Mary Anne ATWOOD
Hermetic Philosophy & Alchemy:
A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery
An Exoteric View of the Progress and Theory of Alchemy
Chapter I ~ A Preliminary Account of the Hermetic Philosophy, with the more Salient Points of its Public History
Chapter II ~ Of the Theory of Transmutation in General, and of the First Matter
Chapter III ~ The Golden Treatise of Hermes Trismegistus Concerning the Physical Secret of the Philosophers’ Stone, in Seven Sections
A More Esoteric Consideration of the Hermetic Art and its Mysteries
Chapter I ~ Of the True Subject of the Hermetic Art and its Concealed Root.
Chapter II ~ Of the Mysteries
Chapter III ~ The Mysteries Continued
Chapter IV ~ The Mysteries Concluded
Concerning the Laws and Vital Conditions of the Hermetic Experiment
Chapter I ~ Of the Experimental Method and Fermentations of the Philosophic Subject According to the Paracelsian Alchemists and Some Others
Chapter II ~ A Further Analysis of the Initial Principle and Its Education into Light
Chapter III ~ Of the Manifestations of the Philosophic Matter
Chapter IV ~ Of the Mental Requisites and Impediments Incidental to Individuals, Either as Masters or Students, in the Hermetic Art
The Hermetic Practice
Chapter I ~ Of the Vital Purification, Commonly Called the Gross Work
Chapter II ~ Of the Philosophic or Subtle Work
Chapter III ~ The Six Keys of Eudoxus
Chapter IV ~ The Conclusion
Concerning the Laws and Vital Conditions of the Hermetic Experiment
Of the Mental Requisites and Impediments Incidental to Individuals Either as Masters or Students in the Hermetic Art
Querunt Alchimiam falsi quoque recti,
Falsi sine numero, sed hi sunt rejceti;
Et cupiditatibus, heu! Tot sunt infecti,
Quod inter mille, millia, vix sunt tres electi
Istam ad scientiam. --- Norton’s Ordinal, Proheme
To those whom inclination has led thus far, with a benevolent spirit, to the Inquiry, it may appear no trifling object that we are in pursuit of, or irrational, if we may help to recover the Ancient Experiment of nature into her Causal Light: nor, et us be assured, will a few short years of study or idle handling of the matter, be sufficient to admit a man to the arcane of Hermetic science. Neither does it follow (and which is more to be regretted), that because all men have the material and live by it, that every one s therefore fitted to handle the same, or able to improve, promote and profit by it in the manner here proposed. Few, we fear, judging by our own observation, and very few according to the testimony of more experienced observers, are endowed with a disposition naturally adapted towards this peculiar research; for that it is peculiar and distinct from every other branch of philosophy, may, without a more lengthening demonstration, have become apparent. To save fruitless labour, therefore, and deter the idle, it may be well to learn at once, before we enter on the routine of Practice, what the impediments are, and those mental endowments most insisted on, for securing success in the experimental pursuit.
Geber, who, in his Sum of Perfection, writes at length, and better than many, on this head, excludes several classes, which may serve as a foundation for developing the defects of each. Natural Impotency, he asserts, is manifold, and may proceed partly from the physical defects of the artist, and partly from his soul; for either the organ may be weak or wholly corrupted, or the soul in the organ having nothing of rectitude or reason in itself; or because it is fantastical, unduly susceptive of the contrary of forms, and suddenly extensive from one thing knowable to its opposite, without discrimination. If a man have his faculties therefore so incomplete, he cannot come to the completion of this work; no more either than if he were sick, or blind, or wanting in his limbs, because he is helped by those members, by mediation of which likewise, as ministering to nature, this art is perfected. And further on, respecting the Impediments of Mind, the Arabian continues, He that hath not a natural sagacity and soul, searching subtly, and scrutinizing natural principles, the Fundamentals of Nature, and Artifices which can follow Nature in the properties of her action, cannot find the true Radix of this most precious science. As there be many who have a stiff neck, void of ingenuity and every sort of perscrutination. Besides these, we find many who have a soul easily opinionating every phantasy; but that which they believe to be truth is all imagination, deviating from reason, full of error, and remote from natural Law; because there is replete with fumosities, it cannot receive the true intention of natural things. There be also, besides these, others who have a soul movable from opinion to opinion, and from will to will; as those who suddenly believe a thing and will the same, without any ground at all of reason; and a little after do believe another thing, and accordingly will another. And these, being so changeable, can ill accomplish the least of what they intend: but rather leave it defective. There be, moreover, others who cannot discern any truth at all to look after in natural things, no more than beasts; others again, who condemn this science and believe it not to be; whom, in like manner and together with the rest, this science contemns and repels from the accomplishment of this most pious work. And there are some besides who are slaves, loving money, who do affirm this to be indeed an admirable science, but are afraid to interposit the necessary charges. Therefore, although they approve, and according to reason have sought the same, yet to the experience of the work they attain not, through covetousness of money. Therefore our science comes not to them. For how can he who is ignorant or negligent in the pursuit of truth, otherwise attain it? (1).
Now, if some of these should appear forced, or rather fanciful obstacles to the pursuit of science, we pray the reader to consider their application more closely, and whether, by particularizing, we may be able to discover their real drift. And to begin with this first and last defect of Avarice; those mammon-worshippers appear indeed formerly to have believed but too much; that miserable division of them who sought in ignorance, from inert matter, without a ray of light to guide their benighted hopes. They did but small harm comparatively, it was not they who were so greatly oblivious to philosophy; they may be rather compassionated for their folly, who found nothing but loss and disappointment in exchange for years of patient and expectant labour. There have been others, far more blameworthy, and more fallacious, against whom the true adepts have unanimously declaimed; depraved minds, that having entered, as Geber implies, by the right way of reason, forsook her guidance nevertheless, and basely entangling the clue of life, climbed by it into forbidden regions of self-sufficiency, and in the open face of Truth, stole her young hopes, the first fruits of her divining growth, and slew her there.
Mammon led them on; mammon that least erected sprit that fell
From heaven, for e’en in heaven his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of heaven’s pavement-trodden floor
Than ought divine or holy else enjoyed
In vision beatific (2).
