To the


In the


Wherein is discovered the Principles of HERMETICK PHILOSOPHY, with much Candor and Plainness.

Written by Eyreneus Philoctetes

And God said let the Earth bring forth grass; the herb yielding Seed, and the Fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind whose seed is in it self upon the Earth: and it was so, GEN. 1:11.
If thou dost desire to exalt a thing beyond what nature hath done, consider well in what, and by what it is bettered, and let it always be done in its own kind, Sendivo. Trea. 1.

Printed and sold by T. Sowle at the Crooked Billet in Holy-well-lane in Shoreditch. 1694.


Philoctetes and Neoptolemus at Lemnos. William Blake, 1812.

To the


In making the following Tract and Letter in which it was enclosed, that precedes it, thine, thy Obligation to me will bear some proportion with mine to my Friend that communicated them; neither art thou excusable without a degree of acknowledgement to him also: for, doubtless, next to the Authors of such Tracts, our Obligations are greatest to the Publishers and Communicators. For indeed there have not been wanting some ignoble minds, who, when such Tracts have fallen into their Hands, have presumed to Censure the world not worthy the same, contrary to the sence and intent of the Authors and by this means have confined their Love and Candour, as much as in them lay, to their own private Closets: Who notwithstanding are not wanting to accuse the Philosophers of Envy, in concealing the Matter and Means of the Art, whilst they manifest their own to the Studious in that which is less. I can't reflect on the Complaint of a Modern and Candid Author, without an Indignation to the Practice, who after he had written an Enchyridion of Experiments, together with a Diurnal of Meditations, wherein were many Philosophical Receits declaring the whole Secret, &c. It fell into such hands he conceived would never restore it. No less happened to the Comment on Sir George Ripleys Last Six Gates. This very unworthy a generous mind, and very prejudicial to the Studious, as well as Discouraging to the Authors. Let therefore such possess Ignorance with their envy; want of Ability with their Ingratitude; whilst the Generous, grateful and abhorrers of such Practices, enjoy the Benefit, and Reap the Advantage of such Candor and Help even to the attainment of their hearts desire.

For me to say any thing of the Author of Philadelphia, would be a Presumption, since he has chosen secresie: Nor of the Tract it self since (thou maist think) it surmounts my understanding; therefore I prefer itself to any thing of mine to proclaim its Authors praise as well as Ability and Candor: knowing it is too common for Publishers to presume to Comment on that they understand not; by which the Readers are abused, and their own Ignorance and ambition discovered; if not to every Reader, yet to many, and to every Master at least.

For my Part, Rather than spend time and Paper to no more purpose either to my self or Reader in such Commentations, I should think it better Spent in Humility to Address the Sages of our Time, that they themselves would be pleased to Illustrate the obscure part of Medical Practice to the young and Laborious Students in the Physical Art. No doubt but some such there are whom Nature has blessed with a cracking of the Shell, through great Labour and Study, tho Striplings, to whom a helping hand would prove acceptable, which might conduct them by the nearest way to the Center. Who would it serve, and what would it merit? If the production of their Red Lead, and Reduction into Potability were familiarly taught, tho the first water, and its Preparation were wholly concealed. Would not the sick be helped, and the happy attainer of the first water be made early servicable.

Also the Discovery of the peculiar Operation that is partly Mechanical on the universal Mercury, would make the possessor capable of spending his time and Matter to a more early advantage, and further step in Practice; Few arriving here without a sufficient share of the loss of both to Entitle them to such a degree of help: These together with the Arbor vitae, or permissible Oyle, &c. being the Joy and Reward of every Adeptist, and desire of the least attainer.

No less profitable to the attainer of Principles, would the Practice of that highly serviceable, and much desired Liquor by the Physical and Sedulous Students, which Crown'd Paracelsus, and gave Honour to Helmont in the Cure of Diseases, whose Practice is asserted, and no doubt truly, by a knowing Master, to be a hundred times more difficult then the Elixir it self.

What Reader, If I shew thee my Opinion wherein? not as one Knowing, but DESIROUS TO LEARN, and with submission to Correction, if my conception be Wrong. The Elixir is produced Naturally; and by Natural Principles; therefore the Difficulty seems to be in the attainment of Principles (rather than Practice) which are artificial to find.

But the Alkahest is produced Artificially or Mechanically from Natural Principles; and Art being more intricate than Nature (for "she is true, plain, patient, constant, &c.) and the Artist more inconstant, impatient and consequently irregular, must necessarily be more subject to err, and consequently the more difficult to Effect. Art in all Natural Productions, tho' absolutely necessary for help, must go Natures pace and way, or else more injurious then helpful, but in Artificials a greater Latitude is given to the Artists to vary many ways as seems most proper to ever ones Cogitations.

An Example we may find in this; Art in its help to Nature in the production of an Herb, Tree, or Flower, is obliged to Natures paceand way, without laying on of hands, only preventing accidents and extreams of Heat and Cold; but Art in the Manual or Mechanical separation, and union of the Natural Principles, viz. Spirit, Oyle, and Salt (which indeed are in a true sence all one, but diversified by Art, for the more Spirit the less Oyle and Salt (yea they both may be made Spirit too) so also the more Oyle the less Spirit or Oyle; for indeed they are convertable) of that Herb or Flower is certainly left to a Wide Field of Practice and seeming Probabilities whereby the Artists is abundantly more lyable to err. In short I can find many artificial ways to destroy a Natural Life, but, but one way to manifest or Maintain it: Which is according to Natures own procedure: No other.

Thus Reader accept my love, both in shewing my Opinion and soliciting helpfor the studious. And least the first should be chargeable with folly, and the last with boldness, by those I so much value, I take leave to conceal my Name, that by that means their displeasure may fall more general on the studious, for whose sake I make the attempt. Who am a real admirer of Divine and Natural Verity, a lover of God, my Neighbor, and Enemy.


