The Bodies of all Natural Things being as well perfect as imperfect from the Original of time, and compounded of a quaternity of Elements or Natures, viz.,Fire, Air, Earth, Water, are conjoyned by God Almighty in a perfect Unity. In these four Elements is hid the Secret of Philosophers: The Earth and Water give Corporeity and Visibility: The Fire and Air, the Spirit and Invisible Power, which cannot be seen or touched but in the other two. When these four Elements are conjoyned, and made to exist in one, they become another thing; whence it is evident, that all things in Nature are composed of the said Elements, being altered and changed. So Saith Rhasis, Simple Generation and Natural Transformation in the Operation of the Elements. But it is necessary that the Elements be of one kind, and not divers, to wit, Simple: For otherwise neither Action nor Passion could happen between them: So Saith Aristotle, There is no true Generation, but of things agreeing in Nature. So that things be not made but according to their Natures. The Eldar or Oak Trees will not bring forth Pears; nor can you gather Grapes of Thorns, or Figs of Thistles, things bring not forth, but only their like, or what agrees with them in Nature, each Tree its own Fruit. Our Secret therefore is to be drawn only out of those things in which it is. You cannot extract it out of Stones or Salt, or other Heterogene Bodies: Neither Salt nor Alum enters into our mystery: But as Theophrastus saith, The Philosophers disguise with Salts and Alums, the Places of the Elements. If you prudently desire to make our Elixir, you must extract it from a Mineral Root: For as Geber saith, You must obtain the perfection of the Matter from the Seeds thereof. Sulphur and Mercury are the Mineral Roots, and Natural Principles, upon which Nature her self acts and works in the Mines and Caverns of the Earth, which are Viscous Water, and Subtil Spirit running through the Pores, Veins, and Bowels of the Mountains. Of them is produced a Vapour or Cloud, which is the substance and body of Metals united, ascending, and reverberating upon its own proper Earth, (As Geber sheweth) even till by a temperate digestion through the space of a Thousand Years, the matter is fixed, and converted into a Mineral Stone, of which metals are made. In the same manner of Sol which is our Sulphur, being reduced into Mercury by Mercury, which is the Viscous Water made thick, and mixt with its proper Earth, by a temperate decoctiOn and digestion, ariseth the Vapour or Cloud, agreeing in nature and substance with that in the Bowels of the Earth. This afterwards is turned into most subtil water, which is called the Soul, Spirit, and Tincture, as we shall hereafter shew. When this Water is returned into the Earth, (out of which it was drawn) and every way spreads through or is mixed with it, as its proper Womb, it becomes fixed. Thus the Wise man does that by Art in a short time, which Nature cannot perform in less than the Revolution of a Thousand Years. Yet notwithstanding, it is not We that make the metal, but Nature her self that does it. Nor do or can we change one thing into another; but it is Nature that changes them. We are no more than meer Servants in the work. Therefore Nedus in Turba Philosophorurn, saith, Our Stone naturally contains in it the Whole Tincture. It is perfectly made in the Mountains and Body of the Earth; yet of it self (without art) it has no life or power whereby to move the Elements. Chuse then the natural Minerals, to which, by the advice of Aristotle, add Art: For Nature generates Metaline Bodies of the Vapours, Clouds, or Fumes of Sulphur and Mercury, to which all the Philosophers agree. Know therefore the Principles upon which Art works, to wit, the Principles or beginnings of Metals: For he that knows not these things shall never attain to the perfection of the Work. Geber saith, He who has not in himself the knowledge, Qf the Natural Principles, is far from attaining the perfection of the Art: being Ignorant of the Mineral Root upon which he should work. Geber also farther saith, That our Art is only to be understood and Learned through the true wisdom andknowledge of Natural things: that is, with a wisdom searching into the Roots and Natural principles of the matter. Yet saith he, my Son, I shew thee a Secret, through thou knowest the Principles, yet therein thou canst not follow Nature in all things. Herein some have erred, in Essaying to following Nature in all her properties and differences.
OF THE MERCURY, THE SECOND PRINCIPLE OF THE WORK
The second Principle of our Stone is called Mercury, which some Philosophers call (as it is simple of it self) a Stone. One of them said, This is a Stone, and no Stone, and that without which Nature never performs any thing; which enters into, or is swallowed up Of other Bodies, and also swallows them up. This is simply ARGENT VIVE, which contains the Essential Power, which Explicates the Tincture of our Elixir or Philosophers Stone. Therefore saith Rhasis, Such a thing may be made of it which exceedeth the highest perfection of Nature. For it is the Root of Metals, Harinonises with them, and is the Medium that explicates and conjoyns the Tinctures. For it swallows up that which is of its own Nature and production; but rejects what is Forreign and Heterogene: being of an Uniform substance in all its parts. Wherefore our Stone is called Natural, or Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal, for it is Generated in the Mines, and is the Mother or Womb of all Metals, and by projection coverts into Metals: it Springs or Grows like a Vegetable: and abounds with Life like an Animal, by peircing with its Tincture, like Spirit and Life, every where, and through all particles. Morien saith, This Stone is no Stone that can Generate a living Creature. Another saith, It is cast out upon the Dunghill as a vile thing, and it is hidden from the Eyes or understandings of Ignorant Men. Also in Libro Speculi Alchymiae, it is said, Our Stone is a thing rejected, but found in Dunghils (i.e. in putrefaction, or the Matter being putrefied) containing in it self the four Elements, over which it Triumphs, and is certainly to be perfected by humane industry. Some make MERCURY OF LEAD, Thus: Rx Lead, melt it six or Seven times, and quench it in Salt Armoniac dissolved, of which take lb. iij Sal Vitrioli, lb j. Borax lb. mix, and Digest Forty days in Igne Philosophorum: So have you Mercury, not at all differing from the Natural, But that is not fit for our work, as the Mineral is. If you have any understanding, this Caution may sufficiently instruct you.
OF THE PURIFICATION OF THE METALS AND MERCURY FOR OUR WORK
This is a great and certain truth, that the Clean ought to be separated from the Unclean, for nothing can give that which it has not: For the pure substance is of one simple Essence, void of all Heterogeneity: But that which is impure and unclean, consists of Heterogene parts, is not simple, but compounded (to wit of pure and impure) and apt to putrifie and corrupt. Therefore let nothing enter into your Composition, which is Alien or Foreign to the matter, (as all Impurity is;) for nothing goes to the Composition of our Stone, that proceedeth not from it, neither in part nor in whole. If any strange or foreign thing be mixed with it, it is immediately corrupted, and by that Corruption your Work becomes frustrate. The Citrine Bodies (as Sol, etc.) you must purge by Calcination or Cementation; and it is then purged or purified if it be fine and florid. The metal being well cleansed, beat it into thin Plates or Leaves (as is Leaf Gold,) and reserve them for use. The White Liquor (as Mercury) contains two Superfluities, which must necessarily be removed from it, viz. Its foetid Earthiness, which hinders its Fusion: and its Humidity, which causes its flying. The Earthiness is thus removed. Put it into a Marble or Wooden mortar, with its equal weight of pure fine and dry salt, and a little Vinegar: Grind all with the Pestle, till nothing of the matter appears, but the whole Salt becomes very black. Wash this whole matter with pure Water, till the Salt is dissolved, this filthy water decant, and put to the Mercury again as much more Salt and Vinegar, grinding it as before, and washing it with fair water, which work so often repeat till the water comes clear from it, and thaq the Mercury remains pure bright and clear like a Venice Looking Glass, and of a Coelestial Colour. Then strain it through a Linen Cloth three or four times doubled, two or three times (into a clean Glass Vessel) till it be dry. The proporation of the parts is as 24 to 1. There are 24 Hours in a Natural Day, to which add one, and it is 25. (To Wit, the Rising of the Sun). To understand this, is Wisdom, as Geber saith. Indeavour through the whole Work, to over—power the Mercury in Commixtion. Rhasis saith, Those Bodies come nearest to perfection, which contain most Argent Vive: He farther saith, That the Philosophers hid nothing but Weight and Measure, to wit, the Proportions of the Ingredients, which is clear, for that none of them all agree one with another therein: which causeth great error. Though the matters be well prepared and well mixed, without the Proportions or Quantities of the things be just, and according to the reason of the Work, you will miss of the truth, or the end, and lost all your Labour; you will not indeed bring any thing to perfection. And this is evident in the Examination: When there is a Transmutation of the Body, or that the Body is changed, then let it be put into the Cineritium or Test, and then it will be consumed, or otherwise remain; according as the proportions are more or less than just; or just as they ought to be. If they be right and just, according to the Reason of that, you Body will be incorruptible and remain firm, without any loss, through all Essays and Tryals: you can do nothing in this work without the true knowledge of this thing, whose Foundation is Natural matter, purity of substance, and right Reason or proportion.