These are they who have been held in abhorance by the good in all ages; who, having succeeded in inducing an exalted energy, have willfully denied the Light its true fulfillment, and substituting their own hasty purpose instead of the Divine, defiled it; compelling the Spirit to their private ends. And what will not the subject soul suffer when pressed by so execrable an evil? For such is the constitution of things, that it must either be filled with a superior or inferior power; and as the former is the reward of piety and proximate to the Final Cause, the latter is the punishment of the impious who defile the divine part of their essence, insinuating an evil spirit in the place of the Divine. --- They have discovered secrets, says the prophet, and they are those who have been judged: for they know every secret of the angels, every oppressive and secret power of devils, and every power of those who commit sorcery, as well as of those who make molten images in the whole earth. They know how silver is produced from the dust of the earth, and how, on earth, the metallic drop exists; for lead and tin are not produced from the earth as the primary fountain of their production. There is an angel standing upon it, and that angel struggles to prevail. They have discovered secrets, and these are they who are to be judged (3); who have turned the discovery of nature to an ill account; and these are they to whom Geber alludes, who do affirm this to be indeed an admirable science, and have sought it also according to reason, yet could not enter into the experience, being afraid in their own persons to interposit the necessary charges, i.e., to abandon the life of selfhood, and return the product to a benevolent and truthful end. Just to the point, we have the story of an Arabian Magician, who must needs steal a little boy, to go with him to the mountain, in order to supply the material his own wickedness did not suffer him to approach.
No impure leaven (need we repeat it?) can enter into Wisdom; she scorns to promote folly in any guise, much less will she suffer defilement at man’s finite hand. But if anything can be done against the right of nature, she forsakes the polluted tabernacle and is lost. Know, likewise, says the pious author of the Aquarium, that if by reason of that gift vouchsafed to thee by God, thou happen thereupon, even after thou hast it, to wax proud or be covetousness, under whatever cover of false pretense, and dost hereby tempt thyself to a turning away from God, by little and little; know, for speak the truth, that this art will vanish from under thy hands, insomuch that thou shalt not know even that thou hadst it. The which, verily, hath befallen more than one without their expectation (4). Does any one at this day, really conversant with the Subject, ridicule such an assertion; or are our minds so far estranged from the sphere of final causes, as to be unable to conceive the accountability of moral evil under the Law? Is not destruction to the wicked? Says Job, and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity? Doth not He see my ways, and count all my steps? If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity. If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands: then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out. --- If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; if I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much; if I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness: and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: this also were an iniquity to be punished by the Judge: for I should have denied the God that is above (5).
That was the transgression of Eve, and of Adam, who sought to hide his iniquity in his bosom (6); but so multifarious are the estrangements of sense, and so rapidly are effects carried along and remotely imaged in this world, that their source becomes less and less an object of general regard. The Laws of Nature indeed are examined into, and practically demonstrated to be just what they appear to be; the moral, the physical, and the organic are well reasoned, as in their constitutional consequences, apart from each other, fixed and independent. For nature at the circumference subsists in this way; animals, birds, insects, fishes, herbs, too, and minerals, having their parts so variously qualified, that not anything homogeneous is discovered to sight. Each creature nevertheless has its class; and a kingdom in common belongs to each specific variety. As a tree, with its flowers, leaves and branches, in plural manifestation, is at the root one; and as the flower may die and the leaves still survive, or the trunk without either live to endure the winter’s blast, so with respect to the natural laws; and in such a respect are they seen, independent and apart from each other; neither more nor less, for in their root are they not also one? Let the virus but once reach this by either channel, the moral, the physical, or the organic vitally infringed, the whole structure sympathizing decays. It is true, a man may be unjust, cruel, avaricious; may indulge in many vices without suffering in health, provided the structural Laws be well conditioned and obeyed: contrariwise, also, the best men may suffer from physical defects and infringement of the organic law. In mechanical arts, too, and ordinary intellectual operations, we image out ideas by suitable subjects independently; so that, whether it be for the sake of gain, fame or object of whatever kind, whether the work be undertaken with a benevolent, malicious, or other uncertain intent, the thing resulting may be the same, and remain to image, not the motive instigatory, but the Idea. It is either well or ill done, beautiful or deformed, according to the pattern and skill that have been exercised, irrespective of the individual intention which gave it birth. The pictures, of Holbein are not less beautiful for all the covetous spirit that reigned with their conception; the deformity of the artist’s soul was, as the Laws of Nature, apart, nor ever manifested in his produced work. The motive springs of humanity are very generally made occult, and like the armament within the Trojan Horse, are often admitted under other pretext, to develop their force securely, whether good or evil, in the world. And whilst yet they are borne along in outward consequence far from their originating source, the many are slow to perceive it, though they should retain all the while possibly, in the abiding purpose, the conscious regards of its own kind.
But in Alchemy, where the nature of things is altogether altered and ultimately reversed, Final Causes are of all things most manifestly revealed, and that in their immediate act and operation no less than in the effect. Here is no gathering of grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles, as in this life is attempted; but the intention is received back according to its kind most exactly; where the subject, object, and result, through every phase of life agree together, where the end is determinate from the beginning, as the beginning is by the end made manifest, without intervention or concealment in the ministering Spirit throughout. Springing directly from ourselves, this highly effective agent, even in the natural state, inclines, as the will directs, to image the conceived Idea; how much more, when promoted through a second to a third of concentration, does it become fortified; and further multiplying in the Conjunction, impose in sure consequences on him who wields it the inherent accountability? An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; so does the Law of Justice exact retribution in those spheres: hence so much caution and secrecy, that the Power might only be discovered through the long labour of an experienced and upright mind. Hence so much continued warning off the profane; lest, deviating, they should either break or become broken necessitiously upon the Wheel of Life. Sons of science! For this reason are the philosophers said to be envious, declares Hermes, not that they grudged the truth to religious or just men, but to fools, ignorant and vicious, who are without self-control and beneficience, lest they should be made powerful and able to perpetuate sinful things, for of such the philosophers are made accountable to God, and evil men are not accounted worthy of this Wisdom (7).
Mais tryeful, merveylous, and Archimastyre
Is the tincture of holi Alkimy;
A wonderful science, and secret filosophy
A singular grace and gift of the Almightye;
Which never was found, as witness we can,
Nor ths science was ever taught to man,
But he were proved perfectly with space,
Whether he were able to receive this grace.
For his trewth, virtue and for his stable wit,
Which, if he faill, he shall never have it.
Also no man should this science teach,
For it is so wonderful, and so selcouth,
That it must needs be taught fro’ mouth to mouth;
Also he must (if he be never so loath),
Receive it with a most sacred oath,
That, as we refuse great dignity and fame,
Soe he must needly refuse the same.
And this science must ever secret be,
The cause whereof is this, as ye may see,
If one evil man had hereof all his will,
All Christian peace he might easily spill;
And with his pride he might pull downe,
Rightful Kings and Princes of renowne;
Wherefore the sentence of peril and jeopardy
Upon the teacher resteth dreadfully.
So that for doubt of such pride and wealth
He must beware, that will this science teach,
No man therefore may reach this great present,
But he hath virtues excellent.