Respected and Worthy


Thy early Love to Hermetick Philosophy, sincere Respects to the Matters of it, and long perseverance in the Study were sufficient motives to Communicate what might fall into my hands that was rare and valuable, tho the Obligations of Friendship were less numerous.

The Enclosed Manuscript I have had by me for some time, but for some Reasons could not communicate it so soon as my respects to thy self and it, would have prompt me. I have not seen, nor heard of many Copies, therefor its Novelty may presume, and for its worth speak what I think, That it is a compendious and plain Theory of the Principles of Nature in general, and of Hermetick Practice in particular: Not Phantastically talked of, but fundamentally evinced from the necessity thereof, and Authority of the Ancient Philosophers: Fully manifesting the impossibility of the contrary through the uniformity and Regularity of Natures Actions in the Production of the several Species of Natural and perfect Bodies.

For the Author I shall not presume to give any judgement since he is pleased to conceal his Name and Circumstances, & thereby lye obscure (the practice of Hermetick writers) But this we may learn, that his Candor and Brotherly Love to the Studious and Religious stile, Entitles him to Christianity as well as his Matter and Method doth to Knowledge and Practice in the School of Hermes and Nature; whether he be old or young, Native or Stranger. And since he has been thus solicitous and even studious to prevent Errors in all, and to direct the feet of the worthy in the way of Truth, we must reasonably believe he hath taken the best method to effect it, which is to inculcate the knowledge of true Principles and possibility of Nature. And indeed I have long conceived the Multitude of Errors in Practice, that have happened to the searchers of Art, has been most owing to the Ignorance in Principles, and the want of a Previous understanding in the Law of Nature.

Nature no doubt, has a Law she cannot transgress, let us therefore study to know that, and we shall not attempt it neither; Art or Accidents may frustrate her end and cause Abortion, but neither carry her to or beyond her usual Perfection, but in her own way.

This small Tract, worthy Friend, Concisely teaches what the Fire and Water, or Agent and Patient, that are active or living are; how they are said to be living; what their life; and how understood: and indeed the Nature and Reason of the Hermetick Art very much Ilustrated thereby.

Neither is it barren of so much Divinity, and some peculiar Hints, (that may afford pleasure and profit to one so intent thereon) as becomes so deep Philosophy; which doubtless is the shadow of Divinity, or Younger Sister.

And indeed I could wish the contemplation of Gods Works in Nature were less ommitted by the Christian professors of our Age, and the Lucre of Gain more; seing it tends to the honour of God, good of our Neighbour, and satisfaction of our selves every way, except our satisfaction be in much Riches and Honour, purchased with our most precious time, and possessed with Ignorance and Folly; which is very short of the Nobility of our Intulect and end of Creation; and for which we must surely give an Account.

Is not the Christian enabled to ascribe the Attributes of Wisdom and Power to God, in the Consideration and Contemplation of the Number and Magnitude, Order and Beauty of the Works of Creation, as he is those of his goodness and Mercy, which is over all his Works, in manifesting the same word by which they were made, to redeem and restore them; the last absolutely necessary, the first altogether becoming and adorning a virtuous and pious mind, and Christian Profession.

Doubtless the Natural and Mechanick knowledge acquired by Solomon, no way unfitted but qualified him for a Divine: Who when he had erected that glorious Edifice, and beautified it with the choicest Products of Nature and Art, as a Naturalist and Mechanick, Dedicated the same in great wisdom as a Divine. We have Reason to believe the Psalmist no less filled with the consideration of the Attributes that are Manifest in the Creation, which even compelled him to celebrate the same almost continually. And indeed nothing less is to be thought than that a mind thus possessed with admiration should continually fear so great, love so good, and adore so glorious a Being,incomprehensible Power and Majesty: Neither has indeed the Holy Apostlesand followers of Christ fallen short but rather excelled in this. And truly, respected Friend, the Characters of Nature are preferable to those of Men, since they are Gods, and such our Lord himself chose to shew forth the greatest Mysteries by. Therefore if ignorant of them how shall we understand his Sermons and Doctrine aright. Much might be said, but in as much,worthy Friend, there is no need of Arguments to covince, tho this may incourage one so fully satisfied of its Utility, innocency and profit, to prosecute the same with diligence & Judgement, and to prefer it to the Mean and unbecoming practices of our Age, that solicite nothing but Gain or Greatness, and miserably live in this world without the knowledge of Gods Greatness and Wisdom, love and Mercy, made manifest in his Creation and its Redemption.

But least I should Transgress my intended Limits, and detain too long from the Inclosed, I shall refer what might otherwise have been here offered in Relation to the Secreat Artof Hermes, to another Opportunity more convenient, and in the mean while continue to desire thy Prosperity and happiness every way, as I have hitherto done who am thy Friend in Sincerity and Affection.





To the

Studious in the Hermetick


It is real matter of Lamentation to see so many pressing after Knowledge, and so few taking the right Path; or making a true Estimation thereof. I could indeed make known my Zeal on this occasion with pleasure, did I not know by Experience, that most that are Studious in this Science pass over such lines with impatience and great neglect; for their minds be solicitous only about the practice of Alchymy, they reject almost every Line that treats not thereof.