OF THE CONJUNCTION OF THE PRINCIPLES, IN ORDER TO THIS GREAT WORK
Euclid the Philosopher, and a man of great understanding, advises to work in nothing but in Sol and Mercury; which joyned together make the wonderful and admirable Philosophers Stone, as Rhasis saith: White and Red, both proceed from one Root; no other Bodies coming between them. But yet the Gold, wanting Mercury, is hindered from working according to his power. Therefore know that no Stone, nor Pearl, or other Forreign thing, but this our Stone, belongs to this work. You must therefore Labour about the Dissolution of the Citrine Body, to reduce it into its first matter: for as Rhasis saith, We dissolve Gold, that it may be reduced into its first Nature or matter, that is, into MERCURY. For being broken and made One, they have in themselves the whole Tincture both of the Agent and Patient. Wherefore saith Rhasis, make a Marriage (that is a Conjunction) between the R E D Man and his W H I T E Wife, and you shall have the whole Secret. The same saith Merlin If you Marry the White Woman to the Red Man, they will be Conjoyned and Imbrace one another, and become impregnated. By themselves they are Dissolved, and by themselves they bring forth what they have conceived, whereby, the two are made but one Body. And truly our Dissolution, is only the reducing the hard Body into a liquid form, and into the Nature of Argent Vive, that the Saltness of the Sulphur may be diminished. Without our Brass then be Broken, Ground, and Gently and Prudently managed, till it will be reduced from its hard and Dense Body, into a thin and subtil Spirit, you labour in Vain. And therefore in the Speculum Alchymiae it is said, the first work is the reducing the Body into Water, that is, into Mercury. And this the Philosophers called Dissolution, which is the Foundation of the whole Art. This Dissolution makes the Body of an Evident Liquidity, and absolute Subtilty: and this is done by a gentle Grinding, and a soft and continued Assation or Digestion. Wherefore saith Rhasis, the work of making our Stone is, that the matter be put into its proper Vessel, and continually Decocted and Digested, until such time as it wholly Ascends, or Sublimes to the top thereof. This is declared in Speculum Philosophorum. The Philosophers Stone is converted from a vile thing, into a pretious Substance: for the SEMEN SOLARE’ is cast into the Matrix of Mercury, by Copulation or Conjunction, whereby in process of time they be made one. Also, that when it is Compounded with the like, and Mercurizated, then it shall be the Springing Bud. For the Soul, the Spirit and the Tincture may then be drawn out of them by the help of a gentle Fire. Therefore saith Aristotle, the true matters or principles are not possible to be transformed or changed (by the most Learned in Alchymie) except they be reduced into their first matter. And Geber saith, all ought to be made of Mercury only: for when Sol is reduced to its first Original or Matter, by Mercury, then Nature embraceth Nature. And then it will be easie to draw out the Subtil and Spiritual Substance thereof: of which Alkindus saith, take the things from their Mines, and Exact or Subtilize them, and reduce them to their Roots, or first matter, which is Lumen Luminum. And therefore, except you cast Out the Redness with the Whiteness, you will never come to the exalted glory of the Redness. For Rhasis saith, He that knows how to convert Sol into Luna, knows how to convert Luna into Sol. Therefore saith Pandophilus in Turba Philosophorum he that prudently draws the Virtue or Power from Sal, and his Shadow, shall obtain a great Secret. Again it is said, without Sol, and his Shadow, no Tinging Virtue or Power is generated. And whosoever it is that shall endeavour to make a Tinging or Colouring Tincture, without these things, and by any other means, he Errs, and goes astray from Truth, to his own hurt, loss and detriment.
OF THE VESSEL LUTE, CLOSING, AND TIMES OF THE PHILOSOPHICK WORK
The Vessel for our Stone is but one, in which the whole Magistery or Elixir is performed and perfected; this is a Cucurbit, whose Bottom is round like an Egg, or an Urinal, smooth within, that it may Ascend and Descend the more easily, covered with a Limbeck round and smooth everywhere, and not very high, and whose Bottom is round also like an Egg. Its largeness aught to be such; that the Medicine or matter may not fill above a fourth part of it; made of strong double Glass, clear and transparent, that you may see through it, all the Colours appertaining to, and appearing in the work; in which the Spirit moving continually, cannot pass or f lie away. Let it also be so closed, that as nothing can go out of it, so nothing can enter into it; as Lucas saith, Lute the Vessell strongly with LUTUMSAPIENTIAE, that nothing may get in or go out of it. For if the Flowers, or matter subliming, should breath out, or any strange Air or matter enter in, your work will be spoiled and lost. And though the Philosophers oftentimes say, that the matter is to be put into the Vessel, and closed up fast, yet it is sufficient for the Operator, once to put the said matter in, once to close it up, and so to keep it even to the very perfection and finishing of the work. If these things be often repeated, the work will be spoiled. Therefore saith Rhasis, keep your Vessel continually close, encompassed with Dew, (which demonstrates what kind of Heat you are to use,) and so well Luted that none of the Flowers, or that which sublimes, may get out, or vanish in Vapor or Fume. And in Speculuin Alchymiae it is said, Let the Philosophers Stone remain shut within the Vessel strongly, until such time, that it has drunk up the Humidity; and let it be nourished with a continual Heat till it becomes White. Also another Philosopher in his Breveloquium saith, as there are three things in a natural Egg, viz, the Shell, the White, and the Yolk, so likewise there are three things corresponding to the Philosophers Stone, the Glass Vessel, the White Liquor, and the Citrine Body. And as of the Yolk and White, with a little Heat, a Bird is made, (the Shell being whole, until the coming forth or Hatching of the Chicken:) so is it in the work of the Philosophers Stone. Of the Citrine Body, and White Liquor, with a temperate or gentle Heat is made the Avie Hermetis, or Philosophers Bird. The Vessel being well and perfectly closed, and never so much as once opened till the perfection or end of the work: so that you see the Vessel is to be kept close, that the Spirit may not get out and evanish. Therefore saith Rhasis, Keep thy Vessel and its junctures close and firm, for the Conservation of the Spirit. And another saith, close thy Vessel well, and as you are not to cease from the work, (or let it cool,) so neither are you to make too much haste, (neither by too great a heat, nor too soon opening of it.) You must take special care that the Humidity (which is the Spirit) gets not out of the Vessel; for then you will have nothing but a Dead Body remaining, and the work will come to nothing. Socrates saith, Grind it with most sharp Vinegar, till it grows thick and be careful that the Vinegar be not turned into fume, and perish.