Soe tho’ men weene possessors not to aide
To hallow this science, as before is saide,
Neither seem not blessed effectually,
Yet, in her order, this science is holy.
And forasmuch as no man may her find
But only by grace, she is holy in her kind.
Also it is a work and cure divine,
Foul copper to make gold and silver fine;
No man may find such change by his thought,
Of divers kinds which God’s hands have wrought;
For God’s conjunctions man my not undoe,
But if His grace fully consent thereto,
By help of this science, which our Lord above,
Has given to such men as He doth love,
Wherefore old Fathers, conveniently,
Called this science Holy Alkimy (8).
None ever truly attained to the fruits of this philosophy, as the wise declare, without rectitude of intention and the blessing of God on a well tried experience: and it is the reiterated assertion of this grateful truth that has encouraged us, by a natural faith, to pursue the inquiry and recommend it to others who are desirous of instruction. To say that the pursuit is without danger to the ill-informed would be presuming too much on late acquaintanceship and contrary to the to the credible assertion of adepts. But there are many degrees of success in the legitimate path, and every step is progressive where the Rule of Reason is pursued. Avarice, or ambition, or a curious hope, may long to prove the golden promise of Alchemy; but neither will be found to be the true Form of Gold; Reason alone can enter into it; Mammon may draw the dead metal in heaps about its sordid circumference; but it cannot quicken the aurific seed in life; that Spirit is too gross to permeate the ethereal profundity; all he can draw from it is stolen; for he is the first to fly from Wisdom’s fiery ordeal, not able to enter with his camel form, or daring to prove vaporous essence in Her pure Light.
But to proceed; next above the Covetous, Skeptics are condemned by Geber; but as these by their own choice remain in ignorance, they would merit less reproval were it not that they endeavor to hinder others as well as themselves from the pursuit of truth. And of all evil spirits that haunt this world and set up their bar to human advancement, infidelity perhaps is the most absurd: by infidelity, we mean that fashionable kind of faithlessness, which, without rational foundation, denounces everything that is new, or not seeming immediately to square with the received commonplace, and which in truth conceives nothing worthy to be believed, or held in veneration. The age of religious intolerance has passed gradually away, and great allowances are now made for most things, all kinds of folly and diversities of opinion; but so much higher does the folly of skepticism run than heretofore, over all boundary, test of reality and probability of truth, that we had as lieve the days of Galileo had been ours, as live so much later to see the recovered secret of ages dwindle and sink into obloquy for lack of faith and mind verily to bear it witness in manifestation.
It is the wisdom of modern skeptics to ape the thing which they stand most in need of, viz., sound reason; the deficiency too is doubled in their disguise, since, ignorant of their own ignorance, they push forward as so many stolid bolts before the gate of Truth. Yet, despite of all the rejectors and scoffers, Nature opens her hospitable door to the multitude in the highways and byways, seeking them out to alleviate their sufferings and offer a new guide to knowledge and felicity. We allude to Mesmerism: not ashamed, but grateful to acknowledge the neglected Door-keeper that gave us first introduction to the vestibule of antique science. Do they not perceive how she has risen up, lifted by a few faithful hands out of their reach? Those scoffers? But her monarchy was established and triumphant even before they perceived her, or ever their wicked crusade against her was begun. They warred with they knew not what, or wished, would it avail without faith to stimulate in the pursuit. Nature, who is liberal of her common gifts and lavishes earthly blessings without personal respect, opens not this casket after the same rule; she must be moved to it subtly, conscientiously, courteously, and then she will surrender to none but a philosopher, one too that has been disciplined in her schools, tried and proven to ensure his ability to bear the sacred trust.
Therefore no man shulde be too swifte,
To cast away our Lord’s precious gifte,
Consideringe how the Almighty God,
From great doctors hath this science forbod;
And granted it to few men of is mercy,
Such as be faithful, trew and lowly,
And as there be but planets seven
Among the multitude of stars in heaven,
Soe among millions of millions of mankind
Scarcely seven men maie this science finde.
Wherefore laymen ye may hear and see
How many doctors of great authority,
With many searchers have this science sought,
Yet all their labours have turned to nought.
And if they did cost, yet found none availe,
But in their purpose often tyme did faile,
Then in despair, they reason and departe.
And then they say how there is noe such arte;
But faimed fables, they name it they goe,
A fals fond thing, they say it is alsoe.
Such men presume too much upon their minde,
They weene theire wits sufficient this arte to finde;
But of their slander and wordes of outrage,
We take thereof trewly little charge:
For such be not invited to our feast,
Which weeneth themselves wise, and doe leaste.
Albeit such men list not longer to pursue,
Yet is this science of Alkimy full trew;
And albeit such men list not longer to pursue,
Yet is this science of Alkimy full trew;
And albeit some proud clerks say nay,
Yet every wise clerke well consider may,
How he which hereof lawful witness be;
For it were a wondrous thing and quiente
A man that never had sight to peinte.
How should a born blinde man be sure
To write or make good portraiture?
To build Poule’s steeple might be greate doubte
For such proud clerks to bring aboute;
Such might be apt to break their crowne,
Ere they could wisely take it downe.
Wherefore all such are full far behinde,
To fetch out the secretest pointe of kinde;
Therefore all men, take their fortune and chance,
Remit such clerks to their ignorance (9).
Rational skepticism has quite another object and never exhibits itself in the refractory form of its mock ally. It is the province of reason to inquire and endeavor, by perscrutination, to prove all things, that, finally rejecting the false, it may holdfast that which is true. Such skepticism, more properly perhaps called discrimination, is as much required by the Hermetic Student as the other is obnoxious. For this kind of analytic exercise helps to corroborate the mind, and cultivate that distinctive supremacy of truth in the understanding spirit which is so essential to success in the practical research; but which is very rarely to be met with in uneducated minds. And, being without it, need we wonder that so many are now, as in Geber’s and Norton’s time, opinionative, unstable in purpose, willful and dissimulating; or that they who have never entertained the true ideal should fail to recognize the image when represented before their eyes? The searcher of nature ought to be, as she herself is, faithful, simple, patient, constant, giving his mind to the discovery of truth alone, hopeful and benevolent. It behooves him, also, who would be introduced into this hidden Wisdom, says the hermetic Master, to free himself from the usurpation of vice, and to be good, just, and of sound reason, ready at hand to help mankind, of a serene countenance, diligent to save, and be himself a patient guardian of the arcane secrets of philosophy (10). And if to these qualifications a convenient leisure be added, all may be hoped for progressively passing by a living experience into the Light. But neither will a busy head nor a faithless heart, by impure hands, be able; nor does a vagabond inclination enter in by the narrow way of life.
