John Heydon 10 September — c. He was baptised at St. Sepulchre's Church. According to his own account, he was educated at Tardebigge , Worcestershire, among his mother's friends. He studied Latin and Greek with a tutor and was apprenticed to the study of law; however, his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the English Civil War , and as a young man, he was said to have served in the royalist army.
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THE last of the line of apologists who has any claim on our notice is the extraordinary Royalist mystic and geomancer, John Heydon, who, in the preface to "The Holy Guide," has left us the following interesting and curious fragment of autobiography I had the small pox and rickets very. I was at Tardebich in Warwickshire, neer Hewel, where my mother was borne, and there I learned, and so carefull were they to keep me to the book and from danger, that I had one purposely to attend me at school and at home.
For, indeed, my parents were both of them honourably descended. In my devotion I love to use the civility of my knee, my hat, and hand, with all those outward and sensible motions which may express or promote invisible devotion. I never killed any man wilfully, but took him prisoner and disarmed him; I did never divide myself from any man upon the difference of opinion, or was angry with his judgment for not agreeing with me in that from which, perhaps, within a few dayes, I should dissent myself.
I never regarded what religion any man was of that did not question mine. And yet there is no Church in the world whose every part so squares unto my conscience, whose articles, constitutions, and customs seem so consonant unto reason, and, as it were, framed to my particular devotion as this whereof I hold my belief, the Church of England, to whose faith I am a sworn subject, and therefore in a double obligation subscribe unto her articles, and endeavour to observe her constitutions.
Whatsoever is beyond, as points indifferent, I observe according to the rules of my private reason, or the humour and fashion of my devotion, neither believing this because Luther affirmed it, or disproving that because Calvin hath disfavoured it. Now as all that dye in the war are not termed souldiers, neither can I properly term all those that suffer in matters of religion martyrs.
And I say, there are not many extant that in a noble way fear the face of death lesse than myselfe; yet from the moral duty I owe to the commandement of God, and the natural respects that I tender unto the conversation of my essoine and being, I would not perish upon a ceremony, politique points, or indifferency; nor is my belief of that untractable temper, as not to bow at their obstacles or connive at matters wherein there are not manifest impieties.
The leaves, therefore, and ferment of all, not only civil, but religious actions, is wisdome, without which to commit ourselves to the flames is homicide, and, I fear, but to passe through one fire into another. I behold, as a champion,. In my figure you may see that I am naturally bashful. Yet you may read my qualities on my countenance. Conversation, age, or travell hath not been able to affront or enrage me, yet I have one part of the modesty which I have seldom discovered in another, that is to speak truly , I am not so much afraid of Death as ashamed thereof.
It is the very disgrace and ignominy of our natures, that in a moment can so disfigure us that our beloved friends stand afraid and start at us; the birds and beasts of the field that before in a naturall feare obeyed us, forgetting all allegiance, begin to prey upon us. This very thought in a storm at sea hath disposed and left me willing to be swallowed up in the abyss of waters, wherein I had perished unseen, unpitied, without wondering eyes, tears of pity, lectures of morality, and none had said;-- Quantum mutatus ab illo.
Not that I am ashamed of the anatomy of my parts, or can accuse Nature of playing the pupil in any part of me, or my own vitious life for contracting any shameful disease upon me, whereby I might not call myself a compleat bodyed man, free from all diseases, sound, and, I thank God, in perfect health.
I have shaken hands with delight and know all is vanity, and I think no man can live well once but he that could live twice, yet for my part I would not live over my howres past, or begin again the minutes of my dayes, not because I have lived them well, but for fear I should live them worse. At my death I mean to take a total adieu of the world, not caring for the burthen of a tombstone and epitaph, nor so much as the bare memory of my name to be found anywhere, but in the Universal Register of God.
I envy no man that knows more than myself, but pitty them that know lesse. For Ignorance is rude, uncivill, and will abuse any man, as we see in bayliffs, who are often killed for their impudent attempts; they'll forge a warrant and fright a fellow to fling away his money, that they may take it up; the devill, that did but buffet St. Paul, playes me thinks at Sharpe with me.
To do no injury nor take none, was a principle which to my former years and impatient affection seemed to contain enough of morality, but my more settled years and Christian constitution have fallen upon severer resolutions.
