The Fountain of Chymical Philosophy
Philalethes, Eirenaeus: Three Tracts of the Great Medicine of Philosophers for humane and metalline bodies. I. Intituled, Ars metallorum metamorphoseos. II. Brevis manuductio ad rubinum coelestem. III. Fons chymicæ philosophicæ. All written in Latine by Eirenæus Philalethes, Cosmopolita. Translated into English for the benefit of the studious, by a lover of art and them. Printed and sold by T. Sowle, at the Crooked-Billet in Holy-well-Lane Shoreditch, (London), 1694.
(Early English Books Online)
Written in Latine By
Printed in the Year, 1694.
I will divide the whole of the Art into these parts: The first shall contain things substantially and essentially Constituting the Work: The second the disposition of them: The things Essentially Constituting the Stone, are a Body or Mature Sulphur, or red Brass and Water, or Immature Mercury, or white Brass, to which a Vessel is added, a Furnace and Triple Fire. The Disposition of these things, Considers the Weight and the Regimen. The Pondus is two-fold, the Regimen is twofold: Those things which perfect these Operations, are Calcination, Dissolution, Separation, Conjunction, Putrefaction, Distillation, Coagulation, Sublimation, Fixation, and Exaltation, of which the two first, are made especially by a Temperate Incomburent and altering Ignition of the Fire; heating the King’s bath and Changing him first into a subtile viscous Earth, then into Mineral Water, diversely coloured, and this is called a Fire against Nature. The three Operations which follow are made from the Combining of the first and third Fire, to wit, of the Natural and Contra-natural, which being so joined together, make an unnatural Fire, by Circulating the Matter every day, and separating the more subtile from the Thick till all be of the same Temperament, and then Conjoyning the things separated, impregnating them, and so putrefying them.
The five last Operations are made by the Fire of Nature, daily increasing and Predominating, which first Circumacts the putrefied Matter daily and cleanseth it from Filth, by a n open ascension, and descension, which therefore is called Distillation, Volatilization, Ablution, Mundification, Cohobation, Imbibition, Cibation, Hunectation of the Earth. And this is done so long by the heat, until the Siccity begins to Coagulate, which is called Inspissation, which by a longer Concoction, or Sublimation, brings a fixity, whose Bound is Exaltation: This is not the change of an inferior place, for the Superior, but of the most vile things, to make the most Noble.
These are all our Operations and successive Dispositions, which by some are called so many Regimens, which name if any one had rather impose, he may: however know there is only a double fire, Natural and against Nature, of which the Latter Acts first, because the other is not brought to light, but by this, and Putrefaction must go before Regeneration; and when these two fight one another, they make an Unnatural fire, and from this Contention rises Putrefaction: and after this is a Glorious Regeneration in which the Sulphur and Water become one thing, and also receive a Congealation, from no fire but a Natural.
Therefore our Body which is commonly Called Terra Lemnia, perfects the whole work: but it can in no wise be moistened but in its own Water, which Water is truly Pluvial, not such as the common people knows to get, but ours, which none ever saw, but a true Philosopher, believe me for I speak the truth, Fools know how to Extract many Waters, to wit wetting the hands, but our Water is the Life of all things, about which thou must take pains, the n neither Sol, nor Luna will be wanting to supply thee with Riches.
But I will tell thee, and that faithfully, what kind of Water this is, it is the Water of Salt Petre, which is known as Mercury, but in the heart a pure infernal Fire: but have a care thou be not deceived by Quicksilver, but understand that Mercury, which the returning Sun cefuseth every where in the Month of March. Gather thou it in the Month of October, because then surely it is found ripe, and the most precious Treasure in the whole World.
But that I may describe our Mercury to thee, our Rain Water so that thou mayst find it, know that it is before the eyes of the whole World, that yet are Ignorant thereof, or at least, does take the vulgar for it, and deturpates it with various Tortures, but neglects our true Mercury in its season, therefore it never perfects our Magistery. For the common Alchymists does look upon it with a blew look; whence it comes to pass, that they scorn it: but it astonisheth the Sons of Learning with its Splendor, and is greatly accounted of by them, therefore it is a vile thing, and yet the most precious, which no one ever contemned without a great judgement of God.