With respect to the impediments of body mentioned by Geber, these are less numerous and more commonly supplied: Hands and eyes are to be had in abundance, and where these are conjoined with the foregoing conditions, other hindrances with respect to the artist, for the occasion, be passed by. Then for the student; he should, as a matter of course, be possessed, or learn, at least, to cultivate the incipient qualifications he intends afterwards to bring to practice. The same patient hope and free perspicuity of thought and imagination also will be called for, in acquiring the Hermetic doctrine, by perusal, as is afterwards needed for the experimental proof. Reading was not formerly adapted to the million, as it now is, in thought, language, and reference --- familiarized and made easy to the understanding of all. No such alluring baits to idleness are to be found on the title pages of the middle age school of philosophy; --- no such simplifications of science, as we now hear of, are belonging to Alchemy. It is true, there are Revelations, Open Entrances, New Lights and True Lights, Sunshine and Moonshine, and other Auroras, and pictured Dawns; Manuals, Introductory Lexicons of obscure terms , with meanings no less obscured; Triumphal Chariots also, Banners, Gates, Keys, and Guides too without number, all directing on the same Royal Road when this is found; but useless to most wayfarers; nothing that we observe at all suited to the means or taste of the millionaire class of readers whose understanding, like that of pampered children, has grown flaccid; and, by excess of object-teaching, has forgotten how to think.
Very few there will be found to relish the enigmas of the old Alchemists; no thoughtless experimentalist, persisting in his mere senses --- no hopeful receipt-monger, sectarian fanatic, or fact idolator --- no idling curiosity seeker, or dilettanti imaginist, will find even his leisure well occupied in this pursuit: we warn them all, the subject is too abstruse, and too intricately dealt with, for the natural understanding to apprehend at first view. As the adepts indeed foretold, their records have proved like a curious two-edged instrument --- to some it has cut out dainties, and to others it has only served to cut their fingers; yet are they not altogether to be blamed. It is not for the ignorant to blame the power of that which they do not known how to handle; or would it not be a ridiculous tings, if some child or arrogant rustic were to denounce the language of Astronomy, or say that Chemistry was a vain science, and merely because the terms are not comprehensible without instruction? In almost all the records of Alchemy, the inner sense is held aloof from the literal; and if, by hazard or benevolent design, the truth has escaped in plain discourse, it has been either slighted over or disbelieved. Thus Sendivogius relates it had frequently happened to him, that having intimated the Art to some friends, word by word explaining it, they could by no means understand him, not believing, as he quaintly expresses it, that there was any water in our sea; and yet, says he, they would be accounted philosophers. Other instances of the same kind are given, amongst whom, Eirenaeus, in the run of his allegory relates --- There were a multitude of men, who, seeing my Light in my hand, which they could not discern well, they being in that darkness which would not be enlightened; but, as through a thick cloud beholding my candle, judged it ominous, and left their stations. For their eyes with darkness and smoke were made so tender, that my candle overpowered them, and they could not bear its luster; therefore they, crying out, ran away. I mused much at this, continues the philosopher how they could be in such Cimmerian darkness; and as I wondered, I bethought me, that they had with them another light, as it were, Fox-fire or Rotten wood, or Glow-worm’s tails; and with this they sat in consultation, reading Geber, Rhasis, and such whom I heard them name, and commenting on them, not without much pleasantness. Then I considered that the light which I had brought with me did not enlighten that place, but stood separated, as it were, from the darkness; and withal I remembered that there was once a Light in the World, and the Darkness comprehended it not: and that darkness I now perceived had a false fore of its own, with which it seemed to its inhabitants to be wonderfully well enlightened (11).
This striking illustration of Eirenaeus, in the outward application, bears not unaptly to our conclusion, that the abstruse light of Alchemy is not fir for the understanding of all, neither is perceptible to the gross intelligence of the mass of mankind. But this singular fate of incredulity has seemed always to attend, lest folly or willfulness, precipitously passing into practice, should either perish or break the divine legislation in inharmonious effects. And thus the Art will probably continue concealed though many ages still; nor, except by a very few, be more accredited, though all early Christendom should rise up in attesting array to give it evidence. For what is truth to triflers, or light to the indifferent worldling, who cares not to be undeceived? How enlist him in a search so arduous, so uninteresting to his affection, and inimical to his self-love? No! Wise in his generation, rather let him sleep on; for what would it profit him to learn to believe without the power of realizing any good? Without a stable theory, and the desire of truth absolutely leading, all is mere vanity and a vexation of the spirit.
It were much better for such to cease,
Than for this art to put them in presse;
Let such-like butterflies wonder and pass,
Or learne this lesson both now and lasse,
Following the sentence of this holi letter,
Attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter,
Disponens omnia suaviter;
That is proceede mightily to th’ End
From the beginning maugre the Fiend.
All things disposing, in the meane space,
With great suavity that cometh of grace,
All short-witted men and mutable
Such must needes be variable;
And some do every man believe,
Such credence doth their coffers grieve;
To every new tale of them told,
They give credence and leave the old.
But some Lords be of stable wit,
Such only be apt to finish it (12).
Adepts all therefore advise discretion, and are circumspect in their revealments, lest That, which in the hands of a philosopher becomes most precious, should be otherwise made worthless, or worse than all. He that understands, says the royal artist, let him understand and advance; but let him that cannot, be ignorant still. For this treasure is not to be bought with money; and as it cannot be bought, so neither can it be sold (13). Ye sons of Avarice and Ignorance, cries Geber, and ye of evil manners, avaunt and fly from this science, for it is inimical to you, and will bring you to poverty. For this great gift of God is, by his judgment, hidden from you for ever; and therefore we treat of it in such words as to the wise shall, by pursuit become intelligible: but to such as we have described, mean of mean capacity, will be most profound; and fools shall be absolutely debarred entrance therein (14).
Common language is suited to express common thoughts, and to convey them to the vulgar conception; but the Alchemists, for various sufficient reasons, have not thought fit to deliver their Wisdom in this way, as if it could be syllabled out like a romance or a common ballad, for the amusement of the first runner by, who would deign look with his mere eyes and read. They better knew the value of their instructions, and so studiously veiled it, that he only who was really desirous, and made fit by long study to pursue the work, should be able to understand them. --- The words of the wise are as goads, says the preacher, and as nails fastened by the master of assemblies which are given by one shepherd. --- One spirit indeed reigns throughout, and one intention; but she is so hedged in with kabalisms, metaphors, types, emblems, and sophistications, that there is but One Leader, who should undertake the deliverance; one only, we repeat; he that is allied --- the same Rational Light that, in practice strengthening, afterwards is raised to the allegoric siege of life; and by the fire of his divine wrath enkindled, to overcome the stronghold of evil therein allied.
