Dedication, 1567-11-16, Michael Toxites to Ulrich von Montfort und Rothenfels
|Recipient:||Ulrich von Montfort und Rothenfels|
|Date:||16 November 1567|
|Editor:||Edited by Julian Paulus|
|Source:||Paracelsus: Libellus de Vrinarum ac pulsuum iudicijs, ed. Michael Toxites, Straßburg: Samuel Emmel 1568, sig. A2r-A7v [BP097]|
|CP:||Not in Kühlmann/Telle, Corpus Paracelsisticum|
|Keywords:||medicine; philosophy; natural science; ancient texts; obscurity; criticism; physician; education; anatomy; chemistry; astronomy; virtues; Galen; Rhazes; Hippocrates; metals; extractions; disease; pulses; urine; publication (generated by GPT)|
|Abstract:||Toxites defends the work of Theophrastus Paracelsus, a physician and philosopher who sought to perfect medical science by combining ancient Kabbalah, experience, and the study of nature. Paracelsus believed medicine to be a science supported by philosophy, astronomy, chemistry, and virtue. He emphasized the importance of understanding the inner workings of both the larger and smaller worlds in order to create effective treatments for various diseases. Despite his groundbreaking discoveries, Paracelsus faced criticism from his contemporaries, leading him to write more obscurely in order to protect his work from those unworthy of understanding it. Toxites urges readers to approach Paracelsus' writings with an open mind and without prejudice, and he shares his hope that the hidden works of Paracelsus will eventually be brought to light. (generated by GPT)|
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[sig. A2r] Antiqua generis nobilitate, stvdio virtvtis, et opt[imo] artivm amore, uerè generoso D[omino] D[omino] Vdalrico, Comiti in Montfort, & Rottenfels: D[omino] in Detnang, Argen, & Vuasserburg: D[omino] suo perpetua obseruantia colendo Micaëlus Toxites Rhætus: medicus Argentoratensis: & comes Palatinus Cæsareus. S[alutem] P[lurimam] D[icit].
Si tanta industria, tantumq́ue in inquirendam ueritatem, positum fuisset studium: quantum temporis altercando à naturalium rerum scriptoribus inutiliter sæpe consumptum est: cum Philosophia, tum medendi doctrina iampridem perfecta, absolutaq́ue esset. Sed dum quisque suis rapitur affectibus. fit, ut plerique deteriora melioribus præponant: magisq́ue ijs, quibus assueuerunt: quàm ueritate delectentur. Hinc ille ardor, non inuestigandi ueri: sed contendendi excitatus est: unde etiam [sig. A2v] optimè inuenta suos habuerunt calumniatores: qui omni conatu id studuerunt: ne quid in lucem ueniret: quod ipsorum autoritatem posset imminuere. Difficilè enim est: errorem agnoscere: ne multorum annorum cæcitas, in qua uersati sumus: pudorem nobis incutiat. Ac tametsi multis id exemplis planum facere possem: tamen de nostri solum Theophrasto dicam: propterea, quod cum hodiè non minus ab eruditis, quàm olim à barbaris, ineptis, & indoctis medicis, immeritò proscindi uideo. Alius obscuritatem, & uocabulorum nouitatem in eo reprehendit: alius uehementiam eius in ueteribus refellendis odit: sunt qui principia eius ferre nequeant: quidam doctirnam eius uniuersam explidendam esse satagunt: nonnulli alijs eum calumnijs grauant. quibis omnibus si quis respondere uellet: magnis rem uolumininis uis absolueret. Quamobrem cæteris repræhensionibus omissis: quæ illum ad scribendum causæ impulerint: & cur obscurius scripserit: ac quam ob causam acerbius in eos inuectus medicos sit: qui tum fuêre: cum ille dei Opt[imi] M[aximi] benignitate magno totius Germaniæ commodo (si ea agnoscere fortunam suam uoluisset.) floruit: brueiter, candideq́ue indicabo. Vocabula enim sua, quodq́ue rebus, ut aduersarij appellant, uenenatis, sine ægrorum periculo usus sit: sic excusauit, defenditq́ue: ut neque mea, nec alterius de- [sig. A3r] fensione opus habeat. Hic liber extat publicè: hunc ueritatis amatores legant: & perpendant: animo tranquillo, semotis affectibus, positaq́ue contendendi libidine, iudicent. Quod si fecerint: nobiscum, qui Theophrastum colimus: deo benignißimo gratias agent, pro ijs: quæ intelligent: cæterorum, quæ ad huc ipsos latebunt: spem percipiendi non aijcient.
