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A Compendious Body OF CHYMISTRY, Which will ſerve As a Guide and Introduction both for underſtanding the AUTHORS which have treated of The Theory of this SCIENCE in general; And for making the way Plain and Eaſie to perform, according to Art and Method, all Operations, which teach the Practiſe of this ART, upon Animals, Vegetables, and Minerals, without loſing any of The ESSENTIAL VERTUES contained in them.

By N. le FÈBƲRE Apothecary in Ordinary, and Chymical Diſtiller to the King of France, and at preſent to his Majeſty of Great-Britain.

LONDON, Printed for Tho. Davies and Theo. Sadler, and is to be ſold at the ſign of the Bible over againſt the little North-door of St. Pauls-Church, 1662.

A COMPENDIOUS BODY OF Chymiſtry: Wherein is contained whatſoever is neceſſary for the attaining to the curious knowledge of this Art; Com­prehending in general the whole practice thereof: and teaching the moſt exact preparation of Ani­mals, Vegetables and Minerals, ſo as to preſerve their eſſential Vertues.

Laid open in two Books, and dedicated to the uſe of all Apo­thecaries, &c.

By Nicaſius le Febure, Royal Diſtiller to his Majeſty of England, and Apothecary in Or­dinary to His Honourable Houſhold.

Tranſlated into Engliſh by P. D. C. Eſq. one of the Gentlemen of his Majeſties Privy Chamber.

Part. I.

LONDON, Printed by Tho. Ratcliffe for Octavian Pulleyn Junior, and are to be ſold at the ſign of the Bible in St. Pauls Church-yard near the little North-door. 1664.

To his moſt Excellent MAJESTY CHARLES the ſecond, King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, &c.


THE more I reflect upon the gracious favour your Ma­jeſty hath done me, by cal­ling me to be one of your Majeſtie's ſervants: The more my mind is raiſed and excited to ap­ply wholly her ſelf to the ſtudy and diſ­quiſition of the Contexture and Com­pound, and of the reſolution of Natural bodies: whereby thoſe wonderful Ver­tues, and ſpecifical proprieties which Na­ture hath hidden in their Center, may be diſcovered & laid open. And as your Ma­jeſty is eminently verſed in the nature of good, and knows, that good can only be properly called ſo and reputed ſuch, inſo­much as it is more obvious to the under­ſtanding, and more communicable in the practice; ſo likewiſe have I begun to follow this heroical Idea, from the time I did live in France, and there teach Chymical Phi­loſophy, I did then by vocal expreſſion declare as much as I was capable to do; and ſince GREAT SIR, I have com­piled in French this Book; which now be­ing made Engliſh by one of your Maje­ſties Servants (a lover and great admirer of this noble Art) I preſume to dedicate unto your Majeſty; that having the ſtamp of this Language upon it ſelf, it may go more currant amongſt, and be better un­derſtood by your own ſubjects, by whom your Majeſties Royal inclinations to the publick good being generally ſo well known through the vaſt extent of your Majeſtie's Dominions, this Gentleman hath concurred with me in the laudable in­tention of ſeconding this tenderneſſe, and paternal care of your Sacred Majeſty, for preſerving & reſtoring the health of thoſe three Nations which Providence hath ſubjected to your ſacred Empire, and for inſtructing thoſe which dedicate them­ſelves to the practice of the Nobleſt and beſt kind of Pharmacy. To this end, I ſay, hath been tranſlated this which I had written, that it might become more fami­liar and uſeful to the one for their health, to the other for their information and im­provement of their knowledge. I hope, SIR, I ſhall have the good fortune from henceforth to produce ſome other things, which may beſt contribute to the ſatisfa­ction of that ſublime, Heroical, and moſt worthy curioſity of your Majeſtie's diſ­cerning Genius, and which according to your own Royal deſire and intention ſhall finde a ſucceſs towards the good and advantage, both of ſick and healthy, it is the earneſt wiſh of him, who to his laſt breath ſhall ever be,

Royal Sir,
Your Majeſties moſt humble, moſt obe­dient, and moſt faithful ſervant N. le Febure.

To the Apothecaries of England.


I Am very glad I have applyed my ſelf during the time I was in France to ſome work uſeful to the Engliſh Nation, even before his Majeſty of Great Britain had done me the honour and been graci­ouſly pleaſed to call me unto his Royal ſervice. For in this Treatiſe of Chymiſtry you ſhall finde a Chapter of Vegetables and their preparation, which contains ſeveral ſpecifical Reme­dies, to oppoſe and root out Scorbutical Diſeaſes, which are but too frequent and connatural to the Clime of this your Country; ſo that with a very earneſt and ſincere heart and affection I do impart unto you, not only that which I have declared of moſt abſtruſe and ſecret particulars in the matter of Vegetables, but all the Contents of this whole Work alſo, both touching Ani­mals and Minerals, where you likewiſe will meet with a conſi­derable Harveſt of Antiſcorbutical Remedies. I wiſh all may ſucceed to the common good and advantage of your Nation, and to your own in particular; ſince it is the chief aym, and ſole in­tention of our Great Soveraign. You ſhall know by the ſequel of this Diſcourſe, that I have now, and ſhall alwayes have for you and the improvementf your knowledge, the ſame tenderneſse I have had for the French Apothecaries; I ſhall then advertiſe you, that 'tis near five and thirty yeares ſince I was firſt addicted to Pharmacy, and that by a Father that was in his profeſsion moſt exact, who employ'd himſelf particularly in the curious ſearches into things neceſſary for the Election, Preparation, and Compoſi­tion of Medicines, which he kept in his Shop, to diſpoſe of ac­cording to the precept and orders of the Phyſitians. I may ſay, as he was my Father, ſo he was my Maſter, from whom I received the firſt Elements of Pharmacy and Chymiſtry; who likewiſe in the firſt place enjoyned me to obſerve that excellent principle, viz. to exerciſe my Profeſsion with Fidelity, ſuffering nothing to diſcredit the dignity of this Art: But above all, to follow punctu­ally the directions of the Phyſitians, which ought to be the Foun­tain from whence all firſt receive the Noble knowledge of true Natural things, and the manner of preparing them well.

But this excellent Patron, by whom I ought to ſquare all the Actions of my beſt life and Profeſsion, ſoon forſook me, leaving me full of nothing but grief for his loſſe, and a true Prognoſtica­tion of the decay of Pharmacy. For he foreſaw that the body of the Phyſitians was divided in ſuch a manner, that the branches were ſeparated from the Roots, and that the nouriſhment neceſſary for their ſubſiſtance muſt fail them, without queſtion, if he did not effect a good reunion, that might oblige the Phyſitians to continue their ſtudies and ſearches into Naturals, and ſo communicate them to the Apothecaries. And theſe ought to receive them with due reſpect and gratitude, to the end that they might jointly dedi­cate themſelves to the Publick good, without farther rending them­ſelves by partialitie and particular interest, which hath ever been the ruin of thoſe that are willing to indulge themſelves from their due endeavour. Now when I ſaw my ſelf deprived of the inſtructions of a Father and a Maſter, I applyed my ſelf wholly to follow his laſt precepts. Whereupon I ſearcht among the dead for thoſe Phyſitians that had written beſt of Pharmacy, and a­mong theſe living, thoſe that did practiſe beſt, and did labour daily to imbelliſh it by their new doctrines, and ſupplyes of good and wholſome Remedics. 'Twas my good fortune to finde at Se­dan (which was then the place where I was ſetled) one Dr. Du­han deceaſed, Dr. of Phyſick, and profeſſor of Philoſophy, who did me the favour to inſtruct and ſhew me much; 'Twas of this great Man that I confeſſe I receiv'd whatever did by degrees promote in me that good deſign of diligent ſearching into Phy­ſical verities, becauſe thoſe notions are abſolutely neceſſary for our Apothecary, that would acquit himſelf well in his profeſsion with requiſite fidelity; and I can ſay in commendation of his admi­rable Genius, that France hath ſuffered much by his untimely death; for he was deſigning then to publiſh ſome Writings, which would have much illuſtrated the knowledge of things Natural, Medicine & Pharmacy. He had Anatomiſed Nature in General and particular ſufficiently to acquit himſelf honorably of what he had undertaken, had he not been raviſht hence ſo ſoon to the infi­nite loſſe of the Common-wealth of Learning. Afterwards at Paris, I had the happineſſe of liberty to converſe with M. du Clos Dr. of Phyſick, who did me the favour to correct my de­faults, and lead me as by the hand of his judgement and experi­ence, through all that which I have undertaken in my endeavors to advance the dignity of Pharmacy, which now lies bending to­ward its ruine, if it be not upheld by its true Arches and Pillars, thoſe faithful, learned, experienc'd and curious Phyſitians. This Excellent and rare Phyſitian denyed me none of thoſe lights, or illuſtrations, that are neceſſary for the well-doing of thoſe that ad­dict themſelves to the legitimate preparation of Pharmacy; ſo that I am indebted to Him for the well-being I have acquired in my Profeſsion. Thus I have continued, till at length I was cal­led ſome years ſince by the favor of Monſ. Vallot, the moſt wor­thy and Chief Phyſitian to our moſt invincible Monarch, as Apo­thecary and Diſtiller in ordinary to the King, to perform by his pre­cepts & order leſſons and operations in a courſe of the true Phar­macy; which is Chymiſtry, and that in the Garden which his Majeſty prepared in the Suburbs of St. Victor. 'Twas there truly that I found wherewithall to ſatisfie the appetite of my curioſity, not only by the profuſe expence with which this True Father and Restorer of Medicine and Chymiſtry furniſht us veſſels and materials withal, for the demonſtration of thoſe operations which I was commanded to make yearly, as well after the Ancient as new wayes; But likewiſe by thoſe unfathom'd depth's of Learning and Experience which he poſſeſt, and which he communicated to me for the application of it to my ſelf in particular, and the im­parting of it in pulick Leſſons ſo in general, (I finde I come in my expreſsions beneath my deſires) that I thought I could not do leſſe then to let Poſterity know, how much I ſtand indebted to the bounty, learning, and ſole generoſity of thir great and illuſtri­ous Mecenas.

I have given you this account of the progreſse I made in Pharmacy, to the end that you may ſee the method of making your own advantage, and to diſcover to you the reaſonable ſubmiſ­ſion that you and we do, and alwayes ſhall owe to our illuſtrious Maſters. You muſt know then by this that I am about to ſay, that I give you nothing here but what hath been received from the Phyſitians, ſo that it is to them only to whom you owe the obliga­gation. And as for my publiſhing this Tract of Chymiſtry in French, 'tis becauſe I would imitate the moſt eminent Authors of Germany, who thought themſelves obliged to write of Chymi­cal Pharmacy in the vulgar Tongue, that it might likewiſe be uſeful not only to the Apothecaries, but, that it might likewiſe be ſerviceable to men of other profeſsions. For as much as is impoſ­ſible to write with order and method of that which is neceſſary to Art, when we declare not, nor illuſtrate at the ſame time the principles of things Natural; and moreover, becauſe we diſco­ver not the order of the generation, and corruption Phyſical, from which all the effects of Nature do reſult which are the ſubject of the operation as well of the one as the other Pharmacy.

I have likewiſe publiſht it, to contribute to the publick good in general, and yours in particular; For as I have never had a greater ambition then to ſee Pharmacy practiced in its true lustre, which I now ſee vilified and neglected, and as I am fix­ed in this profeſsion under the protection of one of the chiefeſt of all Phyſitians, one that entertains the highest and moſt generous deſign for its eſtabliſhment; ſo likewiſe will I guide and con­duct you by the Theory and practice of this Treatiſe of Chy­miſtry to a fair, exact, faithful and veritable profeſsion of our Art.

You will learn hence Readers, as in other Tracts of Phar­macy abundance of things, their true and legitimate prepara­tion, from whence muſt follow neceſſarily a good and agreeable Compoſition. I have undertaken this labour for your uſe, becauſe I have never yet found one that hath taken the paines or care to ſhew and diſcover punctually the manner of operating upon things to preſerve their vertue, and correct their defaults.

Moreover, You may obſerve the difference there is of the cor­rection of thoſe Medicaments which are made according to the opinions and directions of the Antient Pharmacy, with that which is ſhew'd and commanded by the Modern.

