[THE QUINTESSENCE OF ANTIMONY, ITS WONDERFUL VIRTUES]
The Dose of it before Coagulation is eight Grains taken in Wine. It makes a man very young again, delivers him from all Melancholy, and whatsoever in the Body of man grows and increaseth, as the Hairs and Nails, fall off, and the whole man is renewed as a Phoenix (if such a feigned Bird, which is only here for Example sake named by me, can anywhere be found upon Earth) is renewed by Fire. And this Medicine can no more be burned by the Fire, than the Feathers of that unknown Salamander: for it consumes all Symptoms in the Body, like consuming Fire, to which it is deservedly likened; it drives away every Evil, and expels all That, which Aurum-Potabile is capable to expel. The *Astrum of Sol only exceeds every Medicine of the World when rightly prepared to perfect Fixation: for the Astrum of Sol, and the Astrum of Mercury arise almost from the very same Blood of their Mother, and from one original of vivifick Sanity.
*Let no man here prodigally or rashly wast his own Gold, now he hears of the Astrum of Sol, nor expose himself to so great Hazard, as to enter a perillous Combat with vulgar Mercury. In the Chymical World another Sol shines, and another Mercury attends on Jupiter. Yet the Chymical Sol, or Mercury here, is not Gold, but more excellent than all Gold; yea, more potent than every Mercury, although fabulous, and feigned to be capable to restore the Dead to Life: it is the Gold, and Argent-Vive of Philosophers, which Basilius here hints at. But we have treated, and must treat of Antimony only.
Now, no man hath cause to fear, that this Oil of Antimony Extracted first with distilled Vinegar, and afterward with most pure and subtle Spirit of Wine, and then further exalted (as highly as possible) by Vulcan, will in any wise purge, or excite frequent Stools, or make any Alterations: for it effects nothing of all this, but by Sweat, Urine, and Spittle, expels the very Root of the Disease to amazement, and restores whatsoever is corrupted by any Symptom.
But Common Glass of Antimony, being ground to Powder, put into a little Wine (viz. six Grains or more of the Glass, according to the strength of Nature) and that mixture set in heat for one Night, and in the Morning the Wine* poured off clear from the remaining Powder, and so drunk by the Patient, purgeth downward exciting several Stools, and oftentimes also provokes Vomiting, by reason of the Mercurial immature Property, which is yet inherent in the Glass, as every intelligent Physician will easily judge, and indeed he ought to further to Examine how this Glass, when he would purge with it, ought to be provoked, and administed in a due Dose.
*This is a Common Vomitory, or Emetick Wine, well known, which all wandering Empiricks now use in all Places, sometimes with a prosperous, sometimes with Contrary, always ambiguous Success; which proceeds partly from the Physician and partly from the Medicine. [HISTORY OF GEORGE CASTRIOT] This is a Thing to be bewayled; for as histories relate, that George Castriot King of the Epirots, when the Emperour of the Turks had often asked him, how his Sword, which he had sent, when Peace was made, according to his agreement with the Turk, could perpetrate such wonders as he spake of, saying he saw not anything singular in it, made this Answer: I did indeed send the Sword of Scanderbeg, but not Scanderbeg’s Arm, with which that Sword was managed, so as to perform so great Miracles: so, very many Chymical Medicines, are either dead, or (which is more to be deplored) oftentimes the Causes of Death, when not managed by the hand of a skilful Doctor. Which unhappy Success of this Medicine is caused from the Mercurial Properties, with which it is too much impregnated (as Basilius well notes in this Place) and which I am wont to correct in this manner.
Take Glass of Antimony, more pure, four ounces. Venetian Borax one-half ounce. Melt them together. This being artificially done, you will have a Green Glass transparent as Emerald. Grind this to a subtle Powder, upon which pour French wine, and permit the mixture to stand for several days in Moderate Heat.
Of this Wine give to the Sick, from one drachma to two ounces, according to the Age, Habit of Body, Strength, and other Things either Natural, or not Natural, which the Prudence of the Physician (when he sits as Judge, whether the Life of any One is likely to be continued or not) ought always well to consider. That is Emetick Wine may be given to the Sick without peril, Experience the most certain Mistress of Physicians hath taught me, and yet more than this: for when the Wine poured in the Powder shall be all exhausted, if you pour on more French Wine, that will also be imbibed with the same Virtues. For here Antimony discovers in itself to be somewhat, that is of all wonderful Things the most admirable: because it contains in itself inexhaustable Treasures, and although you take from it, yet you diminish not the Virtues thereof. A like stupendous Miracle also is in extracting the Vinegar of the same, and in other Works fit to be kept under the seal of Harpocrates.
Many men are required for the Searching out the Powers and Virtues of this Subject. For I alone, by reason of the shortness of my Time, could not dive into and search out all things, do you thy self set about the Work, and after me, yea with me, thou wilt praise me and I thee: if you find out anymore; I praise you by these my Writings, and shall commend you out of the Sepulcher to which I am destinated, although in Body thou art to me unknown, nor ever had I any discourse with thee, because perhaps not yet born.
[OIL OF ANTIMONY MADE ANOTHER WAY]
Common Glass of Antimony is also by Addition distilled into a laudable and salutary oil, which may be used without peril, with very great profit in the Epilepsie; as here following I shall teach.
Grind the Glass of Antimony to as subtle a Powder as possibly you can, then put it into a Glass-Vessel with a flat Bottom, and pour upon the Powder the Juice of unripe Grapes, then having well luted hte Vessel digest it for certain Days. This being done abstract all the Juice; afterward, grind it well moistened with Spirit of Vinegar, and a double Weight of clarified Sugar. Then, having put it into a Retort, in the Name of the Most High begin to distil, and at last administer a vehement Fire, and you will acquire a most Red Oil; which must be clarified unto Transparency with *Spirit of Wine.
*When the Author saith, it must be clarified with Spirit of Wine unto Transparency; the Admonition is short indeed, but of great weight. For he wills, that this Oil should be driven over by Alembeck, the signification and manual Operation of which, I have already above taught.
The Use of this, given in a small Quantity, is found to be most profitable. With this Oil Spirit of Salt may be joined, and the Mixture poured upon a subtle prepared Calx of Gold, (which how it should be made I have already taught in other of my writings) which hath before, together with its Water, passed by Alembeck. If this be done, this Menstruum take to itself the Tincture* of Gold only, and leaves the Body untouched.
*Do you think, O Lover of Chymistry, you understand what you read? You cannot understand, unless either divinely Philip, or humanely Oedipus, appear to you, and clearly teach you the way of preparing this Tincture. The difficulty of the Enigma consists in this; viz. that all Menstruums, with which Tinctures are extracted, must necessarily be void of Colour; otherwise how can you know: whether you obtain the Tincture you would extract, or only retract the same you poured on? I will not detain you with a tedious Discourse full of ambiguities, but lead you asi t were by the hand, showing you how I instituted this Process in the Year 1665. If you thence, by your attention, and comparing the precedent with the present, and these with thsoe that follow, reap any profit, open the Bosom of your Heart, that no part of this may fall to Earth.
I took that Red Oil, thus far prepared as is already showed, and rectified it by Retort; and then acquired a White Oil, of an acid but grateful Taste. Upon this I poured half so much Spirit of Salt: the Mixture I digested in a Phial for a full Month, that these two Spirits might be well conjoined; afterward, for the better conjunction of them, I distilled them thrice by Retort. Then I poured them upon the Calx of Gold (the Method of preparing which you will find in other Writings of Basilius) and set them together in Digestion for a Month; which being elapsed, the Menstruum was tinged with a deep Yellow Colour inclining to redness. I leisurely poured off the Tincture, and having put it into a Retort, with gentle Fire abstracted the Humidity, that a red Powder might remain in the Bottom. This Powder I edulcorated with distilled Water, and again extracted the Tincture with Spirit of Wine; then I rendered this Dragon volatile, and gave him his own Tail to be devoured for six whole Months, and obtained a Tincture most pleasant and grateful; ten or twelve Grains of which given to the Sick, provoke Sweat, comfort the Natural Powers, and (not to amuse the Intelligent words) in all Diseases both of Humane and other bodies, it is an universal Medicine.
Since it hath happened to me here to make mention of the most excellent of all Tinctures, I will once teach the Chymist what will be of use to him for the future. That is to say, it is of great concern to know, with what Menstruum every Tincture should be extracted, For it is not sufficient (according to the erroneous Opinion of many) that Menstruums be sweet and void of Corrosion; but it also behooful, that there be in them a peculiar Amity and Conveniency with the Mercury of the Body, on which they are poured, that from the same they may extract its true and sincere Sulphur. By Example, I shall teach you somewhat more clearly. Distilled Water extracts the Tincture from Sulphur, made of the Glass of Antimony by distilled Vinegar. But if in this Operation you persuade yourself you have separated the Pure from the Impure, you will be deceived: for this Water imbibes a certain Salt, which infects the Tincture; but Spirit of Wine rectified is its proper Menstruum: because That only assumes the volatile Sulphur thereof, and hath no Commerce with the Salt.
The same happens in Tincture of Corals, which is extracted with Spirit of Wine distilled upon Orange Pills: for here you obtain not the sincere Tincture of Corals; because, by this Menstruum, the pure Sulphur is not separated from the Body of the Corals. The like Error to be committed in many other Things, I have observed by Experience, which should be esteemed the best Mistress, unless we take it for granted that chargeable and fruitless Processes are necessarily required in this Art. But that I may conclude with the Tincture, whence all this Discourse hath proceeded; I would have no man to think this to be the Aurum Potabile of Philosophers: for this would be a very great Error in Philosophy, and give occasion to Sophisters (as their manner is) to prefer their Sophisms before the Truth itself. Though this Tincture is most precious, and a Tincture of Gold, yet it hath only assumed the Colour of Gold: but the weight thereof, which is proper to Aurum Potabile, adheres not thereunto.
Touching the potable Medicine here is not place of speaking, unless I would trangress the limits, which I have at this time prescribed myself, of Commenting upon the Triumphant Chariot of Antimony, which our Basil Valentine hath made for it is so truly magnficent. Otherwise, I should declare, how sol might be prepared by Venus and Vulcan, so as in the space of two hours to resolve itself into Mercury united with Bacchus, leaving very few feces; which Mercurial Menstruum may again be separated from the resolved Gold; and so you might acquire a most grateful Liquor very ponderous, which can never afterward be reduced to its former Consistence. This very Operation I have showed to some Curious Lovers of Chymistry. But of these elsewhere another Occasion of Writing will be given.
