Triumphal Chariot of Antimony by Basil Valentine / Part 1
Since, Basil Valentine, by Religious Vows am bound according to the Order of St. Benedict, and that requires another manner of Spirit of Holiness, then the common State of Mortals exercised in the prophane business of this World; I thought it my duty before all things, in the beginning of this little Book, to declare what is necessary to be known to the pious Spagyrist, inflamed with an ardent desire of this Art; as, what he ought to do, and whereunto to direct his aim, that he may lay such Foundations of the whole matter, as may be stable; lest his Building shaken with Winds, happen to fail, and the whole Edifice to be involved in shameful Ruine, which otherwise, being founded on more firm and solid Principles, might have continued for a long series of time. Which Admonition I judged was, is, and always will be a necessary part of my Religious Office; especially, since we must all die, and no one of us, which now are, whether high or low, shall long be seen among the number of Men. For it concerns me to commend these Meditations of Mortality and Posterity, leaving them behind me, not only that honour may be given to the Divine Majesty, but also that Men may obey him sincerely in all things.
In this Meditation I found that there were five principal Heads, chiefly to be considered by the wise and prudent Spectators of our Wisdom and Art. This first of which is, Invocation of GOD. the second, Contemplation of Nature. The third, True Preparation. The fourth, The Way of Using. The fifth, Utility and Fruit. For he, who regards not these, shall never obtain place among true Chymists, or fill up the number of perfect Spagyrists. Therefore touching these five Heads we shall here following treat, and so far declare them, as that the general Work may be brought to light and perfected by an intent and studious Operation.
1. [GOD TO BE FIRST INVOKED]
Invocation of GOD must be made with a certain Heavenly Intention, drawn from the bottom of a pure and sincere Heart, and Conscience, free from all Ambition, Hypocrisy, and all other Vices, which have any affinity with these, as Arrogance, Boldness, Pride, Luxury, Mundane Petulancy, Oppression of the Poor, and other dependent evils, all which are to be eradicated out of the Heart; that when a Man desires to prostrate himself before the Throne of Grace, for obtaining bodily health, he may do that with a Conscience free from all unprofitable Weeds, that his Body may be transmuted into an Holy Temple of GOD, and be purged from every uncleaness. For GOD will not be mocked (which I earnestly admonish) as Worldly Men, pleasing and flattering themselves with their own Wisdom, think: GOD, I say, will not be mocked, but the Creator of all things will be invoked with reverential fear, and acknowledged with due Obedience. And for this there is great Reason. For what hath Man, that he must not own to be recieved from this his Omnipotent Creator, whether you have respect to the Body, or to the Soul, which operates the Body? Hath no he, for sustention of this, out of his meer Mercy communicated to us his Eternal WORD, and also promised Eternal Salvation? Hath not he also provided food and cloathing for the Body, and all those things without which the Body cannot subsist? All these, by humble Prayer a Man obtains of that most excellent Father, who created Heaven and Earth, together with things Visible and Invisible, as the Firmament, Elements, Vegetables, and Animals. Which is so very true, that I am certainly assured, no Impious Man shall ever be partaker of true Medicine, much less of the Eternal Heavenly Bread. Therefore place your whole Intention and Trust in GOD, call upon him and pray, that he may impart his blessing to you: let this be the beginning of your work, that by the same you may obtain your desired end, and at length effect what you intended.
For the Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom.
Whosoever purposeth in himself to seek after that, which is the greatest of Terrene things, especially the knowledge of every good thing, that is in the Creatures, and GOD hath liberally imparted to Men, and implanted (as to their effective power) in Stones, Herbs, Roots, Seeds, Animals, Plants, Minerals, Metals, yea and indeed in all things; let him cast away all Earthly thoughts, reject all that depends on them, and hope for freeness of Heart, and pray unto GOD with great lowlyness of mind: So doing, his hope of freeness may at length be turned into freedom. Which no Man will doubt, who knows, that he alone is GOD, who delivered Israel from all his Enemies; which deliverance he did in very deed effect, not only for Israel, but also for all Men making humble supplications to him, and praying with brokenness of Heart. Therefore let Prayer by the first point of our Admonition, which also is, and by us is called Invokation of GOD, which if made, not with Hypocrisy and a feigned Heart, but with such Faith and Trust, as that, with which the Centurion in Capernaum prayed; with such lowlines of mind, and confession of Sins, as the Woman of Canaan was endued with; with such Charity as the Samaritan shewed to the Man wounded in the way to Jericho, pouring Wine and Oyl into his wounds, paying his Charges in the Inn, and giving order he should be very carefully looked to; Lastly, if a Man’s Christian Charity extends itself so far, as if he obtain what he prays for, he would willingly communicate of the same to his Neighbour, then he shall unobtainably obtain Riches and Health, the of his Prayer.*
*What the Author hath premised here at large, and elsewhere often inserted touching Piety, the worship of GOD, and Invocation of his Name, I purpose neither to praise nor dispraise; Let them by judged by signs of his own earnest Piety, Arguments of his sincerity and signate Impresses of his fervent zeal (by so many Tautologies and Reiterations) often boiling up. Every Man, according to the Opinion of his mind, and the presuasion, in which he was educated from his Childhood, will more or less esteem of this. It was my business to translate the Authors writings into Latin, in such a Method and Order, as I thought would in no wise give any distaste to the delicate Palat of the Reader; also to indicate that, which seems pertinent to the business of every Chymist and true Spagyrist, and not to neglect the other. For since Piety is available for all things, as divine Oracles teach, and the principal exercise of Piety is Prayer; by which Celestial Gifts are obtained of GOD the giver of all good things; our Author wills, that unto him the mind by lifted up, even in the midstof the Operations of Chymistry full of labour and toil. If prayer effected no other thing, it certainly collects the mind (called away from all other things) into it self and renders it apt for that which is in hand; whence it comes to pass, that it reflects upon many things, and considers them, which otherwise would not enter the mind, if it set about its Work perfunctorily, and distracted with vaious Conceptions: And so by the help of Prayer we receive many things, which we (if not ungrateful) must needs acknowledge we have obtained from GOD.How often this is found to be of use in Spagyric Works every Man knows, that hath any time entirely devoted himself to this business; viz. how often those things which he long sought and could not find, have been imparted to him in a moment, and as it were infused from above, or dictated by soem good Genius. That also is of use in dissolving all Riddles, or Enigmatical Writings: For if you burn with a great desire of knowing them, that is Prayer; and when you incline your mind to this or that, variously discussing and meditating many things, this is Cooperation; that your Prayer may not be idle, or tempting GOD: yet this your endeavour is in vain, until you find the Solution. Nevertheless if you despair not, but instantly persist in desir, and cease not from labour, at length in a moment the Solution will fall in; this is Revelation, which you cannot receive unless you pray with great desire and labour, using your utmost endeavour; and yet you cannot perceive, how from all those things (of which you thought) which were not the Solution of the Enigma, the Solution it self arose. This unfolding of the Riddle opens to you the mystery of all great things, and shews how available Prayer is for the obtainment of things Spiritual and Eternal, as well as Corporal and perishing goods: and when Prayer is made with a Heart not feigned, but sincere; you will see that there is nothing more fit for the acquiring of what you desire. Let these suffice to be spoken of Prayer, which Basilius and all Philosophers with him do not vainly require, as an Introduction to Chymistry. For Piety is profitable for all Works, especially for Great Undertakings.
2. Next in order after Prayer is Contemplation, by which I understand an accurate attention to the business it self, under which fall these considerations first to be noted. As, what are the Circumstances of any thing, what the Matter, what the Form, whence its operations proceed, whence it is infused and implanted, how generated by the Stars, conformed by the Elements, produced and perfected by the three Principles. Also how the body of every thing may be dissolved, that is, resolved into the first Matter, or first Essence (of which I have already made mention in other of my writings) viz. how the last Matter may be changed into the first, and the first into the last.*
*What are here set down, touching the true Theory of Philosophy, are compendiums of those things, which Philosophers have in os many Books (writ about the same business) revealed, shall I say, or concealed. Attend to the words of the Author, and you will see, that he perfectly knew that Spirit penetrating all things, which presides or bears rule in all things, yet is involved and absconded matter and defilements on every side; from which if once freed, it returns to the purity of its own substance, in which it produceth all things, and is all in all. To comment upon this, would be a work no less than the producing of all Books of Philosophers, compiled with such accurate study, and contending with so great contention about the Theory.
This Contemplation, which absolves the second part of our Admonition, is Celestial, and to be understood with Spiritual Reason; for the circumstances and depth of every thing cannot be perceived any other way, then by the Spiritual Cogitation of Man: and this Contemplation is twofold. One is called possible, the other impossible. The later consists of copious cogitations, which never proceed to effects, nor exhibit any form of a matter, which falls under the Touch. As if any one should endeavour to comprehend the Eternity of the Most High, which is vain and impossible, yea a Sin against the Holy Spirit, so arrogantly to pry itno the Divinity itself, which is Immense, Infinite, and Eternal; and to subject the incomprehensive Counsel of the Secrets of GOD, to humane Inquisition. The other part of Contemplation, which is possible, is called the Theory. This contemplates that, which is perceived by Touch and Sight, and hath a formed Nature in time: this considers, how that nature may be helped and perfected by Resolution of it self; how every body may give forth from it self, the good or evil, Venome or Medicine latent in it; how Destruction and Confraction are to be handled, whereby under a just Title, without Sophistical deceits, the pure may be severed and seperated from the impure. This Seperation is instituted and made by divers manual operations, and various ways; Some of which are vulgarly known by experience, others remote from vulgar experience. These are, Calcination, Sublimation, Reverberation, Circulation, Putrefaction, Digestion, Distillation, Cohobation, Fixation, and the like of these; all degrees of which are found in operating, learned, perceived and manifest by the same. Whence clearly appears what is moveable, what is fixed, what is white, red, black, blew, or green, viz. when the operation is rightly Instituted by the Artificer, for possibly the Operator may err, and turn aside from the right way; but that Nature should err, when rightly handled, is not possible. Therefore if you shall err, so that Nature cannot be altogether free, and released from the Body, in which it is help Captive, return again into your way, learn the Theory more perfectly, and enquire more accurately in the method of operating, that you may find the foundation and certainty in Seperation of all things. Which is a matter of great concern. And this is the second foundation of Philosophy, which follows the Prayer: for in that the sum of the matter lies, and is contained in these words. Seek first the Kingdom of GOD, and his Justice by Prayer, and all other things, which Man seeks in these Temporals, and he hath need of, either for the sustentation or health of his body, shall be added to you.
3. Next to the Theory, which researcheth out the inmost properties of things, follows Preparation, which is performed by Operations of the hands, that some real work may be produced. From Preparation ariseth Knowledge, viz. Such, as opens all the fundamentals of Medicine. Operation of the Hands requires a diligent application of it self, but the praise of Science consists in experience, but the difference of these Anatomy distinquisheth, *Operation shews how all things may be brought to light, and exposed to sight visibly: but knowledge shews the practice; and that, whence the true Practitioner is, and is no other then confirmation: because the operation of the hands manifests something that is good, and draws the latent and hidden nature outwards, and brings it to light for good. For, as in Spirituals, the way of the Lord is to be prepared; so also in these things, the way is to be opened and prepared; so also in these things, the way is to be opened and prepared, that no errour be from the right path, and the Process may be made, without devious errours, in the direct way to health.
*Manual Operation is chiefly required in this third Part, without which, every Operation, like a Ship wanting Ballast, floats and is uncertain. It is difficult to express this with a Pen; for more is learned by once seeing the work done, then can be taught by the writing of many Pages; yet if it be no offence to you, to peruse these Commentaries together with Basilius (in this so necessary part) will not a little help.
4. After Preparation, and especially after separation of the good from the evil, we are to proceed to the *Use of the weight or dose, that neither more, nor less then is fit, may be given. For above all things, the Physician ought well to know, whether his Medicament will be weak or strong, also whether it will do good, or hurt, unless he resolve to fatten the church yard, and with the loss of his fame, and hazard of his own soul.