You may obſerve likewiſe the envy and malice of thoſe that carp at and rail againſt Chymiſtry, and how ignorantly they averre, that this admirable Art is not occupied by its followers, but on poyſons, when you will finde the Treatiſe of the Chymical prepa­ration of Animals as well as Vegetables. Laſtly, You will finde the difference that there is in the modus faciendi of the Ancient Pharmacy with the judicial, intelligent and reaſonable government of Chymical Artiſts, for the ſeparation of the pure from the impure, and for the preſervation of that which cauſes the efficacy and the vertue in things.

You may and ought to believe, Readers, That though I have not made all the preparations that are deſcribed in this Tract, yet nevertheleſſe I have tryed the greater part, and may therefore judge of the poſsibility of their operation and the liberality and vertue of things by the practice and experience in other works which daily paſſe my hands. If you do but examine thoſe Authors that have given you the deſcription of ſome things, I will leave it to your diſcretion to judge the paines I have under­taken to denote to you thoſe little obſervations which are neceſſa­ry for operating, and without which it is impoſsible to avoid failing. I have followed the Method and Order of that know­ing and expert Phyſitian Schrederus who is yet living and a Sti­pendiary to the City of Francfort, to whom all Apothecaries are greatly obliged for the excellent Chymical Diſpenſatory he hath publiſht. I Recommend to you likewiſe the Auſpurge Diſpen­ſatory, illustrated by the Remargues of that Great, brave & Artiſt Mr. Zwelfer, Phyſitian to his Imperial Majesty, as likewiſe to the Appendix joyn'd to it, to the end that you may have greater knowlede of thoſe Noble Lights which theſe two excellent per­ſons have communicated in publick, and from whence I have drawn many things that will ſerve for your inſtruction if you pleaſe to give your ſelf the trouble to read and practice them.

Laſtly, Readers, I deſire with the greateſt paſsion that this may redound to the glory of Medicine, to the advancement of the one and other Pharmacy, but above all to your good and parti­cular ſatisfaction.



THey that reckon Chymiſtry amongſt the modern Arts, and of but late in­vention, betray their knowledge both in the hiſtory of Nature, and the reading of ancient Authors: Since, in the firſt place, Chymiſtry is no­thing elſe but the Art and Know­ledge of Nature it ſelf; that it is by her means we examine the Principles, out of which na­tural bodies do conſiſt and are compounded; and by her are diſcovered unto us the cauſes and ſources of their generations and corruptions, and of all the changes and alterations to which they are lyable: And ſecondly, it is known, that the ancient Sages have taken from Chymiſtry, the occaſions and true motives of reaſoning upon natural things, and that their monuments and writings do teſtifie this Art to be of no freſher date then Nature it ſelf. To this do agree the teſtimony of the holy Scriptures, by whom we are taught, that even in the Worlds Infancy, Tubal-Cain the eighth of Mankinde from Adam, deſcen­ded2 of Cain's line, was an expert Artiſt in all Braſs and Iron works, which he could not have been without a previous knowledge of Minerals, and without being well acquain­ted, that the Mineral nature contains in it ſelf and com­prehends the Metallick, as the pureſt part of its eſſence. But this knowledge cannot be attained unto, but by the help and skill of Chymiſtry; ſince it is by this Art we are informed, how a metallick, malleable and ductile body, may be extracted out of brickle and inform Minerals. Whence we do ſafely conclude, that he did receive this noble Art from his Predeceſſors, or being himſelf the inventor of it, left it to Poſterity, as the richeſt Jewel they could inherit from him. This Aſſertion may be proved by the moſt ancient of Authors, and moſt worthy of credit; and ſo we have upon record, that Moſes took the Golden Calf, an Idol of the Iſraelites, did calcine it, and being by him reduced to powder, cauſed thoſe Idola­ters to drink it, in a reproach and puniſhment of their ſin. But no body, how little ſoever initiated in the myſteries of this Art, can be ignorant, that Gold is not to be re­duced to Powder by Calcination, unleſſe it be performed either by immerſion in Regal Waters, Amamulgation with Mercury, or Projection; all which three Operati­ons are only obvious to thoſe which are fully acquainted both with the Theorical and Practical part of Chimiſtry. This truth is confirmed by Hyppocrates, when in his Book de Diaeta, he ſaith, Artifices aurum molli igne liquant: and all experimented Artiſts know, that Gold is not to be melted without ſome violence of fire, and that the action of fire doth rather purifie it, then deſtroy it, unleſs it be made tractable and volatile by the help of certain ſalts and powders, only known to few perſons; and thoſe ſpecially who have had their hands in the work, and by3 practice attained the ſecrets of the Art. We could joyn to this, the authority of Ariſtotle, made uſe of by his Sectators of this Age, to oppoſe Chymiſtry, who ſaith, That the Inhabitants of Umbria, were wont to calcine Reeds, thereby to extract a ſalt out of them for their ordi­nary uſe; which they would not have undertook with­out being firſt taught by the principles of this Art, that Salt is a body of an uncorruptible nature, which by this vulgar calcination could not be deſtroyed: And if we run over all Ages ſince the Worlds Creation, we ſhall ſcarce finde any wherein ſome great man hath not raiſed himſelf a name to live in the remembrance of Poſterity, by the help of Chymical learning. Witneſſe the Aegy­ptian Mercury, or famous Triſmegiſt, whoſe works do at this day exerciſe the underſtanding of the greateſt wits: Witneſſe the firſt inventor of Glaſſe; and that other more skilfull Artiſt, which had attained to that admirable ſecret of making it malleable, and dyed with it, by the ſtrange and tyrannical policy of the Emperour Tiberius. And do not Geber, Raymundus Lullius, Peter of Apona, Baſilius Valentinus, Iſaac the Hollander, and Paracelſus, ſufficiently prove by their incomparable works, that Chy­miſtry is the true Key of Nature; that by her means the expert Artiſt diſcovers her hidden beauty, aad that with­out her aid, no man ſhall ever attain to the true prepa­ration of thoſe remedies, which are only capable to en­counter with that Hydra of various diſeaſes wherewith humane nature is daily afflicted and aſſaulted? But we ſhould prove ungratefull to our Age, and the memory of a moſt worthy and charitable Phyſician, and to the in­duſtry of one of the moſt ingenious and exact Artiſts that ever was, if we ſhould paſſe by unmentioned the ſubtil Van Helmont lately deceaſed, and the laborious Glauber,4 yet living, ſince they are as the two Beacons and Lights which we are to follow in the Theory of Chymiſtry, and the beſt practice of it: From their works then, and Paracelſus, we acknowledge to have compiled this Abridge­ment of Theorical and Practical Chymiſtry, which we ſhall divide in two parts: The firſt containing the Theory, the ſecond the Practice of the Art: The firſt part divided in two Books, ſhall treat in the firſt, of the Principles and Elements of Natural things; and in the ſecond, diſcover the ſprings and effects of purity and impurity in them: The ſecond part ſhall alſo be divided into two Books; the firſt whereof is to contain all the neceſſary terms, both to reduce in practice, and underſtand the operations of the whole Art; and the ſecond and laſt of all, ſhall open the means, and give a plain deſcription, whereby to anato­mize all mixt bodies, whether Vegetables, Animals, or Minerals, and thence to extract ſuch remedies as are ne­ceſſary for the cure of our diſeaſes. But before the prin­cipal matter be entred upon, I have not thought it unne­ceſſary, for the Readers ſatisfaction, to clear ſome few Queries, which uſe to be moved, touching the nature of this Noble Art.


A Preliminary Diſcourſe, containing ſome few Quaeries about the Nature of Chymiſtry.

IT is one thing to treat of a Science and Art, in order to teach it, and it is another to diſcourſe upon the ſame: The firſt belongs properly to the Artiſt; the ſecond is a matter of deeper ſpeculation, and belongs to the enquiry of the Philoſo­pher, whoſe part it is, to treat of the method, object, end, and action of every Art or Science. According to theſe rules, we will ſuccinctly examine the moſt difficulties oc­curring in this Art, propounded in the following Quaeries, and firſt, Concerning the Names uſually given to Chymiſtry, whence they are derived?

1 Quaery. This art, as many others, hath according to its ſeveral effects, received ſeveral names; the moſt ordi­nary is that of Chymia, or Chymiſtry, which ſeemeth to have its original from the Greek word〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ſignifying Gum, or Liquor, becauſe it teacheth to reduce the moſt ſolid and compact bodies into Juice or Liquor. Some­times it is called Alchymia, Alchimy, with an addition of the Arabick Particle〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉al,*Anſwerable to the Greek Article〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. which is the indication of ſome remarkable thing; often times prefixed as a Particle: Others have called it Alchamia, ſuppoſing Cham one of the Sons of6 Noah, to have been after the Flood inventer and reſtorer of Chymical Arts, but chiefly Metallick. Sometimes it is called Spagiry, which name includes the Nobleſt of her operations, namely to ſeparate and joyn again ſubſtances, from the Greek*〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉&〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to divide, and re-unite again. 〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; And becauſe none of her operations can proceed without exter­nal fire, which doth excite the internal heat of bodies: It hath the name alſo Pyrotechny, as the Art of fire, from the Greek〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, &〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as to ſay,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉If it be called the Art of Hermes, or Hermetical, it gives a note of her Antiquity; as Diſtillatory Art, or Art of Diſtillation, deſigns the moſt familiar of her operations. Of all theſe names we rather chooſe that of Chymiſtry, as being the moſt vulgarly known and received.

2. Quaery. If Chymiſtry ought to be called Art or Science? and of its definition.

Before we enter into the definition of Chymiſtry, it's neceſſary to examine her genus and difference, the know­ledge of both which is neceſſary, before a true definition of things can be given. We muſt then examine, whe­ther it be an Art or a Science, before we can define it's true genus, and ſeek its difference in the object; ſince there is no part more eſſential in its definition. But to avoyd difficulties and intricacy, let us in few words ex­plain the differency between Art and Science, and the ſe­veral acceptions incident to the name of Chymiſtry.

The differency aſſigned between Art and Science, is only to be taken from the diverſity of their intentional ends or purpoſes: For as it is the only ſcope of a Science to contemplate, and its end to attain knowledge by that contemplation, wherein it doth reſt ſatisfied without put­ting the minde to a further inquity: So Art is only bent7 to operation, and never ceaſeth untill it hath brought the purpoſes of the Artiſt to a deſired accompliſhment. Whence we may inferre, that Science is only of ſuch things as are not in our power, and that Art doth buſie it ſelf upon ſuch things as are in our power. This being granted, we muſt know, that as Chymiſtry is of a great extent, ſo it hath alſo ſeveral ends, and that as it hath all the ſphere of Nature for its object, ſome things are under the power and reach of its diſciples, others not; and be­ſides theſe two kindes of ſubjects, which are wholly of a different nature, there is a third ſort, partly under their power, and partly not: Whence we may in ſome man­ner conclude, that there are three ſpecies of Chymiſtry; the one wholly Scientifical and given to Contemplation, and may be very well tearmed Philoſophical, having only its end in the knowledge of Nature, and of its effects; becauſe it takes for object thoſe ony things which are conſtituted out of our power: So that this kinde of Chy­mical Philoſophy, doth reſt ſatisfied in the knowledge of the nature of the Heavens and Starres, the ſource and original of the Elements, the cauſe of Meteors, original of Minerals, and the way by which Plants and Animals are propagated; having not in her power to frame or make any one of all theſe things, but being ſufficiently pleaſed with entertaining her diſcourſe and reaſon upon the cauſes of ſo many various effects. The ſecond ſpecies of Chymiſtry may be called Iatrochymy of Medicinal Chymiſtry, whoſe only end is operation; but not to be attained, unleſſe by the means and helping hand of Con­templative and Scientifical Chymiſtry: for as the art of Phyſick, conſiſts in two parts, Theory and Practice; the former being but a Clue and help to lead unto the other: ſo ſhall alſo Iatrochymy participate of both; the end of8 its contemplating being only Operation, and that ope­ration again purpoſing only the ſatisfaction of her diſ­ciples mindes, about the Contemplation both of things that are, and are not in our power. The third ſpecies is Pharmaceutical Chymiſtry, which hath for its end only operation, belonging to the Apothecary's profeſſion, who is to direct his work by the Precepts and Orders of Ia­trochymiſts: ſuch as amongſt the French Phyſicians is eminent at this day, Monſieur Vallot, firſt Phyſician to his moſt Chriſtian Majeſty, who doth eminently poſ­ſeſſe the Theory and Practice of thoſe three ſpecies of Chymiſtry which we have ſpoken of. This third ſpecies or kinde, hath for its object thoſe things which come under our power to operate on them, and extract thoſe different parts which conſtitute the compound thereof. Whence, from all that is above ſaid, we may conclude, That Chymiſtry may be called both Science and Art in ſeveral reſpects, and ſo conſequently a practical or opera­tive Science.