I must indeed confess that the Arcanum of this Art is not only desirable but truly Excellent; and also that thereby Divine Truths are adumbrated, yet also do affirm it gives not the possession thereof, which is alone Entailed upon that Divine excellency that never faileth; Charity. For surely whether there be Prophesies they shall fail; or, Tongues they shall Cease; or Knowledge it shall vanish away; but the word of the Lord (which is Christ the Charity or gift of God to the World) abideth for ever. Therefore let me admonish the Studious to pursue knowledge in the Path thereof; who then will make a true Estimation, and will perceive that it is not the ultimate Attainment but only a Link of the Divine Chain: And as there are steps to knowledge, so likewise there are steps beyond it; as the Holy Man Divinely sets forth and admonisheth, that Faith and Virtue precede Knowledge; then to add to Knowledge Temperance; to Temperance Patience; to Patience Godliness; to Godliness Brotherly Kindness, and to Brotherly Kindness Charity. O happy Attainment! O Divine Chain of Perfection! Therefore we must say with the Inspired Apostle, That altho' we should understad all Mysteries and all Knowledge and had not Charity, it would availe nothing. Farr hence, therefore ye ungodly; ye prophane and Covetous, for neither these Divine nor Natural Mysteries are your Portion.

But for the Virtuous, Prudent and well Accomplished Students and Lovers of Chymical Philosophy, I have written this short Tract in Brotherly Love: not indeed by way of Invitation to the Art, (tho' its truth and excellency would warrant it) there being too many rashly Concerned therein already, but to Instruct those rightly seeking; and also if possible to prevent all from attempting to effect our Magestery by fruitless and vain Operations, by which they not only bring Disgrace to the Art, but Poverty to themselves.

And I may assure the Ingenious, that it is the very desire of those that have obtained a reward of their Labour and study, to be helpful. But I hope such are not ignorant of the Difficulty of the Task; for nothing Gratifies us more then being understood in our own Philosophical Sence, so nothing is more regretting then the thoughts of Introducing wicked and blockish Men.

Hence is required a peculiar Method in Writing that we may Instruct the one, and conceal from the other; and indeed many weighty Reasons perswades us to perform the Latter with what skill we can: Yet considering that we necessarily must, for the Instruction of Tyroes, Candidly Write the Truth, and that every Treatise when published, is lyable to be perused by all; we conclude therefore on good Grounds, that the Event is more owing to Providence then our Cunning. But indeed the Writings of the Envious, together with those of the Ignorant (which are not a few) have proved a sufficient Bulwark against the rash and confident Approachers; and they have also yielded an occasion and opportunity to the more Candid and Knowing, to Write the more plain and Familiar. And indeed the first Care of a Tyro ought to be the Distinguishing of Writers; that he may not only shun the false, but envious, and Converse with those only that are knowing and Candid.

And therefore for the Instruction of those that are not capable to make a true distinction between the true & false Writings, it being indeed difficult for Tyroes, for they have Written equal in their Promises both of their Candor and the Readers Reward, or rather the latter have excelled, I shall recommend the more Candid as well as knowing Masters in this Science, with advice to the Studious, they need not doubt their Sufficiency to Instruct them in all things necessary without consulting any others, tho' true ones, by which they may not only shun the false, but envious Writings. I dare affirm there is nothing more tends to bring the Searchers of this Art to the knowledge thereof, then only to read Candid and knowing Authors; nor nothing more confounding than the reading true and false Books with equal Credit.

I shall therefore recommend the Writings of Hermes, Artefius, Flammel, Riply, Trevesan, Sendivogius, the Author of the Hermetick Secrets, which are all Candid Authors, and to shorten the reckoning, all others that are quoted by these: But above any I must recommend on of our Moderns, who stiles himself Eirenæus Philalethes Cosmopolita, whose Writings are the best Piece of Chymical Philosophy extant, and indeed has performed that for the Lovers of Art, that Challenges the Garland of Priase from all others; for whereas he, with many more, were fain to acquire the knowledge of the Secret of the Philosophers Magnes from one; of their Magical Chalibs from another; the use of Diana's Doves from a third; the Air or rather Chamelian of the Philosophers from another; the gross Preparation of their Menstruum in another; the number of Eagles in another; all which, together with Internal Fires and Proportions; secret and Manual operation with their Circumstances; he has Philosophically and Methodically taught, with more Candor and freedom than those before him.

Let Tyroes therefore rely upon this, the Authors mentioned are abundantly sufficient; others may be read to confirm the studious, but such that cannot conceive the truth from these; would never from all others they can read, reap the Knowedge of our Secrets. And for the Instruction of the Studious I will Inform them what is requisite to be known in the reading these Authors mentioned, and what must be acquired before they conflude they are understood. For it is not sufficient if a word or two in one and another seem to harmonize, and all the rest seem superfluous, and of no value; no, have no such mean thoughts of the knowing Adepts, as tho' either their Subjects were so mean, or they so Barren: I can assure you their Writings abound with requisite Matter, and Concurring Truths; and unless they are so read and understood, as an Egg is eaten, viz. throwing away only the shell (which is a small proportion) they are not comprehended nor understood aright, notwithstanding any Conceit to the Contrary. Therefore, till they are thus understood, go not to practice any Theory with expectation of Success. In order therefore to a right understanding, I shall lay a sound Foundation for the studious Tyroes, and whosoever builds thereon according to Art, shall find it sure and the foundation of all Philosophers.

Nature therefore forbidding all Generation and Multiplication of Species out of kind, let none foolishly endeavor to effect it; for as in it self it is impossible, so also it si against that unanimous admonition of all Philosophers; apply all things to the possibility of Nature.

Know therefore the Generation and Multiplication of all things is effected no other way than by their own seeds and proper Matters, not from the Commixtion of four Elements, as some fondly Imagine. The Seed of Animals Resteth in their Reins; the Seeds of Vegitables are produced into the Air; the Seed of Metals resteth in their Profundity, but is only to be found in the Perfect: for untill any thing bearing Seed be come to a degree of Perfection, it cannot emit its Seed; as is seen in an Apple or Pear, if pluckt from the Tree before its time, it cannot yield Seed; likewise the same is known in Humane Youth; no more can imperfect or unripe Metalls tho' as in the other, the potentiality truly exist; How foolish then do many act who not only forsake the perfect, (which alone can yield seed) but even seek a Metaline seed from an Animal or Vegitable? O Gross Ignorance exceeding the Vulgar, who never expect Wheat without the Seed of Wheat, nor a Horse but by a Horse! Leave off therefore you foolish and vain Operators, seeing the meanest Capacity is able to Arraign your Philosophy, and charge it with absurdity.