And let the sapient artificer, concludes the prince, studiously peruse our books, collecting our dispersed intention, which we have described in divers places that we might not expose it to malignant, ignorant men; and let him prove his collection even into the knowledge, studying and experimenting with the instance of sagacious labour, till he come to an entire understanding of the whole. Let the student exercise himself, in order to find out this our proposed way of investigation, so as to acquire a plenary knowledge of the verity of perfecting and corrupting Matter and Form (15). And again, --- I beg of thee, my son, says the adept Ricardus, to examine the writings of the philosophers; for if thou art slothful at thy books, thy mind cannot be prepared for the work; nor will he be able advantageously to bring his Hand to the practice whose Mind is sluggish in studying the theory. But he with more security shall advance to the work who has stored his mind with resources: ignorance is wiped off by study, which restores the human intellect to true science and knowledge, and by these enigmas the Dagon is overthrown (16). Zachary likewise, in his Opusculum --- This I tell thee, he says, that thou ought first to read with unwearied patience and perseverance the writings of the philosophers before thou extendest thy Hand to the Philosophic Work, and pray to God for his grace and wisdom to help thee therein; for no one ever acquired this art by chance, but by prayer rather than by other means. Mediums nevertheless are to be employed (17). Pray, says Sendivogius, pray; but work. God indeed gives understanding; but thou must know how and when to use it (18). Arnold, in his Rosary, mentions three requisites, viz., subtlety of mind, manual skill, and a free will for the operation (19); to which Lully, likewise adds a sufficiency of the Divine Favour, and books to open the understanding and give it zest for truth (20). The author of the Lucerna Salis, moreover, agrees that in order to acquire this science study is required in the beginning, and meditation, that a good foundation may be laid; for that without this God does not reveal His grace nor unless He be prompted thereto by the fervent prayers of him who desires so signal a favour. He does not either grant it immediately to any person, but always by mediate dispositions, to wit, by instructions and the labour of the hands; to which He gives a thorough blessing it He be invoked thereto with a sincere heart: whereas, when recourse is not duly had to Him by prayer, He stops the effect thereof, either by interposing obstacles to things already begun, or else suffering them to conclude with an evil event (21).
These several preliminary requirements will not appear astonishing to those who have obtained an insight into the nature of this science, nor will it be deemed by any, we hope, a canting pretense or affectation for philosophers to talk of praying for Divine assistance in a research which is so much wrapped in and about the Desire as to be ultimately made manifest through its means. Besides, are we not accustomed to seek for benefits where we think they are to be found?, if we go to the musician to learn music, the chemist to procure instruction in his art, to the astronomers, builder, or other mechanist to learn their several acquirements, how much more ought we not to apply to the Causal Fountain for Wisdom, which is His alone and voluntarily to bestow? And as the learned of this world must be won by some means to impart their knowledge, shall we not by the same parallel endeavor to move the Divine Nature by prayers, who has promised all things to those humbly and early seeking Him? For to desire and covet after wisdom is to seek to be a partaker of that Divinity to which we aspire, and no otherwise can we be made partakers, it is taught, but by a voluntary assimilation. --- My son, instructs the wise Hermes, I admonish thee to love God, in whom is the strength of thy undertaking and the bond of whatsoever thou meditatest to unloose, and this science I have obtained by the sole gift of the living God inspiring me (22). Man may conditionate: --- ought, by patient labour disciplining, to prepare the way of the Greater in the Lesser Good; but he cannot compel, much less impart, the Divine blessing on his handiwork, neither cement the spiritual union or give it increase. There is a period too, when in conjunction, the Spirit transcends all earthly control, and passing under the Divine Hand, recreates by His sovereign will alone. But it is vain to look for a blessing from Nature without His cooperation who is her Will; for without controversy, as the Scripture alludes, the Lesser is blessed by the Greater. --- Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights in whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning. --- And again, Paul may plant and Apollos may water, but God alone giveth the increase. --- And God withholds not this increase alone, but deprives the talent likewise, where it is wasted or hoarded without interest or promotion. To them that have and use is given more abundantly, but from him that improves not there is taken away even that which he has. For the Almighty will not permit his gifts to remain idle, much less may they suffer abuse, being immortal; and he therefore must be a good steward who would overlook the rich treasury of life.
Our gld and silver ben nocommon plate,
But a sperme owte of a body I take,
In the which is alle, Sol, Lune, Life and Light,
Water and Erth, Fyre and Fryght:
And alle cometh of one Image,
But the Water of the Wood, maketh the marriage.
Therefore there ys no other waye
But to take thee to thy beades and pray:
For covetous men yt findeth never
Though they seek yt once and ever:
Set not your hearts in thys thing
But only to God and good lyvinge
And he that will come thereby
Must be meeke and full of mercy:
Both in spyrit and in countenance,
Full of charitie and good governance,
And ever more full of alms deede.
Symple and pewerly hys lyf to leade:
With prayers, penances and piety,
And ever to God a lover be,
And all the riches, that he ys sped,
To do God worshippe with almes ded.
All you that have sought manie a day,
Leave worke, take your beades and pray (23).
With the nature and effects of prayer, in ordinary life, all men are familiar in one degree or other; for every desire of the mind is in its kind a prayer and preparative for the acquirement of its object; and if prayer effected nothing else, it certainly collects the mind, and corroborates the faculties in their pursuit; for when the thoughts are concentered, means and adjuncts suggest themselves, which do not occur when they are indifferently shown; and thus by a prayerful communion we often obtain and divine things which otherwise we should not. But the esoteric ground brings us acquainted with prayer in a far deeper sense, and adepts are eloquent in their imputations of its efficacy with prayer in a far deeper sense, and adepts are eloquent in their imputations of its efficacy in Spagyric Works, when the mind is lifted up; --- even in the midst of the operations of Vital Chemistry, full of labour and toil, they prayed, says Kirchringius, and every man knows, that hath entirely devoted himself to this business, how effectual prayer is, and how often those things which he long sought and could not find, have been imparted to him in a moment, as it were, infused from above, or dictated by some good genius. That also is of use in solving riddles and enigmatical writings; for if you burn with a great desire of knowing them, that is prayer: and when you incline your mind to this or that, variously discussing and meditating many things, this is cooperation: that your prayer may not be, for want of exertion a tempting of God; yet all endeavor is vain until you find the solution. Nevertheless, if you despair not, but instantly persist in desire, and cease not from labour, at length, in a moment, the solution will fall in; this is a revelation, which you cannot receive unless you pray with great desire and labour, using your utmost endeavor; and yet you cannot perceive how from all those things, of which you thought, which were not the solution of the Enigma, the solution itself arose. This unfolding of the Riddle opens to you the mystery of all things, and shows how available prayer is for the obtainment of things spiritual and eternal, as well as corporeal and perishing goods: and when prayer is made with a heart not feigned, but sincere, you will see that there is nothing more fit for the acquiring of what you desire. Thus piety is available for all things, as the oracles declare, and prayer especially, which is its principle exercise, is profitable for great undertakings (24).