But thou when thou seest it don’t despise it because it will appear very durty, and if thou therefore dispise it, thou shalt be deprived of the Magistery, but if thou dost greatly esteem this contemptible thing, then indeed it shall seem Glorious, having changed it countenance: For our Water is a most clean Virgin, and is loved by many, but she meets all her Wooers, Cloathed in sordid Garments, that by this means she may distinguish Philosophers from Fools, for whosoever shall behold nothing but externally, will scorn him as unworthy of such a Secret, since Whores shew themselves to their Wooers, drest in splendid Garments; but this chast and most precious Maid. Seems outwardly foul, but is inwardly fair, which indeed cheats many Fools. But whatsoever Mental man, can see the Spirit which lyes hid, under the patent body will not esteem her little, also our Virgin will look upon him as a Friend, and putting off her filthiness, will shine most amiable, whom then none but a fool must admire and love, for she will bestow upon him infinite Riches, and perfect health. Therefore honour ye this Female, the Sister and Wife of our King, to whom if you be assistant in putting off her dregs, she will get most splendid Garments for her self, and bestow infinite Riches upon thee. Therefore this our Queen is clean above measure, whom if you shall behold, you will think you look upon a certain Heavenly Body, for she is indeed the Heaven or the fifth Essence of Philosophers, whose brightness you cannot imagine, unless you see it: believe me for I have seen her Snowy Splendor with my Eyes, touched with my hands, then which nothing can be thought fairer. Our Water is then truly Pontick, Serene, Christaline, pure and clean, which not so in its Nature as we make it by our Art; and it is our Sea, our hidden Fountain, out of which our Gold naturally is Created, when yet it prefers its self to Gold, and conquers it, and in the hour of its Nativity, Gold is joined with it, and is washed in it, and both increaseth together into a Stout Hero, which neither Caesar nor the Pope can buy with Money. Therefore with all they strength get this Water, of which an Ounce is worth above a Thousand Pound, because by this alone, without any other Labour, except the Addition of a perfect clean, pure body, thou maist perfect our most Honored Stone, to which no Treasure in the World can be equaled.
But there is need of profound Meditation before thou canst conceive our Sea, to wit its Flux and Reflux: But if thou be diligent, by the help of God, thou shalt obtain thy desire; I for my part, after I knew the Field in general, where this our Secret Fountain did Purl, yet I did not learn to get it out, till after a year and a half, giving my self, to daily study and profound Contemplations, because the Fiery Furnace of the wise men lay hid from me long: but after I knew this, and how it was fitted to its proper Vessel, after a few days I beheld the admirable Brightness of our Water, which being seen I could not but be amazed, for as in the Practice, so it is in the Theory, and on the contrary: for he that exactly knows the Magistery of this Water, no Words or Secrets of the Philosophers; Sayings, Writings or Enigmas, will be concealed from him; so whosoever hath once made up our Water, nothing remains to be done, but to cast in a clean Body in a just quantity, shut the Vessel and so let it stand, till the Complement of the Work. But we have another twofold Fire, which thou shalt easily know, as soon as thou hast Learned this first: but that we may return to the Water, in which believe me, the whole secret Consists, which Water although it be one, yet is not simple but Compound, to wit of the Vessel and Fire of Philosophers to which a third is added, namely the Bond. When therefore we speak of our Vessel, understand our Water, when of the Fire, in like manner understand Water and when we Dispute of the Furnace we would have nothing Diverse, or divided from the Water. Therefore the Vessel is one, the Furnace is one, the Fire one, and all these are one to wit Water.