*By Use, the Authour understands what others call Dose; for what will a good Medicine profit you, if you know not in what quantity to administer it; that the same may rather heal, then hurt or kill. By experience only to learn this, is a work full of perilous casuality, yet the Discipline or knowledge of Doses was found out this way first, and afterward easily taught by Words. Where a living Voice is wanting, it is safer to be too timerous, then in any wise bold or adventurous, although of Antimony I can affirm, that being duly prepared it is as harmless a medicine as Cassia or Manna. The whole caution is chiefly about its use, after the first preparations; because it may still retain much of its own crude Venom.
5. After the Medicament is taken into the body, and hath diffused it self through all the Members, that it may search out those defects against which it was administered, the Utility comes to be considered; for it is possible that a Medicament diligently prepared, and exhibited in due weight, may do more hurt then good in some Diseases, and eem to be Venom rather then Medicine. Hence an accurate reflexion is to be made to those things, which profit or help; and they are diligently to be noted, that we may be mindful to observe the same in other cases.
Yet both in the *Use and Utility, this one thing is necessary to be considered, viz. whether the Disease be an external and open wound, or only an internal and latent evil: for as the difference of these is great, so the way of curation is not the same. Therefore the bottom of every Disease is to be knwon, that it may be understood, whether the same may be cured by external remedies only, or must from within be driven outwards.
*That Indication is to be taken from things helping and hurting, is known even to Tyro’s. But what the Author subjoyns touching internal and external curation, are not so rude, as not to deserve good Attention: And also those things which he permixeth with his own Satyrical Reprehension, if the Reader be so wise as to believe that Basilius intermixed them to deter the unworthy deriders of Chymistry from approaching to his sacred Arcanums, he will be wise for himself. For whilst others rail and swell with indignation, he gathers the fruit of the Authors Axioms, which as another Agent he scattered among these Thorns. Whilst you, O lover of Chymistry, peruse these, so long will I keep silence.
For if the Center of the Disease by within, such a Medicine must be given, as can search out, apprehend and restore that Center; otherwise the Physicians labour will be fruitless and in vain.
Moreover, if there be an internal Disease, which ariseth, and is fed from an internal Original, it must never be driven inward by external remedies; for great discommodity will thence ensue, and at length Death itself. Which may be understood by the similitude of a Tree; for if any one, whilst it germinates or flowers, repels the Humours to the Interiours, whence they proceeded to the nutriment of the earth; that Tree will be so far from bringing forth the desired Fruit by the flower, that a suffocation of the same ariseth from the violent conjunction of humours not finding any out-let. Therefore there is great difference between fresh wounds inflicted by Prick, Cut, or any other way, and the old which derive their Original from within. For the fresh wounds may be perfectly cured by external remedies only; but in those, which are nourished from within, an external application of Oyls, Balsoms, Unguents, and Plaisters profits little, unless the Internal Fountain be stopped, whence the humours flow to the external parts. When the Fountain shall be stopped, the Flux will cease, and the evil may easily be cured with Diet only. It is no great point of Art to heal any fresh wound; for this every Country-man can easily effect with crude Lard: but to remove all Symptomes which happen in wounds, and to dry up the Fountain of the evil, this is the work, and this the labour of the Artist.
Now come hither, you physicians, how many so ever there be of you, that arrogate to your selves the Title of Doctor of either Medicine, viz. of internal and external Diseases; understand ye the Title of your honour, and consult your own Conscience, and see, whether you recieved that from GOD, that is, possess it in verity, or whether you usurp it as a form, for honour sake. For, as much as Heaven is distant from the Earth, so vastly different is the Art of healing internal Diseases, from the Sanation of external wounds. If the Title be given to you by GOD, the same GOD will give a Blessing, Felicity, Health and happy events; but if your Title be vain, and only devised and assumed for ambition, all things will evilly succeed to you: your honour will fail, and you will prepare for your self Hell-fire, which can no more be extinguished, then it can be expressed by words. For Christ said to his Disciples; You call me Lord and Master, and ye do well, Therefore whosoever assumes a Title of Honour, let him see, whether he do well, and whether he ascribes not more to himself, than he knows and hath learned, which is the real abuse of this Title. For he, who will write himself Doctor of either Medicine, ought to understand, know, and be well skilled in both, viz. the Internal and External Medicine. Nor should he be ignorant of Anatomy, that he may be able to shew the Constitution of the Body, and discover from what Member every Disease proceeds, together with its Fountain and cause. Also remedies, with which he may cure the Disease, and circumstances of external Wounds, are to be understood by him. Good GOD! where will the Title be found, what will become of the Master, when an exact Trial shall be made, for discovering the ignorance of these Doctors of either Medicine?
In times past, long before my days, the Doctors of Medicine did themselves cure External wounds, and judged that a part of their Office; but in these times, they take Servants, whom they employ in these things, and this way the noblest of Arts is become a Mechanick Operation; and some of those who exercise it, are indeed so very rude, as they know not Letters, and scarcely know how (according to the Proverb) to drive an Ass out of the Corn. These, I say, profess, themselves Masters in curing wounds, and Doctors of Doctors; and to speak the truth as it is, they may by a better right glory in this Title, they thou magnificent Doctor, umbratical Chyrugion, and most ignorant Boaster of Titles, why do you style yourself Doctor of either medicine? What more now Master Doctor, what say you, most expert Chyrurgion? I pray be not offended at this, or take it amiss; for you your self will quickly confess, if you do but seriously consider wounds made by Prick or Cut, that you have as much knowledge in the cure of them, as is in the Brain of a dunghill Cock, which Children learning their A.B.C. are wont to set in the Frontispiece of their Primer.
[TRUE DOCTRINE, WHEREIN IT CONSISTS]
Therefore I persuade all Men, of what state or condition soever, who are desirous of Learning, from your Masters to search out the true Doctrine, which consists in Preparation, and afterward in the Use;
[OPERATIONS AND UTILITY GIVE EXPERIENCE] so they, or you, shall possess the Title assumed with honour, and Men will undoubtedly have confidence in you, and you will in very deed do them good, then will you to the Eternal Creator give thanks cordially without feigning. But let every Man seriously think with himself, what it is he ought to do, and what he is to omit, and whether he doth justly or unjustly use the Title assumed. For he, who assumes any Title, ought especially to understand the condition of that Title, and why he assumed it, or what the true foundation is. It is not sufficient, if anyone iwth the vulgar say (saving your reverence, let the more delicate Men pardon us, if we intending to speak to the purpose, make mention of putrefaction) this is egregious dung, it hath a strong and grievous ill savour, and know not how it comes to pass, that a Man, who perhaps eats food of a most grateful taste and odour, and well accommodated to his natural Appetite, thence makes excrement endued with qualities so contrary, and yielding an odour so very ungrateful, and repugnant to Nature: of which there is no other reason, then natural putrefaction and corruption. The same happens in all Aromatical well smelling things. It is the Philosophers part to enquire, what odour is, and whence it receives its virtues, and in what the virtue of it may be made manifest to true profit. For the Earth is nourished and fattened by stinking dung, and noble Fruit is produced of it. Of this matter there is not one cause only, but our Book would swell to an huge Volume, if we should but briefly hint at all natural Generations and mutations; yet Digestion and Putrefaction are the principal keys of them. For the Fire and Air make a certain Maturation, by which a Transmutation of the Earth and Water may follow; and this is also a certain mutation, by which of evil smelling Dung a most fragrant Balsam may be produced; and on the contrary, of most grateful Balsam ill favoured Dung. But perhaps you will say, why do I produce examples of so very rude and absurd? I do confess the example is taken from a Cottage, rather then a Royal Court; yet a prudent considerer of things, more accurately diving into the matter, will easily understand, what such examples intimate to him, viz. that of the highest things the lowest are made, and the lowest the highest, so that, of a Medicament is produced of Venome, and of Venome Medicine; of the sweet, bitter, acid, and corrosive; and on the contrary of the corrosive, another thing more profitable.
[NATURE ABSCONDED FROM MEN]
O good GOD, how much is Nature absconded from Men, so that she seems to disdain to be wholly seen by us? But since thou hast ordained so very short a time of our Life, and thou the Judge of all, reservest many things to thy self in the Creatures, which thou hast left to be admired, not known, by us, and of which thou alone wilt be the beholder and Judge, grant unto me, that unto my Life’s end I may keep thee and my Saviour in my Heart, that besides health and necessaries of the body, which though hast liberally bestowed, I may also acquire the health of my Soul and Spiritual Riches; of which inestimable good I am freed from all doubt by that thy mercy, in which, for my soul, for me a miserable sinner, thou didst (on the Tree of the Cross) shed Sulphur and Balsom; which is indeed a mortiferous Venom to the Devil, but to us Sinners, a most present remedy. I do certainly heal my Brethren, as far as concerns the Soul, by Prayer, and in relation to the body, with apt Remedies; therefore I hope they will on their parts use their endeavour, that they with me, and I with them, may at length inhabit the Tabernacle of the Most High, and in him our GOD enjoy Eternity.
[SPIRIT VIVIFICATIVE, AND OPERATIVE]
But to return to my Philosophy of Antimony, I would have the Reader, before all other things, to understand, that all things contain in themselves operative and vivificative Spirits; which inhabiting in the Body feed and nourish themselves, and are sustained by the Body. Elements themselves want not these Spirits, which (the living GOD permitting that) whether they be good or evil, have their Habitation in tehm. Men and Animals have in them a living operating Spirit, which receding from them, nothing but a Carkass remains. In Herbs, and all things bearing Fruit, a Spirit of Sanity exists; otherwise they could not, by any Preparation, be reduced to Medicinal use. Metals and all Minerals, are endued and possessed with their own incomprehensible Spirit, in which, the power and virtue of all their possible effects, consists. For whatsoever is without Spirit, wants Life, and contains in itself no vivifying Virtue. Therefore, you are to know, that in Antimony also there is a Spirit, which effects whatsoever in it, or can proceed from it, in an invisible way and manner, no otherwise, than as in the Magnet is absconded a certain invisible power, as we shall more largely treat in its own place, where we speak of the Magnet.
[SPIRITS OF VARIOUS KINDS]
But there are various kinds of Spirits;* visible to the Intellect, and endued with Spiritual knowledge, which notwithstanding cannot (when they will) be touched or apprehended, as Natural Men are touched; [SPIRITS OF THE ELEMENTS] especially they, who have their fixed Residence in Elements, as are the Spirits of Fire, Lights and other Objects formally darting out Light from themselves: such are Airy Spirits, who inhabit the Air; Aqueous Spirits living in Waters; and Terrene Spirits living in the Earth, which we Men call Earthly Men, which are chiefly found in wealthy mines of the Earth, where they shew and discover themselves to us.
*What follow, seem somewhat confused, according to the Sentiments of certain Theologicians, who have held various opinions of Spirits residing in the Fire, Air, and other Elements; adjudging them to the Eternal Fire of Hell. All which with Basilius, we leave as unknown, to the Judgement of the Divine Knowledge. But what he himself subjoyns, touching the wonderful virtue and power of Antimonial and all other Chymical Spirits, which we our selves with so great admiration have often seen, we understand only of material Spirits; which certainly are endued with as great virtues, and effect things no less wonderful then those Spirits, which Phantastick persons (oppressed with Melancholy) affirm they see and talk with; yea I cannot remember that I ever found written or declared (by such, as taking a liberty of lying, endeavour to please or terrify others) any greater or more wonderful virtues then these Spirits have.
[SPIRITS WANTING SPEECH]
These Spirits are endued with Senses and Understanding, know Arts, and can change themselves into divers Forms, until the time of their Judgement; but whether a definitory sentence ought to be pronounced against them as yet, or no, that I leave to the Providence of the Divine Majesty, from whom nothing is hid. There are other Spirits, wanting speech, which cannot shew themselves visibly in the very act; and they are those which live in Animals, as in Men and the like, in Plants also and in Minerals; nevertheless they have in themselves an occult and operative Life, and manifest and discover themselves by their efficacious power of operating, which they contain in and bear about themselves, and most apparently give testimony of their virtue of healing, whensoever that (by help of the Art) is extracted from them, being accurately seperated from their body. After the same manner, the efficacious Spirit, and operative power of Antimony, manifests its gifts, and distributes them among Men, being first loosed from its own body, and freed from all its bonds, so, that it is able to penetrate, and render fit to be applyed to those Uses, which the Artificer proposed to himself in Preparation.
