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Publication Date: 1556
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Greetings and happiness to Cesar Nostradamus my son. Your late arrival, Cesar Nostredame, my son, has made me spend much time in constant nightly reflection so that I could communicate with you by letter and leave you this reminder, after my death, for the benefit of all men, of which the divine spirit has vouchsafed me to know by means of astronomy. And since it was the Almighty's will that you were not born here in this region and I do not want to talk of years to come but of the months during which you will struggle to grasp and understand the work I shall be compelled to leave you after my death: assuming that it will not be possible for me to leave you such writing as may be destroyed through the injustice of the age. The key to the hidden prediction which you will inherit will be locked inside my heart.
Also bear in mind that the events here described have not yet come to pass, and that all is ruled and governed by the power of Almighty God, inspiring us not by bacchic frenzy nor by enchantments but by astronomical assurances: predictions have been made through the inspiration of divine will alone and the spirit of prophecy in particular.
On numerous occasions and over a long period of time I have predicted specific events far in advance, attributing all to the workings of divine power and inspiration, together with other fortunate or unfortunate happenings, foreseen in their full unexpectedness, which have already come to pass in various regions of the earth. Yet I have wished to remain silent and abandon my work because of the injustice not only of the present time but also for most of the future. I will not commit to writing.
Since governments, sects and countries will undergo such sweeping changes, diametrically opposed to what now obtains, that were I to relate events to come, those in power now - monarchs, leaders of sects and religions - would find these so different from their own imaginings that they would be led to condemn what later centuries will learn how to see and understand. Bear in mind also Our Saviour's words: "Do not give anything holy to the dogs, nor throw pearls in front of swine lest they trample them with their feet and turn on you and tear you apart." For this reason I withdrew my pen from the paper, because I wished to amplify my statement touching the Vulgar Advent by means of ambiguous and enigmatic comments about future causes, even those closest to us and those I have perceived, so that some human change which may come to pass shall not unduly scandalize delicate sensibilities. The whole work is thus written in a nebulous rather than plainly prophetic form. So much so that, "You have hidden these things from the wise and the circumspect, that is from the mighty and the rulers, and you have purified those things for the small and the poor," and through Almighty God's will, revealed unto those prophets with the power to perceive what is distant and thereby to foretell things to come. For nothing can be accomplished without this faculty, whose power and goodness work so strongly in those to whom it is given that, while they contemplate within themselves, these powers are subject to other influences arising from the force of good. This warmth and strength of prophecy invests us with its influence as the sun's rays affect both animate and inanimate entities.
We human beings cannot through our natural consciousness and intelligence know anything of God the Creator's hidden secrets, For it is not for us to know the times or the instants, etc.
So much so that persons of future times may be seen in present ones, because God Almighty has wished to reveal them by means of images, together with various secrets of the future vouchsafed to orthodox astrology, as was the case in the past, so that a measure of power and divination passed through them, the flame of the spirit inspiring them to pronounce upon inspiration both human and divine. God may bring into being divine works, which are absolute; there is another level, that of angelic works; and a third way, that of the evildoers.
But my son, I address you here a little too obscurely. As regards the occult prophecies one is vouchsafed through the subtle spirit of fire, which the understanding sometimes stirs through contemplation of the distant stars as if in vigil, likewise by means of pronouncements, one finds oneself surprised at producing writings without fear of being stricken for such impudent loquacity. The reason is that all this proceeds from the divine power of Almighty God from whom all bounty proceeds.
And so once again, my son, if I have eschewed the word prophet, I do not wish to attribute to myself such lofty title at the present time, for whoever is called a prophet now was once called a seer; since a prophet, my son, is properly speaking one who sees distant things through a natural knowledge of all creatures. And it can happen that the prophet bringing about the perfect light of prophecy may make manifest things both human and divine, because this cannot be done otherwise, given that the effects of predicting the future extend far off into time.
God's mysteries are incomprehensible and the power to influence events is bound up with the great expanse of natural knowledge, having its nearest most immediate origin in free will and describing future events which cannot be understood simply through being revealed. Neither can they be grasped through men's interpretations nor through another mode of cognizance or occult power under the firmament, neither in the present nor in the total eternity to come But bringing about such an indivisible eternity through Herculean efforts, things are revealed by the planetary movements.
I am not saying, my son - mark me well, here - that knowledge of such things cannot be implanted in your deficient mind, or that events in the distant future may not be within the understanding of any reasoning being. Nevertheless, if these things current or distant are brought to the awareness of this reasoning and intelligent being they will be neither too obscure nor too clearly revealed.