Therefore the fire Digesteth, the Vessel Whiteneth, and Penetrates, and the Furnace or Bond Encompasseth and includeth all, and the Fire is Mercury, the Vessel also Mercury, lastly the same Furnace is Mercury, and Note well, there is no fire in the whole work but Mercury, when notwithstanding, the fire is manifold, and the water manifold: therefore as well fire as water is diversified by their virtue, in the work; as in Number, so they agree in one and the same Gender, to wit Mercury, therefore our Fire is Living, our Vessel Living, our Furnace Living, and all these are one.
Know also dearest! That there is only one thing in the whole world, in the which this our Mercury is to be found, it is of a like Essence with Gold, unlike in Substance, by converting the Elements thereof, thou shalt find what thou seekest. Joyn the Heaven with the Earth, upon a Fire of friendship, and in the midst of the Firmament, thou shalt see Hermes his bird. Do not confound the Natures, but divide them and joyn them again, and thou shalt Reign in Honour all thy Life; hear therefore this great Secret, in the Southern Coast is found a very high Mountain, very near to the Sun, which is one of the seven, and highest but one: This Mountain of which we speak is of a very hot temperature, because it is not far from the Sun, and in this Mountain a Vapour or Spirit is shut up, which highly necessary for our Work; but it does not ascend unless the Earth be digged Knee deep in the top of the Mountain, but if this be done, the Spirit or thin Exhalation ascends, which being congealed by the Air, drop by drop, runs into most clear Water, warm like a Bath, which is presently gathered, for it is the true Caduce of Mercury, with which he works Wonders; this is our Water, our Fire, our Furnace and it is our Mercury, and not the Vulgars; but the hot and humid Liquor of the most pure Salt, which we name Mercury; because comparing it with the Sun, it’s immature and Frigid. Verily I say unto thee, except the Almighty had Created this Mercury, the Transmutation of Metals were impossible, because the Sun does not tinge unless it be tinged. But he is not tinged but by this our Water alone. O this blessed Humidity! Which is the Philosophical Heaven, whence wise men have drawn their Inestimable Dainties! O permanent Water! Dissolving and amending Sol, our Nitre and wonderful Sal Petre! Whose price is Inestimable yet is little esteemed. Therefore the thing is vile and yet very Precious, whom our Sol Loves as his only Bride, whose virtue if the vulgar knew, they would not sell a drahm for a Thousand Ounces of Silver; for it is most precious Gold Lively and penetrating, therefore it turns the Body of Gold into a meer Spirit, and is joined in Marriage, as the Woman to the Husband, whose fairness Sol admires, and rejoices in her, and for Love kills his own Wife, and she moved with Love makes him alive, and is impregnated by him, Conceives and grows big, also brings forth a Son a most serene King. O happy they who can go to this Fountain of our Water! For if they shall Drink of it, and shall Eat afterwards a little piece of fat Flesh, they shall reign as Princes all their Life on the Earth. Therefore the whole secret of our Work consists in knowing this our Sea, which who ever is Ignorant of, he hath long ago Destined his Money to perdition, if he does spend any about this Work. For our Ocean draws its Original, from one Mountain and that a very high one, as I have said above. But if ascending to the Top thou dig Knee Deep, a Certain Exhalation or white fume will ascend, which will perfect the whole Magistery, but there remains another Secret, which thou art obliged not to be ignorant of, that thou maist obtain thy desire, to wit, how thou must dig in the Mountain, since that the Earth in the Superfice of the Mountain, is to be cut with no Blow, for such is his Dryness, that it is Concreted by the means of Heat, into a Substance harder than Flint. Attend therefore to this Secret, in Saturnine places is found a certain Herb called Saturnia, whose branches appear dry, but Juice abounds in the Root, gather this Herb together with the Root and carry it with thee, until thou come to the foot of the Mountain, under which by the Ministry of Vulcan, thou shalt dig and Bury the herb, which