[LABOUR, NECESSARILY REQUIRED]
When the Fermentation is made, I shall have need of a vast Quantity of Paper to declare all the Arcanum’s of Nature, which by this Medicine are effected beyond the Opinion of all men. I urge this so much the more earnestly to the Physician, that he may consider those things which I propose Philosophically, betake himself to labour, perform this Preparation of Antimony, and deduce it to Use; then, he himself will dayly find more Praise, and learn from it more Operations than any of the other Physicians could have prescribed him.
When you shall have brought Antimony so far, and duely perfercted your Work, in which you are to act prudently, and the matter is to be largely and profoundly weighed, that by Labour you may acquire Experience; then may you boast that you have obtained the Magistery, which is known or communicated to few. This Magistery mix’d with a solution or Tincture of Corals, and exhibited with Cordial Water effects Wonders in Diseases, that are to be cured by purifying the Blood. And whatsoever Distemper is offered to you, in which the Blood is corrupted by any Accident, this Magistery heals it, exhilarates the Heart, promotes Chastity and Honesty, and renders man apt and fit for everything he takes in hand.
For all these Benefits to the Creator and Conserver of all Things, thanks is always to be given from the bottom of our Heart; because he hath with so great Compassion respected his Creatures, Infirm both in body and Mind, and supplied us with Means, by which the Diseases of either may be healed, and we in every necessity obtain solace, assistance and perfect Help.
Now my Intention is to proceed, and speak somewhat of the Arcanum of Antimony, but with very great Brevity.
Take of Antimony most subtlely pulverized One Part, of Sal Armoniack*, so called, which is brought from Armenia,
*Of Antimony and Sal-Armoniack equal parts are to be taken, which Basilius seems to intend, but I know not how he forgot to mention it.
also pulverized; mix these, and putting them into a Retort distill them together,*
*That with one and the same labour, the Sal-Armoniack together with the Antimony, may be distilled and sublimed, such an instrument, as this I here show you, describing all its Parts, may be made.
A.. is the Furnace. B. the Retort. C. the Recipient. D. the Aperture wit ha Pipe of a Moderate bigness, on which may be set the Alembeck E. The other Furnace is F, which containing a Moderate Fire, sublimes what falls into the receiving Vessel up into the Alembeck E. And so the Matter which is distilled from Retort B, by the Fire of the Furnace F, is presently sublimed; Which may not only be useful in this Case, but also in every Sublimation of other Matters.
and upon that which comes forth in the Distillation pour common distilled Rain-water, but let it first be made hot, and so by edulcorating remove all the Salt, that no Acrimony may remain, and the Antimony will appear like pure, white shining Feathers. Dry them with subtle Heat, and having put them in a Glass circulatory or Pelican, pour on them good and perfectly rectified Spirit of Vitriol, and Circulate the Mixture till both be well conjoined* and united, then distill the whole, and pour on Spirit of Wine, circulate again; then let seperated be made, and remove the Feces settling to the Bottom, but keep the Arcanum which remains mixt with the Spirit of Wine and Vitriol.
*This Union must be so firm, as in distilling one may not be separated from the other; otherwise you will lose your Labour and Cost. Of how great moment this Union is in Chymistry, they best know, who only by confounding two things together, think they shall effect wonders; but afterwards (their Experience failing them) they learn how great difference there is between Union and Confusion: for Things confounded receive no Virtue, that was not in them before; but by Union, I know not what Spirit is ingested, which performs such things as the Mind of man could never perceive to have their being thence.
Hence consider in the Generations of Animals (who would believe it!) how from the Union of Elements is generated Sight, Taste, Touching, and so many Powers of Animals, which are insited in none of the Elements, and yet arise from them united. Whensoever it happens, that any Tincture seems to have united itself with its Menstruum, and afterward may be separated therefrom, that therefore is because Matrimony is not legitimately Celebrated, nor the union in a due manner perfect; which you shall more than once see to happen in the Tincture of Sol and Antimony.
The Instrument, by which conjoin my Tinctures, and am wont to copulate them in an undissolvable Copulation, you shall find described hereafter in this very Book. That in Spirit of Wine is to be noted, which happens not in other Menstruums; because it is most easily united to Things, and again with a slight artifice separated from the same.
Now when you again rectify this Arcanum, one drop of it exhibited with Rose water, is more available than a Pot full of the Decoction of Herbs; for it causeth a good Appetite, corrects the Stomach, and concocts all malignity in it, drives away Sadness and Melancholy, makes good Blood and a good Digestion; in the Suffocation of the Matrix and Cholick Passion (both which it wonderfully appeaseth) it is instead of a Treasure of inestimable Price and deserves Commendation, not easily expressible by Words.
[ELIXIR OF ANTIMONY]
After the Arcanum of Antimony next in order follows the Elixir* of the same, which you may prepare in this manner.
*This Process as it is easy to perform, so it may by us be easily passed over, lest we should seem to take Pen in hand, rather from an itching desire of Writing, then for illuminating Things obscure.
Take, in the name of the Lord, good Minera of Antimony, grind it subtlely, and sublime it with half so much Sal-Armoniack. Whatsoever shall be sublimed put into a Glass retort, and thrice distill it, seperating the Feces everytime. Afterward remove from it the Sal-Armoniack by edulcoration, and reverberate the Matter of Antimony in a Vessel well closed, with moderate Fire (not forcing too much) until it become like the Earth of Cinnabar. This being done, pour on it strong distilled Wine Vinegar, and extract its Redness; afterward abstract the Vinegar, until a Powder remain. This abstraction must be made in Balneo. Then, extract this Powder with Spirit of Wine, that the Feces may be separated, and you will have a pure and clear Extraction. Having finished this Operation, put this Spirit of Wine together with the Extraction into a Cucurbit, and add thereto a little of the Tincture of Corals, and of the Quintessence of Rubarb, and then administer the Dose of three or four Grains.
It causeth gentle Stools, and purgeth without Gripings of the Belly; and indeed if you have proceeded well in preparing, it renders the Blood agile, and is a Medicine apt for those who desire Gentle Purgations.
Here perhaps some Physician may wonder, how ‘tis possible, that this Medicine should cause moderate and easy Purgations, when as Antimony is a Matter vehement and forcible, and to it is joined Rubarb, which of itself also hath a Purging Property. But let him cease his admiration, and know that the venomous purging power of Antimony is by this Preparation so mortified, as it can apprehend or expel nothing; but as soon as some purging Simple is adjoined to it, it then according to the powers of its own Nature performs the Office of opening and purging. But Antimony prepared hath no action upon the *Stomach, thence to expel its impurities; but by the purging Medicine, its adjunct, acquires a more open Field, and therein can operate without Impediment any other way, and discern, yea search out the way of Effecting that better, to which it was ordained and prepared, without hindrance.
*[CARTHARTICKS EXPEL BUT CORRECT NOT] Note here very seriously, that Galenick Catharticks have power of expelling, but not of Correction Humours; but Chymical Purgers are endued with either Faculty; and certainly it should not be minded how much is expelled, but how much is healed, which the occult power of Medicaments prepared Chymically doth much better effect, than that common and publick violence of purging forcibly.
59. [ELIXIR OF ANTIMONY, ITS VIRTUES]
I would have all men to credit these words, since I have no necessity to write other than the Truth. This Elixir in such manner prepared, as I have taught, penetrates and purgeth the Body, as Antimony purgeth Gold, and frees it from all Impurity: So that if I would at large commemorate all the powers and virtues thereof, I must put up my Supplications to the GOD of Heaven, and intreat him to vouchsafe me a longer Life, that I might laud his wonderful Works, and search out further, and according to Verity communicate to others what I have found, that they with me excited to admiration, may publickly render thanks to their Creator, for his so great Blessings.
But to proceed in my purpose, having once begun, I here describe the Virtues of Antimony, as far as I have experienced them; yet what is hid from my knowledge, I ought to pass over in silence. For it becomes me not to give my Judgement of things unknown, and which I have not with myself experimented, but I leave them, commending the same to other Judges, who with study and labour in this Subject, have made some good progress. No one man can be so expert in knowing the Virtues of Antimony, as nothing shall remain unknown by him, not only by reason of the shortness of his Life (as I before said) but also, and chiefly because some new thing is dayly found in it.
[ANTIMONY YET CRUDE IT FATTENS SWINE, HOW]
Therefore, let men know, that Antimony not only purgeth Gold, cleanseth and frees it from every peregrine Matter, and from all other Metals, but also (by a power innate in itself) effects the same in Men and Beasts. If a Farmer purpose in himself to keep up and fatten any of his Cattle, as for Example an Hog; two or three days before, let him give to the Swine a convenient Dose of crude Antimony, about half a dram mix’d with his Food, that by it he may be purged; through which Purgation he will not only acquire an Appetite to his Meat, but the sooner increase and be fattened. And if any Swine labour with a Disease about his Liver or other Parts, or else be Leprous, Antimony causeth the Leprosie to be dryed up and expelled.
[WHY AUTHOR INDUCED RUDE EXAMPLES]
This Example seems indeed to sound somewhat gross and rustical, to the Ears of Great men especially; but my purpose in proposing it was only to the end, that private Men and Laicks, whose Brains were not by Nature fabricated to the most subtle Philosophy of the Learned, may see the Truth hereof, in the very Operation itself, with their own Eyes; also that by this rude Proposal, they might give greater credit to my other Writings, in which I have spoken a little more subtley of these Things. Yet I would have no man, following me as his Author, to give a Medicine of Crude Antimony to men; for mute Animals can in their Stomach concoct much more hard Foods, than the tender Complexion of Men is able to digest. Wherefore, he who would rightly and with profit use Antimony, he must learn the Preparation thereof first, and afterward know the Dose, as what is convenient for the Young, and what for the Old; how much may be given to robust Bodies, and how much to the weak, in which no small Mystery of this Art consists, the ignorance of which will do more hurt than an imprudent Physician can do good.
[ANTIMONY DIVERSELY PREPARED HATH DIVERSE EFFECTS]
Should I confirm all things by Examples, that would be the Cause of a very Prolix Writing; therefore I will break off this Discourse, and pass on to another Preparation of Antimony, and describe its fixedness; which acts like Wine, from which its Spirit is substracted and separated from its Body. [WINE HEATS, VINEGAR COOLS] This Spirit heals the Body internally, and if externally applied, draws to itself all the Heat of a part inflamed: but, on the contrary, when of the Wine, Vinegar is made, it cools, either inwardly or outwardly applied; although the Wine and Vinegar have their Original from the same Root, and proceed from the same Stock. The Reason of this diversity is, because Vinegar is made through digestion only, by which Putrefaction of the Wine follows, together with a Vegetable Fixation: but on the contrary, Spirit of Wine is made with Separation by distilling, or vegetable subliming, which renders the Spirit volatile. By like reason Antimony is prepared, and according to its diverse Preparations hath diverse Effects, and diversely communicates its Gifts to us, which are scarcely comprehensible by the humane Intellect. But the fixedness thereof, touching which I here treat, is thus prepared.
