Sennert 1619 Chymicorum
De chymicorum cum Aristotelicis et Galenicis consensu ac dissensu
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Caput IV. De Paracelso.
Theophrastus, inquam, Paracelsus cum vulgò in Medicorum Scholis tùm temporis ferè silentium esset de Chymia, & multa in praeparatione Pharmacorum meliùs fieri posse animadverteret, ad reformandam Medicinam animum adjecit. Verum quam reformare voluit, penè cum alijs omni-
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Contra passim Galenum, Avicennam, omnes´que Academicos & Medicinae Doctores acerbissimis convitijs prosequitur, & de pestilitate tract. 2. Parisienses, Patavinos, Monspelienses, Salernitanos, Viennenses, Lipsenses, non Professores veritatis, sed Confessores mendaciorum, Mendaces, non Doctores esse scribit. Qualia convitia in Medicos plurima passim in scriptis suis evomuit: quae omnia hîc recensere non libet. Quia tamen insigne modestiae specimen edidit, loco modò allegato, in praefat. Paragrani p. 199. integrum cum transcribere placet.
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Wie wird es euch Cornuten anstehen/ so ewer Cacophrastus ein Fürst der Monarchey sein wird? vnd jhr Calefactores werdet vnnd Schlotfeger: Wie dünckt euch/ so Secta Theophrasti triumphiren wird? vnd jhr werdet in meine Philosophey müssen/ vnd ewren Plinium Cacoplinium helffen/ vnd ewern Aristotelem Caco-Aristotelem heissen/ vnd ich werde sie vnd ewern Porphyrium, Albertum, &c. in meinem Dreck teuffen/ mit sampt ewer Gefatterschafft: Das wird mir zu wege bringen die Vis mineralis vnd generatio mineralium, vnd was zwischen den zweyen Polis liegt/ wird mein Harnisch sein/ ewer Astronomy vnd Laßtaffel Kunst in Pilats See zu werffen/ vnd die Alchimy mus mir ewern Aesculapium, ewern Avicennam, ewern
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Nec solùm Paracelsus se ita jactitat, sed & sectatores ejus illum summis laudibus in coelum tollunt. Inter eos Crollius, p. 7. suae praefationis, scribere ausus fuit; Paracelsi peritiam neminem adhuc attigisse, ne dum superare potuisse; eundem´que omnibus hominibus â temporibus Noae, atque ita Hermeti Trismegisto, Salomoni & alijs satis imprudenter praefert: dum pag. 56. & 67. scribit: Nullus mortalium in universa Philosophia & Medicina indubitato coeli favore tàm ardua & abdita arcana scivit & in publicum protulit, sicut Theophrastus ille Paracelsus, Vir & Philosophus omni aeternitatis memoriâ & honore dignißimus; cujus peritiam nemo inventus, qui attingere, nedum superare potuerit; Verus Medicinae Monarcha & primus Microcosmi Medicus, qui de interno homine, ejus´que officio â Deo creato, item de magnorum morborum in-
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Contra Aristotelicos & Galenicos omnibus, quibus possunt, convitijs proscindunt: Materiales & Elementares Ambulators, Aristotelicos tenebriones, Vulgares de Schola homines, Rabinos, & Thrasones, Athenienses, Philosophiae Ethnicae Sectatores, qui lucem tenebras & tenebras lucem vocent, vanissmarum vanitatum defensores nominant. Quibus recensendis tempus terere non libet. Neque enim ad rem aliquid faciunt. Prudenter Aristophanes, in Ranis:
Hinc tamen factum, ut non pauci & Paracelsum pro Chymicorum principe habeant & neminem Chymicum esse posse credant, nisi qui sit Paracelsicus. Qua in re multum falluntur.
Neque enim idem est Chymia & Paracelsia. Quod jam olim monuit vir clarissimus, & trium Imperat. Medicus, civis meus, J. Crato Epist. 137.
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Parentes ejus qui fuerint, ad rem multum non facit. Ipse se appellat Philippum Theophrastum Bombastum ab Hoenhaim seu Paracelsum, ex nobilissima & antiquissima in Eremo Helvetiorum familia. Verum refert Thomas Erastus, in Eremo Helvetiorum nullos esse Paracelsos, nullos Hohenhaimios, nullos Bombastos, nullos denique vel nobiles vel ignobiles, qui eum ut sanguine junctum agnoscant. Audivisse se, Paedagogum aliquando vixisse ibi, hominem exterum, & quod natus ille sit in loco, qui vocatur Altum nidum, unde fortassè Paracelsum denominaverint.
Vitae ejus quasi summam literis quibusdam complexus est Oporinus, civis Basiliensis fide dignus, qui Paracelsi amanuensis fuit, uxoratus jam. Nam, ut Erastus, parte 1. disp. contra Paracelsum p. 238. refert; Relictâ domi uxore, totobiennio eum secutus est, ut admirabilis doctrinae, quam jactabat, particeps fieret. Exstant quidem eae literae in vita Oporini à Jocisco descripta: verum cum non in omnium sint manibus, eas hic proponere libet. Nec refert, quod Levinus Battus, in epist. ad Henricum Smetium
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Neque saltem ista Oporinus scripsit: sed etiam saepè alijs narravit, ut Thomas Erastus, disput. contra Paracels. part. 1. testatur. Imò idem refert & testatur D. Henricus Bullingerus, qui Paracelsum Tiguri novit, cujus literas citat Erastus, allegato loco. Ex omnibus, inquit, ejus sermonibus pietatis nihil intelligere potui; Magiae autem, quam iste nescio quam fingebat, plurimùm. Si eum vidisses, non Medicum dixisses, sed aurigam: & sodalitio aurigarum mirificè delectabatur. Ergò dum viveret hic in diversorio Ciconiae observabat advenientes in hospitium aurigas, & cum ijs vorabat & perpotabat, ita nonnunquam vino sopitus, ut se in proximum scamnum collocaret, crapulam´que edormiret. Breviter: Sordidus erat per omnia, & homo spurcus. Rarò aut nunquam ingrediebatur coetus sacros, & visus est res divinas leviter curare.
Narrat quoque Erastus, Secunda parte disp. contra Paracelsum Georgium Vetterum virum
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Verum haec mittamus, quae satis docent, Paracelsum satis dissolutè vixisse. Quos Praeceptores habuerit, non adeô certum. Henningus quidem Scheunemannus, in Hydromantia Paracelsica, cap. 1. scribit: à Deo ter Opt. Max. Theophrastum Paracelsum edoctum scivisse, quicquid in rerum natura fuit scibile; &
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Ex quibus facilè apparet, Paracelsum non in publicis Scholis, quas passim exagitat, & usitatâ via Medicinam didicisse, sed quicquid cognitionis in ea habuit, è Chymicis libris & operationibus hausisse. Nam non solum anti-
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Quae quomodo inter se cohaereant, & cum veritate consentiant, ego quidem non video. Nam cum natus sit circa annum Christi 1494. & circa annum Christi 1526. & aliquot annis sequentibus, paulò post aetatis annum 30. Basileae vixerit & ibi docuerit, ut ex programmate & libro de Gradibus & compositione receptorum, item libris de Tartaro & urinarum judicijs & pulsibus apparet; & jam tùm libros Chirurgiae confecerat; postea verô anno 1531. ut ex praefatione Paramiri, Sangalli scripta, apparet, vixerit; anno 1535. in thermis Piperinis, ut ex libro de ijs scripto tom. 1. pag. 1116. videre est; Chirurgiae magnae dedicationem anno 1536. Augustae scripserit; anno 1537. Villaci vixerit, ut ex libris de natura rerum videre est; anno 1538. in Carinthia, ut ex Chronico Carinthiae & defensionibus videre est; atque ita ab anno aetatis 30. usque ad annum 1541. in Helvetia, Alsatia, Carinthia, Austria, Moravia, Suevia & vicinis locis vixerit, & tandem Salisburgi 1541. aetatis 47. mortuus fuerit: necesse est, ut ante 30. aetatis annum 10. illos annos (si modò unquam in Arabia fuit) in Arabia transegerit; atque ita non multò post annum aetatis 20. in eam profectus sit. Quod si verum est,
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Et cum animum ad reformandam Medicinam adjicere non potuerit, aut certè non debuerit (aliâs valdè temerarium factum fuisset, illud rejicere, quod quale esset, nunquam cognovisset) nisi prius antiquae medicinae falsitatem & imperfectionem cognitam & perspectam habuisset; nisi in Anatomicis & in simplicium medicamentorum cognitione se exercuisset; vulgatam componendi medicamenta rationem vidisset; successum antiquae medicinae in curandis morbis animadvertisset: quo aetatis anno ista didicerit, quâm diu in Germaniae, Galliae & Italiae Academijs vixerit, tanem´que usitatae doctrinae & antiquae medicinae pertaesus melioris discendi gratiâ longum illud iter susceperit, non ita facilè conciliare est. Ut jam de eo nihil dicam, quando Graecam & Latinam linguam, Philosophi-
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Id ergo, si haec omnia in omnem partem versemus, vero magis consentaneum est, & res ipsa testatur; Eum nullâ linguarum & Philosophiae cognitione instructum, artem Medicam antiquam, quam nunquam satis cognoverat, reprehendere & reformare coepisse, & experimentis saltem faciendis intentum fuisse, atque ea de caussa tot loca pervagatum fuisse, & Agyrtas, Nigromanticos, & id genus alios frequenter consuluisse.