presently goes through the pores of the Mountain, by loosing the earth thereof, then at length, Climbing to the Top, thou shalt easily Bore Knee deep, and shalt pour so much Fat and dry Water, that descending to the Bottom of the Mountain it may wet the Herb there laid; which presently being made moist, together with the Water, ascends like smoak, and hurries with it the Spirit of the Mountain, carrying it up with it, which Spirit is a fiery Virtue, mingling it self with the water, and inhabiting therein, and it is the Water into which thou shalt cast thy Bond, or the Vessel or Furnace; the spirit of Saturnia is a whitening fume, and the vapour of the Mountain is fire, and all these are fire, so thou hast Saturnia a Vegetable, Royal and Mineral Herb, of which with fat Flesh is made such a Broth, to which no Dainties in the World may be Compared. Now thou hast the whole secret of our Water, described under an enigmatical Discourse, yet not so obscurely but thou maist Easily if thou be diligent and Learned, by Contemplations and Experiments perfect the Work. For all these are the true material Principles of our Stone, besides which, nothing can or ought to enter, into our Work: to wit, the King and the Water, which is the Bath of the King, & know that our Water is a Vessel, as our King is Contained in it; and a Furnace as our Fire is included in it; and our Fire, as the Virtue or Spirit of the Mountain Inhabits in it; and the Female, as it contains the Vapour of Vegetable Saturnia, which is very friendly to Sol; and Penetrates, Whitens and Mollifies him and makes him to cast out Sperm; then the Fiery Virtue which is shut up in the Water begins to work upon our Body so reduced, by wasting it and Mortifying, by burning and Putrefying, or rather exciting to these things until the innate heat of Sol, is deduced from power into Act, which dealbates, Coagulates, Fixeth and Tingeth: and therefore our Stone is called the world because it contains both the Agent and Patient in it. It is the moving and the moved, Active and Passive, Fixt and Volatile, Mature and Crude, one whereof succours the other, and the one is amended by the other, because both is Homogeneous in its self. For Sulphur and Mercury are the same in Water and in a Body, in Identity of the Genus, and only are diversified by Decoction. Keep this Secret. Therefore we do not to that end, order Crude and Volatile Mercury, to be mingled with Mature and fixt Sulphur, that we might affirm that Sulphur is different in one and the other, and the Mercury different also; For where would then the Homogeneity, of Metals be, which we affirm in our Stone, but therefore we mix these two Species, that we by our Art, might Perfect Gold, a thousand Degrees more, in a far shorter space, than Nature has formed simple Gold in the Mines. For Nature from only Crude, Humid, and Frigid Mercury, without any Addition, Generates Gold by a long Decoction, under the Earth: But Art to contract the work, throws in Mature and fixed Sulphur to Mercury made most pure by Art, and so Extracts the most digested virtue of Sulphur by Mercury, which Sulphureal Virtue, strongly Changes and perfects Mercury into a Compleat Elixir. Observe therefore, the Work and the Process thereof, whence thou shalt understand the Cause of the wonderful Abbreviation of the Work, Gold is a Body hot and dry, Luna Cold & moist, Mercury the Medium of Carrying the Tinctures: The Body of Sol is most digested, of Luna imperfect and immature; Mercury the Bond, by which these two Contraries are United. Join Luna to Mercury, with a due and Convenient Ignition, and mingle them so, that Luna and Mercury may become one Mercury, retaining the fire in it self, and all the feces and superfluities will fall from Mercury, and he shall become clear, as the tear of the Eye, although not Diaphanous, then lastly mingle this Mercury with Gold, in which is Luna and Fire, and then the hot and Dry will love the cold and moist, and will lye down together, in one Bed, that is in the Fire of friendship, and the Man will be dissolved upon the Woman, and the woman will be Coagulated upon the Man, and then the Spirit and the Body will be one by Commixtion. Go on afterwards with that foot thou hast begun, and so often Reiterate the Heaven upon its