[POWDER OF ANTIMONY, FIXED]
Take of Antimony as much as you will, grind it to a subtle Powder, which put into a Cucurbit, and pour on it of Aqua Fortis so much as will stand above it the breadth of six Fingers; and having well and firmly closed the Vessel, place it in a subtle heat for ten Days, that the Matter may be extracted. Decant off this Extraction pure and clear, and filter it, that it may be freee from all feculencies and Impurities; then put this Extraction into a Glass-Body, and abstract all the Aqua Fortis by Distillation in Ashes or Sand, and in the bottom the Powder of Antimony will remain yellow and dry. Upon this pour distilled Rain-water, and put it in a like Glass in moderate heat, and you will have a Red Extraction. This again filter, and gently distil off the Rain-water by B.M. and the Powder will remain red in the Bottom. Upon this red Powder pour strong distilled Vinegar: this Vinegar will in some time draw to itself the Colour red as Blood, and put down Feces. Afterward distil off the Vinegar, and there will again remain a red Powder. This Powder reverberate continually for three days together without ceasing in an open Fire; This being done, abstract the Tincture from it by Spirit of Wine, and separate the Feces remaining from the Tincture. All these Works being with so great labour performed, again separate the Spirit of Wine by distillation in Balneo, and a fixed *Red Powder will remain, which operates wonderfully.
*Diaphoretick Antimony is sold in Shops, but what here the Author shews us, by the name of Fixed Powder of Antimony, is not to be bought for Silver or Gold; the Virtues of which so far exceed all that, of which the Common sort are Partakers: In vain with so great attention and study (of which in preparing this Powder, there is very great need) did our Philosopher intend this Work, if these Mysteries of so great Effects must come to the handling of the Vulgar, or be publickly sold for Money. Let him who attains to this fixed Powder use it in Chronical Diseases, especially where Sweats are to be excited, and he will see Effects causing him to rejoice, if he use it in himself; and by which he will be glorified, if he use it in others.
Half a dram of this being taken thrice a day, viz. Morning, Noon, and Night, or oftner, hurts no man; for it expels all clotted Blood out of the Body, and being long taken securely opens all perillous Imposthums, and expels them; radically cures the French Disease, causeth new Hairs to grow, and notably renovates the whole man.
[FLOWERS OF ANTIMONY]
Now, since I have taught to make a fixed Powder of Antimony, and the Extraction thereof very commodious for Use, leaving this Discourse, I purpose briefly to treat of the Flowers of Antimony, which may be many ways prepared. But the greatest part* of men neither can discourse of, nor answer to these; because they have not learned the Processes of such Operations: but the least part, viz. the Disciples, Apostles, and Followers of the Spagyrick Art, will more esteem my Writings, more diligently read them, and more prudently give Judgement of the same.
*How much Chymistry was impeached by Calumnies, in the times of Basilius, is manifest by the very many Reliques of Writers, with which some Theologicians, imprudently judging what they understood not, and Politicians (not much more prudent than them) have defamed their own Books; and in the mean while also given occasion to Others, more throughly searching into the matter, of judging those very Authors, with not greater circumspection to have likewise bespattered other innocent Persons with their Censure. I do not here speak of those Writers, who sharply reprehend certain Vagabond Sophisters, that covering their own Wickedness, under the Pretext of a most noble Art, do by a great Name impose great Frauds upon the People. For this kind of men are not only worthy of severe Reprehension, but also of due Punishment. But, what Evil do they deserve, if under their Denomination the Good be abused? Why is the most certain and so salutary and profitable an Art proscribed? Because there are men found, which use not the Art itself, but the Name and Shadow of this Art. Yet I am unwilling to prolong this Apology, lest Envy, which hath been the greatest cause of Calumny, fall upon me in this manner lamenting, whilst I hear Basilius encouraging his, and have reason to applaud our own Times, in which some part of that most thick Cloud, which cast out so many Thunders, is already vanished. [CHYMICAL MEDICINES SOLD IN SHOPS] In Shops they now sell Medicaments, Chymically prepared (as they say) and those very Persons, who are willing mostly to be esteemed Hippocratick Disciples, scarcely dare to condemn Chymistry, and since they call into use what are made by the Chymical Art, they cannot deny it. Are not those Times at hand, in which Elias the Artist, the Revealer of greater Mysteries is to come? Of whose coming Paracelsus so clearly prophesied in carious places in his Writings? Perhaps it will be worth our while, for the Solace of the oppressed Disciples of Basilius, to quote certain places, in which he predicts the coming of Elias not then born: which is any One commodiously interpret, as all other Sayings of that man are to be taken, he will find nothing of absurdity in them, unless he resolve to discover his own absurd Stupidity, or wicked Envy. In the Book of Minerals, Chap 8. Paracelsus thus writes: what is the most vile, GOD suffers to be discovered, but whwat is of greater moment is yet hid from the Vulgar, until the coming of Elias the Artist; others read, until the Art of Elias, when he comes. And again, in his Book of Minerals, Treatise the first. It is indeed true (saith he) that many things lie hid in the Earth, which I, as well as others am ignorant of. For this I Know, GOD, in time to come will manifest his Wonders, and bring to light many more of them, then unto this Day have been known by us. Also this is true; there is nothing absconded, which shall not be revealed; therefore there cometh One, whose Magnale lives not yet, who shall reveal many Things.
Therefore be comforted, be comforted, O Lover of Chymistry, and prepare the way of that Elias, who brings happy times, and will reveal more Secrets than our Ancestors, by reason of Envy, and the Iniquity of their Days durst discover. Whosoever thou art, conversing in this Art, confer some small matter to this felicity; and let us give the World that Medicine, which by reason of evil Humors predominant, it cannot take all at once, by degrees, that it may gradually recover of its Disease, and the Time of Elias come (for Arts also, as well as is understood of other things, have their Elias, saith Theophrastus) where it will be lawful for us to speak freely of these things, and openly to do good to our Neighbours, without persecution of the Impious. Read, understand, and comfort yourself with these.
But, my Disciple and Follower, if you will imitate me, my advise is, that you take up your Cross, at first, and suffer as I have suffered; learn to bear Persecution, as I have already born it, labour, as all our Predecessors with me have done; with continual Prayers seek unto the Lord GOD, and be thou patient, and laborious without weariness, and then the Most High, who hath mercifully heard me, will not forsake Thee: for this Cause I every hour give thanks to GOD, as my Eyes are filled with Tears can and do witness.
Now, to proceed in my Instruction, touching the Flowers of Antimony, it is to be understood, that the true Flores of Antimony, may be prepared, not one, but various ways, as is known to every Spagyrist. There are some who drive them, mix’d with Sal-Armoniack, over by Retort; then they edulcorate them, by washing away the Sal-Armoniack, and these they greatly esteem; for these Flowers are of a fair and white Colour. Others have perculiar Instruments for this Work, prepared with windy Caverns, through which the Antimony may receive the Air, and be sublimed. Others, setting three Alembecks one upon another sublime them with strong Fire, and with one and the same labour make white, yellow, and Red Flores; all which ways I have tried, and found no Error in them: but the Process, by which I make Flowers of Antimony, most profitable for Medicine, and more efficacious in their Operations is this.
I mixed the red Flowers of Antimony with Colcothar of Vitriol, and sublimed them together thrice. So, the Essence of Vitriol ascends with them, and the Flores are more strong: which being done, I extract the same Flowers with Spirit of Wine. The Feces settle to the bottom, and separate themselves from the Spirit. These the Artificer lays asie, and distils off the Spirit of Wine in B.M. until the Powder remains dry.
[FLOWERS OF ANTIMONY, THEIR VIRTUE]
These are my prepared Flowers of Antimony, which I administered to my Brethren, and others, who in there Necessities, required help of me, for their Souls spiritual, in respect of my Ecclesiastical State, and for their Bodies temporal, by reason of the Trust they reposed in my Art. These Flores purge gently, without frequent, or excessive Stools, and have cured many Tertian and Quartan Fevers, also very many other Diseases; so that I purposed, by the help of our Saviour Jesus, and his most Holy Mother Mary, to ordain in my Testament a perpetual Monument upon my Altar, of all the Cures which I have performed by his grace; that I might so doing, not only give thanks to GOD, but also make my Gratitude known to Posterity, that they likewise may acknowledge the wonderful works of the Most High, which I (by my diligence) have extracted from the Bowels of Nature, and which he himself had hid and absconde in her profound and most secret Recesses.
But touching the Sublimations of Antimony, which are afterwar called Flowers; let the Reader further observe, viz. that they are like Waters, which break out in high Mountains. Now, of the difference of waters, which arise in the highest Mountains, yea in higher than they, if such can be foun; for even unto them woul the waters ascend; since it is known, that in the tops of the highest Mountains, Springs do very often issue it; an of other waters which are foun by digging deep in the Earth, and by following their Springs must be searched out: [MATRIX PERCULIAR TO EVERY ELEMENT] any man may judge that the Matrix of waters in the Earth, is on one part more abundantly replenishe with the Riches of waters, then on another; since every Element hath a peculiar Matrix, either strong or weak, according as it is produced by the Sydus, whence Elements derive their Original an have being. Now, when such a Matrix is strong and potent in the Earth, it can drive forth its Seed strongly and efficaciously from itself, by a vehement Pressure, even up to the Snowy Mountains of the Alps, or to the very top of the Babylonish* Tower.
*This Parable is of very great moment, but so very clear to those, from whose Eyes the Cataract is taken away, as to explain it to them, would be to hold a Candle to the Light of the Sun: to others, from whose sight the Cataract is not took off, this place gives no occasion of detracting the same. Therefore, read, peruse, and meditate; Day is an Instructor to the Day; the later Reading explains the former, and the former the later.