OF THE PHILOSOPHERS FIRE, THE KINDS AND GOVERNMENT THEREOF
The Philosophers have described in their Books a two fold Fire, a moist and a dry. The moist Fire they called the warm Horse Belly; in the which, so long as the Humidity remains, the Heat is retained; but the Humidity being Consumed, the Heat vanishes and ceases, which Heat being small seldom lasts above five or six days: but it may be Conserved and renewed, by casting upon it many times Urine mixt with Salt. Of this Fire speaks Philares the Philosopher: The property of the fire of the Horse Belly, is, not to destroy with it dryness the Oyl, but augments it with its humidity, whereas other fire would be apt to consume it. Senior the Philosopher saith, Dig a Sepulchre and bury the W 0 M A N with her M A N, or Husband in Horsedung (or Balneo of the same heat) until such time as they be intimately conjoyned or united. Altudonus the Philosopher saith likewise, you must bide your Medicine in Horse Dung, which is the fire of the Philosophers, for this Dung is hot, moist, and dark, having a humidity in it self, and an excellent light, (or Whiteness. There is no other fire comparable to it in the World, excepting only the natural heat of a Man, This is a Secret. The Vapour of the Sea not burned, the and the Blood of the Grape is our Red Fire. The Dry Fire, is the Fire of the Bodies themselves and the InflammabilitY of every thing able to be burned: Now the government of these Fires is thus: The Medicine of the White ought to be put into the moist fire, until the Complement of the Whiteness shall appear in the Vessel. For a gentle fire is the conservation of the Humidity. Therefore saith Pandolphus, You are to understand that the Body is to be dissolved with the Spirit; with which they are mixed by an easie and gentle decoction, so that the Body may be spiritualized by it. Ascanius also saith: A gentle fire gives health, but too much or great a heat will not conserve or unite the Elements, but on the contrary divide them, waste the humidity, and destroy the whole work. Therefore saith Rhasis, Be very diligent and careful in the sublimation and liquefaction of the matter, that you increase not your fire too much, whereby the water may ascend to the highest part of the Vessel: For then wanting a place of Refrigeration, it will stick fast there, whereby the Sulphur of the Elements will not be perfected. For indeed in this work, it is necessary that they be many times elevated, or sublimed, and depressed again. And the gentle or temperate Fire is that only which compleats the mixture, makes thick, and perfects the work. Therefore saith Botulphus, That gentle fire, which is the White fire of the Philosophers, is the greatest and most principal matter of the Operation of the Elements. Rhasis also saith, Burn our Brass with a Gentle Fire, such as is that of a Hen for the hatching of Eggs, until the Body be broken, and the Tincture extracted. For with an easie decoction, the water is congealed, and the humidity which corrupteth, drawn out; and in drying, the burning is avoided. The happy prosecution of the whole work, consists in the exact temperament of the fire: Therefore beware of too much heat, lest you come to solution before the time,(viz, before the matter is ripe:) For that will bring you to despair of attaining the end of your hopes. Wherefore saith he, Beware of too much fire, for if it be kindled before the time, the matter will be Red, before it comes to ripeness and perfection, (whereby it becomes like an Abort, or the uripe Fruit of the Womb: whereas it ought to be first White, then Red, like as the Fruits of a Tree, a Cherry is first White, then Red, when it comes to its perfection.And that he might indigitate a certain time, (as it were) of Decoction, he saith, That the dissolution of the Body, and Coagulation or Congelation of the Spirit, ought to be done, by an easie decoction in a gentle fire, and a moist Putrefaction, for the space of one hundred and forty Days. To which Orsolen assents saying, In the beginning of the mixture, you ought to mix the Elements (being sincere and made pure, clean, and rectified with a gentle fire) by a slow and natural digestion, and to beware of too much fire, till you know they are conjoyned. Bonellus also saith, That by a Temperate and Gentle heat continued, you must make the pure and perfect Body
OF THE AENIGMA’S OF PHILOSOPHERS, THEIR DECEPTIONS, AND PRECAUTIONS CONCERNING THE SAME
You ought to put on Courage, Resolution and Constancy, in attempting this great work, lest you Err, and be deceived, sometimes following or doing one thing, and then another. For the knowledge of this Art consisteth not in the multiplicity, or great number of things, but in Unity; Our Stone is but One, the matter is One, and the Vessel is One: The Government is One, and the disposition is One. The whole Art and Work thereof is One, and begins in One manner, and in One manner it is finished. Notwithstanding the Philosophers have subtily delivered themselves, and clouded their instructions with Anigmatical and Typical Phrases and Words, to the end that their Art might not only be hidden and so continued, but also be had in the greater Veneration. Thus they advise to Decoct, to Commix, and to Conjoyn; to Sublime, to Bake, to Grind, and to Congeal; to make Equal, to Putrefie, to make White, and to make Red; of all which things, the orden, management and way of working is all one, which is only to Decoct. And therefore to Grind is to Decoct, of which you are not to be weary, saith Rhasis: Digest continually, but not in haste (that is, not with too great a Fire;) cease not, or make no intermission in your work, follow not the Artifice of Sophisters, but pursue your Operation, to the Complement and perfection thereof. Also in the Rosary it is advised, to be cautious and watchful, lest your work prove dead or imperfect, and to continue it with a long Decoction. Close up well thy Vessel, and pursue to the end. For there is no Generation of things, but by Putrefaction, by keeping Out the Air, and a continual internal motion, with an equal and gentle Heat. Remember when you are in your work, all the Signs and Appearances which arise in every Decoction, for they are necessary to be known and understood in order to the perfecting the matter. You must be sure to be incessant and continual in your Operation, with a gentle Fire, to the appearing of the perfect Whiteness, which cannot be if you open the Vessel, and let out the Spirit. From whence it is Evident, that if you manage your matter ill, or your Fire be too great, it ought to be extinguished: Therefore saith Rhasis, pursue your business incessantly, beware of instability of mind, and too great expectations, by a too hasty and precipitate pursuit, lest you lost your End. But as another Philosopher saith, Digest, and Digest again, and be not weary: The most exquisite and industrious Artist, can never attain to perfection by too much haste, but only by a long and continual Decoction and Digestion, (for so Nature works, and Art must in some measure imitate Nature.)
OF THE VARIOUS SIGNS APPEARING IN EVERY OPERATION
This then is the thing, that the Vessel with the Medicine be put into a moist Fire; to wit, that the middle or one half of the Vessel be in a moist Fire (or Balneo, of equal Heat with Horse—Dung,) and the other half out of the Fire, that you may daily look into it. And in about the space of Forty Days, the superficies or upper part of the Medicine will appear black as melted Pitch: and this is the Sign, that the Citrine Body is truly converted into Mercury. Therefore saith Bonellus, when you see the blackness of the Water to appear, be assured that the (Citrine) Body is made Liquid: The same thing saith Rhasis; the Disposition or Operation of our Stone is One, which is, that it be put into its Vessel and carefully Decocted and Digested, till such time as the whole Body be Dissolved and Ascended. And in another place he saith, continue it upon a temperate or gentle Balneo, so long till it be perfected Dissolved into Water, and made impalpable, and that the whole Tincture be extracted into the blackness, which is the Sign of its dissolution. Lucas also assureth us, that when we see the blackness of the water in all things to appear, that then the Body is dissolved, or made Liquid. This blackness the Philosophers called the first Conjunction; for then the Male and Female are joyned together, and it is the Sign of perfect mixtion. Yet notwithstanding, the whole Tincture is not drawn out together; but it goes out every day, by little and little, until by a great length of time, it is perfectly extracted, and made cornpleat. And that part of the Body which is dissolved, ever Ascends or Rises to the Top, above all the other undissoived Matter which remains yet at Bottom. Therefore saith Avicen, That which is spiritual in the Vessel Ascends up to the Top of the Matter, and that which is yet gross and thick, remains in the Bottom of the Vessel. This blackness is called among the Philosophers by many Names, to wit, The Fires , the Soul , a Cloud , the RavensHead,a Coal , Our Oyl , Aqua vitae , the Tincture of Redness, the Shadow of the Sun, Black Brass , Water of Sulphur ; and by many other Names. And this Blackness is that which conjoyneth the Body with the Spirit. Then saith Rhasis, The Government of the Fire being observed for the space of Forty Days, both (to wit the White Liquor, and the Citrine Body) are made a Permanent or fixt Water, covered over with blackness; which blackness (if rightly ordered) cometh to its perfection in Forty Days space. Of which another Philosopher saith; so long as the obscure blackness appeareth the W 0 M A N hath the Dominion; and this is the first Conception or strength of our Stone: For if it be not first Black, it shall never be either White or Red. Avicen saith, That Heat causeth blackness first, in a moist Body; then the humidity being consumed, it putteth off or leseth its blackness; and as the Heat encreaseth (or is continued) so it grows white. Lastly, by a more inward Heat, it is Calcin’d into Ashes, as the Philosophers teach. In the first Decoction (which is called Putrefaction) Our Stone is made all Black, to wit, a Black Earth, by the drawing out of its Humidity; and in that Blackness, the Whiteness is hidden. And when the Humidity is reverted upon the Blackness again, and by a continued soft and gentle Digestion is made fixed with its Earth, then it becomes White. In this Whiteness, the Redness is hidden; and when it is Decocted and Digested by augmentation (and continuance) of the Fire, that Earth is changed into Redness, as we shall hereafter teach.