Cum in arte medica Theophrastus Paracelsus errores quàm plurimos animaduerteret: & maiorem in ea certitudinem desideraret: principio quidem eam deseruit: aliudq́ue sibi uitæ genus proposuit. Sed cum eum Christiana Charitas in aliam sententiam deduxisset: nihil prius habuit: quàm ut in omnibus morbis aliquid inuestigaret certius: quàm in libris cum græcorum, tum arabum, & barbaro latinorum nobis patefactum est. Non enim τεχνύν στοχαστικήν, sed ἐπιστήμιν medicinam esse iudicauit: quæ non duia, sed à natura confirmata aduersus omnes morbos medicamenta contineret: neque artis esse culpam: si qui ægri in morbis difficilioribus sanitatem non recuperent amissam: sed medici potius, artem ignorantis. Quamobren ne illorum quos uituperabat: haberetur similis: non Europæ solum, sed aliarum etiam orbis partium regiones paragrauit: multis medicus bellis interfuit: academias plerasque acceßit: à diuersæ condi- [sig. A3v] tionis hominibus discere non erubuit.
Ac cum iam summam infallibili experientiæ doctrinam, quam ex Cabala ueterum, & natura rerum intima dei beneficio hauserat: longoqúe usu approbauerat: magno iudicio coniunxisset: non reprehendendi libidine, sed amore adiuuandi patriam, id unum studuit: ut & Philosophia uniuersa, & medendi ars ab omni uitio, errore, macula purgata, emendata, & correcta, suo & honori, atque loco restitueretur. Hoc liberè, fortiter, candideq́ue cum scribendo, tum etiam publicè docendo egit. Medicinam absque Philosophiæ cognitione rectè siue disci, siue factitari posse negauit: quapropter sapienter medicum his quatuor columnis, ut ipse appellat, fultum esse uoluit: Philosophia, Astronomia, Chymia, & uirtute. neque obiter partes istas, sed summo studio discentibus proponendas: medicumqúe à primis studiorum annis in his artibus erudiendum esse censuit. Minimé illi nostrorum hominum consuetudo placuit: qui in omnibus artibus compendia magno discentium dispendio quærunt: ac propositis epitomis audientores suos relictis fontibus, ex lacunis cogunt bibere. Quo fit: ut ueterum docendæ Philosophiæ rationem in academijs magna ex parte obscurarint. Et quanquam Philosophiam ducentis, & triginita libris expoliuit: medicinam sex & qua- [sig. A4r] draginta magnis uigilijs illustrauit: res abstrusas & arcanas maxima fide, ad mortalium usum, in lucem produxit: tamen adhuc multorum inuidiam, odium, & calumnias expertus est: qui illum non solum in contemptum adducebant: quasi empyrica tantum clarus, neque rationibus usus esset: neque arte sua tradidisset: methodum ne ullam obseruasset: sed etiam de uita eum tollere conati sunt. Quam indignitatem cum indies magis, magisqúe ferre cogeretur: & pro uoluntate Christiana, studio singulari, doctißimisqúe laboribus reprehensiones intolerabiles, & insidias uarias sustineret: obscurius, quæ instituerat: tractare cœpit: quæqúe editioni destinauerat: iusto dolore repreßit: ne margaritas porcis obijcere uideretur. Cœlauit interdum amicißimos arcana sua: quòd à pluribus sæpe deceptus esset: inde à nonnullis, à quibus ipse audiui: habitus est indoctior: qui nunc primum doctrinam eius admirantur.