I hold there is no such thing as injury, and if there be, there is no such injury as revenge, and no such. There be those that will venture to write against my doctrine, when I am dead, that never durst answer me when alive. I see Cicero is abused by Cardan, who is angry at Tully for praising his own daughter; and Origanus is so impudent, that he adventures to forge a position of the heavens and calls it Cornelius Agrippa's nativity, and they say that Cornelius was borne to believe lyes and to broach them.
Is not this unworthiness to write such lyes, and shew such reasons for them? His nativity I could never finde, I believe no man knows it, but by a false figure thus they scandalize him. And so they may use me, but behold the scheam of my nativity in Geomancy,. Now in the midst of all my endeavours, there is but one thought that dejects me--that my acquired parts mast perish with myself, nor can be legacyed amongst my dearly beloved and honoured friends. I do not fall out or contemn a man for an errour, or conceive why a difference in opinion should divide an affection; for a modest reproof or dispute, if it meet with discreet and peaceable natures, doth not infringe the laws of charity in all arguments.
After this time I had many misfortunes, and yet I think there is no man that apprehends his own miseries less than myself, and no man that so nearly apprehends another's. I could lose an arm without a tear, and with few groans, methinks, be quartered into pieces, yet can I weep seriously, with a true passion, to see the merciless Rebels in England forge a debt against the King's most loyall subjects,.
I could be content that we might raise each other from death to life as Rosie Crucians doe without conjunction, or that there were any way to perpetuate the world without this trivial and vain way of coition as Dr Brown calls it. It is the foolishest act a wise man commits all his life, nor is there anything that will more deject his cold imagination than to consider what an odd. My person he feared, and my tongue and pen offended him, because, amongst many things, I said particularly, such a day he would die, and he dyed.
My conversation is like the Sun with all men, and with a friendly aspect to good and bad. Methinks there is no man bad, and the worst best, that is, while they are kept within the circle of those qualities wherein there is good. The method I should use in distributive justice I. This general and indifferent temper of mine doth nearly dispose me to this noble virtue amongst those million of vices I do inherit and hold from Adam.
I have escaped one and that a mortal enemy to charity, the first and father sin, not onely of man, but of the devil, Pride--a vice whose name is comprehended in a monosyllable, but in its nature not circumscribed with a world. I have escaped it in a condition that can hardly avoid it; these petty acquisitions and reputed perfections that advance and elevate the conceits of other men add no feather unto mine. And this is the observation of my life--I can love and forgive even my enemies.
The materials supplied in this singular fragment of an autobiography are supplemented by a "Life of John Heydon," from the pen of Frederick Talbot, Esq. He had one sister, named Anne Heydon, who dyed two years since, his father and mother being yet living. He was born at his father's house in Green-Arbour, London, and baptized at S. Sepulchre's, and so was his sister, both in the fifth and seventh years of the reign of King Charles I.
He was educated in Warwickshire, among his mother's friends, and so careful were they to keep him and his sister from danger, and to their books, that they had one continually to wait upon them, both to the school and at home. The war at this time began to molest the universities of this nation. Being very young, he applyed his minde to learning, and by his happy wit obtained great knowledge in all arts and sciences.
Afterwards he followed the armies of the King, and for his valour commanded in the troops. During the tyrant's time first one had these books, then another, and at last, at the command of these honourable, learned, and valiant knights, they were printed.
The rest are in his books. By these monuments the name of Heydon, for the variety of his learning, was famous not onely in England, but also in many other nations into which his books are translated.
He hath taught the way to happiness, the way to long life, the way to health, the way to wax young, being old; the way to resolve all manner of questions, present and to come, by the rules of astromancy and geomancy, and how to raise the dead. But he never yet cast affection on a woman, nor do I find him inclined to marry. The princes and peers, not only of England but of Spain, Italy, France, and Germany, send to him dayly, and upon every occasion he sheweth strong parts and a vigorous brain.
His wishes and aimes speak him owner of a noble and generous heart; his excellent books are admired by the world of lettered men as prodigies of these later times; indeed if I am able to judge anything , they are full of the profoundest learning I ever met withal'. Yet he hath suffered many misfortunes. His father was sequestered, imprisoned, and lost two thousand pounds by Cromwell; this Oliver imprisoned this son also two years and a half, or thereabout, in Lambeth House, for he and his father's family were always for the king, and endeavoured to the utmost his restoration; and indeed the tyrant was cruel, but John Thurloe, his secretary, was kind to him, and pittied his curious youth.