OF THE EDUCATION OF THE WHITENESS OUT OF THE BLACKNESS OR BLACK MATTER
Now let us revolve to the Black matter in its Vessel, (not so much as once opened, but) continually closed: Let this Vessel I say, stand continually in the moist fire, till such time as the White Colour appears, like to a white moist Salt. The Colour is called by the Philosophers Arsenick, and Sal Armoniack; and some others call it, The thing without which no profit is to be had in the work. But inward whiteness appearing in the Work, then is there a perfect Conjunction, and Copulation, of the Bodies in this Stone, which is indissoluble and then is fulfilled that saying of Hermes, The thing which is above, is as that which is beneath, and that which is beneath, is as that which is above, to perform the Mystery of this matter Phares saith, Seeing the Whiteness appearing above in the Vessel, you may be certain, that in the Whiteness, the Redness lies hid; but before it becomes White, you will find many Colours to appear. Therefore saith Diomedes, Decoct the Male and the (Female or) Vapour together, until such time as they shall become one dry Body; for except they be dry, the divers or various Colours will not appear. For it will ever be black, whilst that humidity or moisture has the dominion; but if that be once wasted, then it emits divers Colours, after many and several ways. And many times it shall be changed from Colour to Colour, till such time as it comes to the fixed Whiteness. Synon saith, All the Colours of the World will appear in it when the Black humidity be dryed up. But value none of these Colours, for they be not the true Tincture; yea many times it becomes Citrine and Redish; and many times it is dryed, and becomes liquid again, before the Whiteness will appear. Now all this while the Spirit is not perfectly joyned with the Body, nor will it be joyned or fixed but in the White Colour: Astanus saith, Between the White and the Red appear all Colours, even to the utmost imagination. For the varieties of which the Philosophers have given various Names, and almost innumerable; some for obscuring it, and some for envy sake. The cause of the appearance of such variety of Colours in the Operation of your Medicine, is from the extention of the blackness; for as much as Blackness and Whiteness be the extream Colours, all the other Colours are but means between them. Therefore as often as any degree or portion of Blackness descends, so often another and another Colour appears, until it comes to Whiteness. Now concerning the Ascending and Descending of the Medicine, Hermes saith, It ascends from the Earth into Heaven, and again descends from Heaven to the Earth, whereby it may receive both the superiour strength and the infer iour. Moreover this you are to observe, that if between the Blackness and the Whiteness, there should appear the Red or Citrine Colour, you are not to look upon it or esteem it, for it is not fixt but will vanish away. There cannot indeed be any perfect and fixt Redness, without it be first White: Wherefore saith Rhasis, no Man can come from the first to the third, but by the second. From whence it is evident, that Whiteness must always be first lookt for, (after the Blackness, and before the Redness,) for as much as it is the Complement of the whole Work. Then after this Whiteness appears, it shall not be changed into any true or stable Colour, but into the Red: Thus have we taught you to make the White; it remains now that we elucidate the Red.
OF THE WAY AND MANNER HOW TO EDUCE THE RED TINCTURE OUT OF THE WHITE
The matters then of the White and Red, among themselves, differ not in respect to the Essence: But the Red Elixir needs more subtilization, and longer digestion, and a hotter fire in the course of the Operation, than the White, because the end of the White work, is the beginning of the Red work; and that which is compleat in the one, is to be begun in the other. Therefore without you make the White Elixir first, make the matter become first White, you can never come to the Red Elixir, that which is indeed the true Red: Which how it is to be performed we shall briefly shew. The Medicine for the Red ought to be put into our moist fire, until the White Colour aforesaid appear, afterwards take out the Vessel from the fire, and put it into another pot with sifted Ashes made moist with water,to about half full, in which let it stand up to the middle thereof, making under the Earthen pot a temperate dry fire, and that continually. But the heat of this dry fire ought to be double at the least, to what it was before, or than the heat of the moist fire, by the help of this heat, the white Medicine receiveth the admirable Tincture of the Redness. You cannot err if you continue the dry fire: Therefore Rhasis saith, With a dry fire, and a dry Calcinatiofl decoct the dry matter, till such time as it becomes in Colour, like to Vermillion or Cinabar. To the which you shall not afterwards put (to corn-pleat it) either Water, or Oyl, or Vinegar, or any other thing. Decoct the Red Matter, or Medicine; the more red it is, the more worth it is; and the more decocted it is, the more red it is: Therefore that which is more decocted, is the more pretious and valuable. Therefore you must burn it without fear in a dry fire, until such time as it is clothed with a most Glorious Red, or a pure Vermilion Colour. For which cause EpistuS the Philosopher saith, Decoct the White in a Red hot Furnace, until such time it be clothed with a purple Glory. Do not cease, though the Redness be somewhat long, before it appears. For as I have said, the fire being augmented, the first Colour of Whiteness, will change into Red: Also when the Citrine shall first appear, among those Colours, yet that Colour is not fixt. But not long after it, the Red Colour shall begin to appear, which ascending to the height, your Work will indeed be compleat. As Hermes saith in Turba, Between the Whiteness and the Redness, one Colour only appears, to wit, Citrine, but it changes from the less to the more. Maria also saith, When you have the true White, then follows the false and Citrine Colour; and at last the Perfect Redness it self. This is the Glory and the beauty of the whole World.
OF THE MULTIPLICATION, OR AUGMENTATION OF OUR MEDICINE, BY DISSOLUTION
Our Medicine, or Elixir, is multiplyed after a twofold manner, viz. 1. By Dissolution. 2. By Fermentation. By Dissolution, it is augmented two manner of ways, First, by a greater or more intense heat; Secondly, by Dew, or the heat of a Balneum Roris The Dissolution of heat is, that you take the Medicine put into a glasen Vessel, or boil or decoct it in our moist fire for seven days or more, until the Medicine be dissolved into Water, which will be without much Trouble. The dissolution by Dew, or Balneum Roris, is, that you take the Glass Vessel with the Medicine in it, and hang it in a Brazen or Coper Pot, with a narrow Mouth, in which there must be water boyling, the Mouth of the Vessel being in the mean Season shut, that the Ascending Vapours of the boyllng water may, dissolve the Medicine. But Note, that the boyling water ought not to touch the Glass Vessel, which contains the Medicine, by three or four Inches, and this Dissolution possibly may be done in two or three days. After the Medicine is dissolved, take it from the Fire, and let it cool, to be fixed, to be congealed, and to be made hard or dryed, and so let it be dissolved many times; for so much the often it is dissolved, so much the more strong, and the more perfect it shall be Therefore Bonellus saith, When the AEs, Brass, or Laten is burned, and this burning many times reiterated, it is made better than it was: and this Solution is the Subtilization of the Medicine, and the Sublimation of the Virtues thereof. So that the oftner it is sublimed and made subtil, so much the more Virtue it shall receive; and the more penetrative shall the Tincture be made, and more plentiful in quantity; and the more perfect it is, the more it shall transmute. In the Fourth Distillation then, it shall receive such a Virtue and Tincture that one part shall be able to transmute a thousand parts of the cleansed Metal into fine Gold or Silver, better than that which is Generated -in the Mines. Therefore saith Rhasis, the goodness or excellency of the Multiplication hereof depends only on the Reiteration of the dissolution and fixation of the perfect Medicine. For so much the oftner the work is Reiterated, so much the more fruitful it will be, and so much the more augmented. So much the oftner you sublime it, so much the more you increase it for every time it is augmented in Virtue, and Power, and Tincture, one more to be cast upon a thousand, at a second time upon ten thousand, at the third time upon one hundred thousand,at the fourth time upon a Million: And thus you may increase its Power by the number of the Reiterations, till it is almost infinite XIII. Therefore saith Meredes the Philosopher, knciw for certain, that the oftener the Matter or Stone is dissolved and congealed, the more absolutely and perfectly, the Spirit and Soul are conjoyned and retained. And for this cause, every time the Tincture is Multiplied, after a most admirable and unconceiveable manner.