Hæ potißimæ mihi causæ uisæ sunt: cum obscuritatis scriptorum eius, tum in reprehendendo uehementiæ. Quis hanc illi uitio uertat? si illorum, quos reprehendebat: ignauiam, odium, fraudes, diligentius secum perpendat? quis eum inique fecisse dixerit? quod cauit ne scriptorum eius [sig. A4v] sensum apprehenderent ij: qui tantis archanis, tantoq́ue rerum naturæ thesauro indigni erant. Neque enim ignorabat deum ita uelle: quin aliquando fore minimè dubitabat: imò prædicebat: quod à librorum eius lectione, neque obscuritas rerum, neque uocabulorum nouitas eos deterritura esset: quorum mentes deus Opt[imus] Max[imus] diuino lumine illustrasset. Neque enim omnibus ista primo statim aditu patêre solent: neque nos, qui uel legimus: uel publicamus Paracelsi[in 1] libros: in archanorum adita omnes penetrauimus: sed adhuc in uestibulo nonnulli ambulamus: expectantes, donec nos Christus filius dei, unicus sapientiæ autor intromittat. Cum res ita se reuera habeat: cui uidebitur mirum: si obscurius, ueterum more, sua tractauit? si errores liberius taxauit? prouocatus ab ijs, qui auaritiæ, ignauiæq́ue dediti: tueri potius ignorantiam suam: quàm addiscere meliora cupiebant. Hoc dolendum maximè est: esse hodie in tam exculto seculo homines doctißimos: qui tot, tantaq́ue dei dona per Theophrastum[in 2] nobis communicata, nestio odio magis personæ uel fato quodam repudiantes: scripta eius temerè, & iniquè damnant. Non enim ueterûm ille autoritatem conuellere: penitusqúe tollere uoluit: dum in Aristotele,[in 3] eiusque interpretibus: dum in Galeno,[in 4] Rhazi,[in 5] & alijs errores demonstrauit: sed ab Apolline,[in 6] Machaone,[in 7] Esculapia,[in 8] , & Hippocrate[in 9] [sig. A5r] traditam medicinam, ac paulò pòst per iatrosophistas obscuratam rursus illustrare studuit. Fuit enim apud ueteres quoque metallicarum rerum usus: quem Theophrastus[in 10] magno iudicio, diuina excitatus gratia, reuocauit: multaqúe mortalibus alia ex natura rerum patefecit: quorum semina hinc inde in ueteribus latent. Nam & Anaxagoras Clazomenus,[in 11] qui antè Aristotelem[in 12] fuit: περὶ ἐκστροφῶν φυσικῶν, id est, de summæ medicinæ præparatione græce scripsit: & Democriti[in 13] de eiusmodi rebus Græcum carmen extat: & Olympiodorus,[in 14] ut plures alios omittam, χεμευτικὰ reliquit. Quin & Hebemesue[in 15] apud Arabes Auri potabilis usum habuit: nec Thomas de Aquina[in 16] ab his rebus alienus fuit. Quid de Arnoldo Villanouano,[in 17] de R[aimundo] Lullio,[in 18] de Rogerio Bachone[in 19] multisqúe alijs commemorem? qui omnes non medicinam scriptam, sed naturæ insculptam quæsiuerunt: nec tàm metallorum cupidi, quàm sanitatis hominum in Philosophorum lapide inuestigando studiosi fuerunt: quoniam hunc unicam omniumq́ue præstantißimam medicinam esse existimauerunt. Sunt apud Dioscoridem[in 20] rerum extractiones, aliæq́ue artis Chemicæ præparationes: quas hodiè pauci in eo animaduertunt. Quid quod Galenus,[in 21] Philosophorum sales, aliaq́ue ex Martione accepit? qui alicubi etiam Chemiam celebrat: sine [sig. A5v] qua nullæ ueræ præparationes existunt.
Hæc Theophrastus[in 22] in omnium gentium scriptoribus obseruauit: in lucem protuli: perfectius, certius, illustriusque tractauit. Philosophiæ uerò, fundamentum non ab Aristotelis[in 23] uel autoritate, uel opinionibus, sed à diuino sacrarum literarum principio sumpsit: quo magnum illud totius orbis mysterium conditum ab omnipotente deo fuit: unde etiam omnes artes initia sua acceperunt. Cumq́ue homo ex omnium rerum, ut Theophrastus docet, quæ in maiori mundo continentur, quinta essentia factus sit: unde microcosmus appellatur: ueram maioris, minorisq́ue mundi anatomiam ostendit: Astronomiam illam magnam, diuinum opus, quæ nostris hominibus hactenus incognita fuit: magna doctissimorum hominum admiratione patefecit.