But lest, with all this, it should appear to any superstitious or otherwise unrighteous to invoke the Divine aid to this particular undertaking, as if God were mutable, we take leave to add a few further considerations in defense of prayer, and also the different kinds of invocation which were employed by the ancients in their celebration of Theurgic rites.
Prayer, according to Iamblicus, was divided into three classes, The first of which, as pertaining to the early initiations, was called Collective, having for its object to gather the mental powers into accord with their leader, seeking a clue whereby it may enter the intelligible profundity of the Enigma. The second effects the bonds of concordant spirits; calling forth, prior to intellectual alliance. The third is the final authoritative seal of union; when the desire, leading from faith, becomes into its true end. The first, recapitulates our author, pertains to Illumination; the second, to a Communion of Operation; but through the energy of the third, we receive a perfect plenitude of Divine Fire. And supplication, indeed precedes, like a precursor, preparing the way before the sacrifice appears; but sometimes it intercedes as a mediator (25); and sometimes accomplishes the end of sacrificing. No operation, however, in sacred concerns, can succeed without the intervention of prayer. Lastly, the continual exercise of prayer nourishes the vigour of our intellect, and renders, the receptacles of the soul far more capacious (by enlarging the desire) for the communications of the gods. It likewise is the Divine Key which opens to men the penetralia of Wisdom; accustoms us to the splendid rivers of supernal light; and by these, in a short time, perfects the inmost recesses and disposes them for the ineffable knowledge and contact of Divinity; nor does the adoration desist till it has raised the sublimated soul up to the summit of all. For it gradually and silently draws upwards the manners of the soul, by divesting her of every thing foreign to a Divine nature, and clothes her with the perfections of the god. Besides this, it produces an indissoluble communion and friendship with Divinity, nourishes a Divine love, and inflames the Divine part of the soul. Whatever is of an opposive and contrary nature it helps to expiate and purify, expels whatever is prone to generation, and retains nothing of the dregs of mortality in its ethereal and splendid spirit; perfects a good hope and faith, concerning the reception of Divine Light, and in one word, renders those by whom it is employed the familiars and domestics of the gods (26).
Such then being the advantages of prayer, and such the connection of adoration with sacrifice, and the end of Theurgic sacrifice is a conjunction with the Demiurgic Intellect; hence does it not follow, that the benefit of prayer, if we concur at all in opinion concerning these things, is of the same extent with the good which is conferred by such an alliance? And these three terms of adoration, in which, according to the authorities, all the Divine measures are contained, not only conciliate the warring elements of life, but extend to man three supernal benefits; as, translated from one form of perfection to another, Life progresses bringing forth an offspring to be sacrificed on the alternating confines of each; as it were three Hesperian Apples of Gold.
And thus the end of all adoration is attained, and there the rational inquiry rests as in its proper object, and there the true attraction of love is to be found, and there the true attraction of love is to be found, which in this life never can be put by an ablation of that life. For the attractions which are here supplied to the sensible perception, and for which so many pray, are transitory, and the desire of them is nothing more than the desire of images which lose ultimately the magnetic virtue imparted to them by the idea, because without it, when in the possession, they are found to be neither truly desirable, nor sufficient, nor good.
But if, for the common concerns of life, men pray and for a general prosperity in public worship, hoping to be heard, how much more should not the desire be conceived effectual when addressed within the Living Temple from the Divine Light within; when, in the congress of allied mind, the Spirit wakes to consciousness; and in their universal harmony conspiring, dissolves the total life to love.
I called upon the Lord, exclaims the Psalmist, and He heard me out of His holy temple, and my cry came before Him, even unto his ears. I prayed, and understanding was given to me; I called upon God, and the Spirit of Wisdom came to me. --- And hence it may more readily be conceived, how prayer and self-sacrifice conspiring, mutually corroborate and confer on each other a perfect efficacy in Divine works; since, even Matter itself is said to be extended to the desirable, i.e., to the Good; and through this desire is filled as many goods as it is able to participate. And when things have run up so far as to this Sufficience they become tranquil in it, and are liberated from the parturitions, and the desire which they naturally possess. Neither will it therefore be proper to omit any part of this concord, or deny any faculty of the mind its due exercise in the Preparation, since these diversified parts of the Spirit are in the renascent harmony made one; thence again to be evolved in catholic procession to complete the equilibriated circle of their Law. And this much may suffice concerning the nature of prayer, and the corroborative efficacy of the Human Will, acting in concert with its Final Cause to fulfill it.
The next difficulty presenting itself to the mind of the student, after he has obtained a general knowledge of the Hermetic ground, with a hopeful desire to commence operations, has been to find suitable assistance in the undertaking; many have halted there a long while unprofitably, for it is evident that without a Subject to work with and reciprocate the design it remains abortive, as a statue in the conception without the marble to give it utterance.
The ascent to Unity is arduous, and the descent is not undertaken in safety alone; neither is there any increase of the Spirit, as we have already shown, without a medium and a bond. --- Behold, two are better than one, says the Preacher, because they have a good reward for their labour, and mutually assist each other by the way; but for one alone, there is no end of his labour; and for whom do I labour, saith he, and bereave my soul of food? This is vanity, yea, it is a sore travail (27).
But so much has been written, and with such a deal of sophistication, about the Philosophic Vessel and its multiform distillatory apparatus, of nerves, veins, and alembics, that we should be in doubt where to choose a guide in this respect sufficiently intelligible, and who is at the same time trustworthy and of equal fame; one hint, however, in the sum of Norton’s Ordinal, may help to extricate us from the difficulty of explaining many more:
Which are full derke,
To ordeyne instruments according to the weke.
As every Chapter hath divers intents,
So hath it divers instruments,
Both in matter, also in shape,
In concord that nothing may mishap;
As workers of division and separation
Have small vessels for their operation;
But vessels broad forhumectation,
And some deale broad for circulation;
But long vessels for precipitation;
But short and long serve sublimation;
Narrow vessels and four inches high
Serve correction most properly.
Of vessels some be made of leade,
And some of clay both quick and dead;
Dead clay is called such a thing,
As hath suffered great roasting;
Such meddled in powder with good raw clay
Will fier abide and not go away;
But many clays will leap in fier,
Such for vessels doe not desire.
