisms result from a more advanced work of Nature, and the children who are endowed with them have acquired them, if not by their own efforts, at least by the consolidated works of the human beings to whom their existence is bound. It is a secret of Nature, and Nature does nothing by chance; the possession of more developed intellectual faculties, like that of money and land, constitutes an indefeasible right of transmission and inheritance.
Yes, man is called to complete the work of his creator, and every instant employed by him to improve himself or to destroy himself, is decisive for all eternity. It is by the conquest of an intelligence eternally clear and of a will eternally just, that he constitutes himself as living for eternal life, since nothing survives injustice and error but the penalty of their disorder. To understand good is to will it, and on the plane of justice to will is to do. For this reason the Gospel tells us that men will be judged according to their works.
Our works make us so much what we are, that our body itself, as we have said, receives the modification, and sometimes the complete change, of its form from our habits.
A form conquered, or submitted to, becomes a providence, or a fatality, for all one's existence. Those strange figures which the Egyptians gave to the human symbols of divinity represent the fatal forms. Typhon has a crocodile's head. He is condemned to eat ceaselessly in order to fill his hippopotamus belly. Thus he is devoted, by his greed and his ugliness, to eternal destruction.
Man can kill or vivify his faculties by negligence or by abuse. He can create for himself new faculties by the good use of those which he has received from Nature. People often say that the affections will not be commanded, that faith is not possible for all, that one does not re-make one's own character. All these assertions are true only for the idle or the perverse. One can make one's self faithful, pious, loving, devoted, when one wishes sincerely to be so. One can give to one's spirit the calm of justness, as to one's will the almighty power of justice. Once can reign in Heaven by virtue of faith, on earth by virtue of science. The man who knows how to command himself is king of all Nature.
We are going to state forthwith, in this last book, by what means the true initiates have made themselves the masters of life, how they have overcome sorrow and death; how they work upon themselves and others the transformation of Proteus; how they exercise the divining power of Apollonius; how they make the gold of Raymond Lully and of Flamel; how in order to renew their youth they possess the secrets of Postel the Re-arisen, and those alleged to have been in the keeping of Cagliostro. In short, we are going to speak the last word of magic.
One knows that a sober, moderately busy, and perfectly regular life usually prolongs existence; but in our opinion, that is little more than the prolongation of old age, and one has the right to ask from the science which we profess other privileges and other secrets.
To be a long time young, or even to become young again, that is what would appear desirable and precious to the majority of men. It is possible? We shall examine the question.
The famous Count of Saint-Germain is dead, we do not doubt, but no one ever saw him grow old. He appeared always of the age of forty years, and at the time of his greatest celebrity, he pretended to be over eighty.
Ninon de l'Enclos, in her very old age, was still a young, beautiful and seductive woman. She died without having grown old.
Desbarrolles, the celebrated palmist, has been for a long while for everybody a man of thirty-five years. His birth certificate would speak very differently if he dared to show it, but no one would believe it.
Cagliostro always appeared the same age. He pretended to possess not only an elixir which gave to the old, for an instant, all the vigour of youth; but he also prided himself on being able to operate physical regeneration by means which we have detailed and analysed in our History of Magic.
Cagliostro and the Count of Saint-Germain attributed the preservation of their youth to the existence and use of the universal medicine, that medicament uselessly sought by so many hermetists and alchemists.
An Initiate of the sixteenth century, the good and learned William Postel, never pretended that he possessed the great arcanum of the hermetic philosophy; and yet after having been seen old and broken, he reappeared with a bright complexion, without wrinkles, his beard and hair black, his body agile and vigorous. His enemies pretended that he roughed, and dyed his hair; for scoffers and false savants must find some sort of explanation for the phenomena which they do not understand.
The great magical means of preserving the youth of the body is to prevent the soul from growing old by preserving preciously that original freshness of sentiments and thoughts which the corrupt world calls illusions, and which we shall call the primitive mirages of eternal truth.
To believe in happiness upon earth, in friendship, in love, in a maternal Providence which counts all our steps, and will reward all our tears, is to be a perfect dupe, the corrupt world will say; it does not see that it is itself who is the dupe, believing itself strong in depriving itself of all the delights of the soul.
To believe in moral good is to possess that good: for this reason the Saviour of the world promises the kingdom of heaven to those who should make themselves like little children. What is childhood? It is the age of faith. The child knows nothing yet of life; and thus he radiates confident immortality. Is it possible for him to doubt the devotion, the tenderness, the friendship, and the love of Providence when he is in the arms of his mother?
Become children in heart, and you will remain young in body.
The realities of God and nature surpass infinitely in beauty and goodness all the imagination of men. It is thus that the world-weary are people who have never known how to be happy; and those who are disillusioned prove by their dislikes that they have only drunk of muddy streams. To enjoy even the animal pleasures of life one must have the moral sense; and those who calumniate existence have certainly abused it.
High magic, as we have proved, leads man back to the laws of the purest morality. Either he finds a thing holy or makes it holy, says an adept — Vel sanctum invenit, vel sanctum facit; because it makes us understand that in order to be happy, even in this world, one must be holy.
To be holy! that is easy to say; but how give one's self faith when one no longer believes? How re-discover a taste for virtue in a heart faded by vice?
One must have recourse to the four words of science: to know, to dare, to will, and to keep silence.
One must still one's dislikes, study duty, and begin by practising it as though one loved it.