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Neque video quomodo famae Paracelsi quem supra omnes mortales extollere cupiunt, fabulosis narrationibus consulatur, qualem continet prologus cujusdam Valentini Antaprassi Silorani, qui tomo operum primo insertus est, & p. 476 continetur. In eo prologo scribit, quisquis fuit ille Antaprassus;
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Verum quâm eruditus Paracelsus fuerit, infra demonstrabitur, ubi de dogmatibus ejus in specia agemus: hoc saltem hic addimus; assentire nos Crollio non posse, qui, in Praefat. admonit. scribit: neminem adhûc Paracelsi peritiam attingere, ne dum superare potuisse, ut qui supra, quam credi poßit, omnium scientiarum divinarum & humanarum absolutam habuerit cognitionem, & de origine magnorum incurabilium morborum â temporibus Noae solus ea scripserit, quae superiorum aetatum Medicorum nulli ne per somnium in mentem venerint. Fidem majorem habemus sacris literis & DEO, qui de Salomone, 3. Reg. 3. v. 12. testatur: Ecce feci tibi secundum sermones tuos, & dedi tibi cor sapiens & intelligens in tantum, ut nullus ante te similis tui fuerit, nec post te surrecturus sit. Ideo´que Paracelsum Salomoni non aequiparamus, nec eum omnium scientiarum divinarum & humanarum absolutum cognitionem habuisse, persuaderi possumus. Si enim tàm sapiens fuit, cur vitae suae modum habere non potuit? Nam qui proficit in literis, & deficit in moribus, plus deficit, quâm proficit: etiam in trivio inculcatur. Et cum initium sapientiae timor Domini sit, eum ne omnium mortalium sapientissimum fuisse credamus, quem Oporinus toto,
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Et quod absolutam omnium divinorum & humanorum cognitionem non habuerit, absurda quaedam, imò impia ejus dogmata testantur. Nam quis sanae mentis credat, ea vera esse, quae infra ex libris Meteor. afferemus? quis nisi a mens sibi persuaderi patiatur, quod, lib. Meteor. c. 3. scribit; Noctem non ex absentia Solis, sed ex ortu stellarum nocturnarum, quarum fructus sunt tenebrae, provenire? quid credat; stalls quasdam habere se instar cucurbitarum & phiolarum, & suis concavitatibus continere Salem, Sulphur, & Mercurium, atque inde per operationem aetherei Vulcani per emunctoria ventos emittere, non secus, ut cum flatus in corpore humani generantur, & per inferiorem gutturem, seu utipse Paracelsus loquitus, dum homo assellat, excernuntur? Ejusdem absurditatis est, quod, eod. lib. c. 6. statuit: pluvias non
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Neque ista, quasi ex Mose hausta sint, palliare potest; cum talia in Mose non exstent: Mosi etiam in physici parùm & vix plusquam Galenus tribuat. Ita enim de eo scribit, in fine allegati libri: Moses donum intelligentiae particulariter habuit, non totum. Nihil enim scribit de proprietate, qualitate, prima materia limbi aeterni & limbi Elementorum, sed saltem de materia terrae, è qua homo; & tamen saltem una parte: trium partium, Aeris, Aquae Ignis non facit mentionem. Non enim Moses fuit Physicus, sed à Deo vocatus, ut esset Dux sui populi. Ideo´que ejus descriptio Laicis planè obscura est: Et Physicus valdè infirmis fundamentis niteretur, si textui Mosis sine explicatione fidem haberet, imò rem ridiculam ageret.
Hîc meritò quaeritur, si neque ex sacris literis suam de creatione mundi & lapsu primorum parentum & mundi systemate sententiam hausit, neque eam ullibi rationibus vel experientiâ probavit, unde eam acceperit? atque inprimis unde illa opinionem portenta de Melosinis, Diemeis, Durdalibus, Neufarenis, Lorindis, Nesderis, Gnomis, Lamijs, Nymphis, Syrenibus, quae lib. 1. de Philos. ad Atheniens. t. 13. & alibi proponit, hauserit.
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Mira quoque de morte & resurrectione mortuorum habet. Philosophiae Sagacis, lib. 2. cap. 1. p. 432. in fine, dicit, Deum mortem creasse. Paginâ seq. explicans locum Jobi, In carne mea videbo Deum meum, duo genera carnis in terra constituiot, unum ex Adamo, alterum
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Neque haec aliquam interpretationem admittunt, quod scilicet idem dicat, quod Paulus 1. Cor. 15. carnem & sanguinem non posse haereditatem coeli habere, id est, carnem, quam ex Adamo accepimus, non posse ad haereditatem coelestem admitti, antequam supernè sit regenerata. Expressè enim scribit, corpus mortale nullo modo glorificari posse, sed in morte totum ab homine separari. Paulus verò, loco alleg. v. 53. scribit, δεῖ τὸ Φθαρτὸν τοῦτο ἐνδύσασθαι ἀφθαρσίαν, καὶ τὸ θνητὸν τοῦτο ἐνδύσασθαι ἀθανασίαν. Ita licet Dornaeus, in admonitione ad Erastum, scribat; Paracelsum saltem de Virginis Mariae regeneratione locutum esse, quo moddo scilicet, Joh. 1. dicitus; Filios Dei non ex sanguinibus, neque ex
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Verum plura de his, cum ad Medicinam non pertineant, non addo: Prudenti sat dictum. Qui plura hac de re cognoscere cupit, legat Erastum, disp. 1. contra Paracelsum p. 244. & seqq. aliquot. & ibid. p. 24. Ubi septem horrendarum blasphemiarum reum peragit Paracelsum. Primò quod fingat cum Ario & Photino, Verbum, quo Deus creavit universa, aliam â Deo essentiam habere, creatum esse & corruptioni adeo´que Dei judicio obnoxium. Deinde quod ponat plures Deos tales, per quos summus Deus hunc mundum architectatus fuerit. Tertiô quod neget palàm Christum esse creatorem, dum eum facit separatorem, & quidem sociis ei additis pluribus. Quartò quod neget Adamum creatum fuisse â Deo perfectum in principio, sed consummatum ipsum asserat, in lib. de vermibus ab esu pomi, hoc est, Diabolo, qui per pomum omnem suam sapientiam in hominem transfuderit.
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Quales autem in rebus physicis & medicis ejus opiniones sint, paulò post videbimus. Jam quid in Chymicis & curando praestiterit, quae laus ejus praecipua est, & ob quod tantam famam adeptus est, paucus discipiamus. Et principiò quod transmutationem metallorem attinet, in ea Paracelsum aliquid praestitisse, negandum non est. De eo enim, in epistola, Oporinus ita scribit: Pecuniae erat prodigus profusor, & eâ ita saepè destitutus, ut ne obulum quidem ei superesse scirem. Crastino statim rursum crumenam benè instructam se habere ostendebat, ut non rarò admiratus fuerim; unde ei fuisset suppeditata. Deinde aurum fecisse Paracelsum ex Plumbo & argento vivo Michael Neander testes producit in sua Geographia tum publicos, tum privatum quendam Franciscum, cujus etiam epistolam affert, quam & And. Libavius, libro 2. defensionis Alchymiae transmutatoriae contra Guibertum, inseruit. In ea ille Franciscus, annorum tunc 72. pietate, doctrinâ & opibus dignitate´que in Bohemia praestans, qui adolescens per semestre Basileae cum
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Quantum verò ad medicamenta Chymica, multa cum ex tenebris in lucem produxisse etiam negandum non est. Utinam sine invidia id praestitisset, & qualia accepisset, bonâ fide nobis communicasset. Nam dum antiquos omnes etiam Chymicos prae se contemnit, se valdè suspectum reddit. Ego quidem, ne iniquior in ipsum esse videar, hîc eum non accusabo: illud tamen tacere non possum, quod Bernhardus Penotus, inter Chymicos hujus seculi non ignotus, de eo scribit, in fine libelli de denario Medico, Si, inquit, extarent Joh. Isaaci Hollandi opera, & in lucem mitterentur, Paracelsi opera sepilerentur. Hic ipse Isaacus Hollandus ille est, de quo Paracelsus va-
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Quantum verò ipse aegros curando praestiterit, non eadem omnium est sententia. In Epitaphio ipsi tribuitur, quod dira illa vulnera, Lepram, Podagram, Hydropsin, alia´que insanabilia corporis contagia mirificâ arte sustulerit. Et Oporinus, in epistola, ipsi mirabilem faciendi medicinam, in omni morborum genere promtitudinem & felicitatem tribuit, & quod in ulceribus etiam deploratissimis miracula ediderit, nullâ´que ratione victus praescripta aut observata, sed cum patientibus suis dies & noctes potando eos pleno, ut solebat dicere, ventre curarit. Ac Franciscus ille, in Epistola nuper allegata, scribit; quod cum mulier quaedam eum accessisset, virum suum graviter decumbere conquerens, adeò, ut metueret, ne instante nocte decederet, responderit: Vir tuus cras
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Quibus autem medicamentis usus fuerit, si quaeratur; ipse quidem, lib. de Tinctur. Physicorum c. 7. scribit: Se tincturâ Philosophicâ curasse morbum Gallicum, Lepram, Hydropem, dolores Colicos, Apoplexiam, Esthiomenon, Cancros, Fistulas, omnia´que mala interna. Fides sit penes auctorem. Alij plerique Mercurialibus medicinis ipsum usum esse existimant. Franciscus ille, in Epistola, pulverem Hydroticum, quo virum illum citô curavit, album fuisse refert. Oporinus testatur, ipsum pulverem praecipitati Theriaca aut Mithridatio aut Cerasorum vel Botrorum succo in pilulas redacto in omni morborum gernere ad purgandum usum fuisse; Laudano, quod forma pilularum parvarum impari semper numero extremâ tantùm morborum difficultate tanquam sacram medicinam exhibuit, ita gloriatum fuisse, ut non dubitarit affirmare, ejus solius usu se ê mortuis vivos reddere posse, id´que aliquoties, dum apud ipsum fuit, re ipsâ declarasse. Refert quoque Thomas Erastus, parte 4. disp. advers. Paracel. p. 301. Medicum quendam doctum & Chymiae peritissimum, & qui omnem diligentiam adhibuerit, ut posset verum â falso hac in parte discer-
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Sunt ergo non pauci, qui, ut ex Erasto dictum, ei ulcerum difficilium curationis laudem non adimunt: tanta tamen in alijs morbis, Hydrope, Podagra, Lepra, Epilepsia & similibus curandis praestitisse, quanta vulgò de eo praedicantur, non concedunt, multò minus quod omnes morbos curare potuerit; id´que non obscuris documentis probant. Primô enim affert Erastus, part. 3. disp. contra Paracel. Domini Doctoris Marci Recklau, Illustrissimorum Principum, Elector. & Palatini Rheni Domini Ottonis Henrici & Domini Friderici testis oculati Epistolam, in qua, praeter alia etiam, haec scribit ad Erastum: Cum inter sermones tussire eum (Paracelsum) ex catarrho animad-