So then as every thing to be Generated must have its own Seed, so must also every Seed have its proper Matter; for the first Matter of things is not their Seeds, but that by which the Seed and Species is Multiplyed. The first Matter of Vegitables is water, without a sufficient quantity of which, no Vegitable can increase; nor out of one Load of Corn sowed could ten be reaped: So also, if we had never so much Matter and not Seed, the Generation is impossible. The like also may be observed in the Generatio of Man; for altho' the Seed may be plentifully cast into its proper Matrix and that Matrix barren of matter, viz. Menstruum, no Generation follows: So on the contrary in those Matrix's where is plenty of matter and not Seed, the hopes of Generation ceases.

All this is applicable to Metals, the first matter of which is Mercury as also of all Minerals that are of Metallick imposition; for untill it be Mercury it is not the first matter of Metals, but may be otherways disposed, but when once Mercury, it tends only to Metals in a generative way, hence may be learned the folly & Ignorance of those that seek after, or brag of the first matter of Mercury, yea of all things, which admit they had the very matter of which Nature makes Mercury they could by no art effect it, and consequently avail them nothing, as being neither seed nor matter. Leave off therefore such vain attempts, and follow simple Nature, whose daily Operations would better Instruct were they Contemplated rightly; and learn to multiply a Metallick Species, with a Metallick Seed and matter; for certainly it is possible by no other means to effect it.

And that I may evince to all, for the prevention of Erroneous Attempts, that Crude Mercury is the matter of all Metals, Learn and understand. First, that all may be reduced into Mercury and according to the purity or impurity of the Metals is the quantity thereof; Gold and Silver, are wholly reduced, others abounding with the Heterogeneous Superfluities not: Hence is learned the purity and impurity of these Bodies: This should teach all they proceeded from this Mercurial Root. Also it being certain that our Crysopoetick Arcanum, is Capable of making Gold of no other matter in the World; for so much as any Metal has of Mercurial matter, so much only is transmutable into Gold; neither doth it differ in quality, when effected, though projected upon one, two, or more of them, but only quantity: hence it comes to pass that a greater quantity of Mercury is transmuted then any other imperfect Metal, it being joyned with less extraneous matter, tho' not wholly without. Also, from hence may be gathered what the matter of our Arcanum must of necessity be; for those curious in their Inspections know, that between things assimilated by Transmutation, there must intercede precedent likeness, or no industry can cause a Union.

And now if what have been said, be not sufficient to Establish a Tyro, reclaim the rash and inform the Ignorant, I know not what would. Tho' indeed it is no more then has been said by many Philosophers, whose sayings would better Instruct their Readers, and would prevent those absurdities they run into, were they better observed. How often has this truth been inculcated (tho' heeded by few) that no dissolvent ought to differ from the dissolvend in matter but Proportion and Digestion: also, that no water Dissolves Bodies in a Generative way, but that which is of the same Species, and can be Inspissated in them: what can be better spoken, or in so few words comprehends more?

But not withstanding what is said, I expect manny will persevere in vain Attempts, For when I have Discoursed the Reason and possibility of the Art to some with all the skill and plainness I was able, they could not conceive it, being prepossessed with a Conceited knowledge of true Principles: Hence the studious may learn that the Ignorance of the Ignorant is more owing to their own folly then the remoteness of truth. And truly when we see so many wise men, capable of effecting any thing that falls within the bounds of Wit and Learning, Confounded in an Art so Natural, easie and true; so fully treated of, and so desirably sought after, cannot but admire the protection thereof: which among others is one Reason the Philosophers have unanimously declared it to be the Gift of God: Therefore, seeing it is thus, with what shame ought those Sophisters to be Cloathed who pretend to dispense the knowledge thereof at their Pleasure; of such beware, and with all diligence shun, and seek it alone at the Hand of the true Giver, to whom be praise alone.

Now therefore, let me further admonish the studious, that they wittily understand the Philosophers, not carelessly pass over those things that not only would prevent Errors, but introduce knowledge: and in the first place learn the effects of our dissolving Water, by which a true estimationbe made thereof, and of the Dissolvents of the vulgar. Gold is dissolved in our Humidity, like Ice in warm Water; observe the example, and consider the Identity of matter between Ice and Water, and apply it to our Principles: Ice is Water congealed, therefore Naturally resolves into Water, and when mixed with Water becomes one inseperably with it: therefore such an humidity which dissolves Gold like the Example, must be that out of which Gold is produced by Nature, otherways the union will be impossible, and the Reduction not Natural. The author of the New Light has candidly written the same thing.

Seek (saith he) such an humidity or moisture which doth dissolve Gold without noise or Violence, yea so sweetly and naturally as Ice doth melt in warm water; if you find out this, you have that thing out of which Gold is produced by nature. Again, Our Argent Vive doth dissolve Gold or Silver so, that it cannot be separated from them, but is as water mixed with water.
And truly let me add (to shew you fully) our Humidity can by an easie art be actually made into Gold or Silver, whence may be learned its Pondus, which at once throws off all that are short of Metalick weight, yea it exceeds somewhat that of Common Argent Vive; therefore let all beware of seeking any other for our intent.

And now, if any be ignorant of the Matter, or arrogantly oppose what hath been said, their ingratitude on the one hand, and ignorance on the other will exclude them the Kings Palace, and we must leave them groping for the Door, whilst the true Artists Triumphs in their Victory, and are splendidly Entertained therein.