Other vessels be made of stone,
For fier sufficient, but few or none;
Among workemen, as yet is founde
In any county of Englishe grounde,
Which of water nothing drinke shall
And yet abide drie fier withal;
Such Stones, large for our intente,
Were a precious instrument;
But other vessels be made of glasse,
That spiritual matters should not outpasse;
Of ashes, of ierne in this londe everi each one
Be made, but elsewhere be of stone:
Of our glasses, the better kinde,
The morning stuffe ye shall it finde,
Which was ahses the night before,
Standing in heate, all nighte and more,
The harder stuffe is called Freton,
Of clipping of other glasses it come;
Tincture with annealing of glasiers
Will not perse him as they reherse.
By this doctrine chuse or refuse,
Take that which you woll unto your use,
For in figures of vessels kinde,
Every man followeth his own minde;
The best fashion is ye maie be sure,
She that concordeth with vessel of nature;
And figure that best concordeth with quantity,
And with all circumstances,to matter best is she,
And this sheweth best Albertus Magnus,
In his Boke De Mineralibus.
Hereof a secreate disclosed was,
By my good Master, to more or lesse,
Saying, Si Deus non dedisset nobis vas
Nihil dedisset, and that is glasse (28).
The Spirit finally constructs its own vessel and vitrifies it; and since the artist is at liberty to make choice according to convenience of his instruments in the beginning, and each one would be likely to vary in his preference, we avoid a superfluity of description; besides, of the many that may be called together, at first, few, it will be understood, are chosen to proceed beyond the exigencies of the preliminary Gross Work. And them, will they not speak for themselves? Those philosophic vessels, like the planks of Argo, on occasion, are still oracular; being felled fro the self-same ground too, in the same classic grove, made vocal by Apollo.
And methinks few potters within this Realm,
Have made at ony tyme such cunning ware,
As we, for our science, doe fashion and prepare.
Few ever formed such, nor the like of them,
Yet they are plain without wrinkle or hem;
One within another, it is a pretty feate,
The Third without them to guide up the heate.
First then with the potter thou must begin,
Which cannot make what he hath never seen.
In order that thy vessels be made to thy mind
Stand by while he worketh more surety to finde
And shew him what to do by some sign or similitude,
And if his wits be not too dull and rude,
He will understand what thou dost meane (29).
A humorous story is related in continuation, by this author, of the difficulties he met with in the practice from indifferent assistance; and how, after so much vexation and loss of time, he was obliged to take the whole of the Manual labour upon himself.
For servants doe not passé, how our worke to frame,
But have more delighte to play and to game.
A good servant, saith Solomon, let him be unto thee,
As thine own hearte,in each degree:
For it is precious a faithful servant to finde,
Not wreckless, but sober, wise and quiet,
Such a one were even for my dyet (30).
The value of such assistance may be better appreciated when we come to speak of the Preparatory Practice which Norton, naively, and without much envy, describes, enumerating also the needful qualification and numbers of individuals employed about the Gross Work, as follows: ---
The Second Concord with this Arte is,
When ye can finde apt Ministers
Noe Minister is apt to this intent
But he is sober, wise, and diligent;
Trewe, and watchful, and also timerous,
Close of tongue, of body not vicious,
Clenly of hands, in tuching curious,
Not disobedient, neither presumptuous;
Such servants may your workes of charge
Minister, and save from all outrage:
But trust me that two such servants or three
Maie not sufficient for your worke be;
If your matter be of quantity reasonable,
Then eight such servants be convenable;
But upon little quantitye, find ye shall
Four men able to perform alle:
Then one half of them must werke
Whilethe other half sleepeth or goeth to kerke:
For of this Arte ye shall not have praye
But it be ministered as well by night as daye;
Continually, except the holi Sunday alone;
From Evensong begin till Evensong be done.
And while they worke they must needs eschew
All ribaldry, else they shall finde this trewe,
That such mishap shall them befall
They shall destroy part of their weks or all;
Therfore all the ministers must be men,
Or els thei must all be women;
Set them not occupied with another,
Though some to you be sister or brother;
Yet their must have some good disporte,
Their greate labors to recomforte:
Then nothinge shall better avaunce
Your worke than shall this Concordaunce.
Yet Instruments useful there be more,
As be Furnaces ordeyned therefore;
Oldmen imagined for this Arte
A special furnace for every parte
Every each devising after his owne thoughte
But many furnaces of them be noughte;
Some were too broad, some too long,
Many of them did nature wrong.
Therefore some furnaces may well be used
But many of them must be refused (31).
The true furnace has been described as a little simple shell; thou mayst easily carry it, says Vaughan, in one of thy Hands; the glass is one, and no more; but philosophers have sued two, and so mayest thou. As for the work itself, it is no way troublesome; a lady may read the Arcadia, and at the same time attend this philosophy without disturbing her fancy. For my part, continues the philosopher, I think women are fitter for it than men, for in such things they are more neat and patient. And again, in the Lumen de Lumine --- the excitation of the Fire is a very trivial, slight, almost a ridiculous thing; nevertheless, all the secrets of corruption and generation are therein contained (32). Geber calls this furnace Athanor; and from his example, others have described the same with a misleading subtlety, little commendable or instructive to any.
But who knoweth the power, the working, and kinde
Of every furnace, hemaye well treuth finde;
But he which thereof dwelleth in ignorance,
All his worke falleth upon chance.
Noe man is sure to have his Intent
Without full concord of arte with hys instrument.
Mani more instruments occupied ye shall see
Than in this chapter now rehearsed be,
Which ye must ordayne by good or sad advice,
And prove them before hand, if ye be wise (33).
After showing that indeterminate instruments must be employed in the beginning, until the determinate shall declare themselves as by the Spirit they are proved fit, Norton proceeds in due order to point out the best local and other outward circumstances for carrying on the different Hermetic operations, as follows: ---
The Fourth Concord is full notable
Between this arte and places convenable.
Someplaces must needs be ever more drie,
Close from aier and no waies windy;
Some must be darke and dim of sight,
In which Sun-beams none may light;
But for some place, the trewth so is,
Thei cannot have too much brightness:
Some places must needes be moist and cold,
For some workes as Auctors toulde;
But in our workes in verie place,
Wind will hurt in everie case:
Therefore for every worke in season
Ye must ordaine places by reason.
Philosophers said, by their engine,
How it should be wrought within locks nyne.