OF THE AUGMENTATION OR MULTIPLICATION OF OUR MEDICINE BY FERMENTATION
Our Medicine is Multiplied by Fermentation; and the Ferment for the White is pure Luna, the Ferment for the Red, is pure fine Sol. Now cast one part of the Medicine upon twenty parts of the Ferment, and all shall become Medicine, Elixir, or Tincture: Put it on the Fire in a Glass Vessel, and seal it so that no Air go in or out, dissolve and subtilize it, as oft as you please, even as you did for making of the first Medicine. And one part of this second Medicine, shall have as much Virtue and Power, as Ten parts of the former. Therefore saith Rhasis, Now have we accomplished our Work by that which is hot and moist, and it is become equally temperate: and whatsoever is added or put to it, shall become of the same temperament and Virtue with it. You must then Conjoyn it, that it may Generate its like; yet you must not joyn it with any other that it might convert it to the same, but only with that very same kind, of whole substance it was in the beginning. For in Speculo Terrae Spiritualis, it is written, that the Elixir is figured in the Body, from whence it was taken in the beginning, when it was to be dissolved That is to say, to dispose, Marry or Conjoyn that Earth revived, and in its Soul purified by commixtion of its first Body, from whence it took beginning. Also in Libro Gemmae Salutaris, it is said, that the White work needs a White Ferment; which when it is made White, is White Ferment also: and when it is made Red, is the Ferment of Redness. And so the White Earth is Ferment of Ferment: for when it is Conjoyned with Luna; or shall be made a Medicine, it is to cast upon Mercury, and every imperfect Metaline Body, to be converted into Luna. And to the Red, ought Sol to be joyned; and it will become a Medicine or Tincture, to project upon Mercury, or upon Luna. Rhasis also saith, You must now mix it with Argent Vive, White and Red, after their kind; and be so chained that it flies not away. Wherefore we command Argent Vive to be mixed with Argent Vive, until one clear water made of two Argent Vive’s compounded together. But you must not make the mixture of them, till each of them apart or separately be dissolved into water: and in the Conjunction of them, put a little of the matter upon much of the Body, viz. First upon four; and it shall become in a short time a fine Pouder, whose Tincture shall be White or Red. This Pouder is the true and perfect Elixir or Tincture, and the Elixir or Tincture, is truly a simple Pouder. Egidius also saith, to Solution put Solution, and in dissolution put desiccation, viz, make it dry, putting all together to the fire. Keep entire the fume or vapour, and take heed that nothing thereof flie out from it: Tarry by the Vessel and behold the wonders, how it changes from Colour to Colour, in less space than an hours time, till such time as it comes to the Signs of Whiteness or Redness. For it melts quickly in the Fire, and congeals in the Air. When the fume or vapor feels the force of the fire, the fire will penetrate into the Body, and the Spirit will become fixed, and the matter made dry, becoming a Body fixt and clear or pure, and either White or Red. This Pouder is the compleat and perfect Elixir or Tincture, now you may separate or take, if from the fire, and let it cool. And first, part of it projected upon 1000 parts of any Metalline Body, transmutes it into fine Gold or Silver, according as your Elixir or Tincture is for the Red or the White. From what has been said, it is manifest and Evident, that if you do not congeal Argent Vive, making it to bear or endure the fire, and then conjoyning it with pure Silver, you shall never attain to the Whiteness. And if you make not Argent Vive Red, and so as it may endure the greatest fire, and then conjoyn it with pure fine Gold, you shall never attain to the Redness. And by dissolution, viz, by Fermentation, your Medicine, Elixir, or Tincture, may be multiplied inf initely. Now you must understand that the Elixir or Tincture, gives fusion like Wax: for which cause saith Rhasis, Our Medicine ought of necessity to be of a subtle substance, and most pure, cleaving to Mercury, of its Nature, and of most easie and thin liquifaction, fusion, or melting, after the manner of water called Omne datrnn Optimum, it is said, when the Elixir is well prepared, that it may melt as Wax upon a Plate RedFire-Hot, Now observe what you do in the White, the same you must do in the Red, for the work is all one: The same Operation that is in the one, is in the other, as well in multiplication as projection.
OF THE DIFFERENCES OF THE MEDICINE AND PROPORTIONS USED IN PROJECTION
Geber, the Arabian Prince, Alchymist, and Philosopher, in lib. 5. cap. 21. saith, That there is three orders of Medicines. The First Order, is of such Medicines, which being cast upon imperfect Bodies, takes not away their Corruption or Imperfection, but only give Tincture, which in Examination, flies away and vanishes. The Second Order, is of such Medicines, which being cast upon Imperfect Bodies, tinge them (in examination) with a true Tincture, but take not away wholly their Corruption. The Third Order, is of such Medicines, which being cast upon Imperfect Bodies, not only perfectly tinge them, but also take away all their Corruption and Impurities, making them incorrupt and perfect: of the first two kinds, or Orders of Medicines, we have nothing to say here; we now come to speak of the third. Let therefore this your perfect Medicine, or Elixir, be cast upon a thousand or more parts, according to the number of times it has been dissolved, sublimed, and made subtil: If you put on too little, you must mend it by adding more; otherwise the Virtue thereof will accomplish a perfect Transmutation. The Philosophers therefore made three Proportions, divers manner of ways, but the best proportion is this: Let one part be cast upon an hundred parts of Mercury, cleansed from all its Impurities; and it will all become Medicine, or Elixir; and this is the second Medicine: which projected upon a thousand parts, converts it all into good Sol, or Luna. Cast one part of this second Medicine upon an hundred of Mercury prepared, and it will all become Medicine, and this is the Third Medicine, or Elixir of the third degree, which will project upon ten thousand parts of another Body, and transmute it wholly into fine Sol or Luna. Again, every part of this Third Medicine being cast upon an hundred parts of prepared Mercury, it will all become Medicine of the fourth degree, and it will transmute ten hundred Thousand times its own quantity of another Metal into fine Sol or Luna, according as your fermentation was made. Now these second, third, and fourth Medicines may be so often dissolved, sublimed, and subtilizated, till they receive far greater virtues and powers, and may after the same manner be multiplyed infinitely. According to Rhasis, the proportion is thus •to be computed. First, multiply Ten by Ten, and its product is an Hundred: Again 100 by 10, and the product is 1000; and a 100 by 10, and the product will be 10000. And this 10000 being multiplyed by 10, produces an 100000; and thus by consequence you may augment it, till it comes to a number almost infinite. That is to say, put 1 upon 10, and that 10 upon an 100, and that 100 upon a 1000, and it shall multiply to, or produce an 100000; and so forward, in the same proportion.
OF PROJECTION, AND HOW IT IS TO BE PERFORMED UPON THE METALS
Now the projection is after this manner to be done: Put the Body, or Metal upon the fire in a Crucible, and cast thereon the Elixir as aforesaid, moving, or stirring it well; and when it is melted, become liquid, and mixed with the Body, or with the Spirit, remove it from the fire, and you shall have fine Gold or Silver, according to what your Elixir was prepared from. But here is to be noted, That by how much the more the Metaline Body is the easier to be melted, by so much the more shall the Medicine have power to enter into, and transmute it. Therefore by so much as Mercury is more liquid than any other Body, by so much the more, the Medicine has power in being cast upon it, to wit, Mercury, to transmute it into fine Sol or Luna. And a greater quantity of it shall your Medicine transmute, give tincture to, and make perfect, than of any other Mineral Body. The like is to be understood, to be performed in the same manner upon other Mineral Bodies, according as they are easie or hard to be fused or melted.