But to as many as conceive I will add this, that if the part of an Artist be performed, to make the water that is cold, warm; they shall perform our Solution according to the Example.

And that I may prevent a Common Error, Viz. The Counfounding our natural dissolvent with our Circulated Salt, or Alkahest some Ignorant Boasters, that neither knew the one nor the other, having taught that they are both the same, shall so far shew their Difference, that no Tyro but may effectually distinguish them in his Theory. Know therefore, and note well this short Distinction; there is no Affinity between them either in Matter or Operation; they Differ in Matter as much as one Species doth from another, the one being Metalline, the other Saline. They Differ in their Operations, as much as Love and Wrath, the one in Love preserving, the other in Wrath destroying, Life and Motion.

I cannot but admire, notwithstanding the real Care and great Labour of many knowing and candid Philosophers to prevent Errors in admonishing the Studious to beware of Subtilty, Sequestring the Art from the many Sophisms, and Calling their Principles by their proper Names, to see men studious in this Art so foolish in their Conclusions and operations; some proposing to make our Secret and great Elixir, which is a Fire-abiding Purity, and perfect Tincture from impure and Combustible Matters as Ordure, Wine, Urine, Nitre, Blood, Dew, Rain-water, Earth, Vitriol, and many others too tedious to reckon, being led thereto by their own sordid Fancy, or having read perhaps thereof in the Writings of the wise men (for they have by Analogie calle their matters almost every thing) hence no Sophister no Ignorant Worker, but pretends to Justifie his Proceedings, tho' upon these sordid Subjects, from their Writings, but their End will be Disappointment, if not Disgrace and Poverty. These indeed go on in Errors with this Comfort, that many of the Adepts do say they erred oft, and one particularly two hundred times, but tho' they should erre the same Number, yet not being supported by a true Theory, nor understanding the nature of the thing desired, are Chusing as many Matters almost as Operations, and so find the possibility of the Multiplication of Errors, ad infinitum, tho' not of Tincture truely perfect and Permanent; Oh miserable Blindness! O inextricable Laborinth! whose miserable state take from Geber (subtile witted indeed enough but of his Candor be jealous)

most miserable and unhappy is he who after the end of his Work God denies to see the Truth, for he ends his Life in Error: who being surrounded with all manner of misfortune and infelicity constituted in perpetual labour, looseth all the comfort and joy of this World, and spends his life in sorrow without any benefit or reward.
I will add my own Opinion, their reward is just, who provoke God, endeavour to force Nature, abuse the Adepts, and abound in ignorance and folly.

Therefore as many as expect better fare, let them seek rightly; first call upon God and know your hearts to be purged from Impurity, and Faith to have possession, by which you may attain to Virtue then pursue Knowledge; also be sure to attempt nothing contrary to Nature, and with great resepect acknowledge the Love and Care of the Adept Brothers that have communicated their Experience and hinted the way; then pursue our Diana with great Industry, whose Beauty is singular and qualitys excellent; she is more fair, more grave, and yet lively and more fit for Generation then any other; Marry her to the Sun, and their Off-Spring shall be your Reward.

And for your Instruction know, and note it well, that our water or Mercury is aCompound-Simple, Compound in resepect to quality, simple in respect to Matter and Homogeneity: The Matter is Watry, the Quality Fiery, which are reconciled by Air (according to the Doctrine of the Elements) but according to the Principles thus, the Matter is Mercurial, the Quality Sulphureous, Reconciled by Salt; which also may be, and sometimes are, called the Water, the Spirit, and the Blood, or Body, Soul and Spirit; take it either way, but be sure to understand them Scientificially or Practically, the necessity of which learn from this following Discovery. Salt prepares Sulphur, Salt and Sulphur prepares Mercury, Mercury preserves them: So that without Salt, Sulphur cannot be prepared or set at liberty from his Prison, it being the only Key thereto; without Salt and Sulphur Mercury cannot be qualified, and without Mercury, Salt and Sulphur can effect nothing, it being their proper Vessel or Matrix: But be sure all be homogeneal, or the Mercurial simplicity will be impossible; therefore make the latter Judge of the two former, for all Metaline things are tryed in a Mercurial Ballance. First learn these things Theoretically, and see the same confirmed by many Philosophers before you enter upon Practice, this is safe and delightful: And then, altho Errors should happen (which expect) yet being supported by a true Theory, they will Instruct, but till then confound and Distract. Believe me and take this candid Advice.

Therefore, as many as sets about this Work, let them first know what they seek, and what they would effect. It is no small thing to be capable to inform matter, and that in an instant; consider who it imitates; did not our Lord effect this at the Marriage in Canaan on the Water, which was the matter of Wine. Think not therefore it is attained without a Blessing from him, profound Meditation, Herculean Labour and Cost.

Diligently therefore attend, and note well what I say. Matter is informed by Light; of which matter and form all created Concrets consists, Light being the form in all concretes and life of all Beings, which Light is ineffable & not known abstract from matter, as we see in the most beautiful Creature either humane or other, as also in the curious Flowers of the Earth, how through the withdrawing of an invisible fire or Spirit they become dead, Opake and fit only for Corruption, that Nature may again react and communicate form; such are her viscissitudes; but she also has her Darling and last perfection, wherein she has firmly united form with pure matter, yea so firmly that without the help of Art she can hardly alter the same; and seeing the perfection of matter is Form, why should any studious in Philosophy neglect to Contemplate the perfection of Gold, which is thus perfected by Nature. And truly if its Permanancy and Beauty be not sufficient to Captivate his Thoughts and Hands from working on things impure and fading, I must tell him his offspring will not be long lived, for such as the Tree is, such is the Fruit, such as the Father is, such is the Son.