If any fatuate man hear this my Discourse, he will say, I am either mad or drunk with Wine; but this will be no other than a Reproach, like to that, which was cast upon the Disciples of our Saviour. Of Sublimation, the Reason is the same; for as Waters, which are many times found in the highest Mountains, are more salubrious, and more cool than those, which by digging deep into the Earth are found in Plains: so, if the Matter by pressure & force of fire be driven upwards to the Mountains of the Ancient Wise Men, who died long before my time, the Earth, which for the most part is unprofitable, remains until its Salt shall be extracted from it for its proper use. Thus is made Separation, by which the Evil may be distinguished from the Good, the Pure from the Impure, the thick from the thin, the subtle from that which is not subtle, and the Venom from the Medicament. We miserable Mortals, by Death which we have deserved for our Sins are put into the Earth, until we putrefie by time, and be reduced to filths; and afterward by the Heavenly Fire and Heat raised, clarified, and exalted to a Celestial Sublimation, where all our Feces, all Sins, and every Impurity shall be separated, and we made the Sons of GOD, and of Eternal Life, unto which the Lord of his Mercy and Goodness bring me with you. But I hope no man will take amiss this Comparation of the Mundane with the Spiritual, viz. the Heavenly Exaltation with the Earthly Sublimation. For no man should suppose what I have done, to be done without Reason, but rather know, that I am not ignorant what is white or black, how much the tenebrous and dismal Air differs from the serene and clear Heaven. Therefore let us break off this Discourse, and produce another Preparation of Antimony.
Let the Disciple, Apostle, and faithful Imitator of Art, understand this Instruction, and according to the true Philosophick Doctrine faithfully consider, that every Extraction from Antimony (as also from all other Things) hath great difference in Operation, which neither consists in the Matter, nor is known by the Matter, from which it is drawn; but consists and remains in the Preparation, and in the Addition, by which the Virtue is extracted from the Matter, as is known by Experience; as for Example. Whatsoever is Extracted from Antimony, or any other thing with Spirit of Wine, hath a far other virtue of Operating, than those, which are extracted with good and sharp Vinegar. The Causes of this I have already hinted in my other Writings; but the principal Cause have is, because all Extractions made with Spirit of Wine, from Antimony, or any purging Herbs, Roots, or Seeds (understand of the first Extraction) powerfully expel by Seidge: but on the contrary, whatsoever is extracted with Vinegar, purgeth not downward but rather prevents that, and retains in a certain peculiar manner, by which the Volatile is changed into fixed.
This is a singular Secret, and an Arcanum of great price; but there are none, or very few found, who mind such things; because many things are hidden, and lie deeply buried in this Arcanum, which no One, either Master or Servant, nor any Wise man of this World hath unto this Day observed or considered.
[EXTRACT OF ANTIMONY] Therefore the Extraction of Antimony is made two ways, viz. with Vinegar, and with Spirit of Wine. Vinegar obstructs, and Spirit of Wine, of itself powerfully expels and causeth Urine, as also Stools; as elsewhere in another manner is shewed, and especially where I speak of my Twelve Keys, as namely, that the Extraction of Glass of Antimony moderately purgeth; but on the contrary the Extraction of the same Glass, which is made with Vinegar purgeth not: which is true and not permixt with any falsity. But this Experience gives occasion of thinking and reflecting, by which way of Reasoning, Nature gives promotion and production to a true Philosopher. But it is a thing much to be admired, that every Subject, which is first of all extracted with Spirit of Wine, should have a Purging Property. Yet when Glass of Antimony is from the beginning extracted with distilled Vinegar, and that Vinegar again abstracted, and then the Antimony extracted with Spirit of Wine, all its venomous purging virtue passeth away, and no sign thereof remains, nor assumes it to itself any power of provoking Stools; but it performs its Operations by Sweat, and other ways, chiefly by Salivation and Ejection by the Mouth; it searcheth out all hurtful Evils in the Body, purgeth the Blood, heals the Diseases of the Lungs, and profits those who are strait-breasted, and troubled with a frequent Cough. In a word it Cures very many Disease, also asswageth a Malignant Cough, and whatsoever is of that Disposition, and is a Medicine very admirable.
Moreover, thre is another Extraction of Antimony made in this manner. Grind crude Antimony to powder, and pour upon it strong Vinegar, not of Wine, but made of its proper Minera, and expose the Mixture in a Vessel well closed to the Solar heat; then, after some time the Vinegar will be tinged with a Blood-like Colour, pour off this Extraction clear, filter it, and distil by Alembick in Sant: then again, in distilling, it shews admirable Colours, pleasant to the Sight, and wonderful in Aspect. This Oil* at length becomes Red as Blood and leaves many Feces and prevails against many Infirmities: [EXTRACT OF ANTIMONY, ITS VIRTUES AND USE] for its singular Virtue and Use is commanded in the Leprosy; the New Disease lately risen amongst the Soldiers is by it consumed and dried up, and indeed it effects Wonders.
*Here thy Sincerity, Valentine, is suspected. Who can by this thy Prescription make this Quintessence, which Petrus the Spaniard, in his Book of the Quintessence of all Things, deservedly extols, as the greatest Secret of Philosophy? What shall I say? Malice makes thee, not a perverse, but timerous man, fearing, lest if Arcanum’s should be communicated openly to the wicked, they would do more hurt with them then good. This Process seems to me to be purposely described obscurely by this Religious Man (why else should he not have written otherwise!) because he knew the Sons of Art would understand it by his Prescript. But that you, Reader, may understand, you have not in vain spent your Money in buying, or time in reading these Commentaries, I will clearly and nakedly discover to you, how I myself have oftentimes performed this very Work: do you give good heed to all Things, that you may not at all be deficient; for the Operations are so concatenated, or co-linked together, as one being omitted, or negligently performed, all the other are spoiled, and your Labour cannot answer your Desires.
Take the best Minera of Antimony, which is friable )for if you take crude Antimony, as Basilius seems to indicated, you can effect nothing; because it hath already lost its most subtle Sulphur in the first Distillation) grind it to so subtle a Powder, as it may pass through a Tiffany Seive: put it into a Cucurbit, and pour upon it Vinegar, which according to Art is distilled from its proper Minera. Set it in Digestion for forty Days, and (if you have exactly observed all things, which are here unto required) your Vinegar will be tinged with a Colour red as Blood. This red Tincture poured off by Inclination, put into a Retort, and gently abstract the Vinegar. The Powder remaining extract with Spirit of Wine, that it also may contract a blood-like Colour. Put this Extraction into a Circulatory Vessel, like to this, the Figure of which I here expose; because I never found any more apt to render the Spirits volatile: Then place this double vessel in B.M. to be digested so long, as until you see the Tincture raise itself upwards and pass over volatile by Alembeck; seeing this, cool your Vessel, and put all the Matter into a Cucurbit, and distil the Spirit according to Art, which will pass over the Helm as red as Blood. Then again abstract the Spirit, and you will have a most ponderous, thick Oil.
How this Oil should after this be joined with its own Salt, and united, we elsewhere speak; the use of which in amending Metals is very great. Here we have described it, and brought is so far, as it becomes a most excellent Medicine in grievous Diseases, which are in all places accounted uncurable. It performs its whole Operation by Sweats. And since there is no Disease, which it helps not; what need is there to name any? It is better to be altogether Silent, then to detract from its praises, by reciting a few. There is no man who hath made any Progress in Chymistry, that knows not what the Quintessence of Antimony is.
The Physician before all Things, should diligently contemplate its use, according to his own Experience and Knowledge; but especially completing its Preparation in a due manner, without being weary of his labour, or forgetting any of those Things which are prescribed to be performed.
[LIVER OF ANTIMONY]
Again, another Extraction of Antimony is thus instituted. Take, in the Name of the Lord, of Antimony and crude Tartar, of each equal parts; put these well mixed together in Powders, into a strong Crucible, which will not suffer the Spirits to penetrate it, and burn this Matter in the Fire, until the Tartar be wholly combust: this work must be done in a Wind-furnace. Grind this burnt Matter to a subtle Powder, and pour on that Common Water first made hot, and so edulcorate the Matter by Lixiviating. And so it becomes a Liver*, so called by many of our Ancestors, who lived long before us.
*The Liver is a Cause of much Discourse in Banquets, and the Liver of Antimony will be to us no small Occasion of the like in Chymical Operations. But in the first place consider, that instead of Crude Tartar, it is better to take Salt of Tartar, not only for accelerating the Operation (for otherwise it must be melted so long, as until the Tartar be changed into Salt) but chiefly, that you may have Glass of a far better Colour. Also Basilius forgot, or for some Reason did omit, to appoint the Glass first to be poured into a Platter made hot, and then beaten to Powder in an hot Mortar: otherwise the Glass, by reason of the Salt of Tartar, as soon as it takes the cold Air is changed into a certain Pulse or Pap. Besides, he omitted to determine the Quantity of Water, in which this Powder should be dissolved, that we may have a more fair and deep Colour; in which Exaltation of Colour very much is sited. Also the Precipitation of the Liver from the Water, which must be made with Vinegar, be involved in Silence; although this, and the above mentioned, are necessary in this Operation.
Here I am unwilling to forbear to admonish, that not only in this, but in every Melting of Antimony, the Artist ought to observe the Face of Heaven, and begin his Work when the same is clear and serene. If you do otherwise, you will in vain deplore the Obscurity of the Colour in your Liver of Antimony. For if you laugh at me, attributing much Virtue to the Influences of the Stars, I shall deride you, deploring the unluckie Success of many Processes. But I would not digress so far, as to take on me to prove the Virtues of Celestial Influences, against men, either knowing so little, as they cannot understand, or having experienced somewhat do not discern; but in the meanwhile are so obstinate, as they will not believe those things which they see, have tried, and in very deed found to be so. I would no more urge Reasons against these men, then against these, who deny even the Mutation of Metals by the Stone of Philosophers. We judge such men more worthy of Contempt than Refutation, who say that is not possible, which they have beheld with their Eyes, and done with their hands: for it is very rude to say, I deny, I deny, who proves? These perverse men by their thus acting, do sometimes provoke the patience of good ingenious Artists, judging that they, with a certain Zeal of confirming what they assert, will proceed so far, as to discover to them their Experiment of so excellent an Art. But I do not think that any of them, who have obtained the Mystery will be so imprudent, as unadvisedly to cast Pearls before Swine, and to discover to the unworthy, what GOD hath revealed to him; or give them of the Bread he Eats, which is not to be cast to Dogs.