OF THE COMPLEATMENT, OR PERFECTION OF THE WHOLE WORK
And because prolixity is not pleasant, but induceth errour, and clouds the understanding, we shall now use much brevity, and shew the Complement of the whole work, the premises being well conceived. It appears, that our Work is hidden in the Body of the Magnesia’s, that is, in the Body of Sulphur; which is Sulphur of Sulphur; and in the Body of Mercury, which is Mercury of Mercury. Therefore our Stone is from one thing only, as is aforesaid, and it is performed by one Act or Work, with decoction: and by one Disposition, or Operation, which is the changing of it first to Black, then to White, thirdly, to Red: and by one Projection, by which the whole Act and Work is finished. From henceforth, let all Pseudo-Chymists, and their Followers, cease from their vain Distillations, Sublimations, Conjunctions, CalcinatiOns, Dissolutions, Con— tritions, and such other like Vanities. Let them cease from their deceiving, prating, and pretending to any other Gold, than our Gold; or any Sulphur, or any other Argent Vive than ours; or any other Ablution or washing than what we have taught. Which washing is made by means of the black Colour, and is the cause of the White, and not a.washing made with hands. Let them not say, That there is any other Dissolution than ours, or other Congelation than that which is performed with an easie fire: or any other Egg than that which we have spoken of by similitude, and so called an Egg. Or that there is any production of the Philosophick matter from Vegetables, or from Mankind, or from Brute Beasts, or Hare’s Blood, and such like, which may serve to this Work, lest thereby you be deceived, and err, and fall short of the end. But hear now what Rhasis saith, Look not upon the multitude, or diversity of Names, which are dark and obscure, they are chiefly given to the diversity of Colours appearing in the Work. Therefore whatever the Names be, and how many soever, yet conceive the matter or thing to be but one, and the work to be but one only. Lucas saith, Consider not the multitude of the Simples composing it, which the Philosophers have dictated, for the verity is but one only, in the which is the Spirit and Life sought after. And with this it is that we tinge and colour every Body, bringing them from their beginnings and smalness, to their compleat growth, and full perfection. Permenides the Philosopher saith, It is a Stone, and yet no Stone, it is sulphur, and no Sulphur, It is Gold, and yet no Gold: It is also a Hen’s Egg, a Toad, Man’s Blood, Man’s Hair, etc. by which Names it is called only to hide the Mystery. Then he adds, 0 thou most happy, let not these words, nor other the like trouble thee, for by them understand our Sulphur and our Mercury. If you that are searchers into this Science, understand these words and things which we have written, you are happy, yea, thrice happy: If you understood not what we have said, God himself has hidden the thing from you. Therefore blame not the Philosophers but your selves; for if a just and faithful mind possessed your souls, God would doubtless reveal the verity to you. And know, it is impossible for you to attain to this knowledge, unless you become sanctified in mind, and purified in soul, so as to be united to God, and to be-come one Spirit with him. XVIII. When you shall appear thus before the Lord, he shall open to you the Gates of his Treasure, the like of which is not to be found in all the Earth.XIX. Behold, I shew unto you the fear of the Lord, and the love of him with unfeigned obedience: Nothing shall be wanting to them that fear God, who are cloathed with the Excellency of his Holiness, to whom be rendred all Praise, Honour, and Glory to the Ages of Ages, Amen.
THE PREFACE OR ENTERANCE INTO THIS WORK, AND THE DEFINITION OF THE ART
After many ways and in divers manners, the Ancient Philosophers have through all their writings delivered themselves; and in Aenigmaes or Riddles, they have wholly Clouded and left shadowed to us, the most Noble Science, and as it were under a Veil of Desperation, have wholly denyed Us the knowledge thereof, and that not without cause. For which Reason sake, I here signifie (that you may the more firmly Establish your mind) I have in the following Chapters declared (more plainly than is taught in any other writings) the whole Art of the Transformation of Metals. And if you often revolve these instructions in your minds, you will obtain the knowledge of the beginning, the middle, and the end of the Work; and you will see such a subtility of Wisdom, and, such a purity of matter which amply repleat your Soul, and fill you with Satisfactions. Now in the ancient Codes, many definitions of this Art are to be found, the meaning of which it behoves us to consider, Hermes Saith concerning this Art, it is the secret Science of compounded Bodies, joyning together, (through the knowledge of the matter and its effects or Operations) the more pretious things one to another, and by a Natural Commission, to convert or transmute the same into a better kind. Another Defines it thus, Alchymie is a Science teaching how to transmute all kinds of metals, one into another, and this by a proper Medicine, as appears in many Books of the Philosophers. Wherefore, Alchymie is the Art or Science, teaching how to make or generate a certain kind of Medicine, which is called the ELIXIR’ and which being projected upon Metals or imperfect Bodies, by thoroughly Tinging and fixing them, perfects them in the highest degree, even in the very moment of Projection.
OF THE NEAREST MATTER, OUT OF WHICH THE ELIXIR IS DRAWN OR MADE
In what we have already declared, we have spoken sufficiently of the generation of Metals; now we apply our selves to the choice and perfecting of those which are imperfect. Out of what has been said, it appears, that from Argent Viva, and Sulphur, all the Metals are generated; and how with their impurities and uncleanness they are corrupted: And therefore whatsoever matter does adhere to any Metal, which is not of its Prima Materia, or does not belong to its composition, it is to be rejected and cast away. For that no Foreign matter, which is not composed of the aforesaid two principles, viz. Argent Vive and Sulphur, can either perfect a Metal, or make any new transmutation thereof. This is also to be wondred at, that even some wise prudent Persons; should lay the Foundation or whole matter of the Elixir, in the Animal or Vegetable Kingdoms, which are so infinitely remote from the thing, whilst they may find Mineral much nearer akin to the Work and Design. It is not indeed to be at all believed, that any of the Philosophers, should place the Art,or Secret in such remote things, where there is not the least congruity or similitude of Natures. VI. But out off the two aforesaid things, (viz. Argent Vive, and Sulphur) all Metals are made: and nothing does adhere to them, nor is conjoyned with them, nor can transmute them, except that which arises from the same Root orPrinciples. And therefore we say, that it behoves you indeed and in truth, to take Argent Vive, and Sulphur, for the matter of our Stone, not Argent Vive, by it self alone; nor Sulphur by it self alone; for neither of them alone can generate Metals: but from a commixtion of both, divers Metals are variously generated, as also many Minerals. Therefore from a commixtion of them both, our matter of the Stone remains to be chosen, which is most excellent and deeply hidden: from which Mineral matter, that which is yet nearer and more akin thereto is to be made. And this very thing it self, we attain to the knowledge of, by a diligent and accurate search and enquiry. Take then this our Matter, chosen as you may think out of Vegetables, and from thence, first make Argent Vive and Sulphur, by a long decoction: But since Nature has given us Argent Vive and Sulphur, we are excused from those things, and their too tedious Operation: nor yet out of them could you produce the said Prima Materia. And if you should seek for it in Animals, as in humane Blood, Hair, Urine, Dung, Hens Eggs, or any other things proceeding from Animals; from these you should also make Argent Vive and Sulphur, by such a like long decoction; but in all these things, you would miss of the Prima Materia, as you did before in Vegetables. If also you should make choise of the middle Minerals, such as are all the kinds of Magnesia’s Marchasities, Tutias, Vitriols, Alums, Borax, Salt, and many others of like Rank, you must from these make Argent Vive and Sulphur, by long Boyling, without which, you would proceed in Vain; yet in Operating upon these things also, you would Err. If also you should make choice of some one of the seven Spirits by it self, as alone of Argent Vive, or of Sulphur alone, or of Argent Vive and one of the two Sulphurs, or of Sulphur Viva, or Auripigment, i.e. Arsenicum Citrinum, or of the Red alone, or its compeer, you would do nothing. Because Nature does nothing, except there be a just or proportional mixtion of the two principles; nor can we (for the same Reason) from the aforesaid Argent Vive and Sulphur, as they are in their own Nature, does any thing. Lastly, if we should chuse even the things themselves, be they what they will, we ought to mix them according to the just and true proportion, which humane ingeny is ignorant of, and then to decoct or boyl them together, till they are coagulated into a solid mass. And therefore we forbid the taking of those two, viz. Argent Vive, and Sulphur, as they are, or lie in their own proper Natures, and being also ignorant of the just proportion of Parts for the mixtion. So that we must find out those Bodies in which we may find the aforesaid things or principles justly proportionated, coagulated, and joyned together in one, as their Natures require: which Secret is very warily to be kept.