This Form is called Sulphur by the Author of the new Light, and in his Dialogue thereof thus Writes,

he is the Maker of a thousand things; he knows how to make Metals better, and Correct Minerals; and is the heart of all things, he teacheth Animals understanding, knows how to make all kinds of Flowers in Herbs and Trees, and is Chief over them, Corrupts the Air which he amends again; he is maker of all Odours, and Painter of all Colours.Again,Know that Sulphur is the Virtue of all things.

Here let the studious in Alchymy open their Eyes and behold what Reason we have to Proclaim our Principles or Subjects universal, viz. Matter and Form, and to be in all places, but understand such as seek Sulphur for our Intent, must conceive that is is nearer in somethings then in others, and without they apply themselves to those palaces where Sulphur gives Audience to the Philosophers, they may for ever seek but not find him.

Arise therefore you sons of Hermes, & contemplate on the Light, the Corporification of which is the utmost bound of Nature, yea what is it else but the Sun it self? who that goes about to seek it in things fading and impure finds it, tho' truly there? but of too swift foot for the nimblest pursuers, and seeing it is invisible in the Concretes, and known only by effect; & can in no wise be attained abstract from matter, and consequently matter must enter into the work, what man would be so foolish to expect a Fire abiding purity from impure Matters, neigher a strict union of the form therewith. Therefore seeing the matter to which the form is intimately united, must necessarily excel in purity and permanency, and also that the form in such a matter is Corporified, and doth abound, where should an Artist seek for form but in such a matter, now Gold being such is found to be the only subject capable of answering the desires of the Artistl who begins where Nature left, & through her assistance, and an Homogeneous Agent, proceeds to let loose the form in a Natural way; which form reacting on the matter enobles it, & brings it nearer its own Nature: so that every time the form is thus set at Liberty, or stirred up to action, it goes on to its end, viz. to inform matter, and when the end of its Action is come resteth; thus it is reiterated till the matter be swallowed up in the form, which then becomes corporified form, and according to its perfection informs more or less matter on which it is projected. Hence also may be learned how it becomes universal, seeing it passeth from specification thither; and the nearer the matter is brought to the form, the farther off specification, yea so far therefrom may it pass, that it will not be applicable to Metals in respect to Transmutation, but will perpetually shine and excell the Nature of tangible Bodies. This is our whole Philosophy, comprehended in this short Theory.

But in order to set the form at Liberty, that it may thus react upon the matter, the Body must be reduced into its first matter, or water homogeneal, in a natural way, whereby the Species is preserved; and seeing this can be done by no other means then by the first matter thereof, let none be either so rash or foolish to attempt it.

I have abundantly shown already the difference of first matters, and that they differ so far in each Species, that the first matter of an Animal, or Vegitable, is heterogeneous to a Metal, and so on the contrary; and consequently can neither Generate nor encrease a Metal, which is Generated or multipled by no other matter then its own, as I have Philosophically and plainly shown; which is also attested by all Philosophers. The noble Polonian speaking of the Gold found between the Teeth of a dead man, takes occasion thus to express himself, That unless Mineral Mercury (which is the matter of Gold) had been brought in thither, there could never have been Gold produced. We may say with him, many the like accidents fall out, which being not well considered by the Writer, oaccasions the Reader to err. but the honest searcher must apply all things to the Possibility of Nature, if they agree not with her, they must be let alone, who Generates and multiplys all things by their own Seeds and proper matters.

A further proof of the difference of the first matters of each Species is learned from the action of our noble Circulated Salt or Alkahest upon them, by which they are reduced into their first matters, and in their reduction give certain testimony of their diversity, as Metals into Sulphur, and Mercury, Pearls, &c. into a milky juice. So that the vanity of endeavouring to Generate or multiply one Species by the seed and matter of another, is deservedly rewarded with the loss both of money and time: but that it may be prevented for the future, I have candidly shown the studious the Law of Nature and Art, which strictly forbids, and most certainly punisheth such absurd Practices.

Also I would admonish such that presume they understand us, not to be too gross, nor to apply this our plain Writings to this or the other subtile device, that perhaps we never thought of; for I have often known the foolishness of many on this wise, who having read often that Mercury is the matter of Metals, presently conclude it to be the subject of our Work, and with great confidence and equal assurance of their success go to work, and perhaps endeavor to dissolve it into water, because the Philosophers say their matter must be dissolved, or to impregnat it with Air, because they say it must be impregnated with Air, or to Calcine it, they having so read, others to sublime, Distil, putrifie, separate the Elements, and many other foolish endeavours, not in the least agreeable, but destructive to Nature. Yet seem to justifie their proceedings by our Writings.

Being therefore moved with respect to truth and Love to the sons of Hermetick Learning; as also with indignation of Error, I will shew you wherein you erre, and where you miss the way by thus conceiving. You foolishly and Blindly apply these Natural Operations of our Work to the preparation of our matters (of which many Philosophers have Writ but little, making the first the subject of their Discourse, for their Excellency, as indeed they have been those of their admiration) and also inconsideratly apprehending the one for the other err most grosly. For if any attempt that mannually which can only be performed Naturally, no wonder if they miss of their designed end. Behold I have faithfully shewed you the Truth: and let me assure you, till this one skill be performed, that is, to distinguish between our natural and manual Operations, you will be confounded in the writings of the Adepts do what you can. It is this alone that can enable a Tyro to go on in the pursuit of Diana with courage and delight, yea it is the very shroud that covers her and hinders the eyes of the vulgar from beholding her Doves (which are so anxiously sought) and her beauty that allures the Sun. And truly we cannot but admire the Confidence of some boasting Sophisters , who know not Nature in the least of her Operations, yet presume to be conversant in the knowledge of this secret Pair; and do imagine to themselves, and confidently affirm to others they are this or the other things, and thus prepared. But remember what the Philosopher said, who speaks as fully concerning them as any,

That no eye but a true Philsophers ever saw them, but when seen and known this is the effect, according to the same Philosopher, This one skill performs the Mastery of Theory, enobles a Philosopher, and unfolds to the knower all our Secrets.