Thus having found the genus, it remains we ſhould finde the Difference, to compleat the definition. Some do define Chymiſtry, The art of Tranſmutations; others, The art of Separations; others, of both Tranſmutations and Separations: But as Tranſmutation and Separation are the effects of Chymiſtry, they cannot conſtitute its true and ſpecifical Difference. There are ſeveral other wayes of definition uſed by others, but which do all come to what we have already ſaid; therefore we muſt of ne­ceſſity take the Difference from its Object, as it is above deduced. Some Authors make the object of Chymiſtry to be, Mixt bodies: but they are deceived; for the Elements which are unmixt bodies, are alſo under the verge of this Science: Others would have it the Natural body; but9 they alſo are deceived; ſince Chymiſtry hath under its conſideration the univerſal ſpirit, which is diveſted of all corporeity. We ſay then, that Chymiſtry makes all natu­ral things, extracted by the omnipotent had of God, in the Creation, out of the Abyſſe of the Chaos, her pro­per and adaequate object. But it is to be noted, that by natural things we do not underſtand bodies only, as they are ſaid to be compoſed of matter and form, but that we mean all created things, though deprived of bodies; and by oppoſing things natural to ſupernatural, there will be a ſufficient diſtinction ſet between the Creator and Creatures, to take away that reproach wherewith the Profeſſors of this Noble Science, are ordinarily ſpotted and traduced. Chymiſtry is then thus defined, A practical and operative Science (or knowledge) or things natural. It is a Science, as is already ſaid, becauſe it contemplates natural things; but becauſe it doth not end or reſt in Contemplation alwayes, but alters ſometimes natural things by the means and help of others, it may be called an operative or practical Science. To make ſhort, It's nothing elſe but Phyſick, or knowledge of Nature it ſelf, reduced to operation, and examining all it's Propoſitions by reaſons grounded upon the evidence and teſtimony of the ſenſes, and not relying upon bare and naked contem­plation. This is then the difference between the Chymi­cal-Phyſician, or Naturaliſt, and he that followes the Schools, or Dogmatical way; that, if you ask from the former, What parts do conſtitute a body, he will not give you a naked Anſwer, and ſatisfie by words and meer diſcourſe your curioſity, but he will endeavour to bring his demonſtrations under your ſight, and ſatisfie alſo your other ſenſes, by making you to touch, ſmell and taſte the very parts which enter'd in the compoſition of the body in queſtion, knowing very well that what remains after10 the reſolution of the mixt, according to the rules of Art, was that very ſubſtance that conſtituted it. But if you ask from the School-Philoſopher, What doth make the compound of a body? He will anſwer you, that it is not yet well determined in the Schools: That, to be a body, it ought to have quantity, and conſequently to be diviſible; that a body ought to be compoſed of things diviſible and indiviſible, that is to ſay, of points and parts: but it can­not be compoſed of points, for a point is indiviſible, and without quantity, and conſequently cannot communicate any quantity to the body, ſince it hath none in it ſelf; ſo that the anſwer ſhould have concluded the body to be compoſed of diviſible parts. But againſt this alſo will be objected, If it be ſo, let us know, whether the minu­teſt part of the body is diviſible or no; if it be anſwered, Diviſible, then it is inſtanced again, that it is not the mi­nuteſt, ſince there is yet a place left for diviſion: but if this minuteſt part be affirmed to be indiviſible, then the anſwer falleth again into the former difficulty, ſince it returns to affirm it a point, and conſequently without quantity; of which being deprived, it is impoſſible it ſhould communicate the ſame to the body, ſince diviſibility is an eſſential property to quantity. You ſee then, that Chymiſtry doth reject ſuch airy and notional Arguments, to ſtick cloſe to viſible and palpable things, as it will ap­pear by the practice of this Art: For if we affirm, that ſuch a body is compounded of an acid ſpirit, a bitter or pontick ſalt, and a ſweet earth; we can make manifeſt by the touch, ſmell, taſte, thoſe parts which we extract, with all thoſe conditions we do attribute unto them.

Now followeth the third and laſt Query: What is the end of Chymiſtry? It is not to be wondered, that ordinary Naturaliſts have attained to ſo little light, in their ſearch and knowledge of natural bodies, ſince they did propoſe11 to themſelves no other end but contemplation; thinking that it became not them to ſet their hands to the work, thereby to attain a true knowledge of mixt bodies by Chymical Anatomy: They and their Sectators alſo, ima­gining they ſhould wrong their Gravity and Doctoral State, to defile and ſully their hands with the blackneſſe of Coals. Much contrary hath been at all times the practice of Chymical Philoſophers, though they made, as well as they, Contemplation their end: For they were perſwaded, Practice and Operation were to be joyned, to receive a full delight and ſatisfaction, and lay firm and ſure foundations to their Reaſonings; unwilling to build upon the quick-ſands of vain, frivolous, and fantaſtical opinions; which made them willingly undergo the charges, toyl and labour of Practical Chymiſtry; and not be diſcouraged by Watchings, and ill Savours, that they might attain the ſooner to a ſolid an delightfull knowledge of the things of Nature, finding by the ſeveral experi­ments of their Works and Proceſſes, the abſtruſe cauſes of its wonderfull effects, wherein they differ very much from the Empyricks; which do, without much reaſoning, con­found, obſcure and intricate all things.

We do then conclude and affirm, that Operation is truely the general end of Chymiſtry: For the Philoſo­pher operates, only the better to be able to contemplate; the Iatrochymiſt alſo to diſcover the better by his operati­on that which Nature performs in the body of a ſound man, that he may be capable to reſtore health, when by ſickneſſe it becomes vitiated and diſordered. Laſtly, the Pharmaco-Chymiſt operates, only to furniſh wholſom and ſalutary remedies to the ſick Patients, according to the judicious Preſcriptions and Orders of the skilfull and learned Phyſician. Is it then to be wondred at, if Chymiſts do beſtow ſo much labour and induſtry in purchaſing this noble12 knowledge, the perfection of which can never be attained without having firſt anatomized the greateſt part of Nature? For as it is neceſſary to diſſect the human body, if we will know its organical parts; ſo it is requiſite, before we can diſcover the faireſt and beſt part of natural ſubſtances, which are as it were hidden and involved within a ſecret rinde, that we ſhould open their compoſites. Whence it may be con­cluded a very difficult matter for any to attain to the exact knowledge of natural things, without the previous guidance of Chymiſtry, and being acquainted with all its parts; nei­ther can any be reckoned a perfect Phyſician without the help of Hermetical Philoſophy, ſince it is the trueſt ground of Phyſick, and without which no Practitioner can deſerve any other title then that of Empyrick: For it is not a Gown, or degrees taken in Univerſities, which conſtitute the Phyſician, but a ſolid knowledge of Nature, grounded upon ſound Reaſon and mature judgement, improved by practice and experience. Whence it followeth, firſt, That Chymiſtry doth not meerly conſiſt in the skill of preparing well a Remedy, as many do erroneouſly imagine; but in the uſing of it with due circumſtances, and reſpect to the Theorems of Art, which is properly the true Phyſick: Secondly, that whoſo­ever meddles with Chymical remedies, without the previous grounds of Theory, can deſerve no other name then of an Empyrick, ſince he is altogether ignorant of the internal ef­ficient cauſes of their effects, and cannot give the Phyſical reaſons, why he doth adminiſter ſuch a remedy, for ſuch and ſuch diſeaſe; being not ſufficiently grounded to know that theſe rare preſcriptions of Chymiſtry, have their remedies grounded, not upon the actions of firſt and ſecond qualities, but upon the ſpecifical and internal vertues of their Chy­mical Principles, as will more evidently appear in the ſequel of this Treatiſe.


A Compendious Body of CHYMISTRY.

Book I. Of the Body of Chymiſtry abbreviated.

PART I. Of the Principles and Elements of Natural things.

CHAP. I. Of the Univerſal Spirit.

THE title of this Chapter doth ſufficiently evidence the error of thoſe who maintain, that the Natu­ral Body is the only object of Chymiſtry, ſince it treats alſo of the Univerſal Spirit, which is a ſub­ſtance voyd and diveſted of all Corporeity: hence it is, that with more reaſon, we did aſſign all natural things her adequate object, viz. all created things, both corporeal and ſpi­ritual, viſible and inviſible; and that becauſe Chymiſtry doth not14 only teach, how a body may be ſpiritualized, but how a ſpirit alſo may be fixt to become a body. For after having made the general and particular Anatomy of Nature, and ſearched and pe­netrated to its very center, this noble Science hath found, that the ſpring and root of all things was a ſpiritual ſubſtance, ho­mogeneous and like unto it ſelf, to which ancient and modern Philoſophers have attributed ſeveral names, calling it a Vital ſubſtance, a Spirit of life, Light, Balſom of life, Vital Mummy, Natural heat, Ʋniverſal Spirit, Mercury of life; and many more names, which to ſum up all here, would be needleſſe, ſince theſe are the principal appellations.

But as our Scope, in this firſt. Book, is, to treat of the Prin­ciples and Elements of natural things, it ſeemeth to ſtand with reaſon, that we ſhoud in the firſt place ſpeak of the firſt Prin­ciple, by which the others are principiated; which Principle is nothing elſe but Nature it ſelf, or that univerſal Spirit, which makes the ſubject matter of this Chapter.

Paracelſus, in his book of Vexations, ſaith, that Domus eſt ſemper mortua, ſed eam inhabitans vivit: By which myſterious and figurative ſpeech, he endeavours to teach us, that the ſtrength of Nature is not included in the mortal and corruptible body; but that it is to be ſought in that wonderfull ſeed which hides it ſelf under the ſhade of the body, who of it ſelf hath no ſtrength or vertue, but fetches it all from that ſeminal ſpirit which it contains; a thing manifeſtly demonſtrable in the cor­ruption of that body, during which the internal ſpirit doth fa­bricate it ſelf a new one, yea many new ones, by the de­ſtruction of the firſt: Which occaſioneth again our German Triſmegiſtus to ſay, that the power and vertue of death is effica­cious; for then the ſpirit doth diſingage it ſelf from the bonds of the body, wherein he ſeemed to be fetter'd, and without efficacy, which he beginneth then to declare, when it ſhould ſeem more improbable. This truth is illuſtrated by the grain of Corn rotting in the earth: for the body being opened by that corruption, the internal ſeminal ſpirit therein incloſed, buds out, produceth a blade and ſtalk, and at the end of it an Ear, containing ſeveral grains of Corn, the very ſame in likeneſſe to that which periſhed and was rotten in the ground.


This ſpiritual ſubſtance, which is the primary and ſole ſub­ſtance of all things, contains in it ſelf three diſtinct, but not differing ſubſtances: For they are homogeneous, as we have already ſaid. But becauſe there is found in it, a heat, a moyſture, and a drought; and all three are diſtinct, but not differing; we ſay, that theſe three are but one eſſence, and the ſame radical ſubſtance; otherwiſe, as Nature is one, ſimple, and homogeneous, if the ſeminal Principles of theſe ſubſtances were heterogeneous, nothing would be found in nature one, ſimple, and homogeneous; which cannot be, in regard of the great inconveniences that would follow: For if heat did differ from moyſture, it could not be nouriſht and fed by it (which is notwithſtanding neceſſary to be granted true) becauſe nouriſhment is performed by things not differing, but of a like nature and if the aliment ſhould prove in the beginning, different from the alimentated, it would be neceſſary before it could paſſe into the ſubſtance of the laſt ali­ment, that it ſhould be diveſted of all difference and diſſimilar nature. Now it is granted on all hands, that radical moyſture is the laſt aliment of natural heat; whence it followeth, that it cannot be of a different nature: Moreover, if they did differ, each one would endeavour to produce its like, and the inteſtine warre, raiſed by this occaſion, hinder the generation of the Com­pound. Let us then conclude, that this radical and fundamental ſubſtance of all things, is truely and really one in its eſſence, but hath a threefold denomination; for in reſpect of its natural heat and fire, it is called Sulphur; in reſpect of its moyſture, which is the food and aliment of this fire, Mercury; and finally, in reſpect of the radical drought, which is, as it were, the knot and cement of the fire and moyſture, it is called Salt; which we ſhall clear more particularly, when we treat hereafter of theſe three Principles by themſelves, and examine, whether or no the one may be tranſmutated or converted into the other.