OF THE NEAREST MATTER OF OUR STONE, YET MORE PLAINLY
Gold is a Body perfect, and Masculine, without any superfluity or diminution, and if the imperfect Bodies commixed with it by a sole Liquefaction, be perfected by it, it is in Order for the Elixir for the Red. Silver also is a Body almost perfect, and Feminine, which if it be cornmixed with imperfect bodys, solely by a vulgar fusion, it shall make them nearly perfect, it is in Order for the Elixir for the White, which yet it is not, nor can be, because the Elixirs only are perfect. Because if that perfection was perfectly commiscible with imperfect Bodies, yet would not the imperfect Body be compleated with the perfect Bodies, but rather their perfection would be diminished and destroyed by means of the said Imperfect Bodies. But if those which shall be more than perfect, in a Double, Quadruple, Centuple, or larger proportion of perfection, be mixed with the imperfect Bodies, they will indeed perfect them. And because Nature always Operates after a simple manner, the perfection in these things is simple, and inseparable, and incommiscible; nor by this Art, are the imperfect things themselves (for the shortening the work) to be joyned with the Stone for the Ferment, nor may they then be reduced into their pristine State, when their exceeding Volatility exceeds the highest fixity. And because Gold is a body perfect, made of Argent Vive, Red, and clear, and of such a like Sulphur, we do not therefore chose it, for the near matter of the Stone for the Red lixir’ for that by reason it is simply so perfect, without any artificial purification, and so strongly Digested, and Decocted by a Natural Heat, we cannot so easily Operate upon it (nor upon Silver) with our Artificial Fire. And altho Nature may do something in Order to perfection, yet it does not know how throughly to cleanse, and is ignorant how to Purifie and perfect, because it works after a simple manner upon what it hath. Wherefore, if we chuse Gold or Silver for the matter of our Stone, we shall scarcely, or with difficulty find out a Fire which will work upon them. And though we know the Fire, yet we may not be able to attain to the intimate and inward opening of their bodies, because of their firm compactedneSS, or density of body and Natural composition: therefore we refuse to take the first for the Red, or the latter for the White. When we shall find some thing or body extracted from a pure matter, or a more pure Sulphur and Argent Viva, above that which Nature has a little or in some small Measure wrought or brought forth; then possibly, by the help of our Fire, and manifold experiences in this our Art, which an Ingenious and continued Operation upon the matter, through a congruous Decoction, Purification, Coloration, and Fixation, we may attain and perfect the thing sought after. Therefore that matter is to be chosen, in which is a pure Argent Vive, clear, White, and also Red, not yet brought to its compleatinent or perfection, but commixed equally and proportionally as it requires, with such a like pure, clean, White and Red Sulphur. Which Matter is to be Coagulated into a solid Mass; and with Ingenuity and Prudence, by the help of our Artificial Fire, we may be able to accomplish, its intimate and perfect mundification, and attain the Purity of things, and to perform such a work or make such a body, as shall (after the compleatment of the Operation) be a Million of times stronger, and more pure and perfect than the simple bodies themselves, Decocted and made by a Natural heat. Be therefore wise: for in this my subtle Discourse I have demonstrated plainly the matter of our Stone sought after, by manifest probation, to the truely Ingenious. Here you may taste of that which is most delectable, above all whatsoever the Philosophers have told you.
OF THE MANNER OF WORKING, AND OF THE MODERATION AND CONTINUING OF THE FIRE
Now it is profitable that you may find out this Mystery, (if you will bend yourself to study and labour) and wholly casting off your Folly and Ignorance, become wise through the words which I speak; to the attainment of that true matter of the Philosophers, the Blessed Stone of the Wise, upon which the Operations of Alchymia are excercised; by which we endeavor to perfect the imperfect Bodies and thereby to make them better than the perfect. And forasmuch as Nature has handed down to us Imperfect Bodies only with the perfect, it is our business to take the known matter, which we have declared in these Chapters, and by much Pains and Industry, through the help of our Art, to make it even more than perfect. If you be ignorant of the manner of doing or working, What is the Cause? Truly because thay you see not after what manner Nature (which sometimes perfects the Metals) frequently, or commonly operates. See you not, that in the mines, by the continual heat which is in those Mineral Mountains, the gross waters, are decocted, and so much inspissated, as therefore (through length of time) to be made Argent Vive? And from the fat of the Earth, by the same decoction and heat, is generated Sulphur: and that by the same heat preserved and continued upon the same, from the aforesaid things, (Viz., Arg’ent Viva and Sulphur) according to their Purities and Impurities, all the Metals are generated? And that Nature by a sole or only decoction, does make or bring to perfection the perfect Bodies, as well as all the Imperfect Bodies or Metals? 0 great madness! These things which I thus quarry about, would you bring to pass and perfect, by fantastick , strange and imperfect methods? Now a certain Wise man saith: You must necessarily err, who endeavour to outdo Nature; and to perfect the Metals, yea, more than perfect them, by new and foreign methods of Operation, invented in your dull and insensible Noddles. And that God has bestowed upon Nature a right method, a direct way, which is by continual decoction, which the insipid and Fools, through their ignorance, despise and scorn to imitate. Also, Fire and Azoth are sufficient for the. Again, Heat perfects all things, or all the Metals. Moreover, decoct, decoct, decoct, and be not weary. Make your fire gentle and soft, which may always burn and endure for many days with a constant equal; but let it not go out or decay, for then you will suffer the loss of all. In another place, continue thy work with patience. And again, Beat, or grind the matter seven times. Then again, You must know that with one matter, to wit, the Stone; by one way, to with, by decocting; and in one Vessel the whole Magistery is performed and perfected. And in another place, The matter is ground, with fire. Also, This work is much like, or may be compared to the Creation of Mankind. For, like as an Infant at first is nourished with food easily digested, or Milk; But for the strengthening of the Bones with stronger Food or Meat: So also this Magistery. At first you must feed it with a gentle Fire, by the force of which Decoction, whatsoever you desire is to be done. And although we always speak of a gentle fire; not withstanding you are always to undertsand it in this sense, that according to the Regimen, or method of the Operation, it is by degrees, or little by little augmented and increased, even unto the highest degree.
OF THE QUALITY OF THE VESSELS AND FORNACES
The limits, method, way and manner of working, we have even now determined; it follows that we treat next of the Vessel and Forance; after what manner, and with what matter it ought to be made. When Nature, with a natural heat in the metallick Mines does decoct, it is true, it performs this decoction without any Vessel: Now though we propound to follow Nature in de— cocting; yet we cannot do it without a fit Vessel for that end. Therefore let us see first, what kind of place that is, where Metals are generated. It is evidently manifest that they are produced in Mineral places, and that the generating heat is in the bottoms of the Mountains, where it is perdurable, and always equal, and whose nature is always to ascend; which in ascending continually desiccates everywhere where it passes, and coagulates the spissed or gross water hidden in the Bowels or Veins of the Earth of Mountain into Argent Vive. And if a mineral fat is in the same place, from such a like Earth, it shall be warmed, and gathered together in the Veins of the Earth, and it run through the Mountains, it becomes Supihur. And as you may see in the said veins of the said place, that Sulphur generated (as is said) of the fat of the Earth doth meet also with the Ar gent Vive (as aforesaid) in the said veins of the Earth, so also it produces a thickening, or inspissating of that Mineral Water. Also there, by the said heat in the bottoms of the Mountains, equal, and perdurable, through a very long space of time, there is generated divers and several Metals, according to the nature of the place or its diversity. This also you must know, that in the places where Minerals are found, there is always found a durable heat. From these things, then, we ought always to note, that a Mineral Mountain is everywhere close to itself, externally; and also stoney: because if the heat should possibly get out no Metals would be generated. So also, if we intend to imitate Nature, we must necessarily have such a Fornace, as may have some semblance or likeness of a Mountain, not as to its magnitude, but as to its continued heat; so that the imposed fire, when it ascends may not find a way forth; but that the heat may reverberate back on the vessel, containing in itself (firmly closed up) the matter of the Stone. Which vessel ought to be round, with a little neck, made of Glass, or some certain Earth, like in nature or closeness of body to Glass: Whose Mouth ought to be stopped or closed up with Bitumen, or other like Emplastick substance, or otherwise Hermetically sealed up, so as the least Vapour may not come forth. And like as in the Mines, the heat does not immediately touch the matter of the Sulphur and Argent Vive, because the Earth of the Mountain is everywhere between: So in like manner, the fire ought not immediately to touch the Vessel containing in itself, the matters aforesaid of our Stone: But in another closed Vessel in like manner that is to be put;so that the temperate heat may better, and more conveniently touch both above and below. and everywhere, the matter of our stone. (A double Boiler using earth instead of water and totally surrounding first vessel? hwn) Upon which account Aristotle saith, That Mercury, in the Light of Lights, is to be decocted in a threefold Vassal: and that the Vessel be made of the most firm and pure Glass, or which is better, of Earth having in itself the nature of Glass. (Of which kind is our late China and Porcelain Ware, brought to us out of Persia, China, and other places of the East—Indies).