Therefore, returning to the Matter from whence I digressed, I affirm, that there are some times of the year, in which if Liver of Antimony be made, and precipitated with a due Menstruum, it will be imbibed with altogether another Colour, and be endued with other Virtues than that, which is made at another time; and that, both for Metals, and for healing the Infirmities of men, as I my self have experienced in many grievous Diseases, and Symptoms of Diseases. I will also add this: from the Liver of Antimony may be extracted a Redness with Spirit of Wine, which Redness is made volatile, and passeth over the Helm, which also may be exhibited to all without danger. Nor is there any great need of that Caution of Basilius (even before the Redness is volatilized) that it must be given in a small Quantity. For being given from thirty to forty, or fifty Drops, it sweats moderately, and doth not Purge or Vomit: but it effects wonders in purging the Blood, extirpating the Roots of a Disease, and rendring the Patient vigorous, by insensible Expiration, and its occult Virtues. This Vendible Wine needs not the Bush of Eloquence to commend it to the Sick; who once having experienced its Virtues, know what it can do, and that it as much answers their Desires, as they esteem their Money.
Put this Liver dried into a Cucurbit, pour thereon most pure Spirit of Wine; abstract the Spirit by distilling in B.M. so that a third part only may remain. But before Distillation, the Spirit of Wine together with the Extraction must be filtered through Paper. This Extraction may indeed be profitably used; but in a small Dose, and with great Caution. What happens in this Operation is very admirable. For the Spirit of Wine abstracted, can no more be united with the red Extraction, whence it was distilled; but one floats above the other, as Water and Oyl, which cannot be mixed. But if the abstracted Spirit of Wine be poured upon other Liver of Antimony, it again attracts the Colour to itself; yet this, although poured upon the former Extraction, cannot be mixed therewith. Which is a Thing so strange, as it may be numbered among Wonders. But who can declare the Wonders of GOD? or who will worthily esteem the Gifts of the Creator, which he hath implanted in his Creatures? by us scarcely perscrutable with deep Meditation.
I before made mention of the Extraction of Antimony, from its Glass* by Vinegar, and also by Spirit of Wine: but I now say, when such an Extraction is made by Vinegar, and the Vinegar is again abstracted by B.M. and the Powder which remains is resolved in a moist place, into Oyl or Liquor of a Yellow Colour; it effects such Wonders in Wounds, new and old, as I neither can, nor dare to commit them all to writing.
*Here our Author acts as a Teacher careful, and full of Affection, who not satisfied once to mention, doth often inculcate the principal Precepts of his Doctrine. But, what it is, that specially moves him to repeat the Virtues of the Sulphur of Antimony, I see not: he saith, he repeats nothing in vain; therefore do thou, Reader, if thou judgest it of Concern, more attently consider, whether you may not here find somewhat that is not mentioned, or the Reason why it is again spoken of. I, who profess myself to write to the Intelligent, reiterate nothing here. He that comprehends, let him comprehend; he that hath not there understood, I fear will not here understand.
[LIVER OF ANTIMONY, ITS VIRTUES]
For it represseth all Symptoms of what kind so ever, suffereth none to take Root, and admits no Putrefaction in fresh Wounds. Also the Extraction of this Powder, before Solution is made by Spirit of Wine, effects the same, and yields not us inferior to other Medicaments, which are administered against internal Affects.
I have often made mention of this Preparation in other of my Writings, also in this Treatise of Antimony, very largely; because I know how great benefits and how great Secrets are latent in it. Therefore I hope, no Disciple will be affected with tediousness, by Reason of Repetitions in my Writings, which I faithfully open and bring to Light. For whatsoever I write is not without Reason; and my words are Short, but require much Consideration, although often repeated. To the Ignorant my Discourses contribute little understanding, to Children and the unexperienced little Profit; but to my Disciples and Apostles, much health and prosperity.
[EXTRACT OF ANTIMONY, BY A CAUSTICK WATER]
There remains another Extraction by a Caustick Water, which Experience hath taught me in this manner.
Take of Vitriol and Common Salt, equal parts; from these by Retort distil a Water*, which being forced out by vehement fire, comes forth a matter like thin Butter, or the Sediment of Oil Olive, which keep apart for use.
*Here I will teach you the Manual Operation, O Lover of Chymistry, which undoubtedly you will greatly esteem of, when you shall find the great commodity thereof in operating. Lest, as it often happens, when you distil the Spirits of Metals, your Vessels should be broken. Of your Earth Retort A. open the upper hole B. into which put your matter by Parts, lest all together senting the heat, should act all to forcibly; and presently Close the Hole with its proper Cover. To the Spirits received in the Vessel C. exit is given by the hole D. into the other opposit Receiver E. to which again is applied the other Receiver F. So, the more subtle Spirits ascending through the Hole D. settle in the Recipient F. But the more gross remain in the bottom G. of the Reciever C. This Instrument will be most apt for your use here; not only, as I said, lest a most strong Spirit passing out break the Glasses, but also for other Works, as by an easy Speculation you will hence gather.
Subtly grind the Caput-mortuum, and in a Cellar permit it to resolve into Water, this Water keep and filter it through Paper. Afterward take Hungarian Antimony, grind it to a fine Powder, and having put it in a Cucurbit with a flat bottom, pour this Water thereon, and set the Vessel in Heat. When it hath stood there for a due time, the Matter will be like an Amethyst, with a blackish Violet-Colour. Then augment the Fire much, and you will have a transparent Colour, like unto a blue Saphire. From this Colour precipitate a white Powder, by pouring on Common Water. [EXTRACT OF ANTIMONY, ITS VIRTUES, AND USE] This Powder taken, hath the same Operation, as the red Extraction of Glass of Antimony, by Seidge, and it also excites Vomiting. [MARS TRANSMUTES INTO VENUS] In that Solution made from the Caput-Mortuum, and kept in a Cellar, if thin Plates of Iron be digested, Mars will be truly transmuted into Venus, as Experience will teach.
Now further consider. Take that distilled Oil or Water, as is spoken of above in this process and pour it upon Crocus Martis, with Sulphur reverberated to a Redness; set the Mixture in Heat, and you will have an extracted Tincture of Mars, red as Blood. Take of this Extraction one part; of the Red Extraction of Antimony, which is prepared with fixed Salt Nitre and Spirit of Wine, three Parts; of the Water of Mercury* leisurely injected through a long Pipe; one Part;
*[WATER OF MERCURY, HOW MADE] Chymists, that they may with the Ingenuities of their Readers; and more, lest any but the true Students of Art should penetrate into their Secrets, deliver not all Things in one place, but scatter their Documents, that by the Diligent Collection of them, they may judge of their Aptness, as the Eagle proves her Young, exposing them to the Solar Rays: so you see Basilius here proposeth the use of Water of Mercury, which he taught to be made in his Treatise, which is called a Supplement, or rather gave a rude Draught of that Process. For neither there, nor here doth he make mention of an hole, that must be open, in the superior part of the Retort, and thereinto a long Pipe fitted through which the Mercury may be put in, in very small Parcels. For if you include a very small part of Mercury in a Retort, first made very hot with a vehement Fire, as this must be, if you would extract the Spirit, that Mercury, with its own vehement and untamable violence, would not only burst the Retort, but overthrow the Furnace also; unless you give it a larger space, and greater liberty of Flying; so that, after it hath visited many Retorts, it may rest, and being as it were tired, settle. But since it is well known to all true Chymists, of how great Virtue this Mercury is, in the Resolution of Metals, I will here make no further mention thereof.
and of the Calx of Gold dissolved in this Caustick Water, half a part. Mix all these together, and after they are canted off clear, distil the Mixture with a Moderate Fire in Sand. All will not pass over by Distillation, but a fair clear Solution remains fixed * in the Bottom; which we may use in old open Wounds, wherein it laies a Foundation for Healing to Amazement.
*This Solution is not yet fixed, but if you be not already wearied with labour, by a further Operation you may fix it. The principal Use of this is, in the Emendation of Metals, which Basilius doth not so much as mention. Now the Genius of all Chymists will understand me, here candidly discovering this Secret to all. Do thou, Lover of Chymistry, in mind and though swiftly follow me expounding the Oracle; but the Operation cannot be so swiftly performed.
This Powder must first be Extracted with strong Vinegar, which afterward abstract, and what remains in the bottom edulcorate with distilled Water: again Extract it with Spirit of Wine, and abstract the Spirit, and in the bottom will remain a Red Powder. Join this with the fixed Salt, which is made of the Feces, which remained after the Vinegar was used for Extraction. And deliver it to Vulcan for three Months space, that it may no more fly from the Fire, but most pleasingly sport with and in the same. If you perform this, you have Two conjoyned in an inseperable Matrimony: and you have separated the pure from the impure, have rendered the Volatile fixed, and fixed the Volatile, and are not far from that Felicity, which will answer all your Desires.
The Caput-Mortuum which is left, being resolved in an Humid place, yields a Liquor so sharp, as no Aqua Fortis may be compared with it in sharpness. But of these enough at this time. For I must now speak of a White Powder, which may also be prepared of Antimony in this manner.
[POWDER OF ANTIMONY, WHITE AND FIXED] Take pure Antimony, which is brought from Hungaria, or found in like Mountainous Places; grind it to a subtle Powder: take also the same measure of pure Salnitre, which hath been the third time diligently cleansed. This Composition burn in a new glazed Pot (which was never infected with Fatness) in a Circulatory Fire; not all together, but by parts, and at divers time. This way of Operating, Ancient Spagyrist called Detonation, a Term of Art to be learned by the Disciple of Art, as being not Common to every Rustick, in his Artifice and Experience.
This Operation being performe,d grind the hard Matter, which remained in the Pot, to a fine Powder, and upon it in another Glazed Pot pour common Water warm; which when the Matter is settled again repeat the pouring on of Water several times, until all the Salnitre be extracted: Lastly, dry the remaining Matter, and with fresh Salnitre* as much as its own weight is, burn it again, and repeat the same Operation the third time.
