Flammel's Hieroglyphics Chapter I

From His Exposition of the Hieroglyphicall Figures which he caused to bee painted upon an Arch in St. Innocents Church-yard, in Paris. London, 1624.
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CHAPTER I

Of the Theological Interpretations, which may be given to these Hieroglyphics, according to the sense of me the Author

I have given to this Churchyard, a Charnel-house, which is right over against this fourth Arch, in the middest of the Churchyard, and against one of the Pillars of this Charnel house, I have made be drawn with a coal, and grossly painted, a man all black, which looks straight upon these Hieroglyphics, about whom there is written in French: It voy merveile done moult Ie m'esbahi; that is, I see a marvel, whereat I am much amazed: This, as also three plates of Iron and Copper gilt, on the East, West, and South of the Arch, where these Hieroglyphics are, in the middest of the Churchyard representing the holy Passion and Resurrection of the Son of God this ought not to be otherwise interpreted, than according to the common Theological sense, saving that this black man, may as well proclaim it a wonder of God in the transmutation of Metals, which is figured in these Hieroglyphics, which he so attentively looks upon, as to see buried so many bodies, which shall rise again out of their Tombs at the fearful day of judgement. On the other part I do not think it needful to interpret in a Theological sense that vessel of Earth on the right hand of these figures, within the which there is a Pen and Inkhorn, or rather vessel of Phylosophy, if thou take away the strings, and join the Pen to the Inkhorne: nor the other two like it, which are on the two sides of the figures of Saint Peter, and Saint Paul, within one of the which, there is an N. which signifieth Nicholas, and within the other an F. which signifieth Flammel. For these vessels signify nothing else, but that in the like of them, I have done the Maistery three times. Moreover, he that will also believe that I have put these vessels in form of Scutchions to represent this Pen and Inkhorn, and the capital letters of my name, let him believe it if he will, because both these interpretations are true.

Neither must you interpret in a Theological sense that writing which followeth, in these terms, NICHOLAS FLAMEL ET PERRENELLE SA FEMME, that is, Nicholas Flammel, and Perrenelle his wife, in as much as that signifieth nothing, but that I and my wife have given that Arch.

As to the third, fourth, and fifth Tables following, by the sides whereof is written, COMMENT LES INNOCENTS FVRENTOCCIS PAR LE COMMANDEMENT DV ROY HERODES, that is How the Innocents were killed by the commandment of King Herod. The theological sense is well enough understood by the writing, we must only speak of the rest, which is above.

The two Dragons united together to one within the other, of colour black and blue, in a field sable, that is to say, black, whereof the one hath the wings gilded, and the other hath none at all, are the sins which naturally are enserchayned, for the one hath his original and birth from another: Of them some may be easily chased away, as they come easily, for they fly towards us every hour; and those which have no wings can never be chased away, such as is the sin against the holy Ghost. The Gold which is in the wings signifieth that the greatest part of sins commeth from the unholy hunger after gold; which makes so many people diligently to harken from whence they may have it: and the colour black and blue showeth that these are the desires that come out of the dark pits of hell, which we ought wholly to fly from. These two Dragons may also morely represent unto us the Legions of evil spirits which are always about us, and which will accuse us, before the just judge, at the fearful day of Judgement, which do ask nor seek nothing else but to sist us.

The man and the woman which are next them, of an orange colour, upon a field azure and blue, signify that men and women ought not to have their hope in this World, for the orange colour intimates dispair, or the letting go of hope, as here; and the colour azure and blue, upon they are painted, shows us that we must think of heavenly things to come, and say as the roule of the man doth, HOMO VENIET ADIVICIVM DEI, that is, Man must come to the judgement of God may show mercy unto us.

Next after this in a field of Syneple, that is green, are painted two men and one woman rising again, of the which one comes out of a Sepulchre, the other two out of the Earth, all three of colour exceeding white and pure, lifting their hands towards their eyes, and their eyes towards Heaven on high: Above these three bodies there are two Angels sounding musical Instruments; as if they had called these dead to the day of Judgement; for over these two Angels is the figure of our Lord Jesus Christ, holding the world in his hand, upon whose head an Angel setteth a Crown, assisted by two others, which say in their roules, O pater Omnipotens, o'jesu bone, that is, O Father Almighty, O'good Jesu. On the right side of this Saviour is painted St. Paul, clothed with white & yellow, with a Sword, at whose feet there is a man clothed in a gown of orange colour, in which there appeared pleats or folds of black and white, (which picture resembleth me to the life) and demandeth pardon of his sins, holding his hands joined together, from between which proceed these words written in a roule, DE LE MALA QVE FECI, that is to say, Blot out the evils that I have done.

On the other side on the left hand, is Saint Peter with his Key, clothed in reddish yellow, holding his hand upon a woman clad in a gown of orange colour, which is on her knees, representing to the life Perrenelle, which holdeth her hands joined together, having a roule where is written, CHRISTE PRECOR ESTO PIVS, that is, Christ I beseech thee be pitiful: Behind whom there is an Angel on his knees, with a roule, that saith, SALVE DOMINE ANGELORVM, that is, All hail thou Lord of Angels. There is also another Angel on his knees, behind my Image, on the same side that St. Paul is on, which likewise holdeth a roule, saying, O REX SEMPITERNE, that is, O King everlasting. All this is so clear, according to the explication of the Resurrection and future judgement, that it may easily be fitted thereto. So it seems this Arch was not painted for any other purpose, but to represent this. And therefore we need not stay any longer upon it, considering that the least and most ignorant, may well know how to give this interpretation.

Next after the three that are rising again, come two Angels more of an Orange colour upon a blue field, saying in the roules, SVRGITE MORTVIVENITE AD IVDICIVM DOMINI MEI, that is, Arise you dead, come to the Judgement of my Lord. This also serves to the interpretation of the Resurrection: As also the last Figures following, which are, A man red vermillion, upon a field of Violet colour, who holdeth the foot of a winged Lion, painted of red vermillion also, opening his throat, as it were to devour the man : For one may say that this is the Figure of an unhappy sinner, who sleeping in a Lethargy of his corruption and vices, dieth without repentance and confession; who without doubt in this terrible Day shall be delivered to the Devil, here painted in form of a red roaring Lion, which will swallow and devour him.


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