[ARTIST AND VULCAN OUGHT TO AGREE]
But the Artist and Vulcan ought to agree:
[FIRE MAKES SEPERATION] the Fire gives seperation for an operative power, and the Artificer forms the matter.
[EXAMPLE, OF A BLACKSMITH]
As a Black-smith useth one sort of Fire, also Iron only is his matter, which he intends for forming divers Instruments. For some times of it he makes a Spit, at another time Horse-shoes, another time a Saw, and at length innumerable other things, every of which serves for that Use, unto which the Smith intended it, although the matter is but one, which he prepares for so many divers uses. So of Antimony various works may be made for different uses: in which the Artist is the Smith that forms;
[VULCAN, THE KEY]
Vulcan is as it were the key which opens; and Operations and Utility give experience, and knowledge of the Use. O! if foolish and vain Men had but Ears to hear, and true eyes with understanding, not only for hearing what I write, but for understanding the Arcanum and knowledge of the use; assuredly they would not suck in those insalubrious and turbid Potions, but hasten to these limped Fountains, and drink of the Well of Life.
Therefore let the World know, that I shallprove those pretended Doctors, who seem to be wise, to be mrere Fools and Idiots,and cause many unlearned Men (but such as are studious Disciples of my Doctrine) to become true Doctors in very deed. Wherefore I here solemnly cite and invite all Men, who earnestly aspire to knowledge, with a chearful mind, good Conscience, and certain hope, to embrace and become Spectators of our Doctrine, and accurately to peruse my Writings and Informations; for so, at length, they (being possesors of what they sought) will extol and commend me after death, rendering my mortal name immortal, with their perpetual remembrance of my praises, as long as the World endures. But if when I am dead, any one be pleased to institute a disputation in the Schools against me, my writings will fully answer all his Objections, and I am assured my Disciples will never forget the benefit received from me, by which they will obtain the Empire of Truth, which ever was to me, and always will be to them, sufficient to suppress a Lie to the Worlds end.
[ANTIMONY OF 2 KINDS]
Also let the well meaning and sincere observer of Art know, that there are two kinds of Antimony very different from each other: one is fair, pure, and of a golden property, and that contains very much Mercury, but the other which hath much Sulphur is not so friendly to gold as the first, and is distinguished by fair long and white shining streaks. Therefore one is more fit for Medicine and Alchemy, then the other: as when the Flesh of Fishes iscompared with the Flesh of other Animals, although both these are, and are called Flesh, yet each of these very much differs from the Flesh of the other; even so of Antimony the difference is the same. Many do indeed write of the Interior virtue of Antimony, but few of tehm ever taught the true Foundation of the virtues with which it is endued, or found out which way, or in what manner it recieves them; So that their Doctrine is founded upon words only, exists without any true foundation, and they themselves lose the fruit they hopes to receive by such Writings. For to write truly of Antimony is a work that requires profound Meditations, a mind largely unfolding itself, and knowledge of its manifold Preparation, and of the true Soul of it, in which all the Utility is cited, and which being known you may be able to give an indubitate Judgement, of what evil or good, Venom or Medicine is latent therein. It is not a matter of small moment by a true Examen to search into Antimony, and thereby to penetrate fundamentally into its Essence, and through earnest study to attain the final knowledge thereof, that the Venenosity of the same (against which unskilful Men ignorantly exclaim) may be taken away, and it be changed and prepared into a better State, becoming a Medicine fit for use and void of Venom.
[ARTISTS VEX, WREST AND TORMENT ANTIMONY]
Many Artists intending to Anatomize Antimony, have divers ways vexed, wrested and tormented the same, in such wise as it cannot be well described in Words, much less believed; yet, the matter being truely examined, they effected nothing. For they sought not its true Soul, and therefore could not find the feigned Soul of it, which themselves sought. By the black Colours a mist was cast before their Eyes, so that they could neither observe the true Soul itself, nor know it.
[ANTIMONY COMPARED TO A CIRCLE]
For Antimony like unto Mercury, may fitly be compared to a round Circle, of which there is no end; in which the more diligently any Man seeks, the more he finds, if Process be made by him in a right way and due order. Yet the Life of no one Man is sufficient for him to learn all the mysteries thereof. It is Venom and a most swift poison, also it is void of Venom and a most excellent Medicine; whether it be used outwardly or inwardly. Which is a thing hid form most Men by reason of their own blindness; and they judge it an incredible, foolish and vain work, because (through their ignorance) it is unknown to them, who can no otherwise be excused, then that they deserve the name of Stupidity: yet that is not to be suffered in them, because they desire not to learn or be better informed, either here, or elsewhere.
[ANTIMONY ENDUED WITH THE 4 FIRST QUALITIES]
Antimony is endued with all the four first qualities; it is cold and humid, and against it is hot and dry, and accommodates it self to the four Seasons of the year, also it is volatile and fixed. The volatile part of it is not void of Venom, but the fixed is free from all venenosity; which is so very strange, as it may be reputed one of the seven Wonders of the World, of which so many Writers have discoursed, not knowing themselves what they writ.
[ANTIMONYS VIRTUES INEXHAUSTIBLE]
There hath been no *Man before me, and at this day there is none found, who hath so thoroughly learned the power, virtue, strength, operations, and efficacy of Antimony, or so profoundly penetrated into all the Energy thereof, as nothing more is latent in it unfound out, or which cannot be brought to light by experience. If such a Man could be found he would be worthy to be carried about in a Triumphal Chariot, as in times past was granted to Monarchs and potent Heroes, after they had happily fought Battles, and were returned with Victory. But I fear, that many of our Doctors will be constrained to provide a Chariot for themselves.
*Here the Author speaks largely in commendation of Antimony. Read, read (I say) O Lover of Chymistry, and you will find nothing Hyperbolical, nor anything Thrasnick. Basilius in speaking as he doth, hath not exhausted the Praises of Antimony; because no Man unto this day could ever experience all its Virtues. We have seen many of its Effects, and many new Effects are daily found by curious Searchers, yet many more remain unknown. So that, as in Fire is an inexhaustible Fountain; (for the more you take from it, the more it gives) so in Antimony is an inestimable Treasure of new Virtues. For if from it you extract its Acetum a thousand times, it will a thousand times, yield new Acetum. Nature seems to have made choice of this Mineral, therein to hide all her Treasures. Therefore not without reason hath Basilius made for it a Triumphant Chariot, which is daily enriched with Spoyls taken from the Camps of Ignorance.
For the Masters of this terrene World are so intangled with their own Thoughts, that they seek nothing from Antimony but Riches, and forget to search its utility for medicine, and the Health of the Body, which notwithstanding ought above all things to be sought, that (being brought to Light) the wonderful Works of our GOD may be made manifest, and the Glory given to him, with great thankfulness. It is not to be denyed, but that more of Riches and Health may be found in it than either you all, or I myself, can believe: for I profess my self no other than a Disciple in the Knowledge of Antimony, although in it I have seen, experienced and learned more than you, and all such as you are (who arrogate to yourselves great skill therein) either have learned, or ever can learn. Yet no Man should therefore be troubled, or despair of Benefits; but because the World, indulging their own Ingratitude, have neither esteemed, nor with due Reverence acknowledged the Munificence of the Most High, but have preferred Riches before Health, GOD hath spread as it were a Spider’s Webb before their Eyes, that being blind they might not know the Secrets of Nature absconded in the Form of this Mineral.
[RICHES REQUIRED BY ALL]
All men cry out Rich, Rich we would be. I confess you all aspire to Riches, and with the Epicure say, The Body must first be provided for, the Soul may at length also find somewhat; and with Midas (as in the Fable) you desire that all things whatsoever you touch may be turned into Gold. Hence it is, that so many seek their desired Riches in Anatomy: But because they accept not that Gift of the Creator with a grateful Heart, which before all Things should be procured, and cast the Love of their Neighbour behind their back, therefore they in vain look the Horse in the Mouth; for they know his Age and Strength no more than the Guests at the Marriage-Feast in Cana of Galilee knew the wonderful Work, which Christ there wrought, when he turned Water into Wine. They knew, that Wine was Water, and that the Water was turned into Wine, they perceived by the Taste; but how that Transmutation happened was hid from them. For the Lord JESUS, our Saviour, reserved the Supernatural Work to himself, as a Testimony of his Omnipotency. Wherefore I say, it is every Man’s duty, to search out the Mysteries and Arcanums, which the Creator hath insited in all Creatures; for although (as we said) it is not Credible, that we Men can thoroughly learn and penetrate all Things; yet we are not forbid to inquire into them, since by Study and Diligence so much may be effected, as although through some defect a Man may be hindred in such wise, as he cannot attain to the desired Riches and perfect Sanity, yet he may acquire enough to occasion him not to repent of his Labour, but rather to minister unto him matter of Joy and Rejoycing, that he sees himself so far an Adeptist, as he stands always obliged to render thanks to his Creator.
[SOLUTION WHEN NECESSARY]
Therefore, whosoever desires to become a perfect Anatomist of Antimony, the first thing to be considered by him is Solution of the Body; and in order to this, he must take it in a convenient place, and propose to himself the right way, that he be not seduced into devious Paths. Secondly he must observe the Governance of the Frie, taking Care that it be neither too much, nor too little, or too hot, or too cold. For the summ of all is sited in an exact Governance of the Fire; by which the vivifying Spirits of Antimony are extracted, and loosed from their bonds, and so rendered capable to manifest their Effects operatively. Also he must take great Care, that this Operative Virtue be not mortifyed and persih Adustion.
Thirdly the Use or Dose is to be observed by him, that he may administer it in due manner, knowing the Measure, as I above mentioned, when I spake of the five principal Heads requisite in the Exercise and Practise of Chymistry; but here I only hint at it cursorily by way of a parable.
By Resolution the sum of the Matter is proposed, but by Fire it is prepared to profit. For a Butcher cuts out an Ox, and divides it into parts, but no Man can profitably enjoy this Flesh, unless he first boyl it by Fire, by which Operation the Red substance of the Flesh is changed and prepared into white Aliment. If a Man constrained by hunger, should eat that Raw and Red flesh, it would be Venom to him rather than Medicine; because the natural Heat of the Stomach is too weak to concoct and digest that crude Body. Hence, my dear Friend, you may conclude, that since Antimony hath greater Venom, and a more gross Mineral Body than Animal Flesh (as by the above recited common Example I have already shewed) it will also prove more perillous, if used Crude, without remain Venom, which will suddenly kill the Sick.
[VINEGAR, NOT TRANSMUTABLE INTO WINE]
Therefore the Venenosity of Antimony is so to be taken away, as it may never against be converted into Venom, after the same manner, as Wine, which being once, by putrefaction and corruption turned into Vinegar, never afterward yields any Spirit of Wine, but always is and remains Vinegar. but on the Contrary, if the Spirit only of the Wine be seperated, and the Aquosity left by itself, and the same Spirit afterward exalted, it will never in any wise be changed into Vinegar, although it should be kept an hundred Years; but will always remain Spirit of Wine, no otherwise, then as Vinegar remains Vinegar.
[WINE, TRANSMUTABLE INTO VINEGAR, HOW]
This Transmutation of Wine into Vinegar is a wonderful Thing; because somewhat is produced from Wine, which was not before in its vegetable Essence. In which it is also to be noted, that in distillation of Wine the Spirit first comes forth; but (on the contrary) in distilling Vinegar the Phlegm first comes, afterward the Spirit, as I have shewed above in its own place, where I also made mention of this Example.
[SPIRIT OF WINE, VOLATILZE]
Therefore Spirit of Wine makes Bodies volatile, because itself is volatile;
[SPIRIT OF VINEGAR, FIX] but Spirit of Vinegar fixeth all Medicaments, as well of Minerals as Vegetables, and renders them solid, so that they apprehend things fixed, and expel fixed Diseases.
[ANTIMONY CONTAINS ITS OWN VINEGAR]
*Consider and observe these things diligently; for this principal Key is of great concern. Therefore Antimony, which contains in itself its own Vinegar, ought to be so prepared, as all its Venenosity may be taken away, and he, who useth it, conceives no Venom thereby, but rather drives away and casts out all Poison from himself, by the use thereof.