You are an unbeliever, and you wish to make yourself a Christian?
Perform the exercises of a Christian, pray regularly, using the Christian formulae; approach the sacraments as if you had faith, and faith will come. That is the secret of the Jesuits, contained in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.
By similar exercises, a fool, if he will it with perseverance, would become a wise man.
By changing the habits of the soul one certainly changes those of the body; we have already said so, and we have explained the method.
What contributes above all to age us by making us ugly? Hatred and bitterness, the unfavourable judgments which we make of others, our rages of hurt vanity, and our ill-satisfied passions. A kindly and gentle philosophy would avoid all these evils.
If we close our eyes to the defects of our neighbour, and only consider his good qualities, we shall find good and benevolence everywhere. The most perverse man has a good side to him, and softens when one knows how to take him. If you had nothing in common with the vices of men, you would not even perceive them. Friendship, and the devotions which it inspires, are found even in prisons and in convict stations. The horrible Lacenaire faithfully returned any money which had been lent to him, and frequently acted with generosity and kindness. I have no doubt that in the life of crime which Cartouche and Mandrin led there were acts of virtue fit to draw tears from the eyes. There has never been any one absolutely bad or absolutely good. "There is none good but God," said the best of the Masters.
That quality in ourselves which we call zeal for virtue is often nothing but a masterful secret self-love, a jealousy in disguise, and a proud instinct of contradiction. "When we see manifest disorders and scandalous sinners," say mystical theologians, "let us believe that God is submitting them to greater tests than those with which He tries us, that certainly, or at least very probably, we are not as good as they are, and should do much worse in their place."
Peace! Peace! this is the supreme welfare of the soul, and it is to give us this that Christ came to the world.
"Glory to God in the highest, peace upon earth, and good will toward men!" cried the Angels of Heaven at the birth of the Saviour.
The ancient fathers of Christianity counted an eighth deadly sin: it was Sorrow.
In fact, to the true Christian even repentance is not a sorrow; it is a consolation, a joy, and a triumph. "I wished evil, and I wish it no more; I was dead and I am alive." The father of the Prodigal son has killed the fatted calf because his son has returned. What can he do? Tears and embarrassment, no doubt! but above all joy!
There is only one sad thing in the world, and that is sin and folly. Since we are delivered, let us laugh and shout for joy, for we are saved, and all those who loved us in their lives rejoice in heaven!
We all bear within ourselves a principle of death and a principle of immortality. Death is the beast, and the beast produces always bestial stupidity. God does not love fools, for his divine spirit is called the spirit of intelligence. Stupidity expiates itself by suffering and slavery. The stick is made for beasts.
Suffering is always a warning. So much the worse for him who does not understand it! When Nature tightens the rein, it is that we are swerving; when she plies the whip, it is that danger is imminent. Woe, then, to him who does not reflect!
When we are ripe for death, we leave life without regret, and nothing would make us take it back; but when death is premature, the soul regrets life, and a clever thaumaturgist would be able to recall it to the body. The sacred books indicate to us the proceeding which must be employed in such a case. The Prophet Elisha and the Apostle St. Paul employed it with success. The deceased must be magnetized by placing the feet on his feet, the hands on his hands, the mouth on his mouth. Then concentrate the whole will for a long time, call to itself the escaped soul, using all the loving thoughts and mental caresses of which one is capable. If the operator inspires in that soul much affection or great respect, if in the thought which he communicates magnetically to it the thaumaturgist can persuade it that life is still necessary to it, and that happy days are still in store for it below, it will certainly return, and for the man of everyday science the apparent death will have been only a lethargy.
It was after a lethargy of this kind that William Postel, recalled to life by Mother Jeanne, reappeared with a new youth, and called himself no longer anything but Postel the Resurrected, Postellus restitutus.
In the year 1799, there was in the Faubourg St. Antoine, at Paris, a blacksmith who gave himself out to be an adept of hermetic science. His name was Leriche, and he passed for having performed miraculous cures and even resurrections by the use of the universal medicine. A ballet girl of the Opera, who believed in him, came one day to see him, and said to him, weeping, that her lover had just died. M. Leriche went out with her to the house of death. As he entered, a person who was going out, said to him: "It is useless for you to go upstairs, he died six hours ago." "Never mind," said the blacksmith, "since I am here I will see him." He went upstairs, and found a corpse frozen in every part except in the hollow of the stomach, where he thought that he still felt a little heat. He had a big fire made, massaged his whole body with hot napkins, rubbed him with the universal medicine dissolved in spirit of wine. [His pretended universal medicine must have been a powder containing mercury analogous to the kermes
of the druggist.] Meanwhile the mistress of the dead man wept and called him back to life with the most tender words. After an hour and a half of these attentions, Leriche held a mirror before the patient's face, and found the glass slightly clouded. They redoubled their efforts, and soon obtained a still better marked sign of life. They then put him in a well warmed bed, and a few hours afterwards he was entirely restored to life. The name of this person was Candy. He lived from that time without ever being ill. In 1845 he was still alive, and was living at Place du Chevalier du Guet, 6. He would tell the story of his resurrection to any one who would listen to him, and gave much occasion for laughter to the doctors and wiseacres of his quarter. The good man consoled himself in the vein of Galileo, and answered them: "You may laugh as much as you like. All I know is, that the death certificate was signed and the burial licence made out; eighteen hours later they were going to bury me, and here I am."