Having thus much ſpoken of the nature and eſſence of this univerſal ſpirit, we muſt now examine it's original, and the ef­fects which it doth produce: And for the firſt point, it is not to be doubted, but that this ſpirit hath been created by the omni­potency of the firſt Cauſe, when it extracted this goodly fabrick of the world out of its nothing, and did harbour it in all the16 parts of this vaſt Machine, as the Poet doth acknowledge, when he ſaith,

Spiritus intus agit, totamqueinfuſa per orbem
Mens agitat molem.

For all the parts of the Univerſe are in continual need of its ſupply and preſence, as we diſcover by the effects; and if any by accident hath been deprived thereof, he immediately returns to poſſeſſe it, and taking its place, reſtores life by his arrival. So we ſee, that having extracted from the ſalt of Vitriol ſeveral ſub­ſtances therein contained, if the dead earth, or Caput mortuum, be expoſed to the air, in ſome ſheltered place free from the waſhing of Rain, this ſpirit will not fail to return to it, being po­tently attracted by this Matrix, whoſe earneſt longing it is to fill it ſelf with this ſpirit, which makes the principal part of all things exi­ſtent; for as things are only deſtinated to their operation, ſo can they not act, but by their efficient internal Principles. Therefore God, who ever works by the moſt compendious way, and will not every day buſie his Omnipotency in the creation of new ſubſtances, hath once for all created this Univerſal Spirit, and placed it every where, that he might operate all in all things.

And as this Spirit is univerſal, ſo can he not be ſpecificated but by the means of particular Ferments, which do print in it the Character and Idea of mixt bodies, to be made ſuch or ſuch de­terminate ſubſtances, according to the diverſity of Matrixes, which receive this Spirit in themſelves to make it a body. Thus in a Vitriolick Matrix, it becomes Vitriol; in an Arſenical, Arſe­nick; a Vegetable Matrix makes it a Plant; and ſo of all the reſt. But two things are here to be noted, the firſt, That when we ſay, that this Spirit is ſpecificated in ſuch or ſuch a Matrix, that we underſtand nothing elſe, but that this Spirit is imbodyed in ſuch or ſuch a Compound, according to the different Idea it hath re­ceived, by the means of particular ferment; and that, notwith­ſtanding, it may be extracted again out of this compound, by di­veſting it by the help of Art, of this groſſe body, to give it a more ſubtil one, and ſo bring it neerer its univerſal nature, and thus prepared, it doth manifeſt its own vertues much more17 eminently. The ſecond thing obſervable is, that this ſpirit cannot return to its indifferency or univerſal nature, without having loſt firſt of all the Idea received from the Matrix, in which it was embodyed: I ſay, it muſt have loſt all this Idea, becauſe although theſe ſpirits have been diveſted of their bodies by Art, they do notwithſtanding preſerve yet, for a while, the character and print of their firſt body; as it evidently appears in an aire poyſoned with Realgarick and Arſenical ſpirits, which inviſibly fill it, and do flye up and down; but when it hath quite loſt this Idea, it reunites it ſelf with the univerſal ſpirit, and if it meets with any fruitfull Matrix, being yet impregnated of its Idea, then it embodyes it ſelf in ſeveral different compounds: as it is evident in Plants and Animals, which we ſee produced without ſeed, as Muſhroms, Nettles, Mice, Frogs, Inſects, and ſeveral other things; which to relate here, would be too te­dious.

Thus much had we to ſay of the Univerſal Spirit, reſerving to ſpeak of the Matrixes which do ſpecifie and corporifie it, and communicate him the Idea and Character of ſuch a determi­nate exiſtence or body, where we ſhall treat of Elements here­after.

CHAP. II. Of the ſeveral ſubſtances which are found after the Reſo­lution and Anatomy of the Compound.

WE may conſider three ſeveral wayes, the Principles and Elements which do conſtitute the Compound: Viz. Or before its compoſition, or after its reſolution, or whileſt they do yet compoſe and conſtitute the Mixt. In the foregoing Chapter we have demonſtrated the nature of Principles, before they enter in the compoſition of the body; now our task is, in this Chapter, to ſhew, what they are after the reſolution, and during the compoſition of the Mixt; which we will do the more18 ſuccinctly and in general terms at preſent, in regard we ſhall fall again more particularly upon the ſame matter in the fol­lowing Chapters.

We have ſaid heretofore, that the Univerſal Spirit, which ra­dically contains in it ſelf the three firſt Subſtances, was indifferent and in order to be made all things; and that he was ſpecificated or embodyed, according to the Idea which it took from the Matrix wherein he was received; with the Minerals becoming Mineral, with Vegetables becoming a Plant, and with Animals Animal. Of this Idea we will ſpeak more hereafter, as alſo of the Matrixes which do communicate it to the ſame.

During the compoſition of the Mixt, this ſpirit retains the na­ture and Idea which it took in the Matrix. Thus if it hath taken the nature of Sulphur, and been impregnated with its Idea, it communicates to the Compound, all the vertues and qualities of Sulphur. The ſame is to be ſaid of Salt, and Mercury; for when­ſoever it is ſpecificated, or (if it may be ſaid without barbariſm) Ideificated in any of theſe Principles, it ſhewes it immediately by its actions: Thus things are in their Compoſition either fine or volatil, liquid or ſolid, pure or impure, diſſolved or co-agula­lated, and ſo of the reſt, according as this ſpirit contained more or leſſe Salt, Sulphur and Mercury, or more or leſſe mixture of the groſſeneſſe and terreſtreity of the Matrixes. But after theſe Principles are ſeparated one from the other, and from the ter­reſtreity and corporeity which they draw from their Matrixes, they make it plain enough by their powerfull effects, that it is in this ſtate they ought to be reduced, before they can work with efficacy, though they retain yet ſtill their character and in­ternal Idea. Thus ſome few drops of the true ſpirit of Wine will be more powerfull, then a whole glaſſe of this corporeal liquor wherein it was encloſed: A drop of ſpirit of Vitriol ſhall be of more effect then many ounces of the body. But you are to note alſo, that theſe powerfull effects and great vertues do laſt no longer in the ſpirits, than the Idea of the Mixt, whence they were extracted, remains with them: For as all things by a natu­ral circulation in Nature, which corporifies to ſpiritualize, and ſpiritualizeth again to corporifie, have a ſtrong tendency to their firſt Principle: ſo theſe ſpirits are ſtill buſie and working, in en­deavouring19 to diveſt and free themſelves of the Ideas wherein they are fettered, that they may return to their firſt Principle, which is the Univerſal Spirit.

Theſe things being ſo cleared, it remains to ſee how many ſubſtances Chymiſtry findes in the reſolution of the Compounds, and what they are. Ariſtotle ſaith, that the reſolution of things ſhewes their conſtitutive Principles: Upon this Axiom, hath its ground and baſis our Philoſophy, both by reaſon of the truth of it, and that Chymiſtry receives no Principles of ſenſible things but ſuch as are obvious to, and fall under the Judicatory of the ſenſes. And as the Anatomiſt hath found a certain number of ſimilar parts, which conſtitute the humane body, whereof he makes the ſubject of his Art; ſo doth the Chymiſt endeavour to finde out the number of primary and ſimilary ſubſtances of all Compounds, to exhibit them to the ſenſes, that they may bet­ter judge what was their Office whileſt yet joyned in their Mixt, having conſidered their vertue and efficacy, in this purity and abſtracted nature; thence the name of Senſal Philoſophy hath been by ſome given to the Chymiſt: For as the Anatomiſt doth make uſe of Raſors and other ſharp Tools in his Diſſections, to ſepa­rate the better the ſeveral parts of the human body, which is his chief object: The ſame doth the Chymical Artiſt, fetching his inſtruction from Nature it ſelf, to attain his end, which is nothing elſe but to joyn homogeneal and ſeparate heterogeneal things by the means of Heat; for he doth nothing elſe but contribute his care and labour, to regulate the firſt according to the exi­gency of natural Agents and Patients, thereby to reſolve the mixt bodies in their ſeveral ſubſtances, which he ſeparates and purifies afterwards; for the fire never relents or ſlackens its action, but rather drives it on and encreaſeth it, untill he findes no*Or Diſſimi­lar parts. heterogeneity left in the Compound.

After that the Artiſt hath performed the Chymical reſolution of bodies, he doth finde laſt of all five kinde of ſubſtances, which Chymiſtry admits for the Principles and Elements of natural bodies, whereupon are layd the grounds of its Doctrine, becauſe in theſe five ſubſtances is found no Heterogeneity; theſe are, the Phlegmatick or wateriſh part, the Spirit or Mercury, the Sulphur20 or Oyl, the Salt, and the Earth. Some give them other names; for it is free for every body to uſe their invention in ſuch a caſe, being a thing of no great importance to neglect Names, and leave a latitude of freedom to every one therein, provided you may agree in the ſubſtance.

Now, as the Mixts cannot ſubſiſt in their integrity and perfect ſtate, if you deprive them of any or theſe parts, ſo would alſo the knowledge of theſe ſubſtances prove defectuous, if they were ſeparated one from another: wherefore we are to conſider them, both abſolutely and reſpectively. Three of theſe ſubſtances offer themſelves to our ſight, by the help of Chymical Operation, under the form of a Liquor, which are the Phlegm or Water, the Spirit, and the Oyl; the two other in a ſolid body, viz. Salt and Earth. The Water and Earth are commonly called paſſive Principles, material and of leſſe efficacy then the other three; as contrary wiſe the Spirit or Mercury, Sulphur and Salt, are reckoned active and formal Principles, by reaſon of their pene­trative and ſubtile vertue: Some do call the Earth and Water or Phlegm, Elements; and give the name of Principles to the three others. But if that definition which Ariſtotle hath given to Principles, is eſſential, viz. That Principia neque ex aliis, ne­que ex ſe invicem fiunt; Experience doth teach us, that theſe Subſtances cannot properly bear the name of Principles; becauſe we have ſaid above, that Mercury did change it ſelf into Sulphur, moyſture is the aliment or food of heat, and food transforms it ſelf into the thing which is fed. Therefore the definition of Elements ſhould rather ſute with theſe ſubſtances, ſince they are the laſt thing to be found, after the reſolution of the Compound, and that Elements are, Ea quae primo componunt Mixtum, & in quae ultimo reſolvitur.

But becauſe the Elements are conſidered two wayes, either as they are parts which do conſtitute the Univerſe, or as they only compound Mixt Bodies; to accommodate our ſelves to the ordi­nary way of expreſſion, we ſhall attribute unto them the name of Principles, in regard they are conſtitutive parts of the Com­pound; and ſhall reſerve the appellation of Elements, for thoſe great and vaſt Bodyes, which are the general Matrixes of natu­ral things.

CHAP. III. Of each Principle in particular.
SECT. I. Wherein is treated, Whether thoſe Five Principles, which remain after the diſſolution of the Mixt, are Natural or Artificial.