Joshua Leadbeater, the messenger, kept him at his request and Mr John Bradley's at his own house, and gave him often leave to go abroad, but being yet. After this, some envious villains forged actions of debt against him, and put him in prison. It seems at the beginning of these misfortunes a certain harlot would have him marry her, but denying her suit, or that he ever promised any such thing, and that he ever spake to her in his life good or evil, she devised, with her confederates, abundance of mischief against him.
Many courted him to marry, but he denyed. Now there was left amongst a few old almanacks and scraps of other men's wits, collected and bequeathed unto the world by Nicholas Culpeper, his widdow, Alice Culpeper; she hearing of this gentleman that he was an heir to a great fortune, courts him by letters of love to no purpose.
The next saint in order was she that calls herself the German princess; but he flies high and scorns such fowl, great beasts. The first of these two blessed birds caused Heath to arrest him, and another after him laid actions against him that he never knew or heard of. In this perplexity was he imprisoned two years, for they did desire nothing but to get money or destroy him, for fear, if ever he got his liberty, he might punish them; but he, being of a noble nature, forgave them all their malice, and scorns to revenge himself upon such pittiful things.
God indeed hath done him justice, for this Heath consumes to worse then nothing; and, indeed, if I can judge or predict anything, his baudy-houses will be pawned, and he will die a miserable, diseased beggar.
Heydon's mistris, when he was very young, and a clerk, desired him to lye with her; but he, like Joseph, refusing, she hated him all her life. God preserved him, although one of these three lewd women swore this gentleman practised the art magick. These stories were not credited, and for all these, and many more, afflictions and false accusations, I never saw him angry, nor did he ever arrest or imprison any man or woman in all his life, yet no client of his was ever damnyfied in his suit.
He was falsly accused but lately of writing a seditious book, and imprisoned in a messenger's custody; but his noble friend, the duke of Buckingham, finding him innocent and alwaies for the king, he was discharged, and indeed this glorious duke is a very good and just judge; although some speak slightly of him, he studies the way to preserve his king and country in peace, plenty, and prosperity. It is pitty the king hath no more such brave men as he; a thousand such wise dukes as this,.
In all submission we humbly pray for this great prince, and leave him to his pleasure, and return to our subject. John Heydon hath purposely forsaken Spittle-Fields, and his lodgings there, to live a private life, free from the concourse of multitudes of people that daily followed him; but if any desire to be advised, let them by way of letter leave their business at his booksellers, and they shall have answer and counsel without reward, for he is neither envious nor enemie to any man; what I write is upon my own knowledge.
He writes now from Hermeupolis, a place I was never at. It seems, by the word, to be the City of Mercury, and truly he hath been in many strange places, among the Rosie Crucians, and at their castles, holy houses, temples, sepulchres, sacrifices; all the world knows this gentleman studies honourable things, and faithfully communicates them to others; yet, if any traduce him hereafter, they must not expect his vindication.
He hath referred his quarrel to the God of Nature; it is involved in the concernments of his truths, and he is satisfied with the peace of a good conscience. He hath been misinterpreted in his writing; with studied calumnies, they disparage his person whom they never saw, nor perhaps will see. He is resolved for the future to suffer, for he says, "God condemns no man for his patience. He doth not resent the common spleen; and when the world shall submit to the general tribunal, he will find his advocate where they shall find their judge.
When I writ this gentleman's life, God can bear me witness, it was unknown to him, and for no private ends. I was forced to it by a strong admiration of the mistery and majesty of Nature written by this servant of God and secretary of Nature. I began his life some years since, and do set it down as I do finde it. If any man oppose this I shall answer; if you are for peace, peace be with you; if you are for war, I have been so too Mr Heydon doth resolve never to draw sword again in England, except the King command him.
Now, let not him that puts on the armour boast like him that puts it off. Gaudet patientia duris is his motto, and thus I present myself a friend to all artists, and enemy to no man. Eugenius Theodidactus, The Prophetical Trumpeter.
A celestial vision in heroic verse. By the Muses' most unworthy John Heydon. London, Advice to a Daughter in opposition to advice to a Son, or directions for your better conduct through the various and most important events of this life.
The Rosie Crucian Infallible Axiomata; or, generall rules to know all things past, present, and to come. Theomagia; or, The Temple of Wisdome. In three parts spirituall, celestiall, and elementall. Psonthonpanchia; Being a Word in Season to the Enemies of Christians, and an appeal to the natural faculties of the mind of man, whether there be not a God.
The Holy Guide
The holy guide