*Beleive not only Basilius, but me also, with the same Faith and sincerity affirming to you; this is the first Key, this is the principla part of the whole Art, this opens to you the first Gate, this will also unlock the last, which leads to the Palace of the King. But as I said, not only beleive, but also consider and observe. Here you stand in the Entrance, if you miss the Door, all your Course will be Error, all your Hast Ruine, and all your Wisdom Foolishness. He who obtains this Key, and knows the Method (which is called Manual Operation) by which to use it, and has strength to turn the same, will acquire Riches, and an open Passage unto the Mysteries of Chymistry.
Therefore Preparation of Antimony consists in the Key of Alchimy, by which it is dissolved, opened, divided and seperated; as in Calcination, Reverberation, Sublimation, etc. as we declared above it. Also in extracting its Essence, and in vivifying its Mercury; which Mercury must afterward be precipited into a fixed powder. Likewise by Arts and due Method, of it may be made an Oyl, which is effectual wholly to consume that new and unknown Disease, which the French, in their Warlike Expeditions, brought into our Regions. The same is visible in other Preparations, derived from the Spagyrick Arts and Alchimy; as for Example:
[EXAMPLE, OF BEER]
If anyone would make Beer of Barley, Wheat, or other Corn, all these degress must be most perfectly known to him, before he can from those Grains extract their most subtil Essence and virtue, and reduce the same into a most efficacious Drink. First, the Grains must be so long steeped in Water, as until they be able sufficiently, to open and resolve themselves (as I, when I was a Young Man, travelling into England and Holland, diligently observed to be done in those places) this is called Putrefaction and Corruption. This Key being used, the Water is drawn off from the Grain, and the macerated Corn is laid on Heaps close together, and left so for a due time, until it spontaneously conceive heat, and by the same heat, germinating, the Grains adhere each to other: this is Digestion. This being finished, the Grains which adhered in their Germination, are separated, and dryed, either in the Air, or by Heat of Fire, and so hardened. This is Reverberation, and Coagulation.
[CALCINATION, VEGETABLE, WHAT]
When the Corn is thus prepared, it is carried to the Mill, that it may be broak and ground small; this is Vegetable Calcination. Afterward, by heat of Fire cocting these Grains, the more noble Spirit of them is extracted, and the Water is imbibed with the same; which without the aforesaid Preparation could not have been. This way the crude Water is converted into Beer, and this Operation (though I speak but rudely) is and is called Distillation.
[HOPS, THE VEGETABLE SALT OF BEER]
The Hops, when added to the Beer, is the Vegetable Salt thereof, which conserves and preserves from all Contraries, endeavouring to corrupt the same. This way of boyling Water into Drink, by extraction of the Spirits from the Grains, the Spaniards and Italians know not, and in my native soil of Germany about the Rhine, few are found skilled in this Art.
After all these works are performed, a new Seperation is made by Clarification, viz. of the Drink, in this manner: a little Yeast or Ferment is added, which excites an internal motion and Heat in the Beer, so that it is elevated in it self, and (by the help of time) Separation of the dense from the rare, and of the pure from the impure is made; and by this means the Beer acquires a constant virtue in Operating, so that it penetrates and effects all those Ends, for which it was made and brought into use: which before could not have been; because the Spirit, the Operator was hindered, by its own Impurity, from effecting its proper Work.
In Wine also doth not Experience teach the same? That cannot, before the time come, in which the Impuritys may be separated from it, so very perfectly and efficaciously perform its own Work, as after Separation of the pure from the impure: which by Drunkeness is manifest; for Beer or Wine unsettled, and not purifyed, give not forth from themselves so much Spirit for inebriating, as after Clarification. But of this no more. After all the aforesaid, a new Operation may be instituted, by Vegetable sublimation, for separation of the spirit of the Wine or Beer, and for preparing it by Distillation into another Drink of Burning Wine, which may also be made of the Lees or Dregs of Wine and Beer. When this is done, the Operative Virtue is separated from its own Body, and the Spirit being extracted by Fire, forsakes its own unprofitable dead Habitation, in which it was commodiously hospited before. Now, if this Burning Wine, or Spirit of Wine, be rectifyed, an Exaltation is made by often distilling it, and by a certain method of Operating, the pure part (free from all Phlegm and Aquosity) may be so concentred, and as it were condensed, as one Measure of it may effect more, then twenty or more could have done before. For it sooner inebriates, and is swift, volatile and subtil for penetrating and operating.
*Here I admonish you, whosoever you are, who desire to be taught by my Writings, and hope to obtain Riches and a true Medicine from Antimony, that you would not carelessly peruse my Intention, in which is no letter writ in vain, and which hath not a certain singular signification for your Instruction.
*Come hither you Traveller, stay your Journey here. Contemn not or flighty pass over this tautological, but not impertinent, Admonition; often in your mind have recourse to this Description of Beer, search, contemplate, and weigh all Things, perhaps in this turbid and famous Gulf, you will find the Fish you look not for. If in this Light you yet be blind, I know not any Collyrium will profit you: if with so certain a manuduction you cannot pass on to the work itself, I know not who will lend you a Staff, or what Demonstration can direct the Journey of a Stupid Man. Believe, read, meditate, labour, and spare the use of so many Chymical Books, which distract you with the Error of various ways, this one tells you all things.
Yea, I here solemnly affirm, that there are many words dispersed here and there in my Writings, to which if the Reader give heed as he ought, and know in what Fundamentals the principal Heads of the matter are sited, and as it were buried, he will have no Cause to repent his often turning over the same Leaves, but will esteem every word as much, as a piece of Gold coin. For you know, that althought the Examples by me proposed, sound harsh, as delivered in a rude manner, yet they contain in them somewhat that is excellent and of great Moment. Yet I am not here ambitious to procure Authority or praise to my Writings, which is not my Business, nor would it become me: for when the Operation of them shall be brought to Light, they will acquire praise enough to themselves.
[EXAMPLES OF BEER, WHY PRODUCED]
I purposely and willingly produce Examples so rude and common, because the power of Antimony and the true Virtue thereof, deeply and profoundly abscoded in its inmost parts, is to be searched out. I was willing, by these gross Examples to lead you by the hand, and shew you the way, that by them you might attain to the Thing itself, and not at the very first err from the Gate; for so doing you would long wander, and never bring your Operation to the desired End.
[ANTIMONY COMPARED TO A BIRD IN THE AIR]
For Antimony is like a Bird, which is carryed through the Air and as the Wind drives it, so it turns itself which way that wills: here, in this Case, Man acts the Part of the Air or Wind and can drive and move Antimony, at his pleasure, and repose it in such a place, as himself chooseth: he can imbibe it, with a yellow, red, white or black Colour, according as he desires it should be, and as he rules and governs the Fire; because in Antimony (as in Mercury) all Colours are found, which no Man should wonder at, considering how many Things Nature bears absconded in her Bosom, which neither you nor I are able to comprehend in many days.
[ANTIMONY COMPARED TO A BOOK]
If a book happen to be given to a Man, that is unlearned, he knows not what is signified by that Writing, or what that Scripture intends; for it is hid from his Eyes, and he stands amazed, as a Cow at the sight of a new Door. But if unto that unlearned Man, anyone suggest the Explication of the Book, and teach him not only the matter contained therein, but also the use of the same, the Man no more admires it, as an Art; but by this means it becomes to him a Common Thing, the Reason and Operation of which he understands, and by his own Study can learn, conceive, and comprehend the Utility so perfectly, as now none of those Things, which were contained in the Book , are hid from him; because he hath learned both to read and understand what is written therein. Such a Book is Antimony to those, who know not of the Art of Reading; therefore I faithfully admonish all, who desire to be partakers of its Utilities, to bend their mind to know and pronounce the letters thereof, that so they may acquire the Art of Reading that Book; and in such a manner, that (as in a School) they may be removed from Form to Form, when he who hath rightly gained Experience, shall preside as Rector, and judge of that, which in Trial is most worthy: for One is worthy to be preferred before another, in the Possession of that.
But here, what comes into my mind, and ought in no wise to be passed over in Silence, I think good to mention; viz: that at this Day many are found who exclaim, and rashly pronounce Crucifige, Crucifige, against all those, who prepare Venoms into Medicaments, by which (as they say) many Mortals perish, or, if they escape with Life, live miserably; such are Mercury, Arsenick, Antimony, etc. and this Clamour is chiefly made by those, who (if it please the GODS) are called Doctors* of Medicine, yet indeed understand not what the difference is, between Venom, and Medicine, but are wholly ignorant how Venom may be prepared, so as to pass into a salutary Medicament; and instead of its malignity, put on a better Nature.
*Basilius somewhat indulgeth his own Genius, inveighing against False-Phyisicians, whose ignorance (in his time) was so very greate, as they contemned every sublime Preparation of Medicine, which he himself, and Chymists with him did profess; proscribing the same as unprofitable, perillous, and hurtful: against whome, it is not strange, if the Chymists (on the other hand) rose up with some small vehemency, and endeavour courageously, by assistance of their Knowledge, and Conscience, to break through that rout of unskilful Men; but the best Things are not allways the most prosperous. Chymists overcame by the Justice of their Cause, but were overcome by Number: yet, having verity and goodness on their side, thy fought with so great Confidence, as they were certainly assured they should bear away the Victory; which our Author here shews, and Paracelsus (prophesying of the Coming of Elias the Artist) did presage would be. And certainly unto me (seriously considering how greatly chymists have in these times improved their Knowledge) the Dawning of that Day hath opened itself, since I behold so many Rays of the approaching Sun.
[VENOM PREPARED RESISTS POISON] Against these I do in a special manner exclaim and protest, against these, I say, who (ignorance of Preparation) exhibit Poison to Men: for Mercury, Auripigment, Antimony, and such like, are venoms in their Substance, and unless rightly prepared remain Venoms. Yet after a Legitimate Preparation, all their Venenosity is broke, extinguished and expelled, so that no part of them remains, but what is Medicine, which resists all internal Venoms, although most deeply rooted, and radically destroys the same. For Venom, being in such a manner prepared, as it can no longer hurt, resists all Poison, which is not as yet prepared, and so very well prepares and subjugates it, as it is compelled with the same to put off its own venomous Nature.
Here I shall raise a great Contention among the Learned; for I know they will doubt what these my Words should signify, as whether what I affirm and write be possible to be done or no; and they will be divided into several Opinions there-about. Some will judge it is in no wise possible, that from those Things, of which we treat, the venenosity should be wholly taken away; nor do I wonder, that they persist in that Opinion, since the Doctrine of like Preparations is absolutely unknown to them, who have not the least thought of that, which leads to the Knowledge of thse more profound Mysteries. Yet a small part of these Men will with me be constrained to acknowledge, it is possible a vile Thing may be changed into a Better. For you (you Doctors I mean) must confess to me, that your purpose is to reduce that Evil, from which the Disease had its Original, into a better State. Go to then; will you not also grant, that if any Evil be in those Things, of which Medicine is to be made, the same Evil must be converted into a better State, that it may so much the better perform its operation, and more powerfully and profitably act, without any notable peril? But since unto very few as yet is known, or by Experience found, the Way, by which a Man ought to proceed in these Preparations, a very small part of these will assume and contend for the Opinion I here affirm, and publicly profess: for very many will be carryed away with the greater Rout, crying, Venom, Venom! which Voices, whilst I hear them, put me in mind of those wild Clamours, by which the Jews required the Saviour and Redeemer of the World, that he might suffer the Punishment of the Cross, often crying out Crucify him, Crucify him, whom they proclaimed to be the highest, most present, most pernitious, and cursed Venom, when as indeed he was the noblest, supreme, most glorious and most profitable Medicine of our Souls, which was to deliver us from the Death of Sinners, from the Devil, Hell¸ and all Misfortunes. Although those proud Pharisees and Lawyers neither could nor would understand this, nevertheless he both then was, and will be to the end of the World, and after it to all Eternity, the same superexcellent Medicine: and neither the Devil, nor Death, nor the very Gates of Hell, nor any Creature, how powerful, or perverse soever, can effect anything at all, whereby to overthrow this Truth.