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Operae pretium etiam fuerit, quia in omnium manibus non est Epistolam Medici Clarissimi Joh. Cratanis trium Imperatorum Romanorum Archiatri, quam ad Thomam Erastum scripsit, ex 4. disp. contra Paracel. parte, afferre. Ita autem ille: Die 25. Maij ad 1570. cum Pragae in cubiculo Caesaris convenissent Medici, videlicet Doctor Julius Alexandrinus, Ego & Nicolaus Biesius, acceßit nos Generosus Baro Dominus Bertoldus à Leippa, Marschallus Regni Bojemiae, Caesar. Majestatis Consiliarius & Camerarius, ac tum de Medicis sermo esset, ajebat:
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Vita ejus ita dissoluta fuit, ut illum Medicinae idoneum reformatorem agnoscere, multò minus absolutam rerum divinarum & humanarum ipsi tribuere cognitionem, aut cum Paracelsistis & Weigelianis, Fratrum Roseae Crucis nomen prae se ferentibus, inter Heroas & ingenia à Deo summè illuminata ad artes imperfectas restituendas, numerare non possimus. Quomodo enim Homo dies noctes´que cum rusticis & aurigis compotando consumens, manè crapulâ gravatus, vel etiam adhuc ebrius & quasi τετυφωμενος, in medio hypocausto columnae assistens, manibus capulo ensis (cujus κοίλωμα non-
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Felicitatem in curando quod attinet, ulcerum difficilium curationem felicem omnes ipsi tribuunt: verum in alijs morbis curandis etsi discipuli multum illi tribuant, infelicium tamen curationum testes fide dignos supra adduximus. Crediderim Mercurialia quaedam eum usurpasse medicamenta fortiora, quibus vehementer natura irritata caussas morborum, quas alij Medici mitioribus medicamentis tollere non potuerunt, excussit, atque ita aliquos desperatos, sed non sine periculo curavisse. Quod tamen eadem curatio illi non semper feliciter successerit, historiae testantur. Ut jam non dicam, ipsum multis de Magia suspectum esse. Sed quid suspectum esse dico; cum plurimi, ut supra dictum, id testati sint, & ipse eam & ejus cultores, Techellum & alios toties laudet, & multos morbos medicamentis naturalibus incurabiles magia curari posse statuat; eam´que curandi rationem sibi non ignotam esse, non diffiteatur, & vel â Diabolo medicamenta &
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Addo tandem & illud, soepè famam facta superare & fidem, & mundum opinionibus regi, atque apud vulgus indoctissimos soepe agyrtas applausum mereri, & doctrissimis Medicis praeferri, ut exempla ubivis obvia sunt, de quibus jam non dicam. Illud judicij informandi gratiâ non omitto. Quantae authoritatis apud multos sit P. Severinus quondam Regis Daniae Medicus, omnibus notum est; qui & ipse in Idaea Medicina, p. 341. nec Podagras, nec Hydropes, nec Lepras, nec Epilepsias insanabiles esse scribit: de eo tamen Johannes Paludanus Medicus olim Regis Daniae viduae, postea urbis Wipurgensis, in Juthia Septentrionali Cimbrorum Medicus, ita ad Henricus Smetium scribit: Quod inquiris de miraculosa & certa deploratorum & incurabilium alijs affectuum curandorum solertia & successu, quanquam homini docto & apud multos magni habito nihil detrahere volo, ingenuè tamen fateor, famam factis superiorem. Varijs medicamentis ad varios morbos usus est, sed saepe vehementioribus, in quorum usu hoc per saepè evenit, quod illis accidere solet, qui ad fructuum maturationem arborum radicibus calcem admovent. Medicamentis Paracelsicis non semper usus est, verum & compositionibus Galenicis saepe;
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Sennert, Daniel: De chymicorum cum Aristotelicis et Galenicis consensu ac dissensu, Wittenberg: Zacharias Schürer, 1619.
— VD17 39:115710D.
— View at Google Books here or here
English Raw Translation
Generated by ChatGPT on 2 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.
Finally, in the year of Christ 1493, Philip Theophrastus Paracelsus was born in Switzerland, who, as he himself reports in the first chapter of the second part of his Great Surgery treatise, had obtained excellent teachers in alchemy and had not only been instructed by his parents in alchemy but had also been assisted by the writings of Seth, bishop of Settegast, Erhard Lavater, Nicolas, bishop of Hippo, Matthaeus Schacht, suffragan bishop of Freising, Abbot Spanheim, and many others, in order to establish a new sect and to overthrow the Hippocratic and Galenic schools. Following him were Alexander Suchtenius, Dornaeus, Phaedro, Dornheiserus, and P. Severinus Danus, who, however, did not fully agree with Paracelsus or with each other. Most of those who want to study alchemy today follow Petrus Severinus, who tried to consolidate the scattered Paracelsian doctrines into a systematic form, rather than Paracelsus himself. Hence, a new sect has arisen today, which can be called Severian.
Chapter IV. About Paracelsus.
I say that Theophrastus Paracelsus, when there was almost silence about alchemy in the schools of physicians of that time, and he noticed that many things could be better in the preparation of medicines, he set his mind to reforming medicine. However, what he wanted to reform, he almost overturned with all other sciences. For first, like that Thessalus, he named himself a patron: thus he, in the preface of the book on the Tincture of Physicists, dared to write that he should be considered the monarch of secrets, whom all Italians, French, Poles, Germans, philosophers, spagyrics, astronomers, who seek knowledge of natural philosophy, must follow as their leader, in the first and fourth chapters of the same book. And in the preface to the Paragranum, he orders that he, the monarch of wisdom, should be followed by Hippocrates, Avicenna, Galen, Rhasis, Montagnana, Mesue, the Parisians, the Montpellierans, the Suevians, the Miscnics, the Colonians, the Viennese, and all those who live along the Danube and the Rhine, the islands of the sea, Italy, Dalmatia, Athens, the Greeks, the Arabs, and the Israelites. In the preface to the first book on the Plague, which he wrote in Norlingae, he places his own books before the books written over a span of four thousand years.
On the other hand, he attacks Galen, Avicenna, and all the academics and doctors of medicine with the sharpest invectives everywhere, and in the treatise on the plague, he writes that the Parisians, the Paduans, the Montpellierans, the Salernitans, the Viennese, and the Lipsenses, are not teachers of truth, but confessors of falsehoods, liars, and not doctors. He vomits out many such invectives against physicians in his writings: it is not pleasing to list them all here. However, since he showed an outstanding example of modesty, I would like to transcribe it here in full, where it is cited, in the preface to the Paragranum, p. 199.
You must follow me, not I you, you after me, after me, Avicenna, Galen, Rhasis, Montagnana, Mesue, etc. After me, and not I after you. You from Paris, you from Montpellier, you from Swabia, you from Meissen, you from Cologne, you from Vienna, and those on the Danube and Rhine, you islands in the sea, you Italy, you Dalmatia, you Athens, you Greek, you Arab, you Israelite. After me, and not I after you. None of you will remain in the hindmost corner, where the dogs will not piss. I will be the monarch, and the monarchy will be mine, and I will lead the monarchy, and gird your loins. How do you like Cacophrastus? You must eat this dirt.
How will it become you, Cornutenus, when your Cacophrastus becomes a prince of the monarchy, and you become Calorificators and Chimney Sweepers? How do you think that the sect of Theophrastus will triumph, and you will have to enter into my philosophy, and help your Pliny Cacoplinius, and call your Aristotle Caco-Aristotle, and I will baptize them, and your Porphyry, Albertus, etc., in my filth, along with your associates. That will bring me the vis mineralis and generatio mineralium, and what lies between the two poles will be my armor. Your astronomy and calculus will be thrown into Pilate's Sea, and alchemy must turn your Aesculapius, your Avicenna, your Galen, etc., and all your writers into an alkali, and burn them to the last dregs in the reverberatory furnace, and you must be purified even more than gold through fire. You must pass through the crucible, and there I will see how you and your king are overthrown, and I will let you shine over the stinkstone, and virtue as the fourth pillar will make a great spectacle out of you, for the jurists have never devised punishment for a criminal like you. Oh, how your corrupt patients will laugh! Oh, poor Galen's soul! If he had remained innocent in medicine, his spirit would not have been buried in the depths of hell, where he wrote to me from. I never imagined that the prince of physicians would fall into the devil's anus, namely, that his disciple would follow him or at least his mother into the abyss. If this is a prince of medicine, and medicine stands with him, then the greatest rogues in medicine must be those who live under the sun. They also show that they follow him faithfully by declaring their hatred for ancient medicine and fanning the hatred of their supporters towards other physicians, lest they seem inferior to Luther. He contemptuously burned the volume of Avicenna's Canon to demonstrate his hatred for ancient medicine and to stir up the hatred of his followers towards other physicians, as Jacobus Curio Hofemianus reports in Hermotimus.
However, he seems to avoid the charge of novelty, and in order to be considered a Galenist, he narrates that in the town of the Bohemians, namely in Braunau, in a certain monastery, the most true and uncorrupted volumes of Galen and Avicenna are found, from which he himself is a better Galenist than all who are commonly so called. He wants to persuade that those things that have been handed down and faithfully preserved in all nations and propagated to us in the form of genuine writings of Galen and Avicenna are not, but those that he either invents or falsely bears the name of Galen and Avicenna.