CHymical Philoſophy doth admit for Principles of the Com­pound, thoſe five ſubſtances whereof we have treated above, becauſe as it is a Science wholly ſenſal, it grounds its reaſons only upon what ſenſes do demonſtrate unto her: And becauſe having exactly anatomized a body natural, nothing is found be­yond what may anſwer one of theſe five ſubſtances. But here may be a Queſtion moved of no ſmall difficulty, viz. Whether theſe five Subſtances, are Natural or Artificial Principles, and not rather Principles of Diſunion and deſtructive, than of Compoſition and Mixture? To this may be anſwered, that it is not a matter of ſmall difficulty, to know whether theſe Principles are natural, becauſe we do not ſee them ſevered from the Compound, by a natural corruption or putrefaction; and that Chymical ſeparation can only be performed by an artificial corruption cauſed by the help of the heat of fire: but if the buſineſſe be judiciouſly and narrowly examined, it will appear, that although theſe ſubſtances can only be extracted by the help of Chymical Art, they are notwithſtanding, meerly and purely Natural, ſince Art doth con­tribute nothing elſe but the Veſſels to contain and receive them. Whence Nature being deſtitute of theſe Veſſels, and we cannot without their help render thoſe ſubſtances palpable and viſible objects of the eye; it cannot ſeem ſtrange, that we ſhould not perceive theſe ſubſtances, in the natural corruption and ſolution of their Compounds: for Nature which is ſtill in action and buſie about productions, makes uſe of the ſaid ſubſtances, and applyes22 them to the generation of ſeveral other exiſtencies, as Ariſtotle hath very well obſerved, when he ſaith that, Corruptio unius eſt gene­ratio alterius. Thence it is, that in the natural putrefaction of bodies, a certain ſmell for the moſt part offends our Noſtrils; a true token of the Air being impregnated with volatile ſpirits, which are Saline and Sulphureous; by which it appears, that the Mixt is radically diſſolved, and thus it is performed: The Salt is diſſolved by the help of the internal Phlegm or Water; and as the Salt is the bond of the two other Principles, ſo can they no longer ſubſiſt in their Mixt or Body, becauſe heat which accompanyes all putrefactions, doth ſubtilize and carry them a­way, ſo that there remains nothing but what is of earthlineſſe in the Compound. Therefore we do conclude, that although theſe Principles may not be made ſenſible and manifeſt, but by the Operations of Chymiſtry, it doth not debarre them notwith­ſtanding from being natural, becauſe if nature had not immixed them in all things, they could not indifferently be drawn from all bodies, as we daily ſee that they may; whence we inferre, that theſe ſubſtances are not extracted from the Mixt by tranſ­mutation, but by a meer natural ſeparation, aſſiſted by the heat of the Veſſels and the hand of the Artiſt: for all things cannot indifferently and immediately be transformed in the like and ſame things. Therefore it cannot be thought ſtrange, that other ſub­ſtances then the forementioned five, ſhould be extracted from Mixt Bodyes by Chymical Operations, when the way of opera­ting is altered, and proceeds by another way, then by the ſepa­ration of Principles, ſuch as are the Quinteſſences, Arcana, Magiſte­ries, Specificks, Tinctures, Extracts, Faeculae, Balſoms, Flowers, Panacaea's and Elixirs, whereof Paracelſus treats at large, in his Books of Archidoxa; ſince all theſe ſeveral preparations take their vertues from the various mixture of the Principles, whereof we are to ſpeak in the following Sections, according to the order wherein they fall firſt under our ſenſes. Where we ſhall conſider them both as they yet compound the Mixt or Body, and as they are ſeparated from it.

SECT. II. Of Phlegm or Water.

THat inſipid liquor which commonly is called Water, hath by the Chymiſts the name of Phlegm given unto it, when it is ſeparated from all other Mixture; it is the firſt ſubſtance obvious to the eye, when the fire doth act upon any Mixt body; it appears firſt in the ſhape of a vapour, and by condenſation turns into liquor: Her preſence is as neceſſary as any other Principle in the compoſition of the Mixt: And we do not agree with the opinion of thoſe who hold it to be needleſſe, provided the pro­portion and harmony required in Natural bodyes be preſerved: for Phlegm is as the curb and rains of ſpirits, which dulls and allayes their ſharpneſſe, diſſolves the ſalt, and weakens its corro­ſive acrimony, hindereth the inflamation of Sulphur, and bindes the Earth, and mixes it with the Salts; for as theſe two laſt Subſtances are brickle, crumbling and dry, ſo could they give but little firmneſſe and conſiſtency to the body without the help of this liquor: Thence it comes, that corruption and diſſolution are introduced by its abſence, which hath occaſioned ſome to call it the Principle of Deſtruction; for it eaſily vapours away, which is the cauſe that the Mixt cannot long ſubſiſt in the ſame ſtate and harmony, becauſe this Principle being part in the body, eaſily and at every hour exhaleth it ſelf and vapours away, which makes it obnoxious to the leaſt outward injuries, procured as much by internal as external cauſes. Therefore thoſe that do work about the preſervation of Mixts, make it their ſtudy to preſerve this Principle in the Compound; becauſe it is he that keepeth all the other linked together, as it evidently appears by the operations of our Art: It can endure ſeveral alterations, without changing its nature; for if ſometimes it turns it ſelf into vapours, they are notwithſtanding eſſentially nothing elſe but the very Phlegm it ſelf. And here you ſhall note, that vapours are of a different nature; ſome are meerly aqueous and Phlegmatick; others ſpirituous and Mercurial, others Sulphureous and Oyly; and laſtly, ſome participate of theſe three qualities together. 24It is moreover to be noted, that even the Salts, and Mineral and Metallick Earths, may be ſubtilized yet and turned into va­pours differing from the aforeſaid four qualities, yielding fixe and ponderous ſpirits, and flowers. Briefly, the Doctrine of fiery, aqueous, and aerial Meteors, may very well be related to the na­ture of theſe vapours and exhalations: For we ſee that aqueous vapours are eaſily condenſed in water in the Limbecks, which the Spirituous or Oily are not, as requiring much more time and cooling; whence many conſequences may be drawn, tending to the uſe of Phyſick, and particularly in the cure of thoſe pains, which are thought to proceed from vapours and exhalations, and vulgarly are called Mereoriſms, or griping vapours of the Ven­tricle and Spleen: For aqueous vapours cannot cauſe ſo much diſtention, becauſe they are ſooner compreſſed and condenſed, then thoſe which proceed from the Spirits, Oyls, and mixt Salts. Now as too much Phlegm doth extinguiſh the natural heat, and ſlackens the body, and dulls all his functions: ſo the too ſmall proportion thereof, cauſeth as it were a burning and corroſion of it, whileſt the Sulphur and fixed Spirit or Salt becomes pre­dominant; an evident proof that the frame of mixt bodies doth only ſubſiſt by the harmony and juſt proportion of all its ſub­ſtances. To conclude what we have ſaid of this Principle, you are to obſerve, that the Phlegme or wateriſh part of any Mixt, is ordinarily the fitteſt Menſtruum to extract the tincture and Extract thereof, becauſe it is endowed ſtill with ſome character of its Compound, and ſome Idea of its vertue and faculty: but chiefly becauſe it is for the moſt part accompanyed with the vo­latile Spirit of the Mixt, whereby it is rendred more capable eaſily to penetrate the ſame, and to extract its vertue, being partaker of a mixt nature of moſt ſubtile Sulphur and Mercury, which comes very neer to the Univerſal.

SECT. III. Of the Spirit.

SOme do call Mercury that ſecond ſubſtance which falls under our ſight in the Anatomy of the body; Others name it radical25 Moyſture, but we ſhall keep the appellation of Spirit, as the moſt in uſe. Notwithſtanding, to avoyd error and miſtake in theſe vulgar names of Principles, and that the Reader ſhould not confound them with the appellations of Compounds; it is ne­ceſſary to inform him, that they have received ſuch names, only for the likeneſſe and correſpondency they have with thoſe ſub­ſtances from which they are denominated: See therefore you do not miſtake Phlegm for Pituite, Mercury for Quick ſilver, and Sulphur for ordinary Brimſtone, which is an ingredient in the compoſition of Gun-powder, mixed with Saltpeter, nor Salt for that common Salt familiar to our Tables, and much leſſe Earth for ſuch a ſubſtance as is Bol-Armeny or Terra ſigillata, ſince all theſe are Bodies, compoſed of the ſame Principles, every one as we deſign by thoſe names. Spirit then is nothing elſe but that aerial, ſubtile, penetrating, active ſubſtance, which we draw out of the Mixt Body, by the help of fire; whence it is to be concluded, that this Principle in it ſelf is one, unmixt, and homogeneous, having taken its Idea from the character of its ſpecifick and particular Matrix, as we ſhall deduce hereafter more at large, when we ſpeak of the Elements, and their vertues, in the following Chapter. This ſubſtance of the Spirit is con­ſidered, either as it compoſeth yet the Mixt, or as it is ſepara­ted from it: Separated, it is very penetrating; icuts, opens, and attenuates the moſt ſolid and fixt Bodies, it excites heat in Fermentation, untieth the bonds of Salt and Sulphur, and makes them ſeparable, reſiſts corruption and rottenneſſe; yet by acci­dent may be the cauſe of it; devours the Salt, and ſeiſes ſo greedily upon it, that it can ſcarce be ſeparated but by an extreme violence of the fire: It is poſſeſſed of its own heat, and cold, for it doth not act by Elementary, but by his own proper and ſpecifick qualities: To be brief, we fall ſhort of proper terms to expreſſe duely his nature; ſince it is a true Proteus, which turns himſelf in all ſhapes, and as the Sun dryes and moyſtens, whiteneth and blackens, according to the diverſity of ſubjects upon which it worketh. This ſame Spirit communicates ſeveral Noble qualities to the Phlegm; for it preſerves him from corruption, makes it penetrative, and endoweth him almoſt with al his own activity: And in requital, the Phegm doth ſoften and bri••e26 the fury of the Spirit, and makes it ſo tractable, that it may be­come uſefull in a thouſand wayes.

Now whileſt this Spirit remains in a due harmony, and doth not exceed the terms of his Office in mixt Bodies, it becomes to them very ſerviceable, hindering the encreaſe of excremen­titious matters, and of all other ſubſtances which may prove con­trary or hurtfull to the nature of the Compound, multiplying his ſubſtance, and ſtrengthning all his faculties, and that in Ani­mals, Vegetables and Minerals. But if by the power of ſome other Agent, this Principle is forced to exceed the condition and conſtitution of the Mixt wherein it is, it alters the whole frame and oeconomy of its Compound, as we ſhall ſhew more at large, when we come to treat of the Principles of Deſtructives.

SECT. IV. Of Sulphur.

THis Principle, as well as the others, hath received ſeveral names; for it is called Oyl, Natural Fire, Light, Vital Fire, Balſom of Life and of Sulphur, and beſides, many other appella­tions have been given by the Sons of Art, with which we will not fill up this Section: According to our uſual cuſtom, we will content our ſelves, with examining the nature of the thing, leaving the nicetie of Names to the overcurious.

That ſubſtance then, which ſometimes we will call Oyl, ſometimes Sulphur, is the third in order of thoſe we extract by the artificial reſolution of the Compound; we give it this name becauſe it is an Oleagineous ſubſtance; which eaſily take fire, being of a combuſtible nature, by whoſe means alſo the Mixts are rendred ſuch. It is called Principle as well as the others, becauſe being ſeparated from the Compound, it is homogeneous in all his parts, as the other Principles are. This Subſtance is alſo conſidered two ſeveral wayes: For being looſened from the others, it ſwims above the Phlegm and Spirits, becauſe it is lighter and more aetherial; but if it be not abſolutely ſeparated from the Salt and the Earth, it will ſometimes precipitate it ſelf to the bottom, or ſwim in the middle, becauſe the Sulphur27 ſupports and holds up the Earth and Salt, untill it be overcome by their weight; it receives not eaſily nor willingly the Salt, without being firſt joyned with the Spirit, or before the Salt be circulated with the Spirit, wherewith it hath a great ſympathy and then they eaſily receive the Sulphur together; a thing very well worth noting, ſince without this obſervation, no Panacaea's, Magiſteries, Eſſences, Arcana's, nor other moſt ſecret Remedies, which are unknown to vulgar Phyſicians, and Galenical Apothe­caries, can be made: no more then theſe can give a reaſon of the nobleſt natural effects; becauſe for the moſt part they aſſign them to the four firſt or primary Qualities.

This Sulphur is of the matter of thoſe fiery Meteors, which are kindled in the ſeveral Regions of the Air, and are ſome­times found in the Cavities of the earth, and chiefly in thoſe places, where Minerals and Metals are generated; it reſiſts to Cold, and never congeals, being the Principle of Heat; it never ſuffers corruption, preſerves from it thoſe things which are im­merſed in it, preventing the penetration of Air, it ſweetens the acrimony of Salt, by whoſe help it is fixed and coagulated; doth ſo powerfully blunt the ſharpneſſe of Spirits, that the moſt ſtrong Waters have no power over it, nor thoſe Bodies where it abounds. His Office is, to binde and allay the Earth which is but duſt, with the Salt in the frame of Mixt Bodies: It cauſes alſo the ſtrict union of the other Principles, moderating the too great dryneſs of Salt, and fluidity of Spirit, and finally by his means, theſe three Principles grow into a viſcuous compact ſubſtance, which often times hardens afterwards, by the mixture of the Earth and Phlegm.

SECT. V. Of Salt.