[KINGS, AND PRINCES, MISINFORMED BY DOCTORS]
So I hope, yea doubt not (although all vagabond and circumforaneous Medicasters, all Physicians resident in Cities, and how many soever there be, that profess themselves Masters of any part of Medicine, do all together contrive what they can, and exclaim against Antimony) but that the same Antimony will triumph over the ingratitudes of all those unskilful Men (for true Physicians and such as are always ready to learn, I touch not here) and by its own power and virtue acquired after due preparation, will overcome and tread under foot all its Enemies. But, on the contrary, those ignorant false Judges, and pertinacious contemners of Antimony, because they know not the Truth, together with the proud and blood-thirsty Jews, shall perish, and be cast into the Abyss of Hell. How ridiculous those magnificent, and to themselves only wise Doctors, seem to me, who deterr Emperors, Kings, Princes and all other Great Men, and seriously admonish them not so much as to touch such Medicines with their Lips, because they are noxious, venomous, and every way perillous, I will not here declare, since I see them only to judge according to their own Opinion, without entertaining any Observations of other things, the Knowledge of which they have not before acquired by their own Contemplation, and therefore cannot judge of any thing else, or otherwise than they have learned. Therefore to these I say, if there be any Man, that hath taken so strong a Poison, as present Death is necessarily expected to follow, I will (provided the Man be left wholly to my Care) give him an Antidote by me prepared which shall continually resist that Venom, and quickly expel it out of the Body. But I little care, whether you Mr. Doctor, who do neither know this Thing, nor ever would apply your mind to know it, do slight the same, and repute it as a ridiculous, and altogether false tale; it is sufficient for me, that I am able (but if praise worthy, let praise be given to GOD) to prove and defend the Truth thereof. For I myself have experienced it, I have made, I have prepared, I have prescribed this Medicine, and there wants not a sufficient number of Witnesses to confirm it under Hand and Seal.
And whensoever I shall have occasion to contend in the School with such a Doctor, who knows not how himself to prepare his own Medicines, but commits that Business to another, I am sure I shall obtain the Palm from him: for indeed that good Man knows not what Medicines he prescribes to the Sick; whether the Colour of them be white, black, grey or blue, he cannot tell; nor doth this wretched man know, he only knows, that he found it so written in his Books, and thence pretends Possession (or as it were Possession) by Prescription of a very long time: yet he desires no further Information. Here again let it be lawful to exclaim, good GOD, to what a state is the matter brought! what goodness of mind is in these men! what care do they take of the Sick! Wo, wo to them! in the day of Judgement they will find the fruit of their ignorance and rashness; they they will see him whom they pierced, when they neglected their Neighbour, sough after Money and nothing else; whereas were tehy cordial in their Profession, they would spend Nights and Days in Labour, that they might become more learned in their Art, whence more certain health would accrew to the Sick Labour is tedious to them, they commit the matter to Chance, and being secure of their Honour and content with their Fame, they (like Brawlers) defend themselves with a certain Garrulity, without any respect had to Conscience or Truth; Coals seem wonderful strange, and as out-landish Wares to them, therefore they spare the Money, that should be bestowed in them, as if they intended to lay it out to a better use. Vulcan himself, viz. the Prepairer of Medicaments, is not found among them; for their Fornaces stand in the Apothecaries Shop, to which tehy seldom or never come. A Paper Scrol in which their usual Recipe is written, serves their purpose to the full, which Bill being by some Apothecaries Boy or Servant recieved, he with great noise thumps out of his Mortar every Medicine, and all the Health of the Sick.
My GOD, change, change these times, and put an end to this arrogant Pride, overturn those Trees, lest they swell up to Heaven, throw down those Giants lest tehy accumulate all Mountains; and defend those, who seriously managing their Business, faithfully serve thee, that they may be able to stand against these their Persecutors. I seriously admonish all those in our Monastery, bound by the same Vows with me, that they would with my self Night and Day pray unto GOD, that he would so illuminate these Enemies of true Medicine, as tehy may execrate their own Error, and acknowledge the Glory of GOD, and his Power insited in the Creatures, and perceive the Clearness latent in them, by Preparation and Anatomy (as it were speaking in their Ears) which otherwise surrounded and covered over with external Impurities, would deeply be concealed, and never brought to Light. But I trust the Creator of all Things, (both of those which fall under our Sense, and of those that are remote from our Senses) will benignly hear our Prayers; that, if not whilst I and my Brethren live, yet after our Death, such a Conversion of Things and Men (GOD answer these desires) may follow, as that thick and obscure Veil may be taken away from the Eyes of our Enemies, and they by true and infallible Illumination, obtain a clear sight, that tehy may find their lost Groat: which GOD, the eternal Governour of Time and Things of his Grace and Mercy grant.
But it is fit, that I, who intended to publish a certain Discourse of Antimony, in all its Numbers Absolute, should begin with the *Name itself.
*Poets do often posit in the midst of their Poems, Histories or Fables of Princes, that by a continued Series of Things, they may the more easily attain their End, which is to delight their Readers: Chymists for another end use the same Medium. For since their purpose is to teach the Readers so, as they may only be understood by those, who wholly devote themselves with a fervent desire to the Study of that Science, they keep not that Order, which proceeds from the beginning to the End by Mediums. Therefore our Author, at length coming to treat of the name of Antimony, whence it took beginning, acts as anohter Man addicted to some Scholastic Order: but by and by turning from this Discourse, he answers an Objection, before it is made by Interrogation; viz. whether from Antimony all its Venom may be taken away, the possibility of which he proves by very profitable and significant Examples.
The Arabians, to whom in times past this Mineral was known, did in their Language call it Astinat; but the Chaldeans called it Stibium; among the Latines at this day the name of Antimony is used, by which name they first of all signified it. We Germans in our Language have given it a Name, which seems to express a certain property of its Nature, for since it is seen to consist of a certain streiked Matter, and of it may easily be made Glass endued with various Colours, which proceed therefrom, we have called it Spies-glass, as if we should say streiked Glass. From which Variety of the Name, by a prudent Judgment a singular Collection may be made, viz. that Antimony was knwon, and greatly esteemed, and its virtue and Utility observed and brought into use by the Arabians, Chaldeans, Latins, and our Germans: but afterward, the Heresies of various Opinions arising, the use was vitiated, and its Virtue and Glory first obscured, and afterward wholly extinguished. Of which there is no Reason to Doubt; for nothing is more probable, than that Truth should suffer Dammage and Shipwrack by the Oppression of Enemies. For who knows not the Malice of the Devil, which by Reason of our Sins and Blindness is very often permitted by GOD. The Devil is the perpetual Enemy of Mankind, who imploys all his Strength, and all his Deceits, and omits nothing, which in himself is, to prevent the Knowledge of the profit of true Medicine, and to exterminate its use; knowing well enough, that by that means the power and glory of GOD is obscured, and those Sacrifices of the praises of men are impeded, by which they gave thanks to GOD, because he hath insited as it were the Rays of his Goodness in the Creatures, whence they may obtain Health by a natural auxiliary.
But since to discourse of the name of Antimony, is not to our purpose, we will desist from this Matter. For all the Praise of Antimony consists in the Preparation thereof, which is made for perfecting the Virtues infused in it from Nature by the Author of Nature. Therefore my discourse shall be of this, handling it and its known Virtue, and I will endeavour to make my Name immortal. Yet before I come to declare the Virtue of Antimony, since I above confessed, that it is meer Venom, I would have you know and diligently note, that Venom is able to draw Venom to itself, because like itself, much sooner and much more than any other Thing of another Nature.
[VIRTUE OF UNICORNS-HORN PROVED]
Now let any Reader consider, and observe it as a Thing worthy of Note, that the true Unicorns-horn, sophisticated by no fallacy, repels all Venom from itself, nor can it assume or draw to itself anything of Venom, as is manifest by Experience. Let a living Spider be put in a Circle made of Unicorns-horn, and out of this Circle it cannot go, or pass over the Unicorns-horn, for it shuns whatsoever is adverse to Venom. But if the Circle be made of venemous Matter, it is not to be doubted, but that the Spider will go out of it, and pass over that Venom like it self. Note this Experiment, make a piece of Silver hollow, and put it in Water, that it may float like a Boat, and put Venom into it, then hold a piece of true Unicorns-Horn, as nigh to it as you can, but so as you may not touch it, that Unicorns-Horn by its spiritual Virtue will drive the Silver from it, so that it will flie away like a Duck, which swimming on the Water flies, when it perceives the Snares of the Fowler ready to entangle it. But on the contrary, Nature in a wonderful manner loves and follows its own like, as appears by this Example. Put a piece of pure and fine Bread in a dish full of Water, so as the Bread may swim upon the Water, hold a piece of true Unicorns-Horn close to it, yet so as it touch it not; and if you leisurely move the Unicorns-Horn the little piece of Bread will follow it. Nature so much loves its own like, and so much hates what is unlike itself, as this flies and that follows. Therefore let our Doctors consider, that Venom by a certain Magnetick Power Attracts Venom, and those things which are void of Venom, do in like manner draw to themselves things pure, and wanting a Venomous quality.
[VENOM TAKEN AWAY TWO WAYS]
Therefore Venom may be taken away two ways; first, by its Contrary, which resists Venom, as already is related of the Unicorns-Horn. Secondly,by Like, when Venom by a certain Magnetick power draws Venom to itself. But the Venom which must heal Venom like itself, ought first to be so prepared, as its Venom may pass into Medicine, and by its own attractive virtue, assume the other to and expel it with itself.
[EXAMPLE OF SOAP]
Of which thing you have a most clear Example of Soap: That is compounded of Oil and other fat ingredient Matters, which seem to be, and in very deed are, more apt to foul, than cleanse Linen; but because in the Boiling of Soap, especially by the help of Salt, a certain Separation and Preparation is made, the Soap is rendered most apt to draw to itself and wash out all foulness and filths from Linen and other things: so indeed may Venom in a certain manner, by Antecedent Preparation be accommodated so, as to be no more Venom, but a Medicament, it draws to itself all other Poison, casts it out, and restores the man to his pristine Purity and Health.
Now since our Discourse hath led us so far, and we have begun to open Nature so much; that the truly Studious of Medicine (though hitherto ignorant of this) may clearly know, what Good or Evil is latent in Nature, what is Venom and what is harmless; which is a thing hath not as yet been found out by Doctors, by reason of their own supine negligence; and that the Truth thereof may be demonstrated and also confirmed, it will not be amiss to produce certain Experimental Examples, which may discover the Truth, and refute the false Opinions of others.
[EXAMPLE OF AN EGG]
Put an Egg, which in the Winter is congealed with Cold, into very cold Water, there let it lie for a due space of time, and the Ice will externally adhere to the Egg-shell, but the Cold be extracted from the Egg itself, and restored to its pristine vigour and intireness.
[EXAMPLE OF A MEMBER BENUMMED]
Again, if any Member be benummed with Cold, let not the Patient neglect himself, but apply cold Snowwater round about, so one Cold attracts the other, and the Member is restored.
[EXAMPLE OF A MEMBER INFLAMED]
On the contrary, if any one have a Member inflamed, let him apply to that Inflammation an hot Matter; as for example, Spirit of Wine, which is mere Fire, or the Quintessence of Sulphur, and he will in very deed find, that Heat is attracted by Heat, in a certain Magnetick manner, and like to rejoice in like, and not only to asswage the pain and heat of the inflamed Member, but absolutely to restore the same to its pristine strength.
[EXAMPLE OF FROGSPAWN]
Yet lest this our purpose should not be fully enough confirmed by Examples, I will also add another, by way of Supplement. Take Frog-Spawn in the Month of March, and laying it on a Board dry it in the Sun, when dry reduce it to Powder, and strew of this Powder, upon wounds made by Venomous Vipers or Serpents; by this means such Wounds will be so prepared, as they may be perfectly healed by other Medicaments applied thereunto. Or otherwise, if Linen cloths be often moistened in Frog-Spawn, and as often dried, and that Linen cut into small pieces and applied to Wounds, they effect the same, as the aforesaid Powder would have done.
