FLAMEL

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Nicolas Flamel (c. 1327 – 2016) is a well-known alchemist and only known maker of the Philosopher's Stone, a legendary substance with incredible powers. he had learned alchemical secrets from a Jewish converso on the road to Santiago de Compostela.

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History of the Book of Abraham the Jew

 

What had happened to the book of Abraham the Jew ? Nicolas Flamel had bequeathed his papers and library to a nephew named Perrier, who was interested in alchemy and of whom he was very fond. Absolutely nothing is known of Perrier. He no doubt benefited by his uncle's teachings and spent a sage's life in the munificent obscurity that Flamel prized so dearly, but had not been able altogether to maintain during the last years of his life. For two centuries the precious heritage was handed down from father to son, without anything being heard of it. Traces of it are found again in the reign of Louis XIII. A descendant of Flamel, named Dubois, who must still have possessed a supply of the projection powder, threw off the wise reserve of his ancestor and used the powder to dazzle his contemporaries. In the presence of the King, he changed leaden balls with it into gold. As a result of this experiment, it is known he had many interviews with Cardinal de Richelieu, who wished to extract his secret. Dubois, who possessed the powder but was unable to understand either Flamel's manuscripts or the book of Abraham the Jew, could tell him nothing and was soon imprisoned at Vincennes. It was found that he had committed certain offences in the past, and this enabled Richelieu to get him condemned to death and confiscate his property for his own benefit. At the same time the proctor of the Chitelet, no doubt by order of Richelieu, seized the houses that Flamel had owned and had them searched from top to bottom. About this time, at the church of Saint-Jacques la Boucherie, robbers made their way in during the night, lifted Flamel's tombstone and broke open his coffin. It was after this incident that the rumor spread that the coffin had been found empty, and that it had never contained the body of Flamel, who was supposed to be still alive.

 

Through whatever means, it is believed Richelieu took possession of the book of Abraham the Jew. He built a laboratory at the Chateau of Rueil, which he often visited to read through the master's manuscripts and to try to interpret the sacred hieroglyphs. But that which a sage like Flamel had been able to understand only after twenty-one years of meditation was not likely to be at once accessible to a politician like Richelieu. Knowledge of the mutations of matter, of life and death, is more complex than the art of planning strategies or administering a kingdom. Richelieu's search gave no good results.

 

On the death of the cardinal, all traces of the book were lost, or rather, all traces of the text, for the diagrams have often been reproduced. Indeed, the book must have been copied, for it is recorded in the seventeenth century that the author of the Tresor des Recherches et Antiquites Gauloises made a journey to Milan to see a copy which belonged to the Seigneur of Cabrieres. In any case, the mysterious book has now disappeared. Perhaps a copy or the original itself rests under the dust of some provincial library. And it may be that a wise fate will send it at the proper time to a man who has the patience to ponder it, the knowledge to interpret it, the wisdom not to divulge it too soon.

 

Is Nicholas Flamel Still Alive?

 

But the mystery of the story of Flamel, which seemed to have come to an end, was revived in the seventeenth century. Louis VIV sent an archeologist named Paul Lucas on a mission to the East. He was to study antiquities and bring back any inscriptions or documents that could help forward the modest scientific efforts then being made in France. A scholar had in those days to be both a soldier and an adventurer. Paul Lucas united in himself the qualities of a Salomon Reinach and a Casanova. He was captured by Barbary corsairs, who robbed him, according to his own story, of the treasures he had brought from Greece and Palestine. The most valuable contribution that this official emissary made to science is summarized in the story he tells in his Voyage dans la Turquie, which he published in 1719. His account enables men of faith to reconstitute part of the history of the book of Abraham the Jew.

 

The story goes as follows: At Broussa Paul Lucas made the acquaintance of a kind of philosopher, who wore Turkish clothes, spoke almost every known language and, in outward appearance, belonged to the type of man of whom it is said that they " have no age." Thanks to his own cultured presence, Lucas came to know him fairly well, and this is what he learned. This philosopher was a member of a group of seven philosophers, who belonged to no particular country and traveled all over the world, having no other aim than the search for wisdom and their own development. Every twenty years they met at a pre-determined place, which happened that year to be Broussa. According to him, human life ought to have an infinitely longer duration than we admit; the average length should be a thousand years. A man could live a thousand years if he had knowledge of the Philosopher's Stone, which, besides being knowledge of the transmutation of metals, was also knowledge of the Elixir of life. The sages possessed it and kept it for themselves. In the West, there were only a few such sages. Nicolas Flamel had been one of them. Paul Lucas was astonished that a Turk, whom he had met by chance at Broussa, should be familiar with the story of Flamel. He was still more astonished when the Turk told him how the book of Abraham the Jew had come into Flamel's possession, for hitherto no one had known this.

 

“Abraham the Jew was a member of our group," the man told him. "He had determined not to lose sight of the descendants of his brothers who had taken refuge in France. He had a desire to see them, and in spite of all we could do to dissuade him he went to Paris. He made the acquaintance there of a rabbi who was seeking the Philosopher's Stone, and our friend became intimate with the rabbi and was able to explain much to him. But before he left the country the rabbi, by an act of treachery, killed our brother to get possession of his book and papers. The rabbi was arrested, convicted of this and other crimes and burned alive. The persecution of the Jews in France began not long afterwards, and they were expelled from the country. The book of Abraham was sold to Flamel by a Jewish man who did not know its value and was anxious to get rid of it before leaving Paris. Having discovered the Philosopher's Stone, Flamel was able to remain alive in the physical form he possessed at the time of his discovery. Pernelle's and his own funerals and the minute care he bestowed on the arrangements for them had been nothing but clever shams.”

 

But the most amazing thing that Paul Lucas heard was the statement made by the Turk that both Flamel and his wife Pernelle were still alive! Having discovered the Philosopher's Stone, Flamel had been able to remain alive in the physical form he possessed at the time of his discovery. Pernelle's and his own funerals and the minute care he bestowed on the arrangements for them had been nothing but clever shams. He had started out for India, the country of the initiates, where he still lived. The publication of Paul Lucas' book created a great sensation. In the seventeenth century, like today, there lived discerning men who believed that all truth came out of the East and that there were in India adepts who possessed powers infinitely greater than those that science so parsimoniously metes out to us. In fact, this is a belief that has existed at every period in modern human history.

 

Was Nicolas Flamel one of these adepts? Even if he was, can it reasonably be presumed that he was alive three centuries after his supposed death, by virtue of a deeper study than had yet been made of the life force and the means of prolonging it? Is it relevant to compare with Paul Lucas' story another tradition reported by Abbe Vilain, who says that in the seventeenth century, Flamel visited Monsieur Desalleurs, the French ambassador to the Sublime Porte? Every man, according to his feeling for the miraculous, must come to his own conclusion. I think, myself, that in accordance with the wisdom which he had always shown, Nicolas Flamel, after his discovery of the Philosopher's Stone, would have had no temptation to evade death; for he regarded death merely as the transition to a better state. In obeying, without seeking escape, the ancient and simple law that reduces man to dust when the curve of his life is ended, he gave proof of a wisdom that is none the less beautiful for being widespread.

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