Nónne magna plantarum inter se & concordia est, & pugna: ut hæc illam ferre proprius se nolit: alia uerò iuxta aliam speciei diuersæ plerunque inueniatur. Inde fit, ut in compositione etiam aliquando pugnent. Quid quod nonnullæ herbæ huic uel illi morbo conueniunt: sed uel hoc tempore, uel hioc ægroto non sunt idonea. Eadem mineralium, & metallorum ratio est: quæ omnia, quod non præstant ea: quæ de ijs traduntur: nulla alia causa est: quam & præparationum, & earum artium, quæ medico necessariæ sunt: ignoratio: Ana- [sig. A6r] tomiæ, Physionomiæ Chyromantiæ, Necromantiæ & similium: quas naturæ artes Paracelsus[in 24] ab eorum iniuria uindicauit: qui turpiter illis sunt abusi. Quid de metallicarum rerum affectibus? quid de alijs nouis morbis referam? quos ille fœlicißime explicatos nobis reliquit. Ea de morbo Gallico scripsit: quæ facilius est admirari, quàm commentatione æquare. Prætereo multa: quis enim omnes eius artes explicaret? quibus medendi doctrinam ita exornauit, auxit, & absoluit: ut parum ad eius perfectionem deesse uideatur.
Quæ cum ita sint: quis non potius honorare: quàm carpere eum uelit? quare omnes bonos uiros, qui in arte medica nomen, usumq́ue habent, rogo, oro, & obtestor: ut cognoscant prius, quæ sit Theophrasti[in 25] doctrina: quam damnent. non odio habeant hominem: sed rem ipsam expendant. non affectibus indulgeant: sed æquo animo legant: placidè examinent: sinereq́ue iudicent. Neque Paracelso imputent: si quid perperam fit ab ijs: qui se illius profitentur sectatores: qui non erimus omnes eiusmodi: quales nos esse oportebat. Sed hæc fortasse prolixius disputaui: in quibus hoc unum mihi propositum fuit: ut bonos, doctosq́ue medicos ad Theophrasti scripta sine odio, inuidia, & calumnijs legenda, animo candido cohortarer: in quo me neminem offendisse spero.
[sig. A6v] Nunc pauca de hoc libello dicam: quem cum ab amico singulari, ut in lucem darem: accepissem: tibi eum, generose comes, inscribere, atque dedicare uolui: ut pro tua in me beneuolentia, pro acceptis à te beneficijs, aliqua animi mei grati testificatio esset. Maiori dignus eras, fateor, munere: sed hoc etiam leuidense, quæ tua bonitas est: non aspernaberis. Non abhorrebis à titulo libri: si enim Hippocratem,[in 26] qui ex illustrißimo Herculis, atque Esculapij genere originem duxit: eiusmodi tractare non puduit: nec te dedecebit: hæc quæ ad te mitto: ab inuidorum iniurijs defendere.
Exemplaribus usus sum quatuor: dediq́ue sedulò operam, ut quàm emendatißimus liber, si fieri posset, in publicum prodiret. Si quid in eo medici desiderabunt: non id Theophrasto, sed tempori, & fortunæ imputent: quæ plerunque bonis autoribus aduersari solet: ut uel carie consumantur: uel inuidorum fraudibus dilacerentur: ne ad aliorum quoque manus perueniant. quod Theophrasto in pluribus libris accidisse uidemus. Erunt hæc, ut spero, multis bonis uiris grata: ut etiam de pulsibus libellus: ex quibus apparet: falso aliquos clamitare: quod urinæ pulsuumq́ue iudicium Theophrastus sine iudicio reijciat: dum abusum tollit: uerumq́ue usum ostendit. in quo Galenicos medicos sibi atipulantes multos habet. Etenim ut ex pulsu de omnibus mor- [sig. A7r] bis iudicium certum sumi non potest: qui sæpe neque mortem minatur: neque uitam promittit: dum etiam post mortem aliquandiu interdum durat: Sic & urina sæpißime fallit: cuius inspiciendæ consuetudinem, quæ in Germania est: plurimi clarißimi medici detestantur: cum cætera signa uel audire uel uidere non conceditur. qua de re cum nostris medicis familiariter sæpe contuli. Si quid in hoc libro Theophrastus habet certius, quàm ab alijs scriptum extat: grato animo lectores accipiant: donec meliora eius scripta, quæ adhuc latent, in lucem proferantur.