Not only does Paracelsus boast of himself, but his followers also praise him highly. Among them, Crollius, in the preface to his work, dared to write that no one has yet reached Paracelsus' expertise, much less surpassed it, and he imprudently puts him ahead of all men from the time of Noah, as well as of Hermes Trismegistus, Solomon, and others. He writes on page 56 and 67: "No mortal in all philosophy and medicine has known and brought to public the as lofty and abstruse secrets with the unambiguous favor of heaven as that Theophrastus Paracelsus, a man and a philosopher most worthy of eternal memory and honor, whose expertise no one has been found who could touch, much less surpass. True monarch of medicine and the first physician of the microcosm, who alone wrote about the internal man and his office created by God, as well as about the origin of great incurable diseases as natural as metaphysical, from the time of Noah, which did not even come to mind of any of the physicians of the past." Likewise, Henning Scheunemann, in Paracelsian hydromancy, writes in the preface to his lectures: "Paracelsus so combined Hermetic and Hippocratic doctrine with the special assistance of the Holy Spirit that nothing more could be desired, and he acquired the name of monarch for his work." And many of his disciples included his praises in the inscription of his effigy and epitaph.
They lash out against Aristotelians and Galenists with all the insults they can muster: "Material and Elemental Strollers," "Dark Aristotelians," "Common School People," "Rabbis and Boasters," "Athenians," "Followers of Ethical Philosophy," those who call light darkness and darkness light, and defenders of the emptiest of vanities. It is not worth wasting time listing them all, for they do not contribute anything useful. As Aristophanes wisely said in "Frogs": "Examine, examine; but one should not insult philosophers like bakers."
Despite this, there are many who consider Paracelsus to be the prince of alchemists and believe that no one can be a true alchemist unless they follow in his footsteps. They are greatly mistaken in this regard.
However, alchemy is not the same as Paracelsianism. As a distinguished man, J. Crato, citizen and physician of three emperors, warned long ago in his letter 137 to Theodor Zwingli: "In many public matters and halls, I have saved Chymical medicines with some damage to my reputation. Forty years ago, no distilled oils, no extracts, no juices were found in pharmacies. With the help of God, pharmacists and physicians were educated in the success of my medication so that they now produce and use them everywhere. I never approved of the madness of Paracelsus, who despises the masters of the art and even the medical art itself for his secrets, as he calls them, and fabricates a new medicine for us from his furnaces, and sends students away from good authors to furnaces. He strives to cast down all the excellence of our age to extol his own medicines. " This is what Crato said. And it is not without reason that we have established a distinction between alchemy and Paracelsianism. It is well known that alchemy was cultivated long before Paracelsus by many learned men. And even though he himself cultivated and refined it, those who practice alchemy do not necessarily have to devote themselves entirely to Paracelsus and defend all his doctrines. Nevertheless, we see that many people make the same mistake as Galenists, who are too credulous and devoted to antiquity, while Paracelsians themselves make no less mistake by regarding all of Paracelsus's doctrines, even those without any reasons, almost as oracles. We see many examples of this, and we are not ignorant of the enormous praises and arrogant titles that Paracelsus and his followers have bestowed upon him, as mentioned earlier. And we hardly read of any philosopher or physician in any century who was given such great praise. So that the unwary may not be led into error about who Paracelsus was and whether he can sustain these praises without any bias, let us examine the matter without any affectation.
It does not matter who his parents were. He himself calls himself Philippus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, or Paracelsus, from the noblest and most ancient family in the Swiss hermitage. But Thomas Erastus reports that there are no Paracelsuses, no Hohenheims, no Bombasts, and no noble or ignoble people in the Swiss hermitage who recognize him as a blood relation. He heard that a foreign pedagogue once lived there and that Paracelsus may have been named after the place where he was born, which is called Hochdorf.
The life of Paracelsus has been summarized in certain letters by a trustworthy citizen of Basel named Oporinus, who was his amanuensis and already married. As Erastus reports in his first dispute against Paracelsus, Oporinus followed him for twenty years, leaving his wife at home, so that he could become a participant in the admirable doctrine which Paracelsus boasted of. These letters exist in the life of Oporinus described by Jociscus, but since they are not in everyone's hands, it is appropriate to present them here. It does not matter that Levinus Battus writes in a letter to Henricus Smetius that the speech against Theophrastus written in Basel was by his rivals. Even if those who wrote the life of Oporinus did not favor Paracelsus, the letter inserted in Oporinus's life was in the hands of many learned men while Oporinus was still alive, and he wrote those letters to the most famous doctors Solenandrum and Wierum. There were undoubtedly still many people who were familiar with Paracelsus, so it was not easy to find a place for falsehood.
However, he says: As for Theophrastus Paracelsus, who has long since died, I do not speak ill of him willingly; but I have experienced him alive in such a way that I would hardly want to live familiarly with such a man as I did with him, despite his remarkable promptness and success in making medicine for all kinds of diseases, I could not notice any piety or erudition in him. And I often wonder when I see so much being attributed to him that is said to have been written by him and left to posterity, of which I do not believe even one was ever presented to him in a dream. He was so addicted to drunkenness and debauchery all day and night, while I lived with him for almost two years, that he could hardly be found sober for an hour or two, especially after leaving Basel and being among the noble peasants and peasant nobles in Alsace, where he was admired by everyone as if he were another Aesculapius. Meanwhile, when he was most drunk, he would dictate to me something about his philosophy, which seemed to him to cohere so beautifully that it seemed it could not have been done better even by someone perfectly sober. Then, I would spend my time translating them into Latin as best I could. He never undressed at night during the entire time I lived with him, for he usually went to bed only when extremely drunk, and in this state, fully clothed and with a sword that he boasted belonged to some executioner, he threw himself onto the bed and often in the middle of the night he would rise up and go through the room with his naked sword, striking the floor and walls so frequently and with such frenzy that I feared my head would be cut off more than once. I could spend several days if I had to mention everything that I know I experienced with him. He always had his charcoal workshop set up with perpetual fires, sometimes boiling some alkali, sometimes sublimated oil, sometimes arsenic oil, sometimes crocus of Mars, or miraculous Oppodeldoch, and I don't know what kind of broths he was cooking. Once, during one of his distillations, he almost suffocated me with his noxious vapors when he asked me to watch the spirits rising in his alembic and put my nose closer to it, then removed the glass cover that was on top of the alembic, and the fumes invaded my nose and mouth, almost making me choke. He pretended to prophesy some things and boasted about his knowledge of certain mysteries, so I was always afraid to approach anything he was doing secretly. He had no concern for women, as I don't believe he ever had anything to do with them. At first, he was abstemious until he was about 25 years old, but then he learned to drink wine in such a way that he dared to provoke and surpass the peasants' full tables by drinking and inserting only a finger into his throat to relieve himself of the drunkenness, and then, as if he had not drunk a drop, indulging himself with more potions. He was a prodigal spender of money, and he was often left without a penny, so I didn't know how he could have been supplied with it again the next day. He had a new suit made for himself almost every month and gave the previous one to anyone he met, but so stained that I never asked him to give it to me, nor would I have accepted it if he had offered it to me to wear. In treating the most pitiful ulcers, he performed miracles, with no prescribed or observed diet, but by drinking with his patients day and night, yet curing them, as he used to say, with a full stomach. He used to use his powder, Theriac, or Mithridate or pills made from cherries or grapes to purge them in all kinds of diseases. He boasted so much about his Laudanum (he called them pills, like mouse droppings, which he always administered in an odd number only in the most difficult stages of diseases, like a sacred medicine) that he did not hesitate to claim that he alone could bring the dead back to life by using it. And he actually proved it several times while I was with him. I never heard him pray or saw him attend church services, and he did not care much for religious matters, but for the evangelical doctrine which was beginning to be refined at that time among us and was being seriously urged by our preachers. He did not care much for it. He once threatened to reduce Luther and the Pope to order no less than he now threatens to reduce Galen and Hippocrates. He thought that none of those who had hitherto written on sacred scripture, whether ancient or modern, had correctly understood the core of scripture, but only clung to the bark and almost the membrane. And he was talking about other nonsense, which I am ashamed to remember. This is what Oporinus says. And he not only wrote this, but also often told others, as Thomas Erastus testifies in his dispute against Paracelsus, part 1. Indeed, the same is reported and attested by Heinrich Bullinger, who knew Paracelsus in Zurich, whose letters Erastus cites in the cited place. "Of all his speeches," he says, "I could not understand anything of piety, but I understood a lot of magic, which he pretended to know somehow. If you had seen him, you would not have called him a doctor, but a coachman, and he was very pleased with the company of coachmen. So while he was living in the Ciconia inn, he watched coachmen who came to the inn, and he ate and drank with them, sometimes getting so drunk that he would place himself on the nearest bench and fall asleep from drunkenness. In short, he was sordid and dirty in everything, and he rarely or never entered sacred gatherings and seemed to care little for divine things.
Erastus also reports, in the second part of his dispute against Paracelsus, about Georgius Vetterus, a pious, learned, and diligent man who was a great enthusiast of Paracelsus and spent two years and three months following him through Austria, Transylvania, and other regions to learn surgery, which Paracelsus was then the only one teaching. Vetterus professed to owe much to Paracelsus (in case anyone might think he was mentioning him out of spite), but he also affirmed most emphatically that Paracelsus was a great enthusiast of black magic and was wont to call the devil his companion. Vetterus said there was nothing he feared more when Paracelsus was drunk (which was often) than that he would summon a horde of devils, which he frequently attempted to do, ostensibly in order to demonstrate his skill, but he stopped doing so when I asked him to. When I reminded him, when he was sober, that such behavior would deeply offend God and that the devil was always the last to pay his servants, he replied that he would sing a Te Deum shortly after returning home. During the entire time I lived with him, he discussed nothing except surgery, not theology, philosophy, or medicine outside of surgery.
But let us leave these matters behind, which sufficiently demonstrate that Paracelsus lived a very dissolute life. It is not entirely certain who his teachers were. Henning Scheunemann, in his Paracelsian Hydromancy, chapter 1, writes that Theophrastus Paracelsus was taught by God himself everything that was knowable about the natural world, and he dares to cite examples from the Bible, such as Nebuchadnezzar, Abimelech, Jacob, Joseph, Magi, and Paul, to support this claim. The truth, however, is that all wisdom comes from the Father of lights and was originally given to the first man in creation, and later some were also directly taught by God about divine matters and other things. But the ordinary way of attaining wisdom is for children to learn from their parents, young people from the elderly, and scholars from the uneducated; and those who reject this ordinary way tempt God and fall into the devil's snares. And whether Paracelsus's doctrines are such as to have come directly from God will soon become clear. In Book 1 of De Podagricis, he denies having had any teachers; however, in Book 2 of Magna Chirurgia, Chapter 1, he mentions having been instructed not only by his father, Wilhelm von Hohenheim, but also by Bishop Scheid, Schettagiensis, Erhardus Bishop of Lavant, Bishop Nicholas of Hippo, Bishop Matthew Schacht Suffragan of Freising, Abbot Spanheim and others.
