TRUSTWORTHY information is unavailable concerning the actual philosophical beliefs, political aspirations, and humanitarian activities of the Rosicrucian Fraternity. Today, as of old, the mysteries of the Society are preserved inviolate by virtue of their essential nature; and attempts to interpret Rosicrucian philosophy are but speculations, anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
Evidence points to the probable existence of two distinct Rosicrucian bodies: an inner organization whose members never revealed their identity or teachings to the world, and an outer body under the supervision of the inner group. In all probability, the symbolic tomb of Christian Rosencreutz, Knight of the Golden Stone, was in reality this outer body, the spirit of which is in a more exalted sphere. For a period of more than a century subsequent to 1614, the outer body circulated tracts and manifestoes under either its own name or the names of various initiated members. The purpose of these writings was apparently to confuse and mislead investigators, and thus effectively to conceal the actual designs of the Fraternity.
When Rosicrucianism became the philosophical "fad" of the seventeenth century, numerous documents on the subject were also circulated for purely commercial purposes by impostors desirous of capitalizing its popularity. The cunningly contrived artifices of the Fraternity itself and the blundering literary impostures of charlatans formed a double veil behind which the inner organization carried on its activities in a manner totally dissimilar to its purposes and principles as publicly disseminated. The Fratres Rosa Crucis naively refer to the misunderstandings which they have for obvious reasons permitted to exist concerning themselves as being "clouds" within which they labor and behind which they are concealed.
An inkling of the substance of Rosicrucianism--its esoteric doctrines--can be gleaned from an analysis of its shadow--its exoteric writings. In one of the most important of their "clouds," the Confessio Fraternitatis, the Brethren of the Fraternity of R.C. seek to justify their existence and explain (?) the purposes and activities of their Order. In its original form the Confessio is divided into fourteen chapters, which are here epitomized.
CONFESSIO FRATERNITATIS R. C. AD ERUDITOS EUROPÆ
Chapter I. Do not through hasty judgment or prejudice misinterpret the statements concerning our Fraternity published in our previous manifesto--the Fama Fraternitatis. Jehovah, beholding the decadence of civilization, seeks to redeem humanity by revealing to the willing and by thrusting upon the reluctant those secrets which previously He had reserved for His elect. By this wisdom the godly shall be saved, but the sorrows of the ungodly shall be multiplied. While the true purpose of our Order was set forth in the Fama Fraternitatis, misunderstandings have arisen through which we have been falsely accused of heresy and treason. In this document we hope so to clarify our position that the learned of Europe will be moved to join with us in the dissemination of divine knowledge according to the will of our illustrious founder.
Chapter II. While it is alleged by many that the philosophic cide (sic. JBH) of our day is sound, we declare it to be false and soon to die of its own inherent weakness. just as Nature, however, provides a remedy for each new disease that manifests itself, so our Fraternity has provided a remedy for the infirmities of the world's philosophic system. The secret philosophy of the R.C. is founded upon that knowledge which is the sum and head of all faculties, sciences, and arts. By our divinely revealed system--which partakes much of theology and medicine but little of jurisprudence--we analyze the heavens and the earth; but mostly we study man himself, within whose nature is concealed the supreme secret. If the learned of out day will accept our invitation and join themselves to our Fraternity, we will reveal to them undreamed-of secrets and wonders concerning the hidden workings of Nature.
Chapter III. Do not believe that the secrets discussed in this brief document are lightly esteemed by us. We cannot describe fully the marvels of our Fraternity lest the uninformed be overwhelmed by our astonishing declarations and the vulgar ridicule the mysteries which they do not comprehend. We also fear that many will be confused by the unexpected generosity of our proclamation, for not understanding the wonders of this sixth age they do nor realize the great changes which are to come. Like blind men living in a world full of light, they discern only through the sense of feeling. [By sight is implied spiritual cognition: by feeling, the material senses.]