THE PRIVY SEAL OF SECRETS
To omit circumstances, the first Matter out of which the Philosophers Stone is to be had and taken, is a subject common and poor in outward appearance, and therefore it is called a little thing, and it is in every Mine, yet is nearer in some things than in others, and in a word in the Mineral Kingdom you must have it, in the most excellent work of the Mineral Hierarchy; therefore not Animals or Vegetals. Know ye then, (although I deny not Raymonds Cannons to be true) that the lively Nature being constrained with the strength of Gold, in the most subtle heat, the Tincture may be made well easily, and in a short time, which will convert all metals into perfect Gold; but the way of the Philosophers in the Universal Work, was out of the Mineral Kingdom; leaving therefore Animals and Vegetals, I will acquaint you with the Universal Subject. Know that all Philosophers affirm, that the Matter is but.one thing, and a vile thing which costeth nothing, cast in High-ways and trodden upon, which is the hope of Metals, or a thing containing all things needful for the Work within it self; and albeit curious Wits hold all these to be Aenigma’s, yet they are true according to the letter. Briefly, to manifest the truth, you shall know that in all Mines whatsoever there doth lye certain Beds, of a lutinous or clayish substance, under the Earth, which in some places is harder than in others, the deeper the Mine is, the more unctuous is the Clay; and this Clay is the Mother of the Metals, the feeder of the Mines, for in it lies hid the Spirits, or the three Principles of Metals, (viz) Salt the Body, Sulphur the Soul, and Mercury the Sp irit, not common nor running, but a white Vapour which resolves it self into a white Water; I say invisibly in this confused lump of Clay, lies hid the aforesaid Principles.
And this is the true Matter or Subject of the Philosophers, and mark how that it agreeth with that I said before: First, that it is one thing, which yet containeth three; Secondly, that it is a vile thing, and yet is not so, for it is a lump of Clay; Thirdly, that it is so vile and common that Workmen throw it out of their Mines, and tread on it, as a thing of no value: I have seen Highways paved with it in Hungary, and it is no other in other Countries. And is not this Chaos or confused matter? is not this the hope of Metals? be you judge. I took my Matter in Hungary out of the Mines of Sol, and so I was taught, because more decocted, and riper or hotter Spirits are there, than in any other Mines. Paracelsus out of it wrought his Elixir, but the Philosophers generally took their Matter (which is the same in shew and substance, but not so ripe) out of the Mines of Saturn, and that is their Saturn so often mentionedin their Books; not Ore of Saturn, nor Mercury of Saturn but the Sperm, where the Vegetable Spirits are not specificated to Lead, but lye hid in the lutinous lump of Clay.
Now the difference between that which is taken out of the Mine of Sol, and that which is had out of the Mine of Saturn, is this; in Sol the Matter is so prepared, you shall have need of but one Putrefaction, but in that taken out of the Mine of Saturn, you must have three Putrefactions, which indeed is the great and universal Work. And thus I have fully and plainly revealed the Matter, the Work is easie, viz.
Take this lutinous Clay out of Sol or Saturn, (for the working in either the Preparation is alike) I say, take that which is most clammy or unctuous, and when you gather it, keep it from the Air, as close as you can in a glass or Earthen Vessel, for it will (which I have admired) in an instant indurate and harden: But put it in a Glass Vessel, and in that digest it being well stopped in B.M. or in a Blind Head which is better; but let three parts of the Vessel be empty, and let the heat of your Balneum be such as you may easily hold your hand in it. Some Philosophers digested this a Philosophical month, which is six weeks, but then their Matter was not fresh; for if it be fresh, then fifteen or twenty days is sufficient. After Digestion alter the head, and distill, and you shall have the Philosophers Oyl; which being come, pour it on the Matter again, and this till you have so much Vinegar as will swim four fingers over the Matter; then let it stand twenty-four hours, and it will be tinged yellow; pour that gently off, and distill away your Vinegar till it come to a gummy substance; then pour this Vinegar on the Matter again, and it will be tinged yellow: distill and reiterate this until your Vinegar be no more tinged yellow, then hath it sucked out all the Spirits out of the Clay: then from the yellow Liquor distill away all the Vinegar, and you shall have a gummy substance like Saccarum Saturn: digest this two days, then distill away all the Flegm in Balneo, then let it cool, and put it in a Retort, with a great Receiver well luted to it as can be; put it into an Ash Furnace, and distill it again, and by degrees you shall have all your Receiver become as white as Milk, which is crude Mercury of Philosophers, or the Virgin Milk: continue Distillation, and a bloud red Oyl shall ascend, which is Sulphur of Philosophers incombustible and unctuous: continue till no more will come over, with so violent a heat for twelve hours, that you do almost melt the Glass; then let it cool, and take off that Receiver, and stop it up very close: break the Retort, and the Feces will be as black as Pitch, and hard, which grind small on a Marble, then Reverberate it in an Earthen Calcining-pan, close covered for three days, (but make not the Matter red-hot) and lay it two fingers thick in the Pan: then take it out, and either with your Vinegar rectified from its Feces, or with Rainwater distilled, I have tried and found it being well Reverberated, that it will take up the Salt, held the Vinegar the best and most proper; digest it therefore with Vinegar twenty hours, then filter and distill it in B.M. till it dry; dissolve it again in that Vinegar, but first rectifie it: let it settle, philter and distill, and reiterate until the Salt be Crystalline and white, then put it in a white glass Body, pour thereon this red Oyl which is the Sulphur, and also the white Water which is incorporated therewith: lute on close and well a Blind Head, and digest in Balneo three days and it will be all one thing or pap: but then distill away all the humidity that will arise, and then put it in an Egg-glass with a short neck, nip it up without heating the Matter, let the Egg be but a fourth part full.
This is the gross Conjunction and Preparation, without adding any more than Natures proportion: put the Glass in an Athanor, in a gentle heat, and the Matter shall dissolve, putrifie, and perform all the Work by vertue of Count Trevisan’s Fire, which is the Spirit ever working within the Glass, beginning visibly before the Matter begins to putrifie, for these it continually ascends and descends until Congelation. Be not too curious, only pray to God, and he will direct your Work, and bring it to a period, which I judge to be sixteen months, a bloud-red Powder impalpable in the conclusion of the Work, be patient and you cannot erre. Note, I was never taught to multiply, but by increasing with his own Oyl and Salt, that is, with ten parts Oyl and one of Salt depurated, and so increasing the Medicine you shall bring it as high as you will. I know not any more than this, neither can any more large or more plainly. Serve God, and you cannot erre.
Know also, that you may with this Fire-Stone, which is the red Oyl, and this Salt prepared from the white Water, increase Procipitate of Sol and Mercury, elevated together and then mixed, or upon a subtle Calx of Sol alone, but not so suddenly. The mannor is, to pour on the Calx the red Oyl, till it be like pap; then lute it, and set it in Ashes to circulate in a Circulatory, that if any Mercurial Spirit should remain, it may still arise and not hinder the fixation of the Matter: continue the Fire till it be a dry Powder, then increase more and more, till it be in an Oyline substance fixt, which turns Luna into perfect Sol with great profit. And thus you may increase with the Oyl of Antimony, as I have shewed you.