From which it is easy to see that Paracelsus did not learn medicine in public schools, which he often criticizes, but rather he obtained his knowledge in chemistry from books and practical experimentation. For not only were there ancient books on alchemy, such as those of Geber, Avicenna, Lull, Arnold de Villanova, and others, but also in the years leading up to Paracelsus's time, writers such as Isaac Hollandus and Basil Valentine were actively writing on the subject. During this time, alchemy was not unknown in Germany, as evidenced by the fact that there were ancient books on the subject before Paracelsus. Even some Jews and authors such as Trithemius and Cornelius Agrippa were writing about magic during this time, from which Paracelsus no doubt obtained some knowledge. He was too eager for knowledge of new and hidden things and not always cautious enough about where he obtained it. As for his teachers, it is evident from his book on occult philosophy, in the end, where he says: "A physician cannot learn and know everything he ought to be able to learn and know in the universities, but it is necessary that he sometimes consult old women, Gypsies, necromancers, Agirtas, rural elders, and the like, and learn from them. For such people have more knowledge about such matters (he speaks of diseases caused by magic) than all the universities." Whether he wrote wisely or rightly in the preface to his "Paragranum" and in "The Treasure of Alchemists," where he says he received letters from Galen in hell and discussed his potable gold, the tincture of physics, the fifth essence, the philosopher's stone, Mithridatio, and Theriaca with Avicenna in the vestibule of hell, anyone can judge.
Some write, like Bickerus in "Hermete Redivivo", that Paracelsus lived for ten years in Arabia and neighboring regions, and upon his return brought with him the hidden magic, spagyric art, and true medicine of Hermes into the light. However, they should have provided historical documentation to prove that good literature flourished in Arabia during Paracelsus' time, and that Arabs were superior to Europeans in good literature and the arts. Paracelsus himself states in the preface to his "Great Surgery" that he took great care to understand the true foundation of medicine, and after observing many patients poorly treated, untreated, or misdiagnosed, and finding many false claims in the writings of the ancients, and many more people healed by chance rather than by skill, he visited the universities of Germans, Italians, and French for many years to seek the foundation of medicine. Later, he not only wanted to pass on their teachings, writings, and books, but also went on a pilgrimage to Spain, England, Marchia, Borussia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, Wallachia, Transylvania, Croatia, Illyria, and other regions, and inquired about medicine not only with doctors, but also with surgeons, bath attendants, women, magicians, alchemists, monks, nobles, and commoners. And after thinking deeply and for a long time about medicine, he abandoned it as an uncertain art and engaged in other pursuits, but later took it up again.
The coherence between these events and their consistency with the truth is not clear to me. Paracelsus was born around the year 1494 and lived in Basel from around the year 1526 for several years after the age of 30, where he taught as evidenced by his program and book on the degrees and composition of receptors, as well as books on Tartar and judgments of urine and pulses. He had already written books on surgery at that time. Later, as appears from the preface to Paramirum written by Sangallus in the year 1531, he was still alive. In the year 1535, he was in the Piperinus baths, as can be seen from a book written about them in volume 1, page 1116. In the year 1536, he wrote the dedication of the great surgery book in Augsburg, and in the year 1537, he was in Villach, as can be seen from his books on the nature of things. In the year 1538, he was in Carinthia, as can be seen from the Chronicle of Carinthia and his defenses. And so, from the age of 30 until the year 1541, he lived in Switzerland, Alsace, Carinthia, Austria, Moravia, Swabia, and neighboring places, and finally died in Salzburg in 1541 at the age of 47. Therefore, it is necessary to assume that he spent those ten years before the age of 30 (if he was ever in Arabia) in Arabia, and thus set out for Arabia not long after the age of 20. But if this is true, then when did he make the rest of his journey through Spain, Portugal, England, Denmark, Sweden, Lithuania, Prussia, Poland, Hungary, Transylvania, Wallachia, Illyria, Croatia, and, as he claims in his book on long life, Finland and Lapland? At what age did he explore the academies of the Germans, Italians, and French during those many years? When did he participate in the Venetian, Danish, and Belgian wars as a doctor and cure countless fevers and 40 types of diseases, as he claims in the preface of the Hospital book?
And since he could not or certainly should not devote his mind to reforming Medicine (otherwise it would have been a very rash act to reject what he had never known the quality of) unless he had first known and perceived the falsity and imperfection of ancient medicine, unless he had practiced in Anatomy and in the knowledge of simple medicines, had seen the common method of composing medicines, and had noticed the success of ancient medicine in treating diseases: at what age he learned these things, how long he lived in German, French, and Italian Academies, and how weary he was of the usual doctrine and ancient medicine that he undertook that long journey for the sake of learning better, is not so easy to reconcile. Not to mention when he learned Greek and Latin languages, Philosophy, and other necessary aids for a future doctor: what maturity and perfection of judgment he could have had at that age to undertake the reform of Medicine and to call himself the monarch of Medicine. Especially if we combine what he has in Surgery, in the fragment about Syphilis p. 649, it is not clear when he learned Medicine, since he writes there that he lived in Lithuania, Borussia, and Belgium not for the purpose of learning but of practicing Medicine. Thus it says in that place: "Now for a long time, this war has been waged among us: they expelled me from Lithuania, Borussia, Poland: I did not please the Belgians, the Universities, the Monks, the Jews." Indeed, when he was deprived of all aids to learning, as he attests, in the fragments tom. 1. p. 131., his library contained only six pages, and for ten years he had not read any books: it is asked how prepared he could have been to undertake the reform of Medicine.
Therefore, if we examine all of this from every angle, it is more consistent with the truth, and the facts themselves attest to it: that he, without any knowledge of languages or philosophy, began to criticize and reform the ancient medical art which he never fully understood, and was at least intent on conducting experiments, and for this reason he wandered to many places and frequently consulted Gypsies, necromancers, and others of that sort.
And his writings testify to this, in which no knowledge of languages or ancient philosophy shines through. For example, on page 1122 of volume 2, in the interpretation of synonymous words, he translates "Cicatrizans" as "das da Blasen auffzeucht/ Flammulam, Hanenfuß/" and in his second defense he writes that he doesn't care whether "Apoplexis" or "Apolexia", "Paraly̌sis" or "Paralȳsis", "Epilepsia" or "Eplentia" is said, and that he only focuses on investigating the origins and treatments of diseases. He also observes this in his writings. And in paragraph 4 of "De caduco Matricis", he writes that logic, which teaches to distinguish truth from falsehood, is contrary to the physician and obstructs the light of nature. If all doctors were to follow his example, they would open up a very wide path for barbarism. Moreover, he was not sufficiently skilled in the German or vernacular language. For I can hardly think of any German writer who wrote in German so ignorantly, to put it mildly.
I do not see how Paracelsus, whom some people want to exalt above all mortals, can be consulted with fabulous narratives such as that contained in the prologue of a certain Valentini Antaprassi Silorani, which is inserted in the first volume of his works and is found on page 476. In that prologue, Antaprassus writes that whoever he was, Paracelsus wrote his books in Latin and hid them in a certain wall, from where they were stolen by his servants and then, when he recovered them, he had them printed in Latin and translated into four languages. All of this is fabulous. It is well known, especially from the edition of Johann Huser, who collected all of Paracelsus's writings, that Paracelsus wrote many things in German and that some of them were later translated into Latin by others. But it is also fabulous that Cyperinus or Cyprianus Flaenus, as he adds, translated them into Italian and French, and Bebeus Rambus into Greek, since no one has ever seen these translations. It is equally unbelievable that he writes that the Athenians (who the learned men of Athens are, of course, well known), the Hebrews, the people of Montpellier (who, however, are well known never to have embraced Paracelsus's teachings, as well as being the most famous), and the Greeks named him the destroyer of all error and master of truth; that Alexander Perseus (but who is he?) wrote in a certain letter (but which letter is that?) that no man born was equal to Paracelsus in erudition; that Puteus Benezevel (but who is he?) believed that Paracelsus's teachings were the natural Gospel; that Sabaeus Dacus refers to him having written 53 books on medicine and 235 books on philosophy; and that Tarbuetus compared Aristotle to Paracelsus, saying that he was like extinguished coals compared to a lit candle. Such fabulous tales are obviously needed to amplify Paracelsus's fame.
Therefore, if we examine all of this in every way, it is more fitting and evident from the facts themselves that Paracelsus, who is sought to be exalted above all mortals, is not reliable in his fabulous narratives. This is demonstrated by the preface of a certain Valentinus Antaprassus Silorani, which is included in the first volume of his works and is found on page 476. In that preface, he writes that whoever this Antaprassus was, Paracelsus wrote his books in the Latin language, hid them in a certain wall, and they were stolen by his servants. When he found them, he had them printed in Latin and translated into four other languages. All of this is fabulous. It is already known publicly, especially from the edition of Johann Huser, who collected every small writing of Paracelsus, that Paracelsus wrote most of his works in German and that some of them were later translated into Latin by others. The claim that Cyperinus or Cyprianus Flaenus, as he adds, translated them into Italian and French, and Bebeus Rambus into Greek, is equally fabulous, since no one has ever seen these translations. The same is true for his claim that the Athenians (who the learned men living in Athens are is well known), the Hebrews, the Montpellierians (who, however, are known to have never embraced the doctrine of Paracelsus, as well as being well-known), and the Greeks named him the destroyer of all error and the master of truth; that Alexander Perseus (but who is he?) wrote in a certain letter (but what is that letter?) that no man born was equal to Paracelsus in erudition; that Puteus Benezevel (but who is he?) believed that the doctrine of Paracelsus was the natural gospel; that Sabaeus Dacus attributed 53 books to him on medicine and 235 on philosophy; and that Tarbuetus compared Aristotle to Paracelsus as extinguished coals to a lighted candle. Such fabulous stories are necessary to amplify the fame of Paracelsus.