Earth, until the Spirit put on the Body, and both be fixt together. For then our Stone is perfect, and indued with Regal Virtue, the which no price can Buy. For Mercury is the water of all Metals, they being decocted in it: And even as simple water, which in its own Nature is cold and moist, which notwithstanding if it be mixt in decoction with any Vegetable, receives and puts on other Qualities of Spirit of life, which resides in the water, goes out by Decoction into the water, and the water Convertibly, receives its Nature: Yet the thick and Corporeal Earthly part of the substance decocted, is not that spirit that Changes the quality of the water, but is separable from the matter after decoction. In like manner we must understand of Argent Vive, with its Species yet differently, for whatsoever Metal or Mineral shall be so familiar with Mercury, as to be mixt per minima, and decocted with it, that Mercury, according to the Species of the Metal so joined, puts on other Qualities, and will cast off his own Dreggs. Therefore Metallick and Mineral species are subordinately, and subalternately to be decocted in it, and it is their water, into which Mineral spirits are emitted, by Decoction, and so alter it no other ways then Vegetables decocted in their simple water. Yet a double difference is to be noted, between the foresaid Decoctions, first that water is not fixt with the Vegetables, as Mercury with Metals, therefore these are of a stronger Composition than those. The Second, that in the Decoction of Vegetables or Animals, the water being a Diaphanous Humor, not only receives new Virtue and Qualities, but also a different Colour to what it had. But it is not so in Mercury for its Nature is altered, but not its Colour nor form of Flux: but the colour of a dissolved Metal lyes under the form of Liquid Argent Vive, and by its virtue does not appear. Therefore Mercury first acteth up a Metal by dissolving it, afterwards a Metal Acts upon Mercury by Coagulating it, and as in Dissolution, the form and colour of the Metal lay under the form and colour of Mercury, so also in Coagulation the form and Colour of Mercury is hid under the Colour and form of the Metal, so neither the Qualities of the Metal in dissolution hinders the Flux of Mercury, nor the Qualities of Mercury in Coagulation, hinder the fixity of the Metal. Dost thou not see here a certain wonderful Agreement: betwixt Mercury and Metals, for they Love like Mother and Son, Sister and Brother, Male and Female, therefore their Bodies are made better by Water for the Generation of all things is by water, and they take in it, and by it, a Latitude of Subtility, that is a Spiritual and volatile Nature, and the Water in like manner is amended by the Bodies, and is retained and puts on a Corporeal nature, & lo the whole compound is matured together, when the Agents become Patients, and on the contrary. But the reason that the Colour of Mercury is not changed in Decoction by the Body Dissolved, is that, that the Earth and Water are Homoeneous in Mercury, and so temperate that neither can be separated from the other, and they are so strongly Commixt, that in so wonderful a tenuity of matter, there is such great density of Substance, as to hide the Colours, whence if any proportion of Mercury be spoiled, either destructively by deturpating things or Generatively with a Body Appropriated to its self, it will manifest the colour that is thrown into the substance. But there are Proportions of Mercury in respect both of Earth and water, in respect of the second it flows and is Liquid, in respect of the first it wets nothing that it touches, but that which is of the Unity of its Nature. From what hath been said, all Errors of Operators in Mercury are detected. For some Obstruct or Divide its Homogeneity, by drying it with various sublimations, others Spoiling and Disproportionating the Earth, to bring in a Transparency. As many as do this, do nothing but a Sophistical work. For Mercury is the Sperm of Metals, which Nature with much Sagacity hath formed in the Veins of the Earth, for Metal; Neither is any thing wanting to it but pure Digestion, but it is not Digested unless by pure metallick incomburent Sulphur, which indeed it hath in its Center, by which Nature would form Gold in a long