*[POWDER OF RULAND] Basilius doth not misguide or delude you, O Lover of Chymistry, whilst he so candidly discovers most Secret Mysteries, and so sincerely and faithfull present their wonderful Effects. As by this very Operation you have an Example: For after the first Detonation with Nitre, and so soon as you shallhave separated the Salnitre from the Powder with pure Water, you have the Powder of Ruland, with which that man effected so many Medicinal wonders, whereby he got to himself so great a Name, and so much Wealth. Which, if you prepare under a certain Constitution of Heaven (as I advised, in preparing the Liver of Antimony) you will have so much the better, by how much the more Red: for the Colour is the Soul thereof, the Effect of which in Medicine, Ruland proved and commended; but he, neither exhausted its praises, nor did he persuade the Unexperienced, that so great Virtues were latent in this Medicament. This Crocus of Metals (for so it is called) is not that, which is publicly sold in Shops, upon eight Grains of which they pour two ounces of Wine, and although the Sick only drink that wine, without any other Powder, it oftentimes works so forcibly, upwards and downwards, as either way, sometimes both ways, the life itself issues out. But the use of this is thus. Take eight, nine, ten, or eleven Grains of this our Authors preparing the first Time, according to the strength of the Sick, and all other Things co-indicating; pour on them three or four ounces of Wine; for it matter not much, whether you take more or less of the Wine. Set the Mixture in B.M. for the space of four or five hours, and so extract a most Red Tincture from this Crocus of Metals (which in an infusion of the Crocus of the Shops cannot be extracted) this Wine, no impregnated with the Sulphur of the Crocus, together with the more subtle part of the Powder, which in canting off comes out, I give to the Sick, and it purgeth kindly upwards and downwards without molestation. Nor doth this Medicament only expel Humours, but (as is proper to Antimonials rightly prepared) it strikes at the very Root of the Disease, and whatsoever in the Body is corrupted and declined from its due state, that it amends and restores. What wonderful Effects, this only Tincture hath discovered to me, I forbear to mention, lest I should be compelled to bring their Credit in Question, who have experienced them. In this only believe me, whosoever thou art, that woulest use Chymical Medicaments, always be sure to take the true Tinctures of Things, in which their Volatile Sulphur is absconded; if you neglect this, you neglect your own Fame and Gain, and the Health of the Sick.
What remains after this third Operation grind to a subtle Powder, and on that pour the best Spirit of Wine; circulate the Mixture for one Month, in a Cucurbit or Circulatory diligently nine or ten times, so often pouring on fresh Spirit. This being done, dry the Powder with gentle heat, and for one whole Day keep it red hot in a Crucible, such as Goldsmiths use to melt their Metals in. Afterward resolve this Powder (in a moist Place, upon a Stone or Glass Table, or in Eggs boiled to an hardness) into a Liquor, which set in heat, again dry, and reduce to Powder. This Powder effects many egregious and wonderful Things, which cannot easily be believed by Those, who have not proved the same.*
*If you have believed, or experienced the virtues of this Powder once detonated, you will not be a Thomas in this third Detonation. Set to your hand, touch and use this, and it will perform the same, which true Diaphoretick Antimony can, but with greater Security and Efficacy.
But it operates not suddenly, it must have time to exercise its Powers, and shew its own Virtue, by the Testimony of Experience, very admirable.
[POWDER OF ANTIMONY, WHITE AND FIXED. ITS VIRTUES]
Whosoever labours with internal Imposthumes, let him take of this white fixed Powder of Antimony in the Spirit of Wine, or any other rich Wine, the fourth part of a Dram, five or six times a Day, and he will find his internal Imposthume opened, and all the Coagulated Blood to be expelled by degrees, without any peril of Life or Health. He, hwo is afflicted in his Body with the New Disease of Souldiers, if he use this Powder in the aforesaid manner, will also find this Evil consumed throughout the whole Body, and by the same expelled. Moreover, it produceth new Hairs, and renovates a man to the admiration of all men; it gives new, sound, and pure Blood, and is the Effecter of so much Good, as ever the least part of it (although Equity seems to require this) cannot by me be described or declared. [NO MAN MADE DOCTOR WITHOUT LABOUR] It is not fit that I should here manifest all things clearly, and in such manner, as any man, without Labour and Toyl, by reading my Writings, may become a perfect Doctor; no more than it is fit, that a Young Country Man* should be fed with the whitest and best baked Bread, which he hath not prepared with his own Labour, or the Corn of which himself thrashed not out.
*Valentine hath so clearly detected all Things, as no man, either before or after him, hath done it more clearly. All that came after him seem to have conspired, and agreed together to spread Clouds over that Light, which he brought into the World. Hence it is, that they do not Publicly extol his Praises, according to the high Esteem every man Privately hath of him; nor have they translated his Books into other Tongues, although He, of all Authors, is the most worthy, Who speaks in the Languages of all Nations, that he may be a comfort to the Lovers of Chymistry, erring in the Labyrinths of others, and always produce a new Off-spring of Philosophers. But no man should think, that he could so clearly speak, as every man, handling Chymistry (according to the saying) with unwashed Hands, might presently understand him; that is, as himself saith, not possible to be done, nor is it expedient that the Son of a vile Clown should eat of the finest Flower, in preparing which he took no Pains; yet (as below he confesseth) our Author hath used plain, simple and clear Words.
But I make too large a Progress in this open Field of Doctrine, in which Ancient Hunters take their Larks, and the Young Ones presently follow them with their Nets. For my Style (as all my Writings witness) hath a certain singular purposed Method, like that of all Philosophers before me. If anyone think it strange, that I here propose certain singular Processes, in which my Philosophy differs from other, let him be answered with this, that Philosophic Speech much differs from the Method of other mens Discourses, who nakedly and sincerely declare some Process, without any Ambiguities or Cloudings of Enigmas. Therefore, consider the difference, and accuse not me, as if I had deviated from Order, in my Style of Philosophy, and of Preparations and Processes. For in a Philosophic Discourse, it is not behooful to learn and judge of what appertains to the Theory, but the Practice teacheth you the Instruction of Processes; therefore in them, true, simple, clear and well grounded Words are to be used.
[BALSOM OF ANTIMONY] Also, of Antimony is made a Balsom, against grievous Diseases very profitable; yet not Crude Antimony, but of the Regulus thereof, whence may be made living Mercury, in the following manner.
Take of the best Hungarian Antimony, and crude *Tartar equal parts, and of Salnitre half a part; grind them well together, and afterwards flux them in a Wind-furnace; pour out the flowing Matter into a Cone, and there let it cool; then you will find the Regulus, which thrice or oftner purge by Fire, with Tartar and Nitre, and it will be bright and white, shining like Cupellate Silver, which hath fulminated and overcome all its Lead.
*What I advised to in the Preparation of Liver of Antimony is here to be repeated; instead of Crude Tartar take Salt of Tartar, by which the Operation will sooner and better proceed. Salnitre here is unprofitable. Therefore, take Antimony and Salt of Tartar, of each equal parts, melt them and make a Regulus, according to the Rule here given by Basilius. If you cast away the Glass (as all men for the most part do) you will do ill. [TINCTURE OF ANTIMONY, FROM ITS GLASS, ANOTHER] For I, of that prepare a very profitable Medicament in this manner. I grind this Glass in an hot Mortar, taking heed to contract no Humidity from the Air, which may easily be prevented, and having put it in a Phial, pour Alcohol of Wine thereon, and thence extract a most beautiful Tincture, in Colour red like Blood. This Tincture is a most excellent Cordial, if thirty, forty, or fifty Drops of it be taken in convenient Liquor, and that, if you will, twice or thrice a day; for it is taken with safety, and recreates the whole Man.
Grind this Regulus to a subtle Powder, and having put it into a Glass, pour it on Oil of Juniper, or Spirit of Turpentine, which comes forth in the first Distillation, and is pure as Fountain Water; keep the Vessel well closed, in a subtle heat of B.M. and the Oil of Juniper, or Spirit of Turpentine, will become red as Blood, which pour off, and rectify with Spirit of Wine. [BALSOM OF ANTIMONY, ITS VIRTUES] This is endued with the same Virtues, as Balsom of Sulphur, as I shall then show, when I write of Sulphur, because they require one and the same Preparation.
Of this Balsom only three or four Drops, taken thrice in a Week with hot Wine, heal the Diseases of the Lungs, cure the frequent Cough, and Asthma, also they are conducent in the Vertigo, prickings of the Sides and in diuturnal Coughs.
[OIL OF ANTIMONY PER SE] Also many Oils may be prepared of Antimony, some per se and without Addition, and many others by Addition. Yet they are not endued with the same Virtues, but each enjoys its own, according to the Diversity of its Preparation. Of which I now give you this Similitude. There are many kinds of Animals, which live only in the Earth, as are many Creeping Things, Worms and Serpents; also others, some of which are new kinds, which before were not, and also these proceed from Putrefaction of the Earth. Some inhabit the Waters, as all kinds of Fishes; others fly through the Air, as every Kind of Flying Things, and Birds; some also are nourished in the Fire, as the Salamander. And besides these, in the more hot Regions and Islands, are found many other Animals, which to these Nations are unknown, which prolong their Life by the Solar Heat, and which die so soon as brought into another Air. So Antimony, when prepared by the Addition of Water, assumes another nature and Complexion for operating, then when prepared by Fire only. And although every Preparation of it ought to be made by Fire, without which the Virtue of it cannot be amnifested: yet consider, that the Addition of Earth gives it wholly another Nature, than the Addition of Water. So also when Antimony is sublimed in Fire through the Air, and further prepared, another Virtue, other Powers, and another Operation follow, than in the Preparations already described. Therefore the Oil of Antimony, per se, without addition, and the true Sulphur thereof are prepared after this Method.
[TRUE SULPHUR OF ANTIMONY]
Take crude Hungarian Antimony, put that ground to a subtle Powder, into a Glass Cucurbit with a flat bottom: pour thereon the true Vinegar of Philosophers rendred more acid with its own Salt. Then set the Cucurbit firmly closed in Horse-dung, or B.M. to putrefy the Matter for forty Days, in which time the body resolves itself, and the Vinegar contracts a Colour red as Blood. Pour off the Vinegar, and pour on fresh, and do this so often, as until the Vinegar can no more be tinged. This being done, filter all the Vinegar through Paper, and again set it, put into a clearn Glass firmly closed in Horse-dung, or B.M. as before, that it may putrefy for forty Days; in which time the Body again resolves itself, and the Matter in the Glass becomes as black as Calcanthum, or Shoomakers Ink. When you have this Sign, then true Solution is made, by which the further Separation of Elements is procured. Put this black matter into another Cucurbit, to which apply an Alembick, and distil off the Vinegar with Moderate Fire; then the Vinegar passeth out clear, and in the bottom a sordid matter remains; grind that to a subtle Powder, and edulcorate it with distilled Rain Water, then dry it with gentle heat, and put it in a Circulatory with a long Neck (the Circulatory must have three Cavities or Bellies, as if three Globes were set one above another, yet distinct or apart each from other, as Sublimatories, with their Aludel [or Head] are wont to be made, and it must have a long Neck like a Phial, (or Bolthead) and pour on it Spirit of Wine highly rectified, til it riseth three Fingers above the Matter, and having well closed the Vessel, set it in a moderate Heat for two Months. Then follows another new Extraction, and the Spirit of Wine becomes transparently red as a Ruby, or as was the first Extraction of the Vinegar, yea more fair. Pour off the Spirit of wine thus tinged, filter it through Paper, and put it into a Cucurbit (the black Matter which remains set aside, and separate from this Work; for it is not profitable therein) to which apply an Head and Receiver, and having firmly closed all Junctures, begin to distil in Ashes with moderate Fire: [GOLDEN COLOUR FROM ANTIMONY] then the Spirit of wine carries over the Tincture of Antimony with it self, the Elements separate themselves each from other, and the Alembeck and Recipient seem to resemble the form of pure Gold transparent in Aspect. In the end some few Feces remain, and the Golden Colour in the Glass altogether fails. The red Matter, which in distilling passed over into the Receiver, put into a Circulatory for ten Days, and as many Nights. By that Circulation Separation is made; for the Oil thereby acquires Gravity, and separates itself to the bottom from the Spirit of Wine; and the Spirit of Wine is again Clear, as it was at first, and swims upon the Oil. Which admirable Separation is like a Miracle in Nature: Separate this Oil* from the Spirit of Wine by a Separatory.