Te uerò, generose comes, etiam atque etiam oro: ut meum in te studium boni consulas: meosq́ue conatus, ut fecisti hactenus: fouere ne desinas: de qua tua in me beneuolentia, aliquando, ut spero, commodius dicam. Si enim hîc commemorare uellem: quibus animum uirtutibus exornaueris: qua erga omnes humanitate uti soleas: quæ tua sit in rebus agendis prudentia, quæ dexteritas, quod iudicium: longior mihi hoc libello præfatio instituenda esset. Quid dicam de studijs tuis? de linguarum cognitione? de amore artium optimarum? Non refero singulare artis medicæ studium: in cuius arcanis inuestigandis, ueterum heroum more, sedulus semper extitisti. Prætereo rerum inuestigationem insaturabilem: quoniam si saltem rara, atque admi- [sig. A7v] randa, quæ habes: enumerare conrarer: dies me deficeret. Quamobrem his omnibus in aliud tempus omißis: te Christo filio Dei unigenito commendo: rogoq́ue ut & mentem tuam spiritu suo illustret: & uitam tibi det longæuam, saluam, & tranquillam: ut quàm diutißimè optimarum artium studia te Mecænate frui poßint. Vale. Argentorati. XVI. Cal[endis] Decemb[ris]. Anno M. D. LXVII.
- ↑ Paracelsus
- ↑ Paracelsus
- ↑ Aristoteles
- ↑ Galenus
- ↑ Rhazes
- ↑ Apollus
- ↑ Machaon
- ↑ Äskulap
- ↑ Hippokrates
- ↑ Paracelsus
- ↑ Anaxagoras
- ↑ Aristoteles
- ↑ Demokritus
- ↑ Olympiodorus
- ↑ Johannes Damescenus
- ↑ Thomas von Aquin
- ↑ Arnaldus de Villanova
- ↑ Raimundus Lullus
- ↑ Roger Bacon
- ↑ Dioskurides
- ↑ Galenus
- ↑ Paracelsus
- ↑ Aristoteles
- ↑ Paracelsus
- ↑ Paracelsus
- ↑ Hippokrates
English Raw Translation
Generated by ChatGPT on 16 March 2023. Attention: This translation is a machine translation by artificial intelligence. The translation has not been checked and should not be cited without additional human verification.
Of genuine noble lineage, with a zeal for virtue and a great love for the best of the arts, to the truly noble Lord Ulrich, Count of Montfort and Rottenfels, Lord of Detnang, Argen, and Vuasserburg, Michael Toxites of Rhaetia, physician of Strasbourg and Imperial Palatine Count, offers his heartfelt greetings.
If the same zeal and diligence had been applied to the pursuit of truth that natural philosophers have often wasted in fruitless argument, both philosophy and medical science would long since have been perfected and completed. But as everyone is carried away by their own passions, it happens that many prefer inferior things to better ones and take more pleasure in what they are accustomed to than in the truth. Hence the ardor for disputing, rather than investigating the truth, was aroused, and even the best discoveries have had their detractors, who have striven with all their might to prevent anything from coming to light that might diminish their own authority. For it is difficult to acknowledge error, lest the blindness in which we have been steeped for many years should cause us shame. And although I could make this plain by many examples, I will speak only of our own Theophrastus, because I see that today he is undeservedly attacked not only by the unlearned and ignorant physicians of old, but also by modern scholars. One critic finds fault with his obscurity and use of new words, another hates his vigor in refuting old ideas, some cannot bear his basic principles, while others heap other slanders on him. If anyone wanted to reply to all these criticisms, he would need a great store of patience. Therefore, leaving aside other criticisms, I will briefly and honestly explain what inspired him to write and why he wrote so obscurely and bitterly about the physicians of his time, during which he could have flourished greatly for the benefit of all Germany if he had recognized his good fortune. He used his own terms and what his opponents call "venomous" substances without endangering the sick, and he defended himself so well that he needs neither my nor anyone else's defense. This book is publicly available. Let lovers of truth read it and judge it with a calm mind, putting aside their passions and the desire to argue. If they do so, those of us who revere Theophrastus will thank the most gracious God for what they understand, and they will not lose hope of perceiving what still remains hidden from them.
When Theophrastus Paracelsus observed numerous errors in the medical field and desired greater certainty, he initially abandoned it and proposed a different way of life. However, when Christian charity led him to a different path, his first priority was to investigate something more certain for all illnesses than what was available in books, which had been revealed to us not only by the Greeks and Arabs, but also by the barbaric Latin language. He believed that medicine was not a speculative art, but a science that contained medicines confirmed not only by experience, but also by nature against all diseases, and that the fault did not lie with the art, but rather with ignorant physicians if patients did not recover lost health in difficult diseases. Therefore, in order not to be considered similar to those he criticized, he traveled not only throughout Europe but also to other regions of the world, participated in many medical battles, joined several academies, and was not ashamed to learn from people of different conditions.
