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Publication Date: 1692
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I. 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.
II. 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.
III. 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.
IV. So Saith Rhasis, Simple Generation and Natural Transformation in the Operation of the Elements.
V. 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.
VI. 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.
VII. 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.
VIII. 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.
IX. 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.
X. 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.
XI. 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.
XII. This afterwards is turned into most subtil water, which is called the Soul, Spirit, and Tincture, as we shall hereafter shew.
XIII. 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.
XIV. 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.
XV. 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.
XVI. 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.
XVII. 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.
XVIII. Geber also farther saith, That our Art is only to be understood and Learned through the true wisdom and knowledge of Natural things: that is, with a wisdom searching into the Roots and Natural principles of the matter.
XIX. 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.