time; but it is altogether unknown to man how he should make this by his Art. For although Gold might be made of Mercury alone without any addition, yet it would not be perfected but by long time and great cost, which would be foolish to undergo in making simple Gold. Therefore Sulphur is the only thing in the world which Nature has perfected, that is familiar to Mercury. This therefore is mixt Radically with it, and by this Mercury is decocted, and Mercury because of the Repugnance of Qualities putrefies it, and so by Regeneration it rises again, not Gold as such as is had in Mines, but spiritual Penetrative and tinging, in so much that it easily enters all Imperfect Metals, when cast upon them, which in a very short time, it Digesteth to the Anatical proportion of Gold, and the Dregs being cast off Restores them to perfect Health. Thou seest therefore that Mercury is by no means to be Disproportionated from its own Nature, but to be Matured and that not by it self without any addition, and yet without any outward addition, but a Radical Union of a clean Body with it per minima, which is done by our secret Conjunction. Yet see you be not deceived, for this Conjunction is not made by manual operation, but only by a Natural, man not only helping, but also well understanding its Cause, therefore this is called a Divine Work. Fools can confound the Body of Gold with Mercury, and then they call it animated Gold, but they find nothing in it. For although these two should remain together a Thousand Years, nevertheless they would afterwards recede one from the other in their own proper Nature. Therefore the Conjunction was not alterative but only a Confusion of two between themselves. But in our Operation, the Spirit of Sol Infuseth its self into the Spirit of Mercury, so that they never depart the one from the other afterwards, even as water doth not, being mixt with water. Therefore in this Operation the greatest nay the whole secret of the Art lyes hid. Attend therefore thou Son of Learning and see warily that thou dost not err here. Therefore the Body of Sol will never be joined with Mercury inwardly, unless Luna mediating, or an imperfect Body and Fire; and this Luna is the Juice of the water of Life, which lyes hid in Mercury, which is sharpened by the fire, and is a spirit entering a Body, and altering it and Compelling it to retain its Soul. Now therefore thou seest of what Mercury we have hitherto spoken, not vulgar but pluvial; which properly is not called Mercury, but Mercurial water; for the Mercury of the vulgar is water, but a Spirit and fiery virtue is wanting to it, supply if thou canst that which is wanting with all thy Art, then it will no longer be Mercury of the vulgar but like to ours. But if thou canst not do this let that Mercury alone, for thou canst expect nothing but loss from it. Behold now God is my witness, I have told the whole matter, which if thou art wise thou canst not be ignorant of. For vulgar Mercury has seduced more, than any thing else; for the Workers herein have found nothing, because they did not know our Mercury. But to return to Conjunction, which believe me is the whole Secret of the Art, for the Earth is not united inseparably with the water, but water adheres strongly to water, hence it follows, that this laudable Conjunction is not celebrated till after Dissolution; attend thou therefore to solution, & Nature will joyn together, and this Dissolution is made in Mercury by the help of included Luna, and Fire. For Luna penetrates and Albifies, and the fire mortifies and Triturates; but the Water includes both these Virtues, according to the saying of the Philosophers, ‘The Fire which I will shew thee is water’. And another, ‘Unless Bodies be subtilized by Fire and water, nothing is done in the Magistery’. O Blessed Mercury of ours, which frees us from those many Labours which Sophisters endure! For they make many Operations with their hands, and profit nothing, because they know not the true Course of Nature. But we do nothing, but leave all things to be done by our Mercury, which proceeds in a better Method, according to its Natural Instinct, then any man could invent: for he is constrained by the necessity of his End, wherefore he never misses the right way if he be not hindered.