[EXAMPLE OF A TOAD]
But that the very foundation of this Truth may more clearly be declared; take a venemous Toad, dry him in the Sun, shut him up in an Earth closed Pot, and by burning reduce him to Ashes; then having taken out the Ashes, and reduced the same to Powder apply of that Powder to a Wound made by Venom, and this Poison attracts the other Poison, and joins it with itself. Why so, I pray? Because by this Burning, which is the Calcination of the Toad, its interior Virtue is made manifest, and efficacious for operating; so, that Like can attract like, and especially Venom, to itself. Therefore firmly perswade yourself, that this Truth is infallible and immuatable, which I have here proposed to you and others by Example. If anyone afflicted with the Pest, do diligently observe this, he will find the Truth of those things I have here above mentioned: the Astrum of Sol, from which (as from an operative and all vivifying Sun) all things in their kinds universally arise; therefore I determine that in the potency of Gold, more than in all other Things, is an Operating Nature; that is, in its own Astrum, whence both itself, and all Metals and Minerals, in the Beginning, received their first Nativity and Propagation of Generation. Touching which more may be said, when I shall manifest to you the Astrum of Sol, and commend the same most religiously to your Conscience.
[ANTIMONY, ITS ASTRUM]
After the same manner process is to be made with Antimony, which hath the same Operations with corporal Gold; yet of the Astrum thereof I now speak not.
[ANTIMONY SPEAKS OF ITSELF]
For I know (saith Antimony) it behoves me, before that, to fear and tremble; although in many principal Arcanums of Medicine, I far excel it; yet universally I am able to effect none of those Things, which the Astrum of Sol (confirmed by the Testimony of Celestial Verity) is able to produce. The Astrum of Mercury I omit, because I my self have my descent from the same Original with it: but as to a Celestial penetrating power of Operating, I give the first place of Dominion to the Astrum of Sol.
[VULCAN, A MASTER IN HIS OWN ELEMENTS]
My Writings and Books, composed by Experience, properly follow and answer each to other; as one metal (as to its virtue) is observed and esteemed by another, and must by Fire be proved of what value it is. So these my Sayings, or Writings, or Medicaments, ought to be brought into the Schools, as tending to one Scope and End. Into the Schools, I say, where Riches obtain to themselves (as it were) an Hereditary place, and instead of that take away all the Honour, which is due to Vulcan only, who can boast himself to be a Master in his own Element of Fire. Which may be shewed by Example, and a true and manifest Proof.
[EXAMPLE OF STEEL AND A FLINT]
When most hard Steel is struck with an hard and solid Flint, Fire excites Fire by vehement Commotion, and accension, drawing forth the occult Sulphur, or the occult Fire is manifested by that vehement Commotion, and enkindled by the Air so, as it truly and efficaciously burns; but the Salt remains in the Ashes, and the Mercury thence takes its flight together with the burning Sulphur.*
*You, who read this most simple Comparison of Steel and a Flint, slack the Reins of your Admiration, and seriously ask yourself, whether there can be found out anyway or Method, by which from this Stone and Cold Iron may be extracted, a Substance, of which one only Grain (but why do I speak of a Grain?) of which the hundred part of a Grain can in a very short time Convert a great Mass of some rude Matter, into the most splendid and most pretious of all Things; yea, into fire most profitable for Mankind? This is possible, and is dayly done, when the fixed is made Volatile, and the Volatile again fixed. He that hath understanding, let him understand, and cease to defame the admirable virtues of Chymical Works.
[MEDICINE, INEFFECTUAL IF NOT SEPARATED FROM ITS IMPURITY]
So here also understand, that Antimony ought in a certain Method so to be handled, as its Mercury may be separated from the Sulphur thereof, in a Natural Manner. Now as Fire, which lies absconded in Matter, unless it be made manifest, and can be demonstrated, is profitable for nothing, is not (as I may say) tangible by the Hands, nor can it effect any thing to purpose; so Medicine can effect nothing that is excellent, unless it be first separated from its Grossness, rectified and so discharged of Impurities, clarified and brought to Light by due Preparation, as is manifest in all Things: for when Separation of the pure from the impure is made, and all that is mountanour or terrestrial is segregated from the pure Metal, then the desired Harvest is to be expected. Hence it is manifest, that Fire can effect nothing, before it is in a certain manner opened and set at Liberty, that before it is in a certain manner opened and set at Liberty, that it may operate. Therefore, to comprehend much in few Words, I say, this is the Condition of Antimony. Whatsoever is occult and absconded from the Knowledge of the Vulgar, that injoys the Name and Honour of Art, viz. as long as it lies hid; but so soon as it is discovered and made manifest, Art hath end, and it becomes a Mechanick Work; as I have than once declared in other of my Books.
[EXAMPLE OF BEES]
A Bee sucks Honey from Flowers, with such Art as the Almighty hath insited in it, in which Honey is latent a Virtue, Juice, and Corroborative Power, of which a Medicine is made, as is obvious to the Eyes of all Men.
[EXAMPLE OF A CORROSIVE VENOM OF HONEY]
Now, from that Honey, of a sweet and most pleasant Taste, a violent Corrosive and present Venom may be prepared; which perhaps no man, unless he who hath learned it, will believe; no man certainly considers this, unless he be a diligent Observer. Yet for this Cause Honey is not to be condemned, nor is it to be said, that although it hath a most grateful Sweetness, yet it is a Corrupt Medicine; because a Corrosive may be made of it: but it should rather be said, that Corruption proceeds from the Physicians ignorance, who knew not how duely to prepare it. Here I am willing to teach the ignorant Physician, to free him from the last Judgement.
[HONEY, HOW PREPARED]
For Honey is prepared of the Superfluities of Brute Animals, by which the Grounds and Fields are fattened; in those Grounds arise Flowers, Herbs, Fruit-trees of various kinds, from which the Bees suck a most noble Quintessence: by this is made the Alteration and Generation of one Thing into another, viz. into Aliment of another Form and Taste, which in no wise agrees with the former, and that is called Honey. Of such Honey is prepared a Food most grateful, pleasant and fit for man, and for many Things most profitable. Of the same may be prepared a Poison most hurtful to Man and Beast.
[NATURE TO BE FOLLOWED]
Therefore, do you Searcher of Nature, of what Age, Sex, Fortune, or Condition soever, follow me and Nature. I will shew you the Truth, without any Mixture of falsity, drawn from the very Foundation. I will make you understand, who proceeds rightly, and who unadvisedly. I will teach you to separate the Good from the Evil, the Highest from the Lowest. For of Antimony, if its Venom be first changed into Remedy, is made a Medicine, which eradicates, and like Fire penetrates, prepares and by cocting consumes all Diseases.
[QUINTESSENCE OF ANTIMONY, WHAT]
Wherefore Antimony is first to be prepared into a true Stone, which is the Quintessence thereof; and because, in its Operation it is altogether like unto Fire, (when reduced to its Coagulation) it shallby me be named the Stone of Fire. when this Stone of Fire is rightly prepared, as in the End of this Treatise I will further show, its Medicinal Virtue consumes all noxious Humours, purifies the blood in the highest Degree, and performs all that may be effected by Aurum Potabile.
Therefore, I pray you, my unexperienced Doctor, who have neither learned my Preparation, nor conceived the Use, not to judge from a false suspicion, and your own ignorant Thoughts; but set about the Work itself, and learn how the Preparation of Antimony ought to be made, how you should further proceed with it, how its Venom is expelled and separated, and Salutary Medicine posited in the place of it, and exalted. When I say* you shall have performed This, then at length will you be able to judge of the difference, and understand those things, which before were very far remote from your Knowledge.
*Here again the Author waxeth hot against false Physicians; but do you read on, and after this Heat he will give you a profitable Doctrine, which you may soon find in Aqua Fortis and Spirit of Wine.
O you wretched and to be pitied Medicasters, who painted with a Fucus, breath out I know not what Thrasonick Brags, and pass over Mountains wanting Foundation, walking through Clouds in your own Thoughts, and know not where at length you shall rest your Foot: you, I say, I admonish to consider what you will answer, in the Extreme Judgement of the Son of GOD. Seek, and when you have found, convert what you find to use, and so performing your Office commit the Rest to GOD, who will give success, and never leave you destitute of help. But you infamous men, more mad than Bacchanalian Fools, who will neither learn, nor foul your Hands with Coals, judge not lest you procure Judgement to be pronounced against you, which your Childrens Children may write down to your shame in an undeleble Character.
Every Physician ought above all Things to take Care, that he do neither less nor more, than procure the Restitution of Health lost, not instituting his Curation contrary to Nature, or deviating from her direct Intention.
[EXAMPLE OF SPIRIT OF WINE AND AQUA FORTIS]
When Spirit of Wine is poured upon Aqua Fortis a vehement Ebullition is made, and these two Natures will not easily permit themselves to be together; but he, that knows how by Distillation to conjoin them and unite them, according to the true Intention of the Philosophers, he may use them in many things for good.
[EXAMPLE OF OIL OF TARTAR AND VINEGAR]
After the same maner, Oil or Liquor of Tartar, and Vinegar made of Rich Wine, act each upon other, for they hate and fly from each other, as Fire and Water, although they proceeded from one and the same Matter. Therefore the Physician ought in a special manner to be mindful, to understand all Circumstances from the Sick very exactly, and consider the same being understood that in Curing he may use such Means, as are fit to remove the Disease, lest the Patient be injured by the Medicine. As for Example, when Iron is dissolved in Aqua Fortis, if you suddenly pour Oil of Tartar upon that Solution, you shall difficultly preserve Glass from breaking; for the contrary Natures, like unto Gun-powder, take Fire, and break the Glass. Of all these Things, our Gown Doctors know nothing at all; therefore they have no other Defence for their Ignorance, than Silence only.
[DOCTORS AND APOTHECARIES REPREHENDED]
You titular Doctors, you I speak to, who write long Scroles of Receipts: you Apothecaries, who with your Decoctions fill Pots, no less than Those (in Prince Courst) in which Meat is boiled for the sustentation of some hundreds of men: you, I say, who hitherto have been blind, suffer a Collyrium to be poured into your Eyes, and permit them to be anointed with Balsom, that the most thick skin of Blindness may fall from your Sight, and you behold the Truth, as in a most clear Glass.
GOD grant you Grace, that you may know his wonderful Works, and the Love of your Neighbour be rooted in you, that you may search out true Medicine, which the Ruler of the Heavens hath, by his own omnipotent hand, and his ineffable and eternal Wisdom, from above infused in, impressed on, and communicated to his Noble Creatures, for the Good of Mankind; whence man may find help in his greatest Necessity, and Counsel for Health in his Diseases. Why do you, miserable Worm of the Earth, and food of Worms, look so intently on the Rind or Shell, and neglect the Kernel, being unmindful of your Creator, who formed you according to his Image; when as you ought to give thanks to him, and with diligent Study to search out his Works, exceeding Nature herself? Return and look into your self, there behold the Image of your own ingratitude, that you may be ashamed of yourself, especially because you have not search out those things, which the most wise GOD, for the good of Mortals; hath infused in his Creatures; by knowing which, you might have offered unto him the most acceptable Sacrifice of Praise and Gratitude.
But I will put an end to this Discourse, lest my Tears (which I can scarcely keep in, from continually falling from mine Eyes) should blot this my Writing, and whilst I deplore the Blindness of the World, I blemish this Lamentation, which I would have known to all men. I am a man Religious, incorporated in a most holy Order, in which I will persevere, as long as it shall please the Omnipotent GOD, to animate this miserable Body with Vital Spirit: therefore I must not write other things, or otherwise, than is agreeable to this State. But had I the Office of a Secular Judge, I would lift up my Voice, and sound a Trumpet in their Ears, that those deaf men may hear, who hitherto would not acknowledge the Truth, but out of Ignorance, without Cause, falsely and slanderously persecute, calumniate, condemn, disparage, and meditate how they may totally suppress the same.
But thou, O Lord GOD, who dwellest in the Highest, who art called and truly art the GOD of Rest, who sitting in the Supreme Throne of Majesty, governest Heaven and Earth, which thou hast created, who conservest the Stars, and ordainest the Course of the Firmament in its Motion according to thy Command, before whom all Creatures tremble, which are found in the Earth, or in Heaven, and the Infernal Spirits are astonished with unexpressable dread, be pleased, I pray to look down upon the Transactions of this most ungrateful World, and teach them inwardly to know those Things, which thou hast outwardly and visibly proposed to the Sons of Men, that thou mayest be praised in thy Throne, known in thy Verity, and adored in thy immense Majesty. As for myself, I am unworthy and miserable man, give thanks unto thee, for thy great and infinite Gifts and Benefits of Riches and health bestowed on me, and laud thy Majesty for ever for the same. More, O my Father and Lord, I neither can, nor am able to desire in this perishing World.