By which all may know whether they conceive aright, for all pretences or Conceits of the knowledge thereof, that has not this effect is certainly of no value. And indeed the secret Doves of our secret Dyana are truly remote from every vulgar eye, her Fountain and wood must first be known where they ascend and descend before you attempt to catch them. Seek then wisely, & when their nest is found, enclose them with a transparent Wall, so high and close that they cannot escape by flight, then stirr them up, but at first expect only the female who is more watchful then her Mate, but she will return and bring him also. But know also that as Art imitates Nature, so do Manual and preparatory work bear great Analogy with natural and perfect Operations; but that which is effected in the one Mechanically is lively Acted in the other naturally, even to the astonishment of the Artist. Therefore once more let me assure the Ingenious that Philosophers have so jountly spoken of these, which alone covers our Secrets, that a distinction cannot be made without profound Meditation and segacious Wit; which no sooner is performed but the Mastery of Theory is acquired; but till this be attained all Practice is uncertain and to be shunned; for nothing is more easie then to misinterpret and consequently misapply our sayings. And altho' we do say, and that truly & properly, Distil, Sublime, Calcine, Putrifie, Separate and Reconjoyn the Elements, &c. yet also admonish that our Operations are not vulgar, but secret and truly Natural, and performed in one only Vessel. Therefore let none persuade themselves, or be persuaded by Roguish Sophisters, (which abounds) contrary to this. And truly as our Operations are secret, so are our Agents by which they are carried on without intermisssion to their End. For as was said by a knowing Master,

Our Instrument that bringeth the matter into motion in the first, second and third work, is not the fire of a Bath, nor Dung nor ashes, &c.

And therefore, as there are in our Work three Periods or terminations, which are three Calcinations or Fixations; so likewise every one of them is effected by its proper Agent, every Termination or Fixation terminating the Action of its Agent, having performed its Work, as one to kill, another to make alive, &c. Also these works differ in their Perfections; the first producing imperfect Saturn, black and foul; the second perfect Luna, white and pure; the third Ripe Sol, red and permanent.

These things being premised presume I may speak somewhat of our Operations themselves, without yielding an occasion to any foolishly to endeavour the same by any vulgar means.

As many therefore as would attain the mastery of our universal Mercury, that doth possess the Virtues of Superiour and Inferiour, which is the one only Subject of our Secrets, let them thus proceed.

R. The Venerable matter of Philosophers, called by many Names, Adapt a fit Vessel, Furnace and Fire according to its necessity; then proceed to Calcination, which opens the Pores of the Body, being effected by a moist Fire, or Bath, and not only preserves, but increases radical or natural Moisture, by which means the calx is made unctuous, and fit for dissolution; (hence may be learned the difference between the Operations of the vulgar and ours; for which of them that vulgarly Operate makes Calcination with a moist Fire, or reduceth the Body or Calx into Attoms as it were impalable, abouding with humidty, and therefore easily flowing. We exclude from hence all Corrosive Waters, and strange Humidities, which the ignorant call moist Fires, being altogether forraigne to our intent) putrifie this Calx in a Fire of wet Ashes for fourty dayes and nights, but let the fire be such that nothing sublime; then Distil it gently, and according to Hermes separate the subtile from the gross, the Water from the Earth with great discretion, and thou shalt obtain a water of great force and value, which we call Virgins Milk and Whitening Spirit, and in the bottom will reside a black earth which is called the Earth that remains; Cohabate this water so often till Leton is washed, and also dissolved and become one inseparable with the water, then is the whole compound turned into Purity without any manual Separation, according to the Philosopher.

He that separates any thing from the subject thinking it to be necessary knows nothing in Philosophy: For that which is superfluous, unclean, filthy, and feculent, in sum the whole substance of the subject is perfected into a fixt spiritual body; and this the wise Men never revealed, therefore few cometh to the Art, thinking that to be some such superfluous & unclean thing. Another also thus Writes, Wash away the blackness from Leton, not with thy hand, but with the stone or fire, &c. for this separation of the pure from the impure is not made with hands but nature her self alone, by working it circularly to perfection brings it to pass.

This Operation is not only called Separation, but also Conversion of Elements, whereby the Quadrangle is made a Circle, and all truly conjoyned, which indeed is our so much concealed Conjunction, and subject of Wonders which now hath attained the Superiour and INferior Virtues, of which says Pontanus Hermes, speak obscurely. Hence forward the work is more easie and delightful, and the Reward bountiful, if according to Hermes it be made compleat, for, vis ejus est integra si versa fuerit in terram. But this Operation of Congealation is also Natural which is effected without any imposition of hands: Therefore let all beware of any other pretence or Endeavour Contrary to this.