But there are some Sophistical Operators, who take Gold and put it to Mercury, then hut them in a Glass and set them over the Fire, expecting some notable thing from thence: But since they cast fat and good Seed into barren Land, they are deceived, for they find not the Harvest they expected, because, as is abovesaid, and shall be further said more plainly, Gold is not the matter of our Stone in its whole Essence, nor yet Mercury, wherefore the bare mixture of these cannot Generate our Stone, for Gold, in the Work, is a Male to the Work of Generation, in whose most secret Reins the Seed lies hid, which if it once send fort, being received in a due Matrix and conjoined with the passive female Seed, ‘tis Cherished with a due Heat, and Cibated with a proper Aliment, then truly we shall have from Gold abundantly to perform our Work. So neither a man, as he is a man, can neither be called the Father, nor the matter of the Embrio: but as he has in him such a matter, from which by the Conjunction of a Dissimilar spermatick matter, in the same kind, by an apt Disposition the Infant is formed: In like manner we must understand of Gold. For Gold is the most perfect of all Metals, and the Father of our Stone, yet it is not the matter thereof for the Sperm which Gold sends forth if it be handled by Art, will be the masculine matter of our Stone, and is nothing else then a most digested Virtue of Gold, which is Extracted from it by sagacious Art, and then is called our Living Gold, and not vulgar, which is dead: So also in the Procreation of man, a man may be said to be Dead, (Respect being had to the Act of Generation) until he pours out the due matter which he hath in himself into a fit Place, just so ‘tis in our Art; therefore our Gold is not vulgar Gold, for they differ as a Father differs from his Sperm which he hath, the firs is necessary to our Work, and Living, the other dead and unprofitable, that is, sends forth its Seed, which is the Active Virtue of our Stone. So therefore go ye on with a great deal of Caution, take this Body which I have Demonstrated, and sweetly Extract the Seed from it, then (and not till then) this Gold (which before was Dead, Idle and useless) being made Living, active and fit for our Work, will supply thee with the first matter of our Stone, to wit the masculine, and so is no longer called Gold by us, but Brass, Magnesia, Lead, Dung, nor can it indeed properly be called Gold, for Gold is a Body but this a Chaos, that is a Spirit, nor will it Return by any art to its Pristine Species of Gold, because the Body is turned into Spirit, from hence saith Menabdes, ‘I order Posterity to make Bodies incorporate’. Hermes also says, ‘O Son Extract from the Gold which is called the Radius', that is, Extract from the Gold which is called the Radius, its Seed which is called the Shadow, both because it lies hidden and as it were in a Shade, and also because it comes out under an obscure Shade of Blackness. Aristotle also saith, ‘The first thing that ye ought to do is to sublime the Mercury, then cast clean bodies into a clean Mercury’. But I would have the Reader Admonished what sort of Sublimation is here intended, for there are infinite false Erroneous and Sophistical Operations, one true and Natural, which notwithstanding is done by Art, I omitting all these Vulgar Operations follow the Intention of the Philosophers, and mean that Sublimation which they call the Preparation of the Thin Matter, by which the Eclipse of the Earthy Imposition is taken from Luna, that she may receive Light from Sol, which comes to pass when the Dark Sphere of Saturn which obnubilates the whole Horizon is vanquished then Jupiter obtaining the Empire ascends into the Air with a splendid Cloud, whence sincere, Beautiful and Lovely Dew drops upon the Earth, which mollifies it, and raiseth great Winds in its Belly or bosom, which brings our Stone upward whence ‘tis endued with Heavenly Virtue, which falling down again to the Earth which is its Nurse, puts on a Terrene and Corporeal Nature, so it receives the Force of Inferiours and Superiours. We conclude therefore, that neither Gold nor Mercury, can afford us the first matter of our Stone, until the Tincture be Extracted from Gold, the Dissolvend, by Mercury the Dissolvent, which Tincture is a Living active virtue, not Dead as Gold was before its Dissolution. This is the matter of the old Philosophers, which we ought to take, which as the Author of the New Light sayes, ‘is, but does not appear until the Artist pleaseth, in knowing which all the Perfection consists'. Wherefore I order you who ever would be searchers out of this Secret, that you would take that which is vile, and manifest to the whole world, out of which, by a wonderful manner, ye shall Extract that which is most hidden therein, that is our Menstruum, and the Western Mercury is our Philosophical Field, in which your Sol shall arise and ascend; Join this with his Delectable Bridegroom, and let them lye in the bed of Love without stirring, until from this hidden Nature (which is Mercury regenerated by the Philosopher there proceed