[ANTIMONY, ITS ORIGINAL AND ROOT]
Now, that we may write of Antimony, and begin our Discourse from the very Foundation, whence Antimony acquires its Empire, Triumph and Glory, by which it is exalted to perfect Operation, we must before all Things discover the certain Original of its Root: how it is generated in the Earth, to the Dominion of what Stars it is subjected, and what Elements have throughly digested it, and which tehy be, that have brought it to Maturity. Antimony is no other than a Fume, or (as I may otherwise call it) a Mineral Vapour, which is genited from above by the Stars, and afterward by the Elements deduced and digested to formal Coagulation and Maturity. Here it is to be noted, that Antimony hath acquired its Essence, Virtue, Power, Operation and Quality, from the same Principle, Root and Essence, whence Vulgar Mercury is produced; yet with more firm Coagulation, so that it is brought to an harder Essence, than the living or running Mercury of the Vulgar hath. The Reason of this is, because it hath assumed from the three Principles, a little more of the Substance of Salt, than Common Mercury. For although of all the three Principles, it hath the least part of Salt, yet it hath assumed more of the Essence of Salt, than common Mercury, whence unto it hath happened such a Coagulation. Hardness in everything is from Salt, which vulgar Mercury hath not. For it hath a very small part of Salt, but in it, in a spiritual manner, is insited a certain more hot Spirit of Sulphur; therefore it always flows, and cannot be brought to Coagulation, unless by the help of other Metallick Spirits, which endued with a very great Virtues, are chiefly found in the Matrix of Saturn, without which it cannot be fixed, unless by him, who possesseth the Stone of Philosophers, by which its three Principles may be brought to a concordant Equality, and then it acquires such a Body, as will melt, flow, and abide the Hammer, like all other Metals: other wise Mercuy is and will be fluid Mercury, until its volatility be this way taken away.
[MERCURY, NOT FIXED BY ANIMALS AND VEGETABLES]
Hence it is known, that all Animals and all Vegetables are too weak to fix Mercury into a malleable Substance (as many have in vain endeavoured) because all these have not a Metallick Nature.
[MERCURY, WITHIN AND WITHOUT MERE FIRE]
Mercury, within and without, is no other than meer Fire; therefore it is not combustible by any Fire, no Fire can apprehend it so, as to alter its Essence, but it suddenly flies and resolves itself into a incombustible Oil Spiritually;
[MERCURY UNVARIABLE AFTER FIXATION] or after its fixation it remains so invariable, as no strength or power of men is sufficient again to alter it. And whatsoever can now be made of Gold may then also be made of it by Art; because after Coagulation it is altogether like Gold: for it with Gold hath one and the same Root, Stock, or Production originally.
But since I purpose not in this place to discourse more largely of Mercury, and intend only simply (yet truly) to describe the very Foundation of Antimony, from true and certain Principles, I will cease to speak of Mercury, and proceed to a further Declaration of Antimony. Yet, whatsoever I have proposed by way of Similitude touching Mercury*, for an Introduction and further Consideration, is not written in vain, or to no purpose; but to the end, that the very Beginning of Antimony may be more clearly understood, which (as I before shewed) received its original, as it were Mercurially, with it.
*Which so miserably perplexeth all the Students of this Art: what our Mercury is, which is the Matter of the Stone, which is found every where and in all Things, is here briefly and clearly manifested. Therefore our Author Basilius doth not in Vain invite your Attention. All the Light I am able to add to this Clearness, would rather obscure, than illustrate the same: therefore, with him, I admonish you to attend.
[MATTER, OF ALL METALS AND MINERALS, ONE]
Wherefore most diligently think on this; often bear in mind, observe and understand, that all Minerals and Metals together, in the same Time, and after the same manner, and of one and the same principal Matter, are produced and genited. That Matter is no other, than a meer Vapour, which is extracted from the Elementary Earth by the Superior Stars, as by a Sidereal Distillation of the Macrocosm: which Sidereal hot infusion, with any Airy-Sulphureous Property descending upon Inferiors, so acts and operates, as in those Metals and Minerals is implanted spiritually and invisibly a certain Power and Virtue, which Fume afterward resolves itself in the Earth, into a certain Water, from which Mineral Water all Metals are thenceforth generated and ripened to their Perfection; and thence proceeds this or that Metal or Mineral, according as one of the three Principles acquires Dominion, and tehy have much or little of Sulphur and Salt, or an unequal Mixture of the weight of them, whence some Metals are fixed; that is, some constant and stable, some volatile and easily mutable, as is seen in Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron, Tin and Lead. Besides these Metals, other Minerals also are generated of the three Principles, according to the Communication and Participation of the unequal weight of them: as are Vitriol, Antimony, and many other Marchasites, or other Electrums, and Minerals, which for brevity sake we here omit.
But Gold, in its Astrum and Beginning was imbibed with a much more perfect Sulphur, and a much more perfect Mercury, than all other Metals and Minerals, and therefore its operative Virtue is much more potent and more efficacious, that the Astrums of other Metals: Yea, all Virtues whatsoever are dispersed in other Metals, and many more than them, are found in the Astrum of Gold only. Moreover I say, when that one thing is brought to further Maturity by Fire, it contains more Perfection, than all Metals and Minerals together. There is one only Mineral, of which I have often made mention already, in which is found a Sulphur of Sol, equally as strong and powerful, yea more potent and more strong, than in Gold itself: so also, there are two kinds of Metals found, in which this Predominancy powerfully Triumphs, of which at this time I have neither will nor disposition to write; but I am willing to keep within the Bounds I have set myself in treating of the Essence of Antimony, touching which I purpose now to speak.
[ANTIMONY, ITS 3 FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES]
Therefore Antimony is a Mineral made of the Vapour of the Earth changed into Water, which Spiritual Sidereal Transmutation is the true Astrum of Antimony; which Water, by the Stars first, afterward by the Element of Fire, which resides in the Element of Air, is extracted from the Elementary Earth, and by Coagulation formally changed into a tangible Essence, in which tangible Essence, (viz. whence Antimony is formally made) is found very much of Sulphur predominant, of Mercury not so much, and of Salt the least of all three; yet it assumes so much Salt, as it thence acquires an hard and immalleable Mass.
[ANTIMONY, ITS PRINCIPLE QUALITIES]
The principal Quality of it is dry and hot, or rather burning, of Cold and Humidity it hath very little in it, as there is in Common Mercury; in Corporal Gold also is more Heat than Cold. These may suffice to be spoken of the Matter, and three Fundamental Principles of Antimony, how by the Archeus in the Element of Earth it is brought to perfection.
Yet the Lovers of Chymistry should not think this Philosophick Reason by me alleged of absolute necessity to them, nor need they be solicitous to know, in what center the Astrum of Antimony rests, or from what root it flows; but should rather desire to learn the Utility and use thereof; viz. which way it ought to be prepared and reduced to its State, that tehy may know its Virtue, Power, and Operation, touching which in times past so many Things have been written, and to this Day are mentioned, and spoken of by all men of all States and Conditions. For the Learned, as well as the Unlearned hope to have their ardent and insatiable Desire satisfied by This; therefore I will not detain the Reader with ambiguous Discourses, or tedious Delays, but simply teach every Thing, which I by great Study and Diligence (which I have often imployed about Antimony) could find out touching the Essence of Antimony. For no man, by reason of the shortness of Life, can know or search out all its Arcanum’s: because in Preparation of Antimony, one new Wonder follows another perpetually; one Degree succeeds a former Degree, Colour follows Colour, and one Virtue, Power or Operation always manifests it self greater than another.
And, to begin here I say, Antimony is meer Venom, not of the kind of the least Venoms, but such, as by which you may destroy Men and Beasts, so venomous a power is diffused through the whole Substance of this Mineral. Hence ariseth the common Exclamation of all men.
[KINGS, AND PRINCES, MISINFORMED BY DOCTORS]
For the People, unskilful Doctors, and all Those, to whom the ground of true Medicine is unknown, do with one mouth proclaim it Venom, Venom! Poison, say they (as I myself above confessed) lies in Antimony. For this Cause let us dissuade all men from its use; for it endangers the Health and Life. Therefore Doctors resident in Princes Courts, admonish Monarchs, Princes, and other Potentates not to use Antimony. Other Scholasticks cry out, Beware, you in no wise admit Antimony into Medicinal Use; for it’s meer Poison: these the Inhabitants of Cities and Villages follow. And this far spread Clamour so moves the greatest part of Mortals, as Antimony in these our Days is very ill spoken of, and no man dares put confidence in the Medicine thereof, which in it is found so various and unexpressible.
[MEDICINE, NONE GREATER THAN IN ANTIMONY]
For truly and holily I affirm (as truly as GOD is the Creator of all things visible, which are contained in Heaven or Earth, which either have come, or in time to come shall come unto our knowledge) that under Heaven, or by the Rays of the Sun, with the Guidance of Experience, can be found or demonstrated no greater Medicine, than is in this Mineral; yea, there is no Subject, in which so fluently and abundantly can be found such most certain Remedies for Health, as shall be declared (by sure and undeniable Experiments) to be in Antimony.
Son, attend to this my Discourse, and do thou Reader give heed to my Writings, and do you wise men of the World diligently observe my Declaration of Antimony founded on Experience. For my Theory ariseth from Nature, and my Practice proceeds from certain Experience, which shews its manifold Utility, and infinite Ways produceth the same, not without the incredible Admiration of all men. But I assent to you, and confess (as I have before acknowledged in my Writings) that Antimony at first is meer Venom, and before Preparation hath nothing in or with itself, but Poison; and that I affirm to be true.
But you, whosoever you are, insignized or not insignized with the Degree of Doctor, Master, or Bachelor, whether skilful in Art, or by some other privelage promoted; you, I say, who so inconsiderately and so arrogantly without Truth exclaim, and prate against me, pause a while, and forget not your own Argument, hear what I have to say. Antimony is Venom, therefore every One must beware he use it not. No, that doth not follow Mr. Doctor, Bachelor, or, Master; it doth not follow, I say, Mr Doctor, although you be proud of your Red Hat. Treacle is made of the most perillous Venom of a Viper, which is called ‘animal’, whence also it had its Name; therefore no man must use it, for there is poison in it. Doth this Consequence please you? How doth this my Doctrine like you?
[NO GOOD IN ANTIMONY FOR THE HUMAN BODY, WITHOUT PREPARATION]
You hear, that after Preparation, no Venenosity is found in Antimony; for by the Spagyric Art Antimony is converted from Venom into Medicine, no otherwise than as of the Venom of a Viper is said, which is converted into Treacle; but without Preparation you shall find no Good in it, nor anything of Medicinal Help, but much loss and detriment.
[VULCAN, MASTER AND REVEALER OF ALL SECRETS]
Now, whosoever desires to become a Disciple of Antimony, he must, after Prayer, and an earnest Invocation of GOD, betake himself to the School of Vulcan; for he is the Master and Revealer of all Secrets.
[VULCAN, CONDEMNED BY WHOM]
This Master is condemned by the Wise Men of the World, set very light by and derided; because they, by reason of their own Negligence and Malignity, have learned nothing of him; and all Revelation, through their own Sloath, is impeded:
[MEDICINE, NOT PREPARED WITHOUT VULCAN] for no Medicine was ever prepared without Vulcan, whatsoever those senseless mad men shall babble and affirm to the Contrary.
[ANTIMONY, ITS WONDERFUL VIRTUES]
But I will proceed to the Proceed and Preparation of Antimony; for I little value the Clamours of arrogant and self applauding men: let them make and bring to light any Work that can excel Antimony. It is well known to me, that of Antimony may be made Medicines equal to Those, which are in gold and vulgar Mercury (I except the Astrum of Sol) for of this may be prepared Aurum Potabile against the Leprosie, of this may be made Spirit of Mercury, the highest Remedy against the French POX, of this other infinite Remedies may be prepared. If those Condemners cannot perceive and understand this, what wonder is it? None, because they have not learned it. No man can give a sound Judgement of that, which he never learned.