THe Phlegm, Spirit, and Sulphur, are volatile Principles flying from the Fire, which makes them aſcend, and ſublimate into vapours; whence it followeth, that they were unable to endure the Mixt with a requiſite ſolidity for its duration, unleſs there were ſome other fixt and permanent ſubſtances joyned unto28 it; of which we finde two wholly differing from the others in the laſt diſſolution of Bodies. The firſt is a plain and unmixt Earth, without any remarkable quality, except it be drineſs and heavineſs: The ſecond is a Subſtance; which reſiſts fire, and diſ­ſolves in water, known to Chymiſts by the name of Salt.

Theſe two ſubſtances, which are as it were the baſis and foun­dation of the Mixt, though confounded by the action of fire, are notwithſtanding two ſeveral Principles in which are to be found ſuch eſſential differences, that there is between them no Analogy. The ſalt doth manifeſt it ſelf by his qualities, which are as numberleſs as efficatious and powerfull, much more with­out compare then the Earth, which is almoſt without action or vertue.

The Salt being exactly ſevered from the other Principles, offers it ſelf to our ſenſes in a drie, crumbling, and brickle body, eaſily reduced to powder, a certain ſign of his external drought; but it is endowed alſo of an internal moyſture, witneſs its fuſibility; it is fixt, and incombuſtible, reſiſting to fire, wherein it growes purer, ſuffereth no putrefaction, and is (as it were) eternal, being capable to preſerve it ſelf without alteration. This ſubſtance is thought by ſome, to be the firſt ſubject and cauſe of all ſavours, as the Sulphur of odours, and Mercury of colours; but we ſhall refute this Aſſertion, when we come to handle this Subject hereafter.

Salt is eaſily diſſolved in moyſture, and being diſſolved bears up the Sulphur, and joyns it to it ſelf by the means of the Spirit. The uſefulneſs of it is very great; for it hinders fire from conſuming haſtily the Oyl; which is the cauſe that floated Wood doth not yield a long flame, being deprived of the greateſt part of its Salt: It is ſalt which makes the earth fruitfull, being with the Oyl, inſtead of a vital Balſom to Vegetables; and thence it comes, that Grounds too much waſhed with rain, loſe their fer­tility: It conduceth alſo to the generation of Animals, and hardens Minerals alſo, and giveth them their conſiſtency: But you are to note, that all theſe effects do only follow, when it is diſpenſed in Bodies, with a juſt proportion; for if it exceeds, generation and encreaſe are thereby hindered, becauſe it corrodes and deſtroyes with his acrimony, whatſoever the other ſubſtances can produce.


But that you may not be deceived by the ambiguity of the word Salt, you are to know, that there is a certain Central Salt, radical Principle of all things, which is the firſt body wherewith the Univerſal Spirit cloſeth it ſelf, and contains the other Prin­ciples; ſome have called it Hermetical Salt, becauſe, ſay they, Hermes was the firſt that ſpoke of it: but it may be more pro­perly and lawfully called the Hermaphroditical Salt, becauſe it participates of all natures, and is indifferently inclined to all. This Salt is the fundamental ground of all Nature, being the Center where all her vertues do meet, and the true ſeeds of all things, being nothing elſe, but a congealed, well digeſted and con­cocted Salt: The truth of which evidently appears in this, that if you boyl in water any Seed whatſoever, it becomes imme­diately barren; becauſe this ſeminal vertue conſiſts in a very ſubtile Salt, which diſſolves and vaniſhes in the water; whence we learn, that Nature beginneth the production of all things by a central and radical Salt, which ſhe extracts out of the Univerſal Spirit. The difference between theſe two Salts is, that the firſt breeds the other in the Mixt, and that the Hermaphroditical Salt is ever a Principle of Life, and the other proves ſometimes a Principle of Death. But becauſe we are to treat hereunder, of the Prin­ciples of death and deſtruction, we ſhall not inſiſt in theſe Sections upon the effects of either, becauſe the knowledge of Contraries being the ſame, they ſhall be more illuſtrated when oppoſed one to another.

SECT. VI. Of the Earth.

THe Earth is the laſt of Principles, both of fixt and volatile; it is a naked ſubſtance, diveſted of all manifeſt qualities, except dryneſs and aſtringency; for as concerning Weight, we ſhall ſpeak of it hereafter: I ſay, manifeſt quality, becauſe this Earth retains alwayes in it ſelf, the indelible character of that vertue ſhe was once poſſeſſed with, viz. of embodying or cor­porizing, and Ideifying the Univerſal Spirit. The firſt Idea ſhe imparts to it, is that of Hermaphroditical Salt, which reſtores30 to this Earth, her firſt Principles, ſo that the mixt is as it were by it reſuſcitated, ſince from the ſame body, the ſame ſpecifi­cal Principles, which by Chymical ſeparation were before ſepa­rated, may be extracted again; as we ſhall explain hereafter more at large, when we come to treat of this matter. Let us conſider at preſent, the uſefulneſs of this ſubſtance, very neceſſary in the Compound of the body, ſince it is by her means that it receives firmneſs and conſiſtency: For being united to the Salt, it cauſes preſently the corporeity, and conſequently, the continuity of the parts: Mixt with the Oyl or Sulphur, it cauſes tenacity, viſcoſity, and lent or, i. e. ſlowneſs in motion; it yields then with Salt, hardneſs and firmneſs; for as Salt is of a brickle and crum­bling nature, and eaſily reduced to duſt, it could not intimately be united to the earth, to give it a ſolidity, but by the help of moyſt and liquid ſubſtances. The inconveniencies of this Prin­ciple are manifeſted in this, that the Mixt requireth abundance of the other ſubſtances: For when Earth doth predominate, it makes the body heavy, ſlow, cold and ſtupid, according to the nature of Compoſites, wherein it doth abound.

But you ſhall notwithſtanding take notice, by the By, that it is not the ſole Earth which cauſeth the heavineſs of the body, as thoſe Philoſophers do aſſert, who are little acquainted with our handy-work: For we finde more Earth in a pound of Cork after its reſolution, though it be a very light body, then in three or four of Box and Guaiacum, which are ſo heavy, that (againſt the nature of other Woods) they can ſcarce hold above water: Whence we muſt of neceſſity conclude, that the greateſt heavi­neſs and weight of Bodies, proceeds of Salt and Spirits aboun­ding in theſe Woods, whereof Cork is deprived. It is alſo ex­perimentally ſeen, that a Glaſs filled with Spirit of Vitriol, or ſome other ſharp Spirit well rectified, ſhall outweigh two or three Glaſſes of the ſame bigneſs, filled with water, or any other like Liquor. I know it will be objected againſt this Experiment, that the heavineſs of Guaiacum proceeds from the compactedneſs of its ſubſtance, almoſt impenetrable to Air, and that the lightneſs of Cork doth proceed from the great quantity of big and large pores it hath, which are filled with that light Element, and cauſe it to ſwim above water, contrarily to Box and Guaiacum. But31 this Anſwer is not fully ſatisfactory; for if levity and heavineſs are cauſed by rarefaction and condenſation, it will follow thence, that thoſe many pores in Cork, muſt proceed from the abundance of earth in it, and the defect of the other Principles; and hence it will be concluded neceſſarily, that Earth is porous of it ſelf; and ſecondly, that it cauſeth poroſity in Bodies: For the Axiom is true, Nihil dat quod non habet; &, Propter quod unumquodque eſt tale, illud eſt magis tale, ſay the Peripatetick or Ambulatory Phi­loſophers; and ſo ſhall they be forced to aſſert by their own rea­ſon, though contradictory to their Maxims, that Earth cauſeth not only the levity of Mixts, but that it is alſo light of its own na­ture, which in their Philoſophy ſhould be a Monſter: and contra­dicts alſo to experience; for of all the Principles, when they are duely and according to Art ſeparated one from the other, none is heavyer then the Earth, which ever ſubſideth in the bot­tom of the Glaſs, when they are mixt together.

To come out of this Labyrinth, a higher Philoſophy is requi­red, and fair Ariadne, which is Nature it ſelf, muſt be courted, to obtain this Clue, and finde the iſſue of its winding paths; which if we can happily attain to, we ſhall be taught by the operations of Chymiſtry, that there is two ſorts of levity and heavineſs, the one internal, the other external; the one found in the Principles, whileſt they yet compound the Mixt, the other when they are ſeparated aſunder.

CHAP. IV. Of Elements in General and Special.
SECT. I. Of Elements in General.

THE difference which Peripateticks make between Prin­ciple and Element, is, as they ſay, that Principles can­not take one anothers nature, neither be metamorphoſed or tranſmuted the one into the other; but that Elements are Sub­ſtances32 which of themſelves are compounded of Principles, and do compound the Mixts afterwards at their turns, and ſo theſe ſub­ſtances can eaſily paſs one into anothers nature; the truth where­of we ſhall examine hereafter. But in Hermetical Philoſophy, Ele­ments are taken for thoſe four great Bodies, which are as it were the Matrixes, containing in themſelves, the vertues, ſeeds, cha­racters and Idea's imparted to them by the Univerſal Spirit. But before we enter into this kinde of Philoſophy, after we have ſpoken in the foregoing Chapter of the nature of Principles, we muſt now treat in this of Elements; where we will firſt examine, what reaſon the Galeniſts have to ſay, that Mixt Bodies are com­pounded of thoſe Elements, and whether there are not more ſub­ſtances found in their Diſſolutions, then thoſe which their Books make mention of.

They ſay, that when Wood is burned in the Fire, four ſub­ſtances do manifeſtly occur to the ſenſes, and do aſſure us, that theſe are the four Elements, which did conſtitute the Mixt be­fore it was deſtroyed by the fire. Let us examine, whether they have diſcovered all, and left no occaſion unto us of farther in­quiry.

Their reaſons are grounded upon the following experience: The four Elements, ſay they, are made manifeſt to our ſenſes, when the Wood comes to be examined and conſumed by Fire; for the Flame repreſents the Fire, the Smoak Air, the Moyſture iſſuing from the ends of the Wood Water, and the Aſhes Earth; whence they draw this conſequence, That ſince we ſee but thoſe four ſubſtances, there was none other that could conſtitute the Compound. But, though we grant thoſe four to be all what can appear in ſo groſs an operation, yet, if we will proceed with more Art and exactneſs, we ſhall not want to finde ſomething more in it: For if you take the pains to encloſe ſhreds or filings of Wood in a well luted Retort, and fit a capacious Recipient to it, and give a graduate and regular fire, you ſhall diſcover two ſubſtances, which without this Art cannot fall under our ſenſes, and this is the Apple of Diſcord between Peripatetical and Her­metical Philoſophers: Which before I proceed further, I will en­deavour to reconcile. To this end, we grant to both Parties, that Principles and Elements, are found in all Mixts; but let us33 ſee how. When the firſt ſay, that the Smoak in burning Wood repreſents the Air, we ſay they are in the right, for it is only by way of Analogy and ſimilitude, that this Smoak can obtain the denomination of Air; For it is not really Air, ſince experi­ence ſheweth us, that this ſmoak impriſoned in a Recipient, hath qualities very much differing from that of Air; whence we inferr, it can be called Air, only by Analogy. And this is the point in which both do differ, concerning this ſubſtance, that the Peripa­teticks call it Air, and Chymiſts Mercury: Let them diſpute of the words, provided we do agree in the thing it ſelf.

We come now to the other Element of Peripateticks, viz. Fire, and the other Principle of Chymiſters, Sulphury, which we are to examine, and ſee in what they agree, and wherein they differ. The firſt ſay, that in the action of Fire preying upon Wood, its action is manifeſt to the ſenſes. But our anſwer to this ſenſible experiment is, that whatſoever deſtroyes the Mixt, cannot be a conſtitutive Principle of it, but rather a Principle of deſtruction: If they return, That no fire is actually in the Mixt, but only po­tentially: therein we will cloſe with them, and reconcile them with the Chymiſts, who name their Sulphur that potential fire of Peripateticks. To end then their Controverſie, I ſay, that the fire which we ſee to iſſue out of burning Wood, is nothing elſe but the Sulphur of Wood actuated; for the actuating of Sulphur doth conſiſt in its inflamation. As for the Aſhes which they will have to be the Element of Earth; that Salt which by waſhings and Elixivation is extracted out of them, ſhould ſufficiently per­ſwade theſe Philoſophers, that the Chymiſts are as well, if not better, grounded in eſtabliſhing the number of their Principles.