Here you have not only whatsoever can be made of Antimony, but also almost all that can be promised by a Chymist. This is that with which all the Books of all Chymists are filled, which is involved in so many fables, complicated in so many Riddles, and explicate with so many obscure Commentaries, that is, which in all the World is desired by Fools, sought by the Sons of Art, and found by the Wise. This Basilius reveals, this he repeats, this he inculcates; this is his Triumphant Chariot, which he as it were carries about, and often shows in the various Parts of his Writings. Before in this Treatise, he presents it under the Name of an Extraction of Crude Antimony, here it is Oil of Antimony, soon after it is converted into a Stone, which is called the Stone of Fire. Thus this Proteus often offers itself, always various, yet always the same in Substance. Compare all these Processes, which are so often diversely propounded, which these my Commentaries made upon the Extraction of Crude Antimony, and you will have the Work complete in all its Numbers; you will have a Treasure, in which, if you know not what you have, I remit you to Aesop’s Dunghil-Cock, who found a Gem in the Dunghil, but knew not what he had. Consider diligently, O Lover of Chymistry, and you will find that no man hath dealt more clearly and sincerely with Thee, than Basilius, and me after him, who show thee there the Hare lies, which so many Others have hunted in vain. If now you be not here wise, you will not be healed with three Anticrya’s. Therefore I will add nothing, lest I make Fools mad, who now indeed are wise.
This Oil is of a singular and incredible Sweetness, with which no other thing may be compared, it is grateful in the Use, and all Corrosiveness is separated from it. No man can by Cogitation judge, by Understanding comprehend, what incredible Effects, potent Powers, and profitable Virtues are in this Royal Oil. Therefore this this Sulphur of Antimony, I have given no other Name, than my Balsom of Life; because it effects very much, by the Grace of GOD, in those, in whom was no help to be hoped for, but by the mercy of GOD, and nothing remained by a most certain expectation of changing Life with Death; as my Brethren can witness hath been often done. It refresheth a man so, as if he were new born; it purifies the Blood; mixt and exhibited with the Tincture of Corals, it cleanseth Leprosy, and expels every Scab, which through impurity of the Blood takes Root in man. It drives away Melancholy and sadness of Heart, it confirms the Junctures, and above all strengthens the Heart, when given with the Magistery of Pearls. Also it helps the Memory, and in Swouning a more noble Medicine is not found, if six drops of it mixt with equal parts of Oil of Cinnamon be put upon the Tongue, and the Nostrils and Arteries be anointed with a little of the Essence of Saffron.
Ah Good GOD, what moves me to speak, write, and invent many Things! For I suppose I shall find few among the Doctors, who will give absolute Credit to these my Writings, which I have declared faithfully, instead of a Testament, to my Disciples, Apostles, and Followers; but Others, who before knew these wonderful Effects, and have often in Truth experienced these Virtues, will more accurately attend, and more easily believe, and for this bounty of mine (viz. because I have opened, by the permission of GOD, the Powers and Virtues which are infused in the Creatures, and have as it were freed them from Prison, brought them to Light, and unto free Operation) give me thanks, and speak honourably of me, after I am reduced to Dust in the Grave.
[ANOTHER TINCTURE OF ANTIMONY]
Another way to drive Antimony, without Addition, over by Alembeck is this.
Make a Regulus of Antimony, by Tartar and Salnitre, as I have above taught, grind this subtily, put it in a great round Glass, and place it in a moderate heat of Sand. This way the Antimony will be sublimed: whatsoever shall be sublimed, that dayly put down with a Feather, that at length it may remain in the Bottom, and there persist until nothing more of it can be sublimed, but the whole remains fixed in the Bottom. Then is your Regulus fixed, and precipitated per se. But consider, here is required a sufficient time, and repitition of the Labour often, before you can obtain that. This Red Precipitate take out, grind it to a subtle Powder, which spred upon a flat and clean Stone, set in a cold moist Place and there let it remain for six Months; at length the Precipitate begins to resolve it self into a red and pure Liquor, and the Feces or Earth is separated from it. [TRUE SALT OF ANTIMONY] The Salt of Antimony, I say, only resolves itself into Liquor, which filter, and put into a Cucurbit, that it may be condensed by extraction of the phlegm; and again set it in moist Place, then will yield you fair Crystals. Separate these from their Phlegm, and they will be pellucid, mixt with a red Colour; but when again purified become white. Then is made the true Salt* of Antimony, as I have often prepared it.
*Like with like, is a Proverb among the Greeks, and is here manifest in our Chymical Work. For this Salt acuates all Menstruums, for their more easie extraction of Metals; but those Extractions most, which are made of Antimony, as of a Mineral to it of affinity and like.
[SALT OF ANTIMONY, AND ITS USE, WHEN REDUCED TO OIL OR SPIRIT]
This Salt dry, and mix with it Venetian Earth (which is called Tripel) three Parts, and in strong Fire distil it. First a white Spirit comes off, afterward a red Spirit, which also resolves itself into white. Rectify this Spirit gently and subtily in a dry or moist Balneo, and so you will have another white Oil distilled from the Salt of Antimony. This Oil, but why do I call it Oil? this Spirit, I should rather say, since the Salt is distilled in a Spiritual Manner, in Quartans and other feavers often manifests its Virtues, and is very conducent in breaking the Stone of the Bladder; it provokes Urine, and is profitable in the Gout. Outwardly applied to old corrosive Wounds, which have their Operation from Mars, it purifies them. Also this Spirit of the Salt of Antimony purifies the whole Blood, as the Salt of Gold doth. And although, in healing very many other Diseases it may be profitably applied, yet it is not so perfect, as the above described red Oil of Antimony, in which its Sulphur is deduced to the highest, purified and separated, as I said; therefore I forbear to speak more of this.
Now, since I have treated of the Sulphur and Salt of Antimony, and shewed how they may be reduced into Oil and Spirit, to be subservient to Medicine; I here treating further, purpose to speak of its Mercury also, and to manifest what Medicine lies absconded, and as it were buried in it.
[MERCURY LIVING EXTRACTED FROM ANTIMONY]
Take the Regulus of Antimony, made in such manner, as I above taught, eight Parts. Salt of Humane Urine clarified and sublimed, one Part. Sal-Armoniack one Part: and one Part of Salt of Tartar. Mix all the Salts together in a Glass, and having poured on strong Wine- Vinegar, lute it with the Luting of Sapience, and digest the Salts with the Vinegar for an entire Month in convenient Heat; afterward put all into a Cucurbit, and in Ashes distill off the Vinegar, that the Salts may remain dry. These dry Salts mix with three Parts of Venetian Earth, and by Retort distil the Mixture with strong Fire, and you will have a wonderful Spirit. This Spirit pour upon the aforesaid Regulus of Antimony reduced to a Powder, and set the whole in putrefaction for two Months. Then gently distil the Vinegar from it, and with what remains mix a fourfold weight of the filings of Steel, and with violent Fire distil by Retort: then the Spirit of Salt, which passeth out, carries over with itself the Mercury of Antimony in the Species of Fume. Wherefore in this Operation you must apply a great Recipient with a large quantity of Water in it, so doing, the Spirit of Salt will be mixed with the Water, but the Mercury collected in the Bottom of the Glass into true living Mercury.*
*What were Arcanum’s in the times of Basilius, are now in our times but vulgar Chymical Works. How often shall we find any One, who numbers himself among true Chymists, that is ignorant of the way of making Mercury of Antimony? either in this manner, as Basilius teacheth, or in another. For various Artificers have now invented various Methods, and every One useth that, he best approves of.
Behold, O Lover of Art, I have showed you, how of Antimony may be made running Mercury, which very many have so long, and in so many Parts of the World sought; and how we may use this Mercury with praise in Medicine, I will here discover and set down in Writing.
[MERCURY OF ANTIMONY, ITS MEDICINAL PREPARATION AND USE] Take in the Name of the Lord, of this Mercury one Part, express it through a Skin, and pour on it of red Oil of Vitriol highly rectified, four Parts. Extract the Oyl, and the Spirits of the Oyl will remain with the Mercury: Force it with vehement Fire, and somewhat will be sublimed. Thus Sublimate again put down upon the Earth in the Bottom. Then pour on other Oil, of the same weight as before, and repeat this labour a third time. The fourth time, put the Sublimate which ascends with the Earth, and grind both together, and the whole will be clear and pure, like a Speculum or Crystal. Put this into a Circulatory, and pour on it a like weight of Oil of Vitriol, and thrice so much Spirit of Wine. Circulate until Separation be made, and at length the Mercury resolve itself into Oyl, and float about like Oil Olive. When you see this, separate this Oil from the other Liquor, and put it into a Circulatory, and there pour on strong distilled Vinegar, and permit it so to rest foro about twenty Days. Then this Oil again acquires its own Gravity, and settles to the Bottom; and whatsoever Veneosity was in it, remains in the Vinegar, which will be tenebrous and altogether confused.*
*There is no need of Torches at Noon Day, nor or of Commentaries in so perspicuous a Description, by which Basilius teacheth to make the Mercury of Antimony. Begin leisurely, give heed to all particulars, and your Work shall never deceive you. Lest I should darken the Author, I desist from Commenting; but add, that I doubt not, but that this Mercury will manifest wonderful Effects in the Humane Body: Yet I have not experienced its Virtues for the health of Animals, therefore my Commentaries must not exceed my Experience.
But in the Emendation of Metals, it shows itself to be endued with singular Virtues. For I say, and clearly affirm, he that can bring this Oil here described by Basilius, to the state of a fixed Stone, may glory that he aht a fixed Tincture, only inferior to the one only King of Kings, the Great Stone of Philosophers. When thou hast proceeded thus far, O Lover of Chymistry, go not back, nor take off thy hand from the Plough: but go on chearfully, perhaps in so great a Grove.