And the absurd, even impious, doctrines of Paracelsus testify that he did not have absolute knowledge of all divine and human things. Who in their right mind would believe that the following are true, as we will see from his book Meteorologia? Who, unless they allow their mind to be persuaded, as he writes in Meteorologia, chapter 3, that night does not arise from the absence of the sun, but from the rising of the nocturnal stars, whose fruit is darkness? What would one believe; that he claims to have certain stalls similar to gourds and flasks, which contain Salt, Sulfur, and Mercury in their cavities, and then emit winds through the operations of the ethereal Vulcan, not unlike how bodily gas is generated and excreted through the lower throat, or as Paracelsus himself puts it, while a person brays? It is equally absurd that he establishes in the same book, chapter 6, that rains are not generated from vapors lifted up from the terrestrial globe, but from certain stars, whose fruit is rain. In these, as in a pot, Vulcan and Archaeus operate, and then emit ethereal smoke or a cloud from these stars, which later turns into rain. You can see his incredible philosophy on the generation of rain in the passage cited. It is also ridiculous that he writes in Meteorologia, book 1, chapter 10, that stars purify themselves not through lightning but through their excreted substances, which they call falling stars. The cause, he says, is that they have sustenance in the firmament, which is an element, from which they are sustained. For nothing created exists without daily sustenance, just as a man does. It follows that they eat from their element and take food. Now what is preserved through food and drink also produces excrement. However, they are nourished only by fire, just as a man is nourished by the earth from which he was born. Therefore, they extract their own essence from fire, just as a man takes flesh and blood from the earth. What cannot be transformed into essence becomes excrement. Equally absurd is that he writes in Meteorologia, book 1, that rainbows are also generated from their stars, and indeed, that their generation requires 40 weeks, and many are generated, but not all are visible. For the generation of a rainbow requires a temperate air constitution, and therefore, if the generation of a rainbow falls into such a temperate constitution, the rainbow is completed; but if it falls into cold weather, it is destroyed by cold during its generation. On the contrary, in hot weather, it dries up and burns. Those who wish to know many such absurd and ridiculous doctrines should read his books on Meteorology and others, including the book On the Generation of Fools, in which he does not attribute the generation of man to man, namely those who are not yet skilled enough to make a man's generation, and considers such craftsmen not immortal but of short life. However, it is not worth the effort to fill pages with such nonsense, ridicule, and impiety. Although nothing could be so absurd or ridiculous that Paracelsus or his followers would not admire it as a mystery. For this kind of people do not pay attention to what is said, or whether it agrees with reason or experience: it is enough if it comes from Paracelsus or a Paracelsist. An example of this is provided by Crollius (not to mention others), who writes in a ridiculous and plainly absurd manner about internal signatures: "The vital spirit or life in the muscles reflects the form of the soul's breath, as they say, or silver placed on living silver: where it freezes in the blood, it disappears, and when pierced by a puncture or cut, it appears in the flowing blood and is given to the patient in a drink without delay, not without manifest benefit."
Therefore, it is quite clear from these that he established many absurd doctrines. Whether he spread impious doctrines will become apparent from the following. In Book 1 of On the Generation of Natural Things, he teaches and presents a method by which a homunculus can be generated by the benefit of alchemical art without a father and mother; and he says that this is the greatest secret, which, however, was not unknown to the Pagans and Giants of old, since such homunculi, when they reach adulthood, become Pigmy and Giant. And such beings know all the secrets that other humans are ignorant of. For when they receive life and body through art, the arts and sciences themselves are related to them, and they do not need to learn them. Those who want to read what he wrote about the generation of fools and their craftsmen can find it in a separate book on the subject. In Chapter 2 of Book 1 of Philosophia Sagax, he asserts that humans in new islands were not procreated from our first parent Adam, nor are they connected to us by blood, but are progeny of some other Adam. Those who want to judge without prejudice can consider and judge the matters discussed in his book Azoth or the Wood and Line of Life. Let us omit other things and mention that in Chapter 2 of that book, Paracelsus writes that Adam and Eve did not have testicles, kidneys, or uterus before the fall, nor any genital organs, but received them after the fall, just as in Carinthia, they grow from drinking snow water from the streams. He even concedes that they did not have limbs dedicated to nutrition or teeth, and considers humans to be monsters after the fall and calls human conception after the fall monstrous. In the same chapter, he writes that Christ did not assume a body like that which our first parents had and which we have after the fall, but received his body through the Holy Spirit from the heavenly Aquastrum. He explains the words of Jehovah, "It is not good for man to be alone; let us make him a helper," not as referring to Eve but to Christ. He also states that the word of the Lord was uttered in the creation of the world and Adam in the waters, and that the waters were the fence of Paradise, and he has other things to say about the word and Spirit of the Lord on page 530 and following. He explains that the story of Melusine contains the fall of the first parents and the restoration of humanity. Similarly, he explains the story of Fortunatus about the fall of the first parents. He writes that the sutures of the head, which resemble the letter T, are reversed and opposite in men and women, and that they come from the Devil. He narrates that John the Baptist in the desert immersed and ate the tender tops of trees in wild honey, but he ate angelically in his mouth, not in his stomach, for he did not defecate. He asserts that when Christ fasted for 40 days in the desert, he did not crave earthly bread when he was hungry, but a cup that he was going to drink with his disciples at the Last Supper. He writes that Adam grew or was created in a tree, like the geese in Scotland, on page 536 and 540. He also has many other absurd things to say about Adam, Eve, and the Virgin Mary in the same place, which are not worth mentioning here.
These things cannot be justified as being drawn from Moses, since they do not exist in Moses: even in physics, Moses gives little and barely more than Galen. For in the end of the cited book, it is written about him: Moses had the gift of intelligence in a particular way, not entirely. For he writes nothing about the property, quality, primary matter of the eternal limit and the limit of the elements, but at least about the matter of the earth from which man was made; and yet only about one part: he makes no mention of the three parts, Air, Water, Fire. For Moses was not a physicist, but was called by God to be the leader of his people. Therefore, his description is plainly obscure to laypeople, and a physicist would rely on very weak foundations if he were to accept the text of Moses without explanation, and indeed, it would be ridiculous.
Here it is rightly asked, if he did not draw his opinion on the creation of the world, the fall of the first parents, and the system of the world from the sacred scriptures, nor did he prove it anywhere with reasons or experience, from where did he acquire it? And above all, from where did he get the opinion of monsters such as Melosines, Diemys, Durdalys, Neufarenes, Lorindys, Nesderys, Gnomes, Lamiæ, Nymphs, and Sirens, which he presents in book 1 of Philosophia ad Athenienses, volume 13, and elsewhere?
He does not have better things in other books. In the book of Caducis, paragraph 3, he writes that Adam did not have knowledge, arts, and the light of nature in Paradise, but received them when he was expelled from the Garden. In the book of Principles or on the mysteries of worms, chapter 1, volume 1, page 1088, he writes that Adam was without the experience of the light of nature before the fall and did not have knowledge of God's creation. After the fall, he became highly skilled in the light of nature and, through divine providence, became the cause and almost the teacher of the serpent. God had granted the serpent higher and greater secrets in creation than any other animal or living creature. Therefore, it is not undeserved that the fall occurred through the serpent. For God knew well that the serpent was dwelling near the tree he was strictly forbidding. In the same book, in chapter 2, he highly praises that infamous magician, Techellus, and writes that his books were badly suppressed by ill-intentioned sophists (understood as Aristotelians and Galenists) and commonly taken out of their hands. In Philosophical Inquiry, book 2, chapter 3, he writes that Mary was not from Adam but from Abraham, not from Adam's flesh but from the flesh of the promise. Therefore, he does not concede that Christ assumed flesh from Adam.
He also has marvelous ideas about death and the resurrection of the dead. In Philosophical Inquiry, book 2, chapter 1, page 432, he says at the end that God created death. On the following page, while explaining Job's statement, "In my flesh, I shall see God," he states that two kinds of flesh exist on earth: one from Adam, the other from the new birth through Christ. He says, "Flesh from Adam cannot see God, but flesh from the new birth through Christ can see God." In chapter 3, he says that the flesh and blood from Adam cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. For nothing enters heaven unless it comes from heaven. Adam's flesh is from the earth, so it cannot enter heaven but returns to the earth. It is mortal, and nothing mortal enters heaven. Flesh does not profit anything, so it does not come to heaven. It is full of all kinds of vices, and it cannot be purified or glorified. Instead, it must be entirely separated from the person, which happens in death when flesh is removed from the person. However, because humans differ from angels in their flesh, Christ gave him new flesh, and the Son created that flesh. The Son's creation can enter heaven, but the Father's cannot concerning the flesh. In the following section, he clearly implies that the flesh assumed by Christ is not Adam's flesh, and the Virgin Mary did not receive her flesh and seed from Adam. In chapter 2, he specifically writes that Christ was born from Adam's flesh, which must be understood as something poured into a vessel. This is said to be from the vessel but not of the vessel. He also names the Spirit of the world as the Son of God. However, Crollius praises this impiety of Paracelsus, and in the Preface, page 45, writes that Paracelsus, the only disciple of Moses and the living philosophy, found the incarnate Word in creatures. However, the Holy Scriptures accept no other Word of God made visible except the Son of God revealed in humanity. Many similar things can be read in the aforementioned chapters 2 and 3, all of which show that Crollius wrote falsely about Paracelsus, who had an absolute knowledge of divine and human things. Quercetanus is right to write in response to Aubertus, "As for Paracelsus, I have no intention of defending his theology, nor have I ever agreed with him in everything.