And when he had combined the highest infallible doctrine of experience, which he had obtained from the ancient Kabbalah and the innermost nature of things by God's grace and had approved by long use, with great judgement, he sought only one thing: to restore both universal philosophy and the art of healing, purified, corrected, and rectified of all vice, error, and blemish, to their own honor and place, not out of a desire to criticize, but out of love to help his country. He did this freely, bravely, and honestly in his writing and public teaching. He denied that medicine could be learned or practiced correctly without knowledge of philosophy, so he wisely believed that a physician should be supported by these four columns, as he called them: philosophy, astronomy, chemistry, and virtue. He did not propose these parts incidentally, but with great effort to those who were learning, and he believed that a physician should be educated in these arts from the earliest years of his studies. He did not like the custom of our people who seek shortcuts in all arts at great expense to learners, and who leave the sources behind after presenting epitomes and force their listeners to drink from gaps. This has resulted in the obscuring of the teaching method of ancient philosophy in academies to a large extent. Although he polished philosophy in two hundred and thirty books and illuminated medicine in forty-six great vigils, he produced abstruse and arcane things with the utmost faith for the use of mortals in the light. Yet he still experienced the envy, hatred, and slander of many who not only brought him into contempt as if he were only famous for empiricism and had not used reason or transmitted his art, had not observed any method, but also tried to take his life. As he was increasingly forced to bear this indignity every day, and as he endured unbearable criticisms and various traps with singular zeal and the most learned labors according to Christian will, he began to treat what he had established more obscurely and suppressed what he had intended for publication with justifiable sorrow, so as not to throw pearls to swine. He sometimes concealed his secrets even from his closest friends, because he had been deceived by many, and thus he was considered less learned by some who now admire his doctrine for the first time.
These are the main reasons that seemed to me: both the obscurity of his writings and his vehemence in reproaching. Who could blame him for this? If he were to carefully consider the cowardice, hatred, and deceitfulness of those whom he reproached? Who would say that he acted unfairly in cautioning against those who were unworthy of understanding the deep mysteries and treasures of nature contained in his writings? For he did not ignore the fact that God so willed it and at times even predicted that those who read his books would not be deterred by the obscurity of the subject matter or the novelty of the language, as their minds had been illuminated by divine light. For not all are immediately granted access to these things, nor have we, who either read or publish the books of Paracelsus, penetrated all the innermost secrets, but some of us still walk in the vestibule, waiting for Christ the Son of God, the sole author of wisdom, to lead us in.
Given the reality of the situation, who would find it surprising if Paracelsus wrote more obscurely, following the ancient custom? Or if he criticized errors more freely? Provoked by those who were devoted to greed and laziness, who preferred to protect their own ignorance rather than learn something better. It is most regrettable that there are learned men today in such an enlightened age who, out of personal animosity or some strange fate, reject so many of God's gifts to us through Paracelsus and rashly condemn his writings.
For he did not want to overthrow the authority of the ancients, but rather to remove it completely, while demonstrating errors in Aristotle and his interpreters, in Galen, Rhazes, and others, and then sought to illustrate the medicine handed down from Apollo, Machaon, Asclepius, and Hippocrates, which had been obscured by the iatrosophists. For even among the ancients there was use of metallic substances, which Theophrastus, inspired by divine grace and with great judgement, recalled and revealed many other things from the nature of things, the seeds of which are hidden here and there in ancient texts. For Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, who preceded Aristotle, wrote in Greek about "natural revolutions," which concerns the preparation of the highest medicine; there is also a Greek poem by Democritus on such subjects, and Olympiodorus left behind his work "Chemical Treatises," among others. Indeed, Jabir ibn Hayyan among the Arabs also used drinkable gold, and Thomas Aquinas was not indifferent to these things. Shall I mention Arnoldus de Villa Nova, Raymond Lully, and Roger Bacon, among many others? All of them sought not written medicine, but rather the medicine inscribed in nature, and were more interested in the health of humans than in metals, investigating the philosopher's stone because they believed it to be the only and most excellent medicine of all. There are extractions of substances and other chemical preparations in Dioscorides' works, which few notice today. And what about Galen, who received the salts of the philosophers and other things from Martius, and who in some places also celebrates chemistry, without which there are no true preparations.