a Living Virtue which may raise the Dead, then comes a Royal Off-spring, of which Sol is the Father, and Luna the Mother; and so you have a most true Explication of the New Light, you must take (saith the Author) ‘that which is, but is not seen till the Artist please, and you must use this, for the true matter of the old Philosophers’, and so we have spoken truly and plainly of our body, and of our water; and of our Red Sulphur, and white Brass. We have said there ought to be added to these a Furnace, Vessel and triple Fire: Note well what, and about what, I speak here, for the Furnace is of Lute, or Brick, the Vessel Glass, and the Fire Elementary, of which we will speak lower in the last place of this little Treatise, concerning our Disposition, but here we speak of things Essentially and Substantially Conducing to the work. For the Furnace of Brick, is not wont to be called by us our Furnace, nor Elementary fire ours, nor the Glass vessel our: for these commonly are common to us and Sophisters, and they will excel us often in the Curiosity of these Externals. But we call those things ours which they Neither have nor can have, verily I say that our Fire, our Furnace, our Vessel are secret, nor obvious but to Philosophers, for they enter into the very Essence of our Work, hence a certain Philosopher writing of this fire, sayest, ‘Behold the fire which I will show thee is Water', also another witnesseth thus of the Vessel, ‘The vessel of Philosophers is their water’, another also writes, ‘The Intention of all the Philosophers is this, that all operations should be made in their humid fire, in a secret furnace and vessel’, which Testimonies plainly enough declare another Fire, Vessel and Furnace then are commonly known. Moreover my Brother, let it not be a cause of scruple to thee, that I have before numbered, our furnace, fire, and vessel amongst the things essentially Constituting our Stone, for in this I follow the Intention of all Philosophers writing in this Art. Concerning this Vessel Sendivogius Writing, names it the Vessel of Nature, also the Fire of Nature. Flammel, Artefius, Lully, and all the rest have kept the same Method; it is plain therefore that they would have something hidden from the eyes of the Vulgar. But I in good truth say, that these three are but one, for Nature is but one, the Adept Sons of Art do know, and will Witness this. For the Fire is, to the Excruciating of Bodies, more then fire, therefore it is called burning Wine and a most strong fire, hence the Philosopher, ‘Burn our Brass in most strong fire’; which whilst Sophisters hear, they are deceived, thinking it to be a fire of Coals or flame, which is contrary to our fire. Concerning this John Mechungus speaks, ‘No artificial fire can infuse so great a heat as that which comes from Heaven’.
The First Gate
Concerning Philosophical Calcination.
Not Printed in the Dutch Edition.
Calcination Purgeth our Stone, Restores Natural Heat, destroys nothing of the Radical Humidity, & brings a due Solution to the Stone: The Caution is, that it may be done Philosophically, not vulgarly with Salts or Sulphur variously prepared, &c. Whosoever therefore truly desire to Calcine, should desist from this Work till they understand our Calcination better, for that every Calcination destroys Bodies, destroying the Humidity of the Stone; we also do Reprobate all dry Calxes, for that we Increase the Radical Humidity by Calcining, but diminish none. In Calcination, we joyn Nature to its Nature, for that like loves like, if any one denies this he will not be worthy of the Name of a Philosopher, nor ever will get any benefit from our Writings, for he understands them not. Therefore apply thou Nature to Nature, as Reason requires, seeing all things have this from nature, that Like begets its Like, Man is begot by a Man, a Lion by a Lion, so let everything be Calcined first in its proper nature. Learn this and never doubt to be benefited by it. Therefore we make Calxes unctuous both white and Red, which are not perfected but by three Degrees, they are fluid like Wax, otherways to be rejected, nor are perfected, but in a year, to Tinge without a Fucus. But thou must take care in the first place Concerning the Weight, for it is possible for thee to doubt in this: Lest therefore thou shouldst loose thy Labour, let the body be Calcined with Mercury, made so subtile, in which there is one part of the Solar quality, two of the Lunar, until the whole flow together like a Liquid Wax.
Afterwards Increase the Solar quality in Mercury, that there may be four parts of him, two Lunar, so that thou shalt begin the work at the Figure of the Trinity. Three parts of body, three of spirit, and to Compleat the Unity, let there be one part more of the spiritual, then the corporeal substance. This is proved by the testimony of Raymond, ‘If any one seek the Proportion there, the Doctor hath demonstrated to me the same. But Bacon hath taken three parts of the spirit to one of the body’, I did not sleep of many nights. But choose which way thou wilt.
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