These things do not allow for any interpretation that suggests that he is saying the same thing as Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, that is, the flesh we received from Adam cannot be admitted to the heavenly inheritance until it is regenerated from above. He explicitly writes that the mortal body cannot be glorified in any way but must be entirely separated from the person in death. However, Paul, in the passage quoted, writes, 'This perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality' (1 Cor. 15:53). Thus, although Dornaeus writes in an admonition to Erastus that Paracelsus at least spoke of the regeneration of the Virgin Mary, as stated in John 1, that the children of God are not born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, if we carefully examine the quoted passages, this explanation cannot be accepted. If he had only said this once, it could easily be interpreted in a positive sense. However, he repeatedly affirms explicitly that humans have two bodies, one mortal or earthly from Adam, and the other heavenly. Any honest reader can easily see that his mind is not that the earthly body be regenerated and made immortal.
But I will not add more on these matters, as they do not pertain to medicine: it is enough to be prudent. Whoever wishes to learn more about this should read Erastus, dispute 1, against Paracelsus, page 244 and following, and also page 24, where Paracelsus is accused of seven horrific blasphemies. First, that he, like Arius and Photinus, invents a Word by which God created all things, which has a different essence from God, is created, and subject to corruption and, therefore, God's judgment. Secondly, that he posits many such gods through whom the Supreme God has devised this world. Thirdly, that he denies openly that Christ is the creator while making him a separator, with several associates added. Fourthly, that he denies that Adam was created perfect by God in the beginning but asserts that Adam was consummated by the Devil, who transferred all his wisdom to humans through the apple, as stated in his book On Worms from the Eating of the Apple. Fifthly, that he contends that humans were not created with the freedom of the will but were forced by their creators to commit evil and crimes. Sixthly, that he takes away Christ's power to judge. Finally, that he makes Christ a sinner and is therefore forced to wait with us for God's judgment at the final judgment. See also Conrad Gesner's letter 1, book 1.
We will see shortly what his opinions are in physical and medical matters. Now, let us briefly discuss his achievements in alchemy and medicine, for which he gained great renown and reputation. First of all, it cannot be denied that Paracelsus accomplished something in the transmutation of metals. In a letter, Oporinus wrote that he was lavish with money and often left destitute to the point that he didn't even have a penny left. However, the next day, he would show up with a well-stocked purse, which Oporinus found quite remarkable. Michael Neander in his Geographia cites both public and private testimonies, including that of a certain Franciscus, whose letter is included in Andreas Libavius' book "Defensio Alchymiae Transmutatoriae contra Guibertum." In it, Franciscus, a dignified and pious man who lived familiarly with Paracelsus in Basel for six months during his youth, writes that Paracelsus once asked him for money and, upon receiving a Rhineland florin, ordered him to purchase a pound of mercury from a pharmacist. After bringing it back, Paracelsus placed four bricks in the fireplace, poured the mercury into a basin, and started a fire. When the mercury began to smoke, he gave Franciscus a small ball and instructed him to dip it briefly in the mercury until it melted. After increasing the heat, both substances returned to the furnace, and half an hour later, they found gold in the basin. Paracelsus then asked Franciscus to take the gold to the goldsmith, who lived above the pharmacy, and exchange it for money. The goldsmith weighed it, and it was slightly less than a pound. He then gave Franciscus a purse full of Rhineland gold coins, which he sent to Paracelsus. The medicine that Franciscus immersed in the basin was a small ball about the size of a hazelnut, enclosed in red sealing wax. Franciscus writes that he does not know what was inside the ball or how Paracelsus prepared the medicine or if he acquired it elsewhere. Ewaldus Vogelius, a Belgian, wrote in the preface to his book on the philosopher's stone that Paracelsus may be the only one who boasts of surpassing the old methods with his inventions, preferring to divine rather than know their intentions through few and very obscure words. And a little later, he states that he dares to assert that Paracelsus never knew the philosopher's stone, and that he did not understand the writings of Raimundus Lullus or any other doctor of this art. This is supported by a letter he received from a man of illustrious birth, whose father was acquainted with Paracelsus. This seems probable, as if Paracelsus had possessed the philosopher's stone and could have dipped it whenever he wished, he would not have criticized Philipp Marchionem Badensem so harshly on page 132 of volume 1, nor accused him of ingratitude for failing to pay him for his services.
However, when it comes to chemical and medical remedies, it cannot be denied that Paracelsus brought many things out of the shadows and into the light. If only he had done so without envy, and if he had communicated what he had received in good faith. For by openly despising all the ancient alchemists, he made himself highly suspicious. I, for my part, do not wish to accuse him unfairly, but I cannot help but mention what Bernard Penot, a well-known alchemist of this century, writes about him at the end of his book on the medicinal denarius: "If the works of Johann Isaac Holland were available and published, the works of Paracelsus would be buried." This Johann Isaac Holland is the one about whom Paracelsus prophesied, saying, "Elias the Artist will come after me, who will reveal the secrets of things." Paracelsus foresaw that Isaac's works would eventually become known and would reach the hands of the most learned men. And later he said: "When I came across Isaac's book on vegetable work, I found the doctrine of the three principles and the separation of the four elements word for word taken from it." Hence it is clear that he was greatly indebted to Isaac's works and had drawn from them here and there, such as the gradations of medicines from Arnold; the Archidoxa from Raimund Lullus in his operative art; the mysteries from Rupescissa; nothing at all from himself except for insults and curses; various things from Trithemius. If anyone reads Arnold and Raimund carefully in their operative art, he will see that Paracelsus has truncated their works and claimed them as his own. If one reads Lanfrancus, one will see that Paracelsus took his surgery from him. Why does he not quote Arnold in his work on paralysis, where he describes his own galbanum in his book on Tartarian diseases? This is what Penotus says. Although I do not have faith in everything they say, and Paracelsus' writings do not always correspond to those of these authors, it is clear to the reader that not everything is nothing but empty words. Johannes Crato, in his fourth part, discusses Erastus against Paracelsus, writing: "I am sure that the remedies he claims to have used are not his, since I saw a book written by a monk in Ulm almost 200 years ago, in which the same remedies he scattered on these pages were clearly written." And Andernacus, a devoted student of alchemy, writes in volume 2, page 651: "I admit that Theophrastus Paracelsus, a distinguished master of alchemy, has revealed many splendid things in his books. However, I am sorry to say that he mixed in many vain and false things, not to mention that he so obscured the best things that few, if any, could certainly derive any benefit from reading them."
However, there is not a unanimous opinion on Paracelsus's effectiveness in treating the sick. In his epitaph, it is attributed to him that he removed terrible wounds, leprosy, gout, dropsy, and other incurable bodily contagions with wonderful skill. And Oporinus, in a letter, attributes to him an amazing ability to make medicine and a readiness and success in treating all kinds of diseases, and that he performed miracles even in the most deplorable ulcers, and he cured his patients day and night by giving them a full stomach of his prescribed remedies, as he used to say. And that same Franciscus, in the aforementioned letter, writes that when a certain woman approached him, complaining that her husband was gravely ill and fearing that he would die during the night, Paracelsus replied that her husband would have lunch with her the next day and recover, which he achieved by giving him a certain white powder in warm wine to induce sweating. He also cured lepers, hydropics, epileptics, gout patients, and those infected with venereal diseases.
However, opinions are not unanimous on how effective he was in treating patients. In his epitaph, he is credited with having miraculously cured severe wounds, leprosy, gout, dropsy, and other incurable bodily diseases. Oporinus, in a letter, attributes to him remarkable skill in making medicine and promptness and success in treating all kinds of diseases, and that he performed miracles even in the most deplorable ulcers, and that he cured his patients by drinking with them day and night with a full stomach, as he used to say, without following any prescribed or observed method. And that same Franciscus, in the aforementioned letter, writes that when a certain woman came to him complaining that her husband was seriously ill, fearing that he might die during the night, he replied, "Your husband will have lunch with you tomorrow and recover," and he did so by giving him a white powder dissolved in hot wine to make him sweat, which cured people with leprosy, dropsy, epilepsy, gout, and venereal disease.
As for the medicines he used, if one were to ask, he himself writes in his book on the Tinctures of Physics, chapter 7, that he cured syphilis, leprosy, dropsy, colic pains, apoplexy, ethmoiditis, cancers, fistulas, and all internal illnesses with Philosophical tincture. The author's credibility is at stake here. Many others believe that he used mercurial medicines. That same Franciscus, in the aforementioned letter, reports that the hydrostatic powder that cured that man quickly was white. Oporinus testifies that he used the powdered precipitate of Theriac, Mithridate, or cherry or grape juice made into pills to purge all kinds of diseases. He also boasted about his use of Laudanum, which he always administered in the form of small odd-numbered pills, as a holy medicine for extreme illnesses, to the point where he did not hesitate to affirm that he alone could bring the dead back to life with it, and had actually done so several times while he was still alive. Thomas Erastus also reports in part 4 of his dispute against Paracelsus, page 301, that a certain learned doctor and expert in alchemy, who made every effort to distinguish truth from falsehood in this matter, judged after reading Paracelsus's surgery that Paracelsus intended to cure all diseases with only sublimated and calcined mercury and that he had given it various names to avoid detection.
And certainly, it is necessary that violent remedies be used if it is true what Erastus writes in his dispute against Paracelsus, part 3, p. 211: "Those who know Paracelsus intimately and have observed with judgment how much he has achieved in medicine do not deny him the praise of curing malignant and difficult ulcers, but they do not grant him the cure of other diseases." Today in Basel there live men adorned with learning and prudence who do not hesitate to affirm that whoever took his poisonous medicines into their bodies died within a year. Frobenius seemed to have been cured by him, as well as some others, but later events taught Erasmus and others how he was accustomed to use a very dangerous type of treatment. These men use medicines endowed with such powers that they forcibly expel the vitiated humors from the body, but at the same time they weaken the vital forces and leave such malignantly poisonous traces that they cannot be removed nor the traces of the poison erased. And in part 4, p. 253, he cites Theodorus Zwinger as a witness to this fact, who, in the preface he wrote for the books of Saint Ardoyni on poisons, wrote as follows: "Many to whom this blessed remedy (Laudanum) had removed all pain died not long after from the suffocation and extinction of their natural heat. There are still men living today who are outstanding in dignity, virtue, piety, and learning, who affirm unanimously that whoever took Paracelsus's pharmaceuticals into their bodies died within a year. Therefore, Oporinus also writes in his letter: "He administered the treatment of internal disorders in such a way that he could not stay in one place beyond a year, as he used to say himself, that his arts could not last more than a year in one place. Indeed, in the use of these violent remedies, it happens as it does to those who add lime to the roots of trees to accelerate their fruit's ripening: the fruit ripens faster, but the tree is lost.