This is what Theophrastus observed in all the writers of all nations: I have brought it to light: I have treated it more perfectly, more certainly, and more illustriously. However, he took the foundation of philosophy not from the authority or opinions of Aristotle, but from the divine principle of sacred scriptures, from which that great mystery of the whole world was created by Almighty God, and from which all arts also derived their beginnings. As Theophrastus teaches, man, being made of the quintessence of all things contained in the larger world, is called the microcosm, and he shows the true anatomy of the larger and smaller worlds, revealing that great and divine work of astronomy, which has hitherto been unknown to our human beings, and which has caused great admiration among the most learned men.
Isn't there great harmony and conflict among plants, as Theophrastus teaches, so that one plant does not want to bear another, but often different species are found next to each other? Hence, it happens that they sometimes even fight in composition. What about the fact that some herbs are suitable for this or that disease, but are not suitable at this time or for this particular patient? The same applies to minerals and metals, which do not provide what is said about them for no other reason than ignorance of the preparations and arts that are necessary for the physician, such as anatomy, physiognomy, chiromancy, necromancy, and similar arts, which Paracelsus defended against their misuse. What about the affections of metallic things? What about other new diseases that he explained to us so felicitously? He wrote about the French disease in such a way that it is easier to admire than to equal in commentary. I omit many things, for who could explain all his arts? He so adorned, augmented, and perfected the doctrine of healing that it seems little is left for its perfection.
Considering these things, who would not rather honor him than criticize him? Therefore, I ask, beg, and implore all good men who have a name and use in the medical art to first understand Theophrastus' doctrine before condemning it. Let them not hold hatred towards the man, but instead consider the matter itself. Let them not indulge in emotions, but read with a calm mind, examine peacefully, and judge accordingly. And let them not blame Paracelsus if something is done improperly by those who profess to be his followers, for we will not all be of the same kind as we ought to be. Perhaps I have discussed these things at length, but my only aim was to encourage good and learned doctors to read Theophrastus' writings with an open mind, without hatred, envy, or slander, and I hope that I have offended no one.
Now I will say a few words about this little book, which I received from a dear friend with the request to publish it. I wanted to inscribe and dedicate it to you, noble friend, as a testimony of my gratitude for your kindness and the benefits I have received from you. You are worthy of a greater gift, I admit, but you will not refuse this small token, such is your generosity. You will not be ashamed of the title of the book, for if it did not shame Hippocrates, who traced his origin from the illustrious lineage of Hercules and Asclepius, to treat such matters, then it will not be shameful for you to defend me from the injustices of the envious by receiving this book that I send to you.
I have used four copies as my source and I have diligently worked to ensure that this book is published as accurately as possible. If there is anything missing that doctors may desire in it, they should not blame Theophrastus, but rather the time and fate, which often tend to oppose good authors by consuming their works with decay or tearing them apart with the tricks of the envious, so that they do not fall into the hands of others. We have seen this happen to Theophrastus in many of his books. I hope that many good men will find this pleasing, as well as the little book on pulses, from which it appears that some falsely accuse Theophrastus of rejecting the judgment of urine and pulses without reason, while he eliminates abuse and shows the truth of their use. Many Galenic doctors even claim him for themselves in this regard. For just as a certain judgment cannot be made about all diseases from pulses, which often do not threaten death or promise life, even sometimes persisting after death, so urine often deceives, and the habit of examining it, which exists in Germany, is detested by many excellent doctors, as they do not concede other signs that can be heard or seen. I have often discussed this matter with our doctors. If Theophrastus has anything more certain in this book than what is written by others, readers should accept it gratefully until his better writings, which are still hidden, are brought to light.
But I beg you, noble friend, again and again, to favor my zeal towards you and not to cease nurturing my efforts, as you have done so far. I hope to speak more favorably of your kindness to me someday. If I were to mention here the virtues with which you adorn your mind, your humanity towards all, your prudence, dexterity, and judgment in your actions, a longer preface to this book would be necessary. What can I say about your studies? Your knowledge of languages? Your love for the best arts? I will not recount your singular study of the medical art, in whose mysteries, like the heroes of old, you have always been diligent in investigating. I will pass over your insatiable pursuit of knowledge, for if I were to try to enumerate at least the rare and admirable things that you possess, it would take me days. Therefore, setting all of these aside for another time, I commend you to the only begotten Son of God, Christ, and I ask that He may illuminate your mind with His spirit and give you a long, healthy, and peaceful life, so that you may enjoy the study of the best arts for as long as possible, like a Mecenas. Farewell. At Strasbourg, on the sixteenth day before the kalends of December, in the year 1567.