OF THE COLOURS, ACCIDENTAL AND ESSENTIAL, APPEARING IN THE WORK
We have now taught you what the exquisite matter of the Stone is, and also the true manner of working; by what method and with what order the decoction of the Stone is to be performed, whence oftentimes arises divers and various colours in the Philosophick matter. Concerning which Colours, a certan Wise Man Saith: Quot colores, tot nomina; so many colors as it has, so many Names: According to the diversity of Colours appearing in the operation, the Philosophers have given it several Names. For which Reason, in the first operation of this our Stone, it is called Putrefaction; and our Stone is made black: For which reason saith a Philosopher, When thou findest that black; know that in that blackness, whiteness is hidden; and now it behoves us to extract that whiteness from its most subtil blackness. Now after the Putrefaction (or blackness) it grows red, but not with the true redness: of which one of the Philosophers saith, It often grows red, and it often grows Citrine or Yellow; and it oftentimes melts, or grows liquid, and it is oftentimes coagulated, before the true Whiteness appears to perfection. Also it dissolves itself, coagulates itself, putrefies itself, tinges itself, or colours itself, mortifies itself, vivifies itself, denigrates or blackens itself, dealbates or whitens itself, and adorns itself in the red with the white. It is also made green: for which reason another saith: Decoct it till you see the birth of the Greenness, or till the greenness is brought forth, which is the Soul thereof. And another: Know that the Soul does rule in the Greenness. Also the colour of the Peacock appears before the Whiteness; for which cause, saith one: Know that all the Colours which are in the World, or are possible to be thought of, appear before the Whiteness and then the true Whiteness follows. Of which a certain Philosopher saith: But when the pure Stone is decocted, so long till the eye of the Fish (as it were) grows very bright; a profit or good may be expected from it; and then our Stone will be congealed into its roundness. Another also saith: When you shall find the Whiteness, Supereminent in the Vessel; be certain that in that Whiteness, the Redness is hidden; and then it behoves thee to extract it. Notwithstanding, decoct until the whole Redness be brought forth and perfected. For it is between the true Whiteness and the True Redness that a certain Ash Colour appears, of which we have spoken: after the Whiteness appears you cannot err, for by augmenting the fire you come to the Ash Colour. Of which another saith: Slight or undervalue not the Ashes; for God will return them to thee liquid: and then at last the King shall be crowned with his red diadem, NUTU DEI, by the good pleasure of God.
OF THE MANNER OF PROJECTION UPON ANY OF THE IMPERFECT METALS
I have perfectly compleated the end of the promised Work, viz, of our great Magistery, for the making of the most excellent Elixir, as well Red as White: It now remains, that we shew the method, or way of Projection, which is the compleatment of the work, the long expected and much desired cause of rejoycing. Now the True Red Elixir, tinges a pure and deep Citrine or Yellow, to infinity of parts, and it transmutes all Metals into most fine Gold. The true White Elixir also, whitens to Infinity likewise; and it makes or tinges every Metal into a perfect Whiteness: But you must know, that one kind of Metal is much more remote, or far distant from perfection than some others are; and that some are much nearer to the said perfection than others. And although every Metal may be brought to perfection by the Elixir; yet those which are nearer to perfection, are easier, sooner and better reduced to that perfection, or transmuted into perfect Bodies than those that are more remote. And when we have found a Metal, which is as it were, a kin or nearer to perfection, we are excused in some measure of making use of, or projecting upon those Metals, which are more remote therefrom. Now what Metals are remote from, and near to, perfection, and what are yet more near, and as it were a kin to the perfect Bodies, we have taught in these Chapters; in which if you be indeed wise you may plainly see, and truly determine what they are. And without doubt, he who is lawfully initiated into the Mysteries of this our Art; may be able through his own Ingenuity and Industry by studying this in my Speculum Al Chymiae to find out and know the true matter of the Stone: And he will know and understand well upon what Body, the Medicine or Magistery ought to be projected for perfection. For the Masters of this Art, who have invented or found out the Prima Materia, and the whole Mystery they have, I say, plainly demonstrated, and as it were, indigitated the direct way of working, and made all things naked and plain to us, when they say: Nature contains Nature: Nature exceeds Nature, and Nature overcoming Nature does rejoyce, and is transmuted or changed into another Nature.And in another place, every like doth rejoyce in its like; for that the likeness between things is said to be the cause of Sympathy or Friendship: of which many Philosophers have written notable things. Know then that the sol doth soon enter into its own Body but with a Forreign or Strange Body, it can never be joyned or United. In another place: If you shall endeavor to joyn it with a Forreign or Hetrogene Body, you shall wholly labour in vain. Also, The nearness of the Body to perfection makes a Transmutation the more Glorious. For the Coporeal, by the power of the Operation of Nature, is made Incorporeal; and contrariwise the Incorporeal is made Corporeal; and in the compleatment, the spiritual Body is made wholly fixed. And because it is evidently manifest that the Elixir is Spiritual, and so very much exalted beyond its own Nature, as well for the White, as for the Red: It is no wonder, that it is not to be mixed with Bodies. The Method, or way of Projection then is, that the Body of the Metal to be transmuted, be liquified or melted; and then that the Medicine or Elixir, be projected upon the melted Metal. Moreover, you must Note, that this our Elixir, is of a mighty strong Power, and of great Force, for one part being projected upon a Million parts, or Ten Thousand Parts, and more, of the prepared Body, it does incontinently penetrate it, transfuse itself through the whole and transmute it. Wherefore I deliver to you a great and hidden Secret. Mix one part of this, our Elixir, with a thousand parts of a body neaer perfection; put all into a proper Vessel, inclosing it firmly; and then put it into a Furnace of Fixation first with a gentle fire, and then always augmenting the fire gradually for three days; so will they be inseparably conjoyned. This is a work of three days. Then again, and lastly, take one part of this mixture, and project it upon a Thousand parts of another Body or Metal, (the nearer to perfection the better), so the whole will be a most fine and perfect Body, according to the kind, and according to your intended Work, whether for the White or for the Red. And all this is but the work of one day, or rather, but of an hour, or of a moment: for which wonderful work, Praises be perpetually rendered to the Lord our God for Ever and Ever.
A SHORT RECAPITULATION OF THE WHOLE WORK
Our Tincture then, is only generated out of the Mercury of the wise, which is called the Prima Materia, Aqua Permanens, Acetum Philosophorum, Lac Virginis, Mercurius Corporalis, with which nothing extraneous, Foreign or Alien is commixed, such as are Salts, Alums and Vitriols. Because from this Mercury alone, the Virtue and Power of this our Magistery is generated: and it so resolves every (Metalline) Body, that it may be augmented or multiplied. This our aforesaid Mercury is both the Root and the Tree, from whence many and almost Infinite Branches Spring and increase. The first work for the making of this Elixir, is sublimation, which is nothing else, but the subtilization of the matter of our Stone, by which it is cleansed from all its superfluities. The fixed and volatile parts are not separated one from another, but they remain United, and are fixed together, till they both may have an easie fusion together in the fire. Take therefore our aforesaid Mercury, which in a sealed glass put into its hot bed, for one whole Philosophick Month which is 4O DAYS, till it begins in its own body to putrifie and be Coagulated, and all its humidity be confirmed in its self, and also converted into a black Earth. In this Sublimation is compleated the true separation of the four Elements. Because the cold and watery Elements is changed into a hot and dry Earth, which is the Head of the Crow, the Mother of the remaining Elements. Thus our work is nothing else but a transmutation of Nature and a Conversion of the Elements. The Spiritual is made Corporal, the Liquid is made thick, and the water is made Fire. Moreover, the black Earth is imbibed with its own water, and is dryed so long until it is sufficiently cleansed and brought on to Whiteness. Which then is called the White Earth foliated, Sulphur of Nitre, Sulphur of Magnesia: and then there is a new conjunction of Sol and Luna and a resurrection of the Dead Body.