So there are not a few who, as Erastus says, do not take away from him the praise of curing difficult ulcers, but they do not concede that he has accomplished as much in the treatment of other diseases such as dropsy, gout, leprosy, epilepsy, and the like, as is commonly attributed to him, much less that he could cure all diseases, and they prove this with clear evidence. For first, Erastus brings forward the eyewitness testimony of Dr. Marcus Recklau, in a letter to him in part 3 of his discussion against Paracelsus, in which, among other things, he writes this: "When I noticed him coughing during a conversation, and had casually remarked that such symptoms were unbecoming for a physician, he lifted a cup and said, 'Unless it was for this,' pointing to the wine with his finger. And later he said, 'I could not extract a Latin word from him.' And soon after: 'Monks took him, who were led by courtiers to a man of noble birth, nicknamed Monk, who was then the chief cook of the Duke of Bavaria. There, the Duke's physician, Doctor Pantaleon, and D. Alexander the Carthusian, successfully treated him with boiled wood, so that the disease was clearly on the decline. But once he was dismissed, all the care was entrusted to Theophrastus. Upon taking charge of him, he immediately attempted to heal him with an ointment made from mercury (which was prepared for him by Johannes Voigt, a student of the Paracelsian school in Augsburg, who is well known to me). However, when Paracelsus saw that the patient was already on the brink of death, he secretly fled to Austria early the next morning."
Therefore, it is worth noting, because not everyone has it in their possession, the letter of the most famous physician Joh. Crato, archiatrist of the three Roman emperors, which he wrote to Thomas Erastus, as presented in part 4 of the Disputatio adversus Paracelsum. He says: "On May 25, 1570, when we met in the chamber of the Emperor in Prague with the physicians, namely Doctor Julius Alexandrinus, myself, and Nicolaus Biesius, the noble Baron Lord Bertoldus from Leippa, Marshal of the Kingdom of Bohemia, Counselor and Treasurer of His Majesty the Emperor, came to us, and we were talking about physicians, and he said: When Paracelsus was first widely known, he was brought from Switzerland by his father, Lord Jonah from Leippa, Marshal of the Kingdom of Bohemia, at great expense, and he was able to cure gout patients. However, Lord Johann had intermittent episodes and was never bedridden for a long time. Paracelsus stayed in Cromavia for almost two years and applied various remedies, and made his father completely arthritic. He also treated Lord Bertoldus, whose eyesight was slightly affected, in such a way that he still cannot see with that eye. He was then called to a particularly noble lady, the wife of Baron Johann von Zerotin, the daughter of the noble Lord von Bernstein, who did not fall very ill, but had abdominal cramps and was never epileptic. After Paracelsus gave her certain medicines, she was seized by epilepsy and suffered more than 20 paroxysms on the same day and died. Paracelsus returned to Cromavia, was arrested, and fled to Hungary. His father also died not long after from extreme pain. And he then adds: "Everyone knows that the Emperor was the most averse to slander and falsehood. He called Paracelsus the most dishonest and shameless imposter who never wanted to associate with learned men. And finally: "I also heard from those who knew him in Pannonia and Austria that he treated very few or almost no one."
And specifically, as for certain diseases, some do not concede the praise attributed to Paracelsus by others for curing desperate diseases. As for gout, what he achieved appears from the letter of Crato quoted just now. As for leprosy, I will not mention what Palmarius and some others reproach him with, that he had some kind of foul scabies for leprosy. But this doubtful matter is made even more uncertain by what he writes in his "Philosophia Sagax", book 2, chapter 8: "There are certain diseases that are not of nature, such as leprosy and all its species. Whoever desires to cure them should seek remedies not in nature, but in heaven. For there is the power that cures them." And although someone could respond here for Paracelsus that, even though leprosy cannot be cured through natural means (which we leave for another time), it was cured by Paracelsus through the celestial medicine he obtained, he militates against this by mentioning no celestial medicine, but only natural ones, namely gold and silver, in the treatment of leprosy in his book "Liber Paragranum", chapter 8. He also makes some people doubtful by the various remedies he prescribes for epilepsy. Now he promises the cure of epilepsy through black hellebore, now through antimony, now through the tincture of coral, now through vitriol, now through human blood prepared, now through human skull. And they think that Paracelsus promiscuously put down all the remedies he accepted in writing, for memory's sake, so that with the passage of time, when the opportunity presented itself, he could try each of them: however, he did not know in whom to place more trust than in the others. And this seems to be in agreement with Paracelsus' own way of life, which was such that he could not have such exceptional expertise in so many desperate conditions. And how can he be credited with the cure of all diseases, who could not cure himself, but not only lived for a long time before his death with convulsions and contractions, but also could not extend his life, which he promised to be long for others, beyond the age of 47? For it is of no importance what Crollius writes, that he was killed by his enemies' poison, when he could have lived for a long time by nature and his own skill. For the faith of this report, which relies on no witness, is not clear enough: and it is more probable that he brought premature death upon himself by excess and drunkenness. And even if he died from poison, he certainly does not deserve the praise of universal medicine, which cannot resist poisons. Nor can poisons simply be classified among violent cases, which no medicine can prevent, since there are remedies that both protect and free us from poisons: and justly so, the universal medicine, if it existed, should have protected and freed Paracelsus from all poisons.
To conclude this section, if we consider carefully and without prejudice all that has been presented on both sides, we cannot judge otherwise than that Paracelsus had a brilliant intellect and great mental energy. If he had combined his natural talents with a solid understanding of languages, philosophy, and Hippocratic and Galenic medicine, and then compared them with chemistry, he could have made a valuable contribution to medicine and gained a great reputation among philosophers and physicians. However, he neglected the study of languages and a more thorough understanding of philosophy. Offended by some of the pitfalls and snares that existed in medicine at the time, he sought a completely new path that he had discovered through his own drive and leadership, or in books he had read by alchemists, and expanded it much more than the subject itself allowed. He tried to overthrow the old medical system, which he had never fully understood, relying only on his own genius and strength. With a few rare Chymical books and mentors, he began to despise the old medicine and arrogantly claimed for himself the monarchy of medicine and all the arts. And since he had obtained some of his opinions from the books and conversations of alchemists who had preceded him, while ignoring other books and not reading any book for a whole decade, he published absurd opinions in theology, philosophy, and medicine without any convincing reasoning, as if he were a dictator and emperor of literature. He wrote many things so confusedly and ineptly that his books seemed more like scattered brooms than coherent works. Anyone who dares to approve of such monstrous doxomania should either be completely devoid of judgment or blinded by their love for Paracelsus.
His life was so dissolute that we cannot recognize him as a suitable reformer of medicine, much less attribute to him a complete knowledge of divine and human affairs, or include him among the heroes and geniuses who, under the name of the Rosicrucians, were most highly illuminated by God to restore the imperfect arts. How could a man who spent his days and nights drinking with peasants and carters, and who, in the morning, burdened with hangover or still drunk and almost stupefied, standing in the middle of a hypocaust holding the hilt of a sword (whose hilt some suspect housed a familiar spirit), understand the most abstruse opinions of learned men, refute them, and substitute better ones, and then dictate them with a pen? He so often criticized the Ethicism of Galen and Avicenna: but whether he himself lived a life worthy of a Christian, or taught and wrote things worthy of a Christian, let learned and honest men judge.
Regarding his success in healing, everyone agrees that he was successful in the treatment of difficult ulcers. However, while his disciples may attribute much to him in the treatment of other diseases, we have cited reliable witnesses to his unsuccessful treatments. I believe that he may have used certain strong mercurial medicines, which, by greatly irritating the body, removed the causes of diseases that other physicians could not cure with milder medicines, and thus he cured some desperate cases, but not without danger. However, history testifies that this same treatment did not always succeed for him. Not to mention that he was suspected by many of practicing magic. But why do I say suspected when many, as mentioned above, have testified to it, and he himself praises it and its practitioners, such as Techellus and others, stating that many diseases that are incurable with natural remedies can be cured with magic, and he does not deny that he is familiar with the methods of using it, and he even takes pleasure in accepting medicines and benefits from the Devil. However, whether he has the right to do so and whether the magic he praises is truly natural and legitimate will be discussed in its proper place.
I finally add this, that often fame surpasses both faith and truth, and the world is ruled by opinions, and among the most ignorant masses, often applause is earned by those who wander from the path, and they are preferred over the most learned doctors, as examples easily found everywhere attest, which I will not mention again. I do not omit this for the sake of informing judgment. It is well known how great the authority of P. Severinus, the former physician of the King of Denmark, is among many; who himself in Idaea Medicina, p. 341, writes that gout, dropsy, leprosy, and epilepsy are not incurable, but Johannes Paludanus, physician of the former Queen of Denmark, later of the city of Viborg in Jutland, North Jutland, writes to Henricus Smetius: "Although I do not want to detract anything from a learned man who is held in high esteem by many, I confess candidly that his reputation exceeds his deeds. He used various remedies for various diseases, but often stronger ones, in whose use this often happens, as it does to those who apply lime to the roots of trees to mature their fruit. He did not always use Paracelsian remedies, but often Galenic compositions, and he applied extreme remedies to extreme diseases. Understanding is enough." But when an epidemic raged in Copenhagen around the year 1602 and he himself died soon after. Thus, the followers of Paracelsus often experience the imperfection of their own remedies, which they so proclaim and prefer to all others, as Paracelsus himself experienced, as mentioned above. But let us now see and examine Paracelsus's principal doctrines. For it would be a difficult and fruitless labor to want to examine everything. For since Paracelsus and his followers have put no effort into proving and confirming their ideas, but have made them up as they pleased and proposed them without reason, what is the point of putting much effort into examining them? Especially since Paracelsus rarely puts forward one single opinion: you do not know which one he held more strongly. However, Th. Erastus largely did this already long ago, leaving hardly any of Paracelsus's doctrines untouched.