[DESPISERS OF ANTIMONY COMPARED TO AN ASS]
Let the Ass, an Animal like them in stupidity be their Example, who cannot teach a Shepherd how to handle his Pipe, so as to play an Harmonious Tune; because he hath not learned. So, right Judgement, with a solid Foundation cannot be given by a man, who before hath not bent his Studies that way, that from Writings he may be able to discern what, in such a Business, is just or unjust.
After the same manner in this Faculty, what can be attributed to any of the Doctors, before he hath from Writings, and by his own proper labour acquired Knowledge?
[VENOM, WHENCE IT ARISETH]
Yet before I pass to the Process itself, some One may perhaps interrupt and ask me, which way both Minerals and other Things receive their Venenosity? What Venom is? Whence the Poison of every Thing hath its Original? How it may be taken away, also how such a Mineral may without peril securely be used for Health after evacuation of that Venom? To these Questions I will briefly and clearly answer. The Infusion of Venom falls under a twofold Consideration, viz. Natural and Supernatural.
[GODS END IN PROPOSING VENOMS]
The First Reason, why GOD the Supreme Lord of the Stars, and the maker of Heaven and Earth, hath proposed to us open Venom, especially in Minerals, is, that by this his Ordination he might show to us his Wonders and powerful Works, for distinction of Good and Evil, as in the Law he prescribed to us the Knowledge of That, which lies as a Duty on us to do, viz. to Choose the Good and Eschew the Evil. So also the Tree of Life in Paradise was proposed; its right use tended to Good, but its abuse brought the Fall to Evil; for by that GOD’s Command was broke, whence proceeded Destruction and all Evil. This is the first Reason.
A Second Reason is, that by this we might comprehend and understand the Distinction between Evil and Good, and at length learn to exterminate Malice and reposit Goodness in its place. For GOD wills not, that man should perish and be destroyed, but that he should depart from Evil, and come to amendment of Life, that Destruction may be driven far away from his Soul. So, to Us his Creatures, with wonderful Conveniency hath he proposed Good and Evil, which is found both in the Precept of the Word, and in the Work of the Creature, that we may choose what is profitable and good for Health, and shun what is evil and pernitious.
Thirdly, Venom is also made by the Stars, when contrary Oppositions and Conjunctions of them happen, by which the Elements are Infected so, as they become the Cause of Pestilences, and other Venomous Diseases in this World: which also is to be understood of Comets.
Fourly, Venom is made from Things repugnant each to other, as when any One inkindles a deadly Poison in himself, by Anger or Sadness; also when a man drinks being above measure hot.
Fifthly, among Venoms may be numbered Weapons, with which any One is slain; then the Abuse of Arms is Venom to that man. But when any One useth Arms, for the just and unblamable defence of his Body, to which end they were invented, then they may be accounted a certain kind of Medicine.
Lastly, the Cause of Venom may be demonstrated by Nature, in this manner: whatsoever Nature resists is Venom, and that because it fights against Nature. As when any one eats such Food, as his Stomach cannot bear, then that Food is Venom to him; for it is repugnant to Nature; on the contrary, if any One eat such Food, as is Friendly to his Stomach, to him that Food is Medicine.
But Venom is principally attracted to Bodies in the Earth, whilst they are a certain Mercurial Essence (now I speak of the Venom of Minerals) which yet is in an immature, crude, and not well digested Form, which is repugnant to Nature, and difficultly digeested; because such a Mercurial Essence is not yet perfect, well digested to Maturity, therefore it passeth through the whole Body, as a crude, immature, undigestible Mineral. As if crude corn should be eaten by men, that would be so difficult to be digested by the Stomach, as a notable debility of the Body would follow. For the natural Heat is too weak to deduce that to a due Concoction and Perfection. Corn, which receives its Maturity from the Fire of the Great World, must afterward be throughly cocted by the Minor Fire, that it may be digested by the Microcosm.
[CATHARTICKS, ALL VENOMOUS]
As before we said, touching the boiling of Flesh to Maturity; so here the same is to be understood of Antimony, which being yet crude, and not throughly cocted in the Earth to fixedness, the stomach of Man (as I may so speak) is too weak to bear it, or retain the same, as by certain Experience is manifested, viz. that all Catharticks, whether Minerals, Animals or Vegetables, are venomous, because of a certain Mercurial volatile Matter still predominant in them; which volatile Spirit is the Cause why other things, which are in man, are expelled:
[REMEDIES FIXED PURGE NOT] not that by this Means the Root itself of Diseases is laid hold on, which only is effected by the fixedness of every medicine.
[ROOT OF DISEASES, HOW EXPELLED]
For every Medicine throughly fixed, searcheth out fixed Diseases, and eradicates them; which Purgers not fixed cannot do, but they do only as it were carry away some Spoil of Diseases; or they may be compared to Water, which driven by force through a Street Penetrates not the Earth itself.
[PURGING BY THE INFERIOR PARTS, NOT THE WAY TO EXPEL FIXED DISEASES]
Fixed Remedies purge not by the Inferior Parts, because that is not the familiar way of Expelling fixed Venoms, and that way they would not touch the Kernel (as I may call it) or Center of the Disease; but by expelling Sweat, and otherways they strike at the very inmost Root of the Diseases, not contented with a certain superficial Expulsion of Filths. Therefore we often admonish all and every One, that all venomous Impurity is totally to be taken away from Antimony, before it can either be, or be called such a Medicine, as may safely be given. For this Cause, the Good must be separated from the Evil, the Fixed from the not fixed, and the Medicine from the Venom with accurate diligence, if we hope by the Use of Antimony to obtain true Honour, and true Utility; but Fire only can effect that. For Vulcan is the sole and only Master of all These. Whatsoever the Vulcan in the Greater Orbe leaves crude and perfects not, that in the Lesser World must be amended by a certain other Vulcan, ripening the Immature, and cocting the Crude by Heat, and separating the Pure from the Impure. That this is possible no man doubts; for dayly Experience teacheth the same, and it is very apparent in the Corporal Aspect of Colours, which proceed from the Fire.
[FIRE, THE SEPARATOR OF VENOMS]
For by Separation and Fire, which perfect Fixation, Venenosity is taken away, and a Change is made of the Evil into Good, as we have already said. Therefore Fire is the Separator of Venom from Medicine, and of Good from Evil; which is a thing, that None of the Physicians either dares or can truly and fundamentally own, or demonstrate to me, unless he who hath firmly contracted Friendship with Vulcan, and instituted the fiery Bath full of Love, by which the Spouse, being throughly purged from all Defilement, may legitimately lie down iwth her Bridegroom in the Marriage Bed.
Fie upon the Acuteness of the Worldly Wit of those, who neither understand, nor are willing to endeavour to understand these my Writings. If you did know, what is called fixed, and what not fixed, and what it signifies to separate the Pure from the Impure, assuredly you would purposely forget many Things, and omitting other vain Works, would follow me only.
[ANTIMONY, SPEAKS OF ITSELF]
For in me (Antimony speaks of himself) you will find Mercury, Sulphur and Salt, then which Nothing is more Conducible for the Health of men.
[MERCURY, SULPHUR, AND SALT IN ANTIMONY]
Mercury is in the Regulus, Sulphur in the Red Colour, and Salt in the remaining black Earth. He that can separate these, and again unite them in a due manner, according to Art, so as Fixation may bear Rule, without Venom, he may rejoice with Honour and Truth; because he hath obtained the Stone of Fire, which may be prepared of Antimony for the Health of Mortals, and for Temporal Sustentation with particular profit.
[ANTIMONY, CONTAINS ALL COLOURS]
For in Antimony you may find all Colours, Black, White, Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, and more other mixt Colours, than can be believed, all which may be separated apart, and known particularly, and singularly applied to use; according as the Artist intends, such an Ordination is to be instituted.
[ANTIMONY, ITS WONDERFUL VIRTUES]
Therefore now will I distinctly declare, how Medicine is to be prepared, Venom to be expelled, Fixation to be set about, and a true Separation to be made, by which the Evil may be subdued and depressed, and the Good triumph and be taken into use. In the meanwhile, let the Lover of Art consider, that every of the other Metals may be compared to every of the Precious Stones; but this only contains universally the Virtue of all Stones; which those Colours, which it gives forth and exhibits to the Sight from itself in the Fire, do sufficiently demonstrate. Its Transparent Redness is assigned to the Carbuncle, Ruby and Coral; its Whiteness, to the Diamond and Crystal; its Blue Colour, to the Saphire; Green, to the Emerald; Yellow, to the Jacinth; its Black, to the Granate, which Stone contains in itself a a certain Blackness occultly absconded. But as to Metals, the Black is assigned to Saturn, the Red to Iron, the Yellow to Gold, the Green to Copper, the Blue to Silver, the White to Mercury, and its mixture of various Colours is attributed to Jupiter.
[ANTIMONY, CONTAINS ALL COLOURS]
But as all the colours of all Metals and Precious Stones are clearly found in Antimony; so also all the powers and Virtues of Medicine are no less showed in it, than the Colours aforesaid: but to educe from it all these Colours is not the Labour of one man. For our Life is circumscribed with Limits more straight, than will permit one man by his Labour throughly to learn whatsoever Nature keeps concealed and absconded in her bosom, in one certain way of Preparation, from Antimony by distillations is drawn forth an Humour acid and sharp, like true perfect Vinegar. Another way is prepared a shining Red Colour, sweet and savoury, as purified Honey or Sugar. Another way, a Wormwood like Bitterness proceeds therefrom; otherwise, a certain Acrimony, like some Salt-Oil: thus always one Nature follows another. Against, but Sublimation it is driven to the Olympic Mountains, like a flying Eagle, red, yellow and white. Also forced down by Descent, it yields diverse Colours and Preparations: also by Reverberation, of it is made a Metal, like common Lead. Likewise a transparent Glass, red, yellow, white, black, and endewed with other Colours: all which notwithstanding, are not safe to be used in Medicine, unless they be first proved by another Examen. Also it is reslved into rare and wonderful Oils, which are various and manifold, some of which are made perfect with Addition, others without mixtion of any other things; some likewise are taken inwardly, others only outwardly applied to common Ulcers, and Wounds. It supplies us with so many several Extractions, varied with so many Colours, as it would tire a Delphian Apollo to describe them all; but indeed, all the Mutations of its Nature, which are discovered through the Gate of Fire, it by its own Oracles will best unfold.
[MERCURY, MADE OF ANTIMONY]
Of it is made living Mercury, and Sulphur which burns like common Sulphur, so that of that Gunpowder might be made. Of it is made a true and natural Salt; and many other things are prepared of the same.
Therefore we begin to speak of the Preparations thereof, as of its Essence, Magistery, Arcanum, Elixir, and particular Tincture, in which you must imploy all diligence and Care; especially when I shall in my Writings declare to you the Stone of Fire, and its Preparation, together with other various Secrets and Arcanums, which indeed are scarcely at all known to the World; and which have been little regarded, since the Egyptians, Arabians and Chaldeans died, who professed these Arts: of which notwithstanding the use is very great, for searching out the very Fountain of true Medicine, and all other Works pertinent thereunto.
Now diligently mind, and with profound Meditation consider all the following Preparations, one succeeding another, as I shall reveal them. For there is no One inserted, which hath not its singular Utility, but every of them is useful, according as ordained as its State. A fixed Medicine of Antimony, expels fixed Diseases and eradicates tehm; but Antimony is not fixed, as when it is crude and not prepared, opens and purgeth the Stomach only, but toucheth not the Root of the Disease. Therefore I will set about the Preparation of all, that appertains to Antimony, and discover all the Keys of its Preparation, which now (as by a New Nativity) are brought to Light, and revealed by Fire, in the same state to which tehy were ordained by GOD their Creator. This unlocking and preparing of Mineral Antimony is performed by diverse Methods and Ways, by the disposure and governance of the Fire, with manifold labour of the Hands, whence proceeds the Operation, Virtue, Power and Colour of the Medicine itself. And since Antimony to the Aspect presents a crude black Colour, mixed with a little whiteness, I will first speak of its destructive alteration, which consists in Calcination and Incineration, and that is thus made.