The number then of Principles and Elements which compound Mixt Bodies, being thus cleared, it remains for us to ſay ſome­thing of the Elements, both as to their number and propriety, before we ſpeak of them ſeverally, as alſo of their Matrixes and Fruits.

It is a thing to be wondred at, that the Sectators of Ariſtotle, ſhould not yet ſince ſo long a time that his Writings and Philo­ſophy are in credit, have determined the number of Elements: For ſome amongſt them with great reaſon do affirm, that there is no Elementary Fire; I ſay, with reaſon, if it be underſtood in34 their own ſenſe: for, to what purpoſe is it to admit an Element of Fire under the ſphere of the Moon, ſince we aſſign to it no other uſe then to enter in the Compound of Mixt Bodies; and that, beſides that Element ſo placed, is at too great a di­ſtance from the place where Mixts are generated, we have found that the fire in them is nothing elſe but their Sulphur: therefore I do conclude here, with Paracelſus, that there is no other Ele­mentary fire, but the Heaven it ſelf, and its light.

As touching the general proprieties of Elements, two Quaeries uſe to be made on them: The firſt, If they are pure; the ſecond, If they are tranſmutable one into the other. Concerning their purity, I anſwer, that if they were ſuch, they ſhould prove of no uſe; for a pure Earth were barren, ſince it ſhould have in it ſelf no ſeeds of procreation and fruitfulneſs; and the brine of the Sea, and ſeveral qualities of the Air, ſufficiently confirm this Aſſertion. But as concerning their mutual tranſmutation of one into the other, it is not ſo eaſily performed as vulgar Philoſo­phers do imagine, though we cannot ſay it to be abſolutely im­poſſible: For they teach, that Earth is changed into Water, Water into Air, Air into Fire, and finally that Fire by another tranſmuta­tion returns into Earth: Becauſe, although Earth and Water do ſometimes aſſume and take the ſhape and form of Exhalations, yet theſe vapours are alwayes eſſentially Water or Earth, as it is made plain by their re-aſſuming their firſt nature. This change then cannot happen, unleſs ſuch or ſuch Element being totally ſpiritualized, comes to loſe its Elementary Idea, and to be re­united afterwards to the Univerſal Spirit, who might then give him the Idea of another Element, whoſe body he might have, by the character imprinted by the Matrix.

For this reaſon do Chymiſts aſſign two natures to Elements, in their deſcription of them; viz. the one Spiritual, the other Corporal; the vertue of the one being hidden in the boſom of the other. Hence it comes, that when they will have any thing to act efficaciouſly, they endeavour as much as in them lies, to deveſt it from its Body, and ſpiritualize it: For as Nature cannot communicate its. Treaſures unto us, but under the ſhade of Bodies, ſo can we do no more then to deveſt them by the help of Art from the groſſeſt and moſt material part of that Body, to apply35 to our uſes: for if we urge them, and ſpiritualize too much, ſo as that they ſhould flye from our ſight and contact, then do they loſe their bodily Idea and character, and return again to the Uni­verſal Spirit, to re-aſſume after ſome ſpace of time their firſt Idea, or ſome other differing from it, by the character and Idea of ſuch or ſuch a Matrix, incloſed in ſuch or ſuch part of ſuch or ſuch Element.

Theſe are the true effects of Elements, which are, as we have ſaid, to corporifie or identifie the Univerſal Spirit, by the ſeve­ral ferments contained in their particular Matrixes, and to give it thoſe characters which they had imprinted in themſelves; for, as we have ſaid, this Spirit is undetermined to all things, and may be made all in all. This happens, becauſe Nature is never idle, but perpetually in action; and as it is a finited eſſence, ſo can it neither create or annihilate any other, becauſe ſuch an act be­longs only to an infinite power. But this matter being of too large an extent to be treated of here, wſhall referre it to the following Sections, where we ſhall particularly treat of Elements, which are the Univerſal Matrixes of all things, where alſo we will ſpeak of particular Matrixes, that imprint the Idea's and characters to the Spirit, whereby ſo many fruits are produced, which daily fall under our uſe, by the help and means of natural fermentations.

SECT. II. Of the Element of Fire.

SInce all things tend to their Center, and place of their natural reſt, it is a manifeſt ſign that they are thereunto inclined and drawn, by a natural vertue, hidden under the ſhade of their bo­dies; this vertue can be nothing elſe, but that Magnetick faculty wherewith each Element is endowed, to draw its like to it ſelf, and repell its contrary: For as the Load-ſtone attracts the Iron of one ſide, and rejects it of the other, the Elements do likewiſe by a like power attract thoſe things which correſpond with their nature, and repell and drive away from them, thoſe that be of a different: ſince then fire aſcends, it is not to be doubted but36 that this effect doth proceed from a tendency it hath to its natu­ral place, which is Elementary Fire, where it is carryed by its own proper ſpirit, when it forſakes the commerce of the other Elements.

To underſtand well this Doctrine, it is firſt to be known, that the Element of Fire is not encloſed under the ſphere of the Moon, as we have already hinted above, and that conſequently no other Fire can be admitted, then the Aether or Heaven it ſelf, which hath its Matrixes and fruits, as the other Elements. For that great number of Stars which we ſee moving in that vaſt Element, are nothing elſe but particular Wombs or Matrixes, where the Univerſal Spirit takes a very perfect Idea, before it deſcends to incorporate it ſelf in the Matrixes of the other Ele­ments; and thence may be illuſtrated the ſenſe and meaning of that Axiom of the Great-Hermes, which many look upon as a Chimaera; that, Nihil eſt inferius, quod non ſit ſuperius & vice verſâ; and that opinion of Paracelſus, who doth affirm, That every thing hath its peculiar Heaven and Aſtrum: For to ſpeak true, the ver­tue of all ſublunar things cometh from Heaven, by the means of that Spirit whereof we have already ſo much ſpoken. Para­celſus names the knowledge of this Doctrine, Pyromancy, eſpe­cially when he treats of the Theory of Diſeaſes; for we ſee that Elements are as it were the Receptacles and Domicils of all thoſe things that are endowed with an intellectual, ſenſitive, or vegetative knowledge, or alſo Mineral, which ſome do call the fruits of Elements: And according to that Doctrine, it is not to be doubted, that as the Heavens are moſt perfect and ſpiritual, ſo they are the Manſion and Receptacle of thoſe ſpiritual and perfect ſubſtances which are called Intelligences.

But you muſt note, that when I have ſaid, that Fire in its aſ­cent doth forſake the commerce of others Elements, that I have ſo ſpoken, only becauſe the viſible Fire which we uſe on our Hearths, is nothing elſe but a Meteor or Body imperfectly mixt of ſome Elements or Principles, wherein Fire or Sulphur are pre­dominant, and its flame an oleagineous and ſulphureous ſmoak kindled; and when fire is ſpiritualized by that forſaking, it never ceaſeth till it hath returned to its natural place, which of ne­ceſſity muſt be above, and beyond the Air, ſince we ſee it in the37 Air it ſelf in a perpetual action, as willing to forſake it. It is alſo by the means of this fire, which is ſtill aſpiring to its Cen­ter, that the Clouds, which are hot and moyſt Vapours, or Meteors, compounded of Fire and Water, aſcend to the ſecond or middle Region of the Air, where the fire forſaking the water to aſcend ſtill higher, and ſo this Water finding it ſelf deſtituted of the Fire, which did bear it up in the Form of a Vapour, is forced to fall back in the form and ſubſtance of rain.

And here you are to note that Circulation, which Nature makes by the means of that Univerſal Spirit, already deſcribed; for as its power is limited, and that ſhe can, neither create nor produce any new thing, ſo can ſhe neither create nor annihilate any ſubſtance already created; as for Example, The continual Influxes of Heaven and its Starres, do inceſſantly produce the Fire or Spiritual Light, which beginneth firſt to embody it ſelf in the Air, where it takes the Idea of Hermaphroditical Salt, which thence falls in the waters and upon the earth, where it takes a body, either Mineral, Vegetable, or Animal, by the character and efficacy of ſome particular Matrix, imprinted in it by the action of its ferment; And when this body comes to be diſſolved by the means of ſome potent Agent, its Sulphur, Fire or Light corporified is ſo depurated, that the Starrs attract it for their food; for the Stars, (as we ſuppoſe) are nothing elſe but a Fire, a Sulphur, or ſome moſt pure Light actuated: Not unlike the link of a Lamp, which once being lighted, doth continually attract the Oyl to feed its flame: ſo that the Starrs in the ſame manner attract this fire, which is depurated by that action, and ſpiritualize it anew, to precipitate again by their kinde influency, and reſtore it to the Air, the Water, and the Earth, to corporifie it, or give it a body again: Thus you ſee nothing is loſt in Na­ture, which maintains its great work, and wheel, by theſe two principal actions, viz. By ſpiritualizing to corporifie, and cor­porifying to ſpiritualize, as we have already ſaid; and theſe are as two Ladders, whereby the heavenly influences deſcend down, and re-aſcend again from the lower parts: for the Heavenly vertues ſhould not be ſo durable, and would daily decay, by reaſon of the perpetual Conflux of ſo many productive ſubſtances, without this conſtant Circulation; unleſs that without any ne­ceſſity38 we would admit a perpetual creation and deſtruction of ſublunary ſubſtances, which could not be without a Miracle, and being a thing of daily courſe, might be called a miracle with­out miracle, and ſo imply a manifeſt contradiction: What Spring do you think could ſupply the matter which feeds thoſe vaſt Aetnean flames, which have laſted already ſo many Ages, were it not for this Circulation of Nature? And what could ſince ſo many years entertain the ſtreaming ſources of thoſe mineral, hot, and acid Fountains which the World doth afford in ſo many places, unleſs it were by the help of this wonderfull Ladder, and concatenation of Earth and Heaven: Therefore it muſt not be held totally impoſſible to make a Body turn wholly into Spirit, and reduce that Spirit again to Body; for you know, that Art applying Actives to Paſſives, may in a very ſhort time perform that, which Nature muſt be long buſied about: And becauſe that artificial Circulation which was performed in an ancient Sepulcher ſound out at Padua, doth not ill repreſent that Natural Circulati­on, or Circulation of Nature, whereof we have ſpoken, it will not be amiſs to inſert here in ſew words the hiſtory of it; Appianus in his Books of Antiquities, relates it thus: That in the Town of Padua was diſcovered a very ancient Monument, wherein, being opened, a burning Lamp was found, which had been there kindled many Ages before, as by the Inſcriptions of it did appear. This fire could not poſſibly be maintained, but by Circulation, and ſo it is eaſie to conjecture how it was done; viz. The Oyl ſpi­ritualized by the heat of the burning and kindled Taper, did condenſe it ſelf at the top, and ſo fall again into the ſame place whēnce it had been elevated. The Taper likely was made of Gold, Talcum, or Alumen Plumeum, which are incombuſtible; and the Urn was ſo exactly cloſed, that the leaſt particle of Oleagi­nous vapours could not breathe out.

SECT. III. Of the Element of Air.

PHiloſophers have been long in doubt, whether there was an Element of Air, and whether that ſpace wherein Animals do move and live, was not voyd of all ſubſtance; but the invention39 and uſe of Bellowes, and the neceſſity of reſpiration, have at laſt aboliſht this error. Therefore, there is no debate or difference between Chymiſt and Peripateticks at preſent, concerning the exi­ſtency and place of this Element; but they agree not amongſt themſelves concerning its uſe in Nature: for theſe laſt do make the Air to bear a part in the compoſition of Mixt Bodies, which the former utterly reject and deny, becauſe it never falls under their ſenſes, in the laſt reſolution of the Compound. The chief uſe which Chymiſts do aſſign to this Element, is, that it ſerves as Matrix to the Univerſal Spirit, which doth begin in it to take ſome bodily Idea, before it be wholly corporified in the Elements of Water and Earth, who produce Mixt Bodies, that are as fruits of the ſaid Elements. And becauſe we ſee no Element which doth not bear and produce its fruits, ſome have been for­ward to affirm, that Birds were the fruits of the Air. But this opinion is wrong and erroneous; for although theſe Birds be vo­latile, and for the moſt part abide in the Air, yet can they not be deprived of Commerce with the Earth either for the neceſſi­ty of generation or food: they that maintain Meteors to be the right fruits of the Air, are much more in the right, ſince they take in it their true MeteoricIdea.