Astrologers said it was a grace
To finde a fitting wirking place:
For manie things will wondrous doe
In some places and elsewhere no soe;
But contrarie wonders be of one thinge,
In contrarie countries wrought without leasing;
Whereof none to her cause maye appear,
But only contrarye places of the spheare:
Whereto places contrairye of the grounde,
To them concordant and obedient be founde;
Hereof great evidence and wittnes full cleare,
In the Magnet’s stone openly doth appeare,
Whose northe pointe draweth towards his countrye,
Which under the South Star driveth needles away.
Found some places concordant, some places not (34).
Secrecy having been a principal object with those practicing this Art, difficulty was found often to secure this, and at the same time supply the other conditions, which vary with the constitution and instinct of the spiritual guide. Just such a locality as Virgil appointed for his Bees, has been mentioned as desirable with all his appropriate allegorical exceptions of corrupt and evil associates. Strong currents of air are well known to disturb communion; and the entranced Subject is more or less susceptible of all imaginative impressures, which, even after their act has passed away, hang and pollute the ether of their pertinacious abode, as adepts well testify, and Cornelius Agrippa, in his Occult Philosophy, diffusely expounds, showing that truly,
It is a grace
To finde a fitting working-place.
The following lessons of an English Adept, neither antique nor envious, may not be in conclusion of the rest. --- If thy desire leads thee on to the practice (that is of the ultimate Philosophic Work), says Vaughan, consider well with thyself what manner of man thou art, and what it is that thou wouldst do: For it is no small matter. Thou hast resolved with thyself to be a co-operator with the living God, and to minister to Him in his work of generation. Have a care, therefore, that thou dost not hinder his work; for if thy heat exceeds the natural proportion, thou hast stirred up the wrath of the moist natures, and they will stand up against the central fire, and the central fire against them, and there will be a terrible division in the Chaos; but the sweet spirit of Peace, the true eternal Quintessence, will depart from the elements, leaving both of them and thee to confusion; neither will he apply himself to that Matter as long as it is in thy violent destructive Hands. We should always remember that doctrine of Zeno, that Nature gave us one tongue and two ears, that we might hear much and speak little. Let not any man therefore be ready to vomit forth his own shame and ignorance; let him first examine his knowledge, and especially his practice, lest upon the experience of a few violent knocks he presume to judge of Nature in her very sobrieties. But if thou knowest the principal First Matter, know also for certain thou hast discovered the Sanctuary of Nature. There is nothing between thee and her treasures but the Door: that indeed must be opened. Have therefore a charitable seraphic mind, charitable and not destructive to thyself. There is in every true Christian a spice, I will not say a grain, of faith, for then we could work miracles. But know that as God is the Father, so Charity is the nurse of Faith. For there springs from charitable works (from the effects of spiritual beneficience), a hope of heaven; and who is he that will not gladly believe what he hopes to obtain? On the contrary, these springs no hope at all from the works of darkness, and by consequence of no faith, but that faith of devils to believe and tremble. --- Settle not in the lees and puddles of the world. Have thy heart in heaven and thy hands upon earth. Ascend in piety and descend in charity. For this is the Nature of Light and the way of the children of it. You must live, as says Agrippa, according to God and the angels, rejecting all things that are dissimilar to the heaven; otherwise thou canst have no communion with superiors. Lastly, Unus esto non solus. Avoid the multitude, as well of passions as of persons. And, in conclusion, I would have thee understand that every day is a contracted year, and that each year is an extended day. Anticipate the year in the day, and lose not a day in the year. Make use of indeterminate agents till thou canst find a determinate one: the many wish well, but one only loves. Circumferences spread, but centers contract; so superiors dissolve and inferiors coagulate; stand not long in the sun nor long in the shade, where extremes meet, there look for complexions. Learn from thy errors to be infallible, and from they misfortunes to be constant. There is nothing stronger than Perseverance, for it ends in miracles (35).
Abundant evidence might here be brought to bear; but sufficient has been said for suggestive purposes, and addition would be as little likely to stimulate inquiry without practical information as to satisfy the incredulous. Nothing is more generally insisted on, next to benevolence and rectitude of intention, than perseverance for this experiment; and if to the foregoing instructions we add in sum, that effects rationally investigated lead into their causes, and that as the plant of is seed is reared, and according to its proper species germinates in a congenial soil, so in this philosophy the end is implied in the beginning, and the purpose is by the product made manifest --- the motive, through the resulting action, by the metaphysical cause, into physical effect;
Qui capit, Ille sapit.
And with this advice we conclude our introduction, as it may be called, to the Sphinx’s lair. --- The first link in the chain of vital causes moves, as we apply the Master Key.
Portus Explicit, at Praxis manaulis caetera pandet.
(1) Summa Perfect., lub. 1,cap.3
(2) Paradise Lost, Bok 1
(3) Book of Enoch, cap. 64, sect. 2
(4) Aquarium Sapientum, Appendix
(5) Job 31: 3-24
(6) Idem, 33
(7) Tact. Aur., cap. 1
(8) Norton’s Ordinal, chap. 1 in Ashmole’s Theatrum.
(9) Norton’s Ordinal, chap. 1
(10) Tract. Aur., cap. 2
(11) Ripley Revived, First Gate, p. 121
(12) Norton’s Ordinal, chap. 6
(13) Calid in Salmon, p. 30.
(14) Summa Perfect. In fine.
(15) Epilogue to the Invest. Of Perfection
(16) See Lucerna Salis, many passages to the same effect. Richardi Ang. Libel. Cap. 3.
(17) Zachary Opuscule, p. 69.
(18) New Light, p. 122.
(19) Arnoldi Rosarium, lib. 2,cap. 5.
(20) Lullii Theor. Test. Ch. 31.; Theatr. Chem., vol. 2, p.419. Ricardi Anglici Libellus, cap. 2
(21) Digby’s Translation of the Lucerna Salis, p. 320, Recapitulation.
(22) Tract. Aur., cap. 1 and 2
(23) Pierce, the Black Monk, on the Elixir, in Ashmole’s Theatr.
(24) See the Annotations of Kirchringius on Basil Valentine, sub init., p. 5
(25) Cf. St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, 8:26, 27
(26) See Iamblicus, De Mysteriis, cap. 26
(27) Eccels. 4:8,9
(28) Norton’s Ordinal, chap. 6, p. 94
(29) Charnocke’s Breviary of Philosophy, chap. 1
(30) Idem, chap. 3
(31) Norton’s Ordinal, chap.6
(32) See Vaughan’s Lumen de Lumine, etc.; Coelum Terrae, p. 118, etc.; and Sendivogius’ New Light; and Eirenaeus’ Introitus Apertus, chap. 8 and 24
(33) Norton’s Ordinal, chap. 6
(34) Norton’s Ordinal, chap. 6
(35) Anima Magia Abscondita, p. 51, etc.; Coelum Terrae, p. 137.