Monday, May 30, 2016

Thomas Vaughan and the "Magic" of Adam

You can find this online here.
We're going a little Nibleyesque here as I was startled by some passages I read in the writings of my distant cousin, Thomas Vaughan, the 17th Century Alchemist. The point is, Cousin Thomas draws some very interesting conjectures about the first man, Adam, and his knowledge of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.

First, I must explain that Thomas Vaughan was a very religious man and his study of Alchemy, while a bit unorthodox, fit within his religious faith as he defined Magic in this manner:
Magic is nothing else but the wisdom the the Creator revealed and planted in the creature. . . . Magicians were the first attendants our Savior met withal in this world, and the only philosophers who acknowledged him in the flesh before that he himself discovered it. I find God conversant with them, as he was formerly with the patriarchs; he directs them in their travels with a star, as did the Israelites with a a pillar of fire; he informs them of future dangers in their dreams, that having first seen his Son, they might in the next place see his salvation.*
So, Magic is no more than revelation from God to man. A true Alchemist would have no problem with urim and thummim, seer stones, breastplates with spectacles, etc. as the tools for such. And leaving Nicholas Flamel and the Philosopher's Stone out of this, let's settle in on what Thomas Vaughan wrote about Adam and compare with scripture through the Prophet Joseph Smith in his revelatory translation of the Book of Moses.

And just to get things out of the way, maybe Joseph had a copy of Vaughan in the local Palmyra library or maybe he had read heavily in the Jewish Kabbalah as had Vaughan. It just seems a bit odd to me that Joseph could not only produce the Book of Mormon on his own but also the Selections from the Book of Moses in 1830-31. I'm sticking with revelation.

Thinking on Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden, Vaughan wondered how Adam was able to learn anything at all without divine assistance:
I conclude, therefore, that he had some instructor to initiate him in the ways of life, and to show him the intricate and narrow paths of that wilderness. For, without question, his outward miseries and his inward despair were motives whereupon God did reveal a certain art unto him by which he might relieve his present necessities, and embrace a firm hope of a future and glorious restitution. for God having ordained a second, eternal Adam did by some mysterious experience manifest the possibility of his coming to the first, who being now full of despair, and overcharged with the guilt of his own sin, was a very fit patient for so divine and merciful a physician.
And further contemplating on the rejected sacrifice of Cain and the acceptable one of Abel, he wrote:
For I desire to know how came they first to sacrifice, and by whom were they initiated? if you will say by Adam, the question is deferred but not satisfied, for, I would know further, in what school was Adam instructed? . . . .
The sacrifices of the Old Testament, and the Elements of the New, can be no way acceptable with God but inasmuch as they have a relation to Christ Jesus, who is the great, perfect sacrifice offered up once for all. . . .
Now, if we look back on these two first Sacrifices, we shall find Abel and his oblation accepted, which could not be, had he not offered it up as a symbol, or figure, of his Savior. To drive home my argument, then, I say that this knowledge of the type, in whom all offerings were acceptable, could not be obtained by human industry but by sole revelation. For the Passion of Christ was an ordinance wrapped up in the secret will of God, and he that would know it must of necessity be of his council. . . .
It remains then a most firm, infallible foundation that Adam was first instructed concerning the Passion, and, in order to that, he was taught further to sacrifice and offer up the blood of beasts as types and prodomes of the Blood of Christ Jesus, the altars of the Law being but steps to the Cross of the Gospel. . . .
For without faith he could not have been brought out of his Fall, and without Christ revealed and preached to him, he could have no faith, for he knew not what to believe. It remains then that he was instructed. . . .
Now, any Latter-day Saint reader can stop right there because this is so familiar to us. Check out even the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2. But it is even more precisely set out in Moses:
And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence.
And he gave unto them commandments, that they should worship the Lord their God, and should offer the firstlings of their flocks, for an offering unto the Lord. And Adam was obedient unto the commandments of the Lord.
And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam, saying: Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto the Lord? And Adam said unto him: I know not, save the Lord commanded me.
And then the angel spake, saying: This thing is a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth.
Wherefore, thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.
And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam, which beareth record of the Father and the Son, saying: I am the Only Begotten of the Father from the beginning, henceforth and forever, that as thou hast fallen thou mayest be redeemed, and all mankind, even as many as will. (Moses 5:4-9.)
And there's more:
And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time.
And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.
And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.
And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.
And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever;
And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity.
Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons [and daughters]. Amen. (Moses 6:62-68.)
Way to go, Cousin Thomas! Good thing we're getting the Temple work done for you and your family! I think you may have been waiting a while. And good luck with that Philosopher's Stone! (Actually, I think you can check-out a urim and thummim up there).
*My Thomas Vaughan quotes are all from Magia Adamica in The Magical Writings of Thomas Vaughan, (E. Collé and H. Collé 2012), a modern reprint of Vaughan's original works published as Magia Adamica, or, The antiquitie of magic: and the descent thereof from Adam downwards, proved: whereunto is added, A perfect and full discoverie of the true coelum terrae, or, The magician's heavenly chaos, and first matter of all things (London, 1650).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!