Some do call that part of Philoſophy, which concerns the knowledge of Nature, the fruits and effects of this Element, Chormancy, but it is corruptly, and by a miſtake inſtead of Aero­mancy; for Chormancy is ſomething more general, and more univerſal: ſince it is the Doctrine and knowledge of the Chaos, which is to ſay, this great Matrix, whence all the Elements have been drawn: it is the Tohu and Bohu, or the hyle of Cabaliſts, which in Holy Scripture is called Water, where it is ſaid, that the Spirit of God did move upon the Waters, or rather lay hovering over the Wa­ters,*So much doth import〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉in the Original. as a Hen doth over her Brood, Spiritus Dei incubabat aquis.

But a queſtion may here be moved, that whereas we have ſaid above, that Elements cannot but difficulty quit their own na­ture to put on that of another Element, how it comes to paſs, that Air is ſaid to be the food and aliment of Fire, and that in reality it ſeems ſo neceſſary for its ſubſiſtance, that it periſheth40 as ſoon as the paſſage or communication of Air becomes inter­cepted. The anſwer is at hand; for as we have already ſhewed, the fire of our Hearths, or material fire, is not pure, the com­buſtible matter ſet on fire, doth ſend forth abundance of vapours and fuliginous excrements, which do very much prejudice the durableneſs and action of it; therefore it requires ſtill a ſtream of continual Air, to remove the fuliginous matter, becauſe with­out it the flame ſhould immediately be choaked; ſo that by this appears, how this converſion or imaginary food, is to be ta­ken, and how much dfference there is between true and falſe Philoſophy.

Another queſtion may be yet ſtarted, touching the uſe of reſpiration or breathing in Animals: Whether that Air which they draw in their breathing, hath any other end but meerly to refreſh them, as the ordinary Philoſophers do give out, only re­lying upon their Teachers words, without any induſtrious enquiry touching the truth of it, and contenting themſelves to quote their Authority, as the ſum and ground of all reaſons: But thoſe that look more narrowly into the nature of things, ſay, that there is another much more excellent and neceſſary uſe thereof, viz. to attract the Univerſal Spirit, which by thinflux of the Heavens, is conveyed into the Air, where it is endowed with an Idea al­together Celeſtial, Spiritual, and full of vertue and efficacy; it is converted in the heart into Animal ſpirit, where it receives a perfect and vivifying Idea, which renders the Animal capable by its help to exerciſe all the functions of life: For it is this ſpirit contained in the Air we breath in, which ſubtilizeth, and maketh volatile, all the ſuperfluities that are found both in the venal and arterial blood, the ſhop and matter of vital and animal ſpirits; and it is by the force and efficacy of this Spirit, that Na­ture is enabled to expell the impurities of nutriment inſinuated in the laſt digeſtions, by entertaining a continual tranſpiration through the pores. This appears even in the Plants, though very obſcurely: for although they be deprived of Lungs, or any other material Inſtrument, for the performance of reſpiration; yet have they ſomething Analogous to it, which is their Magnetiſme, by which they draw that Spirit reſiding in the Air, without which they could not perform their natural Operations, as to41 nouriſh themſelves, increaſe, produce their like, &c. Which ma­nifeſtly doth appear when they are buried too deep in the ground, and by this means deprived from that vivifying Spirit, by which they are animated, for they immediately die as if they were ſuffocated.

SECT. IV. Of the Element of Water.

THE moſt learned and perſpicacious Philoſophers amongſt the Ancients, have been of opinion, that Water was the firſt Principle of all things; becauſe it could in their apprehenſion, by its rarefaction or condenſation, produce the other Elements. But as we have heretofore declared this mutual change to be im­poſſible, ſo muſt we have our recourſe to another way of Philo­phy. We ſhall not here coſider Water, as being a conſtitutive Principle in the Compoſition of the Mixt; for in this ſenſe we have already ſpoken of it, where we have treated of Phlegm: But we ſhall ſpeak of it as of a vaſt Element, concurring to the frame of this Univerſe, and containing in it ſelf many particu­lar Matrixes, which produce a fair and pleaſing variety of fruits: Firſt of Animals, viz. Fiſhes, and all ſorts of Water-Inſects: Se­condly, Vegetables, as the herb called Ducks-meat, which hath her root implanted in the Water it ſelf: And finally, Minerals, as Shells, Pearls, and Salt, which is abundantly through Creeks and ſecret pores conveyed into the Earth, to advance the pro­duction of her own fruits. The Water then is the ſecond gene­ral Matrix, where the Univerſal Spirit takes the Idea of Salt, communicated by the Air, which did receive it from the Light, and the Heavens, for the production of all ſublunary things. Paracelſus calls the knowledge of this Philoſophy of Water, Hydromancy.

SECT. V. Of the Element of Earth.

IN the laſt Section of the foregoing Chapter, we have ſpoken of the Earth, as a Principle partly conſtituting the mixture of the body, and found after its laſt reſolution; but in this Section we treat of it, as of the fourth and laſt Elemnt of this Univerſe.

The Earth in this reſpect is, as it were, the Center of the World, in which all its vertues, proprieties and faculties are united; it ſeemeth even that all the other Elements were created for the uſe and benefit of the Earth, for all what is in them more precious, ſeemeth to be intended for its ſervice. Thus the Orbs of Heaven are inceſſantly whirled about, to ſupply all the parts of it with vital ſpirit, and for the maintaining as it were, and recruiting the daily expences of its Family: The Air is in a perpetual motion, to penetrate her deepeſt bowels, anthat to the ſame end, viz. to furniſh her with the ſame vital ſpirit; and the Water is never at reſt, running continually to communicate to her that which the Air hath beſtowed upon him: So that all the World ſeemeth to be concerned for the Earth, and the Earth only for her Fruits, which are her Children, ſhe being the Mother of all things. It ſeemeth even that the Univerſal Spirit, loves the Earth above any other of the Elements, ſince it deſcends from the higheſt part of Heaven, where it is in its exaltation, to corporifie it ſelf, or take a bodily ſhape here on Earth. Now the firſt Body which the Univerſal Spi­rit doth take, is that of Hermaphroditical Salt, whereof we have ſpoken above, which contains generally in it ſelf all the Principles of life: it is not deprived of Sulphur nor Mercury, for it is the ſeed of all things, which takes afterwards a body, and the Idea or taliety of Mixts, by help of the characters of particular Matrixes or Wombs, incloſed in the body of this great Element: If it meets with a Vitriolick Matrix, it turns it ſelf to Vitriol; if with Sulphur, it becomes Sulphur, and ſo of the reſt, and that by the vertue and efficacy of ſeveral natural ſermentations: In a Vegetable Matrix, it becomes Plant; in a Mineral, Stone, Mineral, Metal; in an Animal, whether living or not living, it produces an Animal, as it is43 daily ſeen in the generation of ſuch creatures as are produced by the corruption of ſome Animal, or other Mixt; as for Example, Bees generated out of young Bulls fleſh, and Worms out of the corrupti­on of ſeveral Fruits: Now as there are a great many differences of Mixts, ſo is there a great variety of particular Matrixes, which often cauſeth a tranſplantation in all things; but this matter belongeth rather to Chymical Philoſophy then to this place, where having no time to particularize, we do treat of things only in a general way. The knowledge of that part of Philoſophy which concerns this Element and its fruits, is called Geomancy. By it we are made ca­pable of knowing the operations of Nature, both in its very bowels and the ſurface: Her fruits are the Animals, Vegetables and Mine­rals; and if theſe Mixts are compoſed of the pureſt vital Principles, then according to their proper nature and condition, will they be laſting, and will attain the end of their natural predeſtination (or deſtiny) if ſome external and occaſional cauſe doth not interrupt that progreſs, and ſtop them in their Career: But when Chance (or Fortune) mixes in their firſt Compoſition or Nouriſhment, any of the Principles of Death or Deſtruction, they cannot long ſubſiſt, neither end their intended courſe by Nature; becauſe theſe Do­meſticaloes do inceſſantly devour and conſume them, as we ſhall make appear, when we come hereafter to ſpeak of Purity and Im­purity. But before we enter into that matter, ſomething muſt be ſaid of the Principles of Death or Deſtruction.

CHAP. V. Of the Principles of Deſtruction.
SECT. I. Of the Order of Matters treated in this Chapter.

HAving to treat of Purity and Impurity, in the ſecond Book, which ſhall immediately follow this Chapter, and the Principles of Death being in a manner contained under this matter; I found it not out of purpoſe, to cloſe this firſt Book44 by a ſhort Diſcourſe upon theſe Principles, although to ſpeak properly, they ſhould not be called by this name; for it is proper to the nature of Principles ever to compound or generate, but never to deſtroy.

We have ſhewed heretofore, that Principles may be conſidered three ſeveral wayes, viz. Either before the compoſition of the Mixt, or in the ſtate of its compoſition, or finally after diſſolution and deſtruction: We may ſay the ſame here touching the Prin­ciples of Death, which we have already ſaid in another place concerning the Principles of Life. But becauſe Contraries oppo­ſed one to the other, are better apprehended and illuſtrated, we ſhall ſay ſomething again concerning the Principles of Life be­fore the compoſition of the Mixt, that we may the better come to the knowledge of the Principles of Death, when we ſhall ſpeak of it in the third Section; for we ſhall referre our ſelves so ſpeak of their effects, being already corporified or embodyed in Mixts, when we come to treat of Purity and Impurity.

SECT. II. Of the Principles of Life before Compoſition.

WE have often ſaid above, that the Univerſal Spirit being indifferent to be made all things, is undetermined to any particular ſubject, unleſs by the character of particular Matrixes; and becauſe each Element is filled with theſe particular Matrixes or Wombs, as we have already proved, each Element doth con­tribute ſomething of his own for the perfection of its Compoſite. The Heaven doth by the aſſiſtance of his Stars, communicate unto it her heavenly, ſpiritual, and inviſible vertue, which deſcends firſt into the Air, where it beginneth to aſſume a kinde of body; the Air ſends it into the Water or the Earth, where this coeleſtial vertue and influence beginneth to operate more materially, and aſſociate it ſelf to matter, thereby to frame a body to it ſelf, by means of thoſe various natural fermentations which are the cauſe of alteration in ſublunary things: becauſe this Spirit is the true Agent, and the true efficient internal cauſe of theſe fermentations performed in the Matter, which of it ſelf is meerly paſſive, and45 the Archeus or director general of it: For when it is Mixt and united to the body, which clotheth it as it were, or involves it under its rinde, it can neither produce nor manifeſt thoſe wonder­full effects which it hides and conceals, being then as it were fettered and impriſoned; and ſhall never be able to exerciſe or ſhew his vittues, unleſs it be firſt diſintangled of its corporeity, and groſſeneſs of the matter; and this is the main point upon which Chymiſtry beſtowes ſo much labour, care and ſtudy, to bring unto light thoſe lovely Truths, which this p••t of natural knowledge doth contain.

Now as this Univerſal Spirit is the firſt Principle of all things, and that all things are produced by it, and return into the ſame, it is evident, that it muſt by neceſſity prove alſo the firſt Prin­ciple or Original of death in all things, which doth imply no contradiction, ſince it is done and underſtood in ſeveral reſpects; for as the variety of Compounds in Nature, doth require for its maintenance a variety of ſubſtances: There is alſo a variety of Matrixes or Wombs in the Elements, to attend the fabrick of thoſe various ſubſtances, and thence it is that what doth often­times advance the life of one, is the deſtruction and death of the other; as for Example: A corroſive Principle will be the death of a ſweet Mixt; and contrary wiſe, a ſweet Principle the death of a corroſive, by taking away its acrimony and ſharpneſs, which did conſtitute its eſtence and differency.

But to ſpeak ſtrictly and properly, it appears, that this firſt Principle, thus and thus Ideified, cannot be ſaid to be a Prin­ciple of Life or Death: This expreſſion can hold but in a re­ſpective conſideration, and as it relates to this or that Compound; but as the moſt part of ſweet things do contribute to the ſervice and preſervation of Mankind, becauſe they have ſome correſpon­dency with his taſte, and participate more of ſubſtances analo­gous to his Nature and Conſtitution: Hence it comes to paſs, that when the Univerſal Spirit hath received this ſtamp or cha­racter, it takes the denomination of Principle of Life; as to the contrary that of Death, if it be ſtampt with a corroſive Idea, which not only prejudiceth