Having taken sufficient care already, and provided against the understanding these things grossly, need say no more, a word to the wise being sufficient: yet for the further instruction of a Tyro, let me admonish that they seek not to gather Grapes off Thorns, nor Figgs from Thistles, but employ their whole Study to understand these things Radically. For most certain it is, every Effect has its Cause, which Cause being unknown, the consequence will be the means to bring to pass such an effect will be unknown, tho' the Effect should be actually seen. For what would any be the wiser should they see the Effect of our Arcanum upon imperfect Metals, and not apprehend the Cause, they were no more able to effect it then before. Hence the necessity of understanding the Generation of this Secret and powerful Agent in the Radix of its Nativity. Having therefore a desire to benefit the Studious (having already shewed above, that all Generation is, and indeed must be effected by an Homogeneous Agent and Patient, Seed and Matter, betwixt which a ferment is begot through a special appetite in them, and through this ferment an offspring is produced according to the nature of the Seed, &c.) shall for a conclusion descend to the prime principles of our work. Which Principles indeed are no other then those that constitute, and every way compleat a Metaline body, viz. Sulphur and Arguent Vive, in both which is a specific Appetite. For a pure Mercury greedily coveteth a pure Sulphur, and a pure Sulphur the Mercury, for the perfection of Mercury is Sulphur, and the Rest of Sulphur is in Mercury. But be not ignorant that such a Mercury is only fit for our work, which is really female (void of Sulphur) other ways the Appetite will be wanting, which (let me perswade) is the very foundation of our Art. But this appetite is wanting in Common Mercury, as having a sufficient proportion of Metaline Sulphur, tho' unactive, by reason of its being pluct from its Root, and thereby become dead, and therefore not fit for the stirring up this first Ferment, tho when the Ferment is once stirred up, it is then capable of being fermented. Also our Sulphur is a pure active Sulphur (when a pure Mercury is the subject of its action) Capable to effect what is desired by Mercury. And truly where things are thus qualified, their imbraces are effectual, and their Union easie and speedy. But beware of common Sulphur, which in no wise is fit for our intent, being an Enemy to Metaline love; capable indeed of viciating, but not really marrying a Virgin Mercury; but being ambitious and powerful enough to compel, usurpes the Throne, and truly possesseth the same in peace, till the right Heir comes, which is stronger then he, who dispossesseth and casts him out, and takes possession himself. Let thy first work therefore in practice be to assist the right Heir, who when he possesseth his Throne will recompence thee with the gift of Harmonia.

Hence with ease and advantage may be learned, not only how our subjects are said to be living, but how they become so, and also what good reason Philosophers have so to call them: not that they are matters taken from any Animal (as some grossly think much to their own, and those they perswades damage) but are become such through the Ferment their appetite have produced and Created. No other life is found in Metals, Minerals and Vegitables; Neither is it possible to communicate the Life or Ferment of one to the other, by reason, as is shewed above, of their difference in matter, all true Ferments requiring an Homogeneity between Agent and Patient. Whosoever therefore shall Meditate well on these, and see their Harmony with true mens Writings, shall certainly gain this, viz. be preserved from the absurd and chargeable Experiments daily practiced by the foolish and inconsiderate Operators; and also from being imposed on by ignorant and deceitful men; who propose to make this our so highly prized Arcanum from almost every thing, yea such things that have no unity with Metals, yet nothing less then a perfect Metaline Tincture is to be produced. O deep ignorance! O vain attempts! justly rewarded by nature with scorne, and by her sons detested with the highest Derision. Could they but remember by whom it was said, such as men Sow, such must they Reap: and as God will not be mocked, so neither will Nature. Wherefore if thy intention be to exalt a Metal in virtue beyond what nature hath done, thou must take a Metaline nature, both in male and female, or thy endeavour will be vain, and the end Fruitless. Seek therefore with all thy Industry, this secret fermental Virtue, which is begot between our secret active sulphur (which is our Fire) & our Air, yea our congealed Air, which is the covering of this secret spirit, which is better then all the Earth; this is our green Lyon and Sal Armoniack, which alone is able to warm, purge, and enliven the Water of our Balneum.

How this doth accord with the Operations of Nature may easily be learned, if we take an Observation of her procedure therein. Doth not the heavenly influences impregnate the Air with a secret Spirit of Life, which then is communicated to the Water which brings them to the Earth, by which the secret Life of Seeds, contained in the Matrix thereof through Putrifaction are set at Liberty, and by their fermental virtue Coagulates the Water into its own Nature multiplying its Species thereby, it being its proper matter. This is our whole Work, this our whole Philosophy, which furnisheth the Possessor with heatlh and Riches.

But the Wise men make not these things (though truly excellent) the bound of their search, but with Solomon say, how much better it is to get wisdom then Gold, and understanding rather then fine silver. For what would it profit in the end if a man should obtain the knowledge of the Vein for Silver, and know also the place where they fire [fine?] Gold; and that out of the Earth cometh bread, and under it is turned up, as it were fire; and that the stones of it are as Saphire, adn that it hath dust of Gold; together with all the misteries thereof, adn yet not know the place of understanding; and remain ignorant of the Wisdom of God, surely the same dumbness that possessed Job, (after he had gone thus farr) would fall upon that Tongue when God shall plead; and when the great Creator of every thing, and knower of every secret Corner shall Reason?

Therefore above all get understanding, and wisdom pursue with all thy power: But the heart is not capable to possess wisdom, nor the breast to Treasure up understanding, till the Cup of Water colloured with Fire be received from the hand of God. My heart truly is moved with these things, and my spirit beats in my Breast with which I magnifie the great Creator; Yea let all the people Praise him, and all the Host of Heaven magnifie his holy strength; yea praise ye him, Sun, Moon and Stars, Fire, Hail and Snow; for his Mercy endureth for ever,a nd is over all his works; who was, is, and is to come.

And now let me take my leave of the studious sons of Hermes, having shewed my Brotherly love in thus Candidly writing; which will be justified by the knowning, and serviceable to the honest and ingenuous, but to the foolish who will apply our plain Discourse to their own whimsies and foolish conceptions, unprofitable. If any inquire who I am, be thus Answered I am too publick to be known, too private to be inquired after and too quick footed to be pursued: Yet also so near as to behold, with pity as well as admiration, the foolish endeavours & conceited knowledge of many; for whose Instruction and Information I have written this short and candid Piece; and thus held forth my Brotherly hand of help.

As many therefore, as expect a Reward of their Labour and study in this Science, I shall Recommend to the Teachings of the great Master, and strict Law of nature; without which no approaching this Mystery.



Written in the Year 1691.

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