Preliminary Definition of Magic

Magic is the Highest, most Absolute, and most Divine Knowledge of Natural Philosophy,1) advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true Agents2) being applied to proper Patients,3) strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into Nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effort,4) the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle.

Origen saith that the Magical Art doth not contain anything subsisting, but although it should, yet that it must not be Evil, or subject to contempt or scorn; and doth distinguish the Natural Magic from that which is Diabolical.

Apollonius Tyannaeus only exercised the Natural Magic, by the which he did perform wonderful things.

Philo Hebraeus saith that true Magic, by which we do arrive at the understanding of the Secret Works of Nature, is so far from being contemptible that the greatest Monarchs and Kings have studied it. Nay! among the Persians none might reign unless he was skilful in this GREAT ART.

This Noble Science often degenerateth, from Natural becometh Diabolical, and from True Philosophy turneth unto Nigromancy.5) The which is wholly to be charged upon its followers, who, abusing or not being capable of that High and Mystical Knowledge do immediately hearken unto the temptations of Sathan, and are misled by him into the Study of the Black Art. Hence it is that Magic lieth under disgrace, and they who seek after it are vulgarly esteemed Sorcerers.

The Fraternity of the Rosie Crusians thought it not fit to style themselves Magicians, but rather Philosophers. And they be not ignorant Empiricks6) but learned and experienced Physicians, whose remedies be not only Lawful but Divine.

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1)
This Preliminary Definition of Magic is found in very few Codices, and is probably later than the body of the work.
2)
Or Actives.
3)
Or Passives.
4)
Or Effect.
5)
Or the Black Art, as distinct from mere Necromancy, or Divination by the Dead.
6)
Or Quacks and Pretenders. Vide note on p. 10.