The Golden Branch, with Leaves and Twigs of Gold
Will shew itself to Thee.
[OIL OF THE MERCURY OF ANTIMONY]
This is a great Arcanum, and seems repugnant to Nature, that this Oil should first swim, and afterward being rendered more ponderous, settle to the Bottom. But consider, the Oil of Vitriol is also heavy, yet when the Mercury in its Separation is not altogether pure, it stands above it; but when the impure Lightness is taken from it by Vinegar, because the Vinegar assumes that, then the Oyl receives its just weight, becomes compact, and settles to the Bottom. This is the Oyl of the Mercury of Antimony, which is the fourth Column of Medicine.
Now come hither you Lepers! where be you? I will supply you with means for Health. This Oil is profitable against the Apoplexy, comforts the Brain, makes a man industrious, and cherisheth the vital Spirits of the Ehad. If anyone hath laboured long with grievous Diseases, and will for some time dayly use this Oil, his Hairs and Nayls will fall off, and he will be renovated, as a man newborn. All the Blood in the Humane Body is by it so purified, as every Evil is taken off from it, and expelled. This heals the French Disease, which we have lately inherited; for by this Medicine it is radically extirpated. And, to comrpehend much in few words, the praise of this Oil is greater in Medicine, than can be expressed in Speech or Writing.
Why do we, miserable Mortals, taken from the Earth, and ready to return into Earth, stick here? Why do we not hasten to give Thanks to God our Creator, for this Medicine so mercifully granted to Us? You Doctors (if it please the Gods) of either Medicine, come to me a religious man and Servant of GOD, I will manifest to you what your Eyes never saw, and will show you the way of Health and Sanity, which before you never knew. Yet if any one be found among you, who understands my Processes, and the way of Preparation, better than I; let him, I pray, not be silent, or set a Seal to his Lips: for here I stand ready to learn, nor am I ashamed further to inquire, and desire that Light, which before I knew not. For I have often said, that this our Life is circumscribed with more strait Limits, then that one man should be able to search out all Things, which Nature bears absconded in her Bosom. [IDLENESS, CONDEMNED] But on the contrary, I being the Author, let them be silent, who have experienced less than the Author, let them be silent, who have experienced less than I, and if they have not attained to a solid Understanding of my Writings, let them not attempt to amend them, or (like Brawlers) with inconsiderate Words reprehend, what they never learned in the Schools, and the Processes of which they never received from men skilled in the Law. For my Terms otherwise sound, and signify other than theirs, who oppose themselves against me, and who are shamed of the Labour of Planting Trees, and of Grafting fruitful Sprouts thereon; therefore they always abide among dry and withered Wild Trees, and can never attain to any Branch of green, sappy, and well manured Fruit Trees.
[FISHES DIE NOT OF COLD]
Hasten not, I say, O man experienced in our Art, to pass your Sentence of Judging, and be not willing to condemn, what you have not yet yourself acquired by Thoughts, or gained by Discipline. Many imprudent men frequently say, Fishes are frozen in Waters; but these discover their own imprudence and want of Knowledge. for it will never be proved, that a Fish, even in the bitterest Winter will ever be frozen in Waters, as long as the Ice of those Waters is dayly broken by the diligence of Mortals. [WHY THEY DIE IN FROZEN WATERS] But the reason why Fishes die, is because, when the Ice is not opened, their respiration is hindred, and they thence are suffocated. For it may easily be proved, that no Animal can live, when to it the Use of air is denied. Whence it may well be concluded, that those Fishes, which are found dead under the Water, in an extreme Cold Season, die not of Cold (as men of little understanding think) but because they are deprived of Air. By like Reason (that we may apply this Example) I say; since Antimony, is to produce such admirable Fruits, it is to be taken out of the Mountains; but first, by the Care of the Miners spiracles, or breathing places, are to made for it, and afterward it must be prepared with Water, Air and Fire, as with auxiliary Mediums, lest its fruitlessness be suffocated in the Earth. But with many and laborious Preparations of Artifice, it must be manifested and brought to Light, for the expected Sanation of Diseases, by reason of which it hath been so long sought into.
[ADVICE AFTER REPREHENSION] Where now, O wretch! who contemnest Antimony, and among all men accusest it as mere Venom, where is thy Rhetorick, or Dialect, wherewith to defend thyself? But since thou understandest neither White, nor Black, nor Green, nor Red, nor Yellow; nor knowest which way to go about to justify Antimony, its Virtue, Power and Utility, being unknown to thee, thou doest well, if thou keepest Silence, and permittest this Reprehension of thy Ignorance, as a Wave driven with vehement wind to fly over thy Head; fearing, that if those Winds and Waves should be predominant, thy own weak and frail Bark would be sunk and submerged. To avoid this peril, seasonably call upon thy Sleeping Master, as the Disciples of our Saviour Jesus Christ did, when they feared they should perish. Yet this must not be done with a dissembled and feigned, but with a true and pure Heart, without all Hypocrisy; then your Redemption and Help will undoubtedly follow, so that in all Verity you will see and find the Winds and the Sea to obey you, and all Things be brought to the desired End.
I wish man were but so disposed, as he would study to obtain somewhat with labour and Diligence, then certainly the gods, the Presidents of Prosperity and Art would give Success, by which such a Disciple and Follower of Art might be assured, that in the wished School of Art, and desired Domicile of Grace, Felicity and Health hsould not be denied him, but that he himself should certainly see and find the Foundation of the Corner Stone, upon which he might commodiously build up all the other Orders of Stones. tHen would cease the so many evilly founded Impertinencies of Bablers, which in the Schools stun the Ears of Disciples, and in Houses the Ears of the Sick; and the Matter itself would speak, as it were with open Mouth, and by certain Experience confirm, that a Castle or Palace of Stone cannot so easily be set on Fire and burnt, as a Pidgeon-House, or the old Nest of a Stork composed of rotten Wood, and dayly dried more and more by the Sun.
[CENTER OF ART, NOT KNOWN BY EXTERNAL ASPECT]
But my Auditor and Disciple, do thou with sharp Judgement weigh this my sincere Information, and iwth fervent desire strive to penetrate the inmost Center of Art, which by the external Face can be known to no man; prosecute and press after the Virtue and Power thereof, no otherwise, than as a Hunter pursues a Wild Beast; search out its Footsteps through the Snow, that you may rightly distinguish, and not take an Hart instead of an Hind, or an Hare instead of a Fox, or give a false estimate thereof, by erring from its Footsteps. Well, cast out your Nets, and take a multitude of Fishes, according to your own Wish or Desire. Place your Threads as is behooful, and dispose of the Birds, which allure others to their place, and by this way of Fowling you will fulfil your desire with profit. That by these, to every Searcher I may briefly propose my Admonition and Advice, I say: My Friend the Hunter, dispose rightly your Nets and Instruments for Hunting as behoveth; and you Mariner, who Night and Day sail through the vast Seas, and are often driven hither and thither by the Winds, give heed to the Point of your Compass, and undoubtedly you will reap profit, and not bring home your Ship, swiftly returning, without great Gain of Merchandize.
But why do I treat of many things, or spend time unprofitably (as tatling Sophisters are wont to do) in beating out the empty Chaff? I am deceived; [WORDS OF THE AUTHOR ALL OF USE] I do not unprofitably spend my time; for all the Words in my Writings are of use, and in them are found few empty Letters, which contain not some Utility together with a profitable Instruction, so that the time I spend in Writing will rather be a Recreation, than a Burthen to me. Therefore now, after the manner of Fencers, I will step back one pace, and into the Chymical Laboratory infer a new Doctrine of External Things; [ANTIMONY IS A PRESENT HELP AGAINST WOUNDS] viz. Show, that Antimony is of such a Nature, as may be prepared so, as to yield present help in Medicine pertinent to External Wounds, which manifoldly offer themselves to us, and are delcare by Chirurgy. therefore I will begin and briefly explain my Processes, viz. how that is to be used in Medicine, and how it may profitably be prepared.
Whosoever thou art, among Junior Students, that desirest to search out the Occult things of Nature, and to bring her hidden Secrets to Light, attend to what I say, that thou mayest be able to distinguish Day from Night, and what is clear from the Obscure.
[ARCANUM OF ANTIMONY]
Take of Hungarian Antimony one part, Common Salt half a part, and six parts of Argilla not burnt, grind all together, and distil vehemently with a continual Fire without Intermission and at length an Oil will come forth: from this abstract its Phlegm by Distillation, that a red dry Powder may remain in the bottom of the Cucurbit. This Powder grind subtily, and resolve it into a Liquor, upon a Marble Stone; and you will have a red shining Balsom for Wounds, which far excels very many other Balsoms. [ITS USE AND VIRTUES] Its Use* is principally in Wounds, which have been a long time open, and in the Cure of which the Doctors with their Plaisters, Unguents, Oils and Ligaments could effect nothing: but with very great Disgrace they at length take off the Horse’s Bridle and Saddle, and return him to the Stable, whence they had him.
*A wise General of an Army so disposeth his Soldiers in time of Fighting, that in the beginning of the Battle, the good and strong Soldiers fight, and in the End of the same the best and most strong come to deal with the Enemy; but such as are not powerful enough, for the first and last Encounter, in Arms or strength, are by him placed in the midst, that they may take Example of fighting from the Former, and hope of help and Victory from the Later. The Emperor is imitated by the Orator, in placing his Arguments so, as he may overcome the minds of men. Basilius imitates the Orator, in disposing his Processes so, as he may lead his Disciples to Sapience, and the Fruit of Wisdom. We have already had famous Processes, and in explaining them have used our Endeavour, and contributed some Light. Now follow those, that are in themselves clear enough, and not of so great moment as the former; therefore we shall not insist upon them.
[WHY THE AUTHOR SPEAKS SIMPLY]
My Form of Speaking Savours of Simplicity; for I am a man Religious, to whom the Method of Secular Men is unknown; therefore cannot so clearly detect and describe all Things, as the Matter itself seems to require. Such a man as I, as to the Terms, because he cannot so formally use them, desires to be pardoned in this, and if he neglect anything therein, he craves the candid Acceptation of all men, and in respect of his State offers himself willing and ready to serve all Christians Day and Night, and by his Prayers to GOD, to recompence this their Benevolence.
[BALSOM FOR WOUNDS, ITS USE]
This Oil is salutary in many grievous Accidents, and especially in old wounds, so that few Medicines are found, which must not give place to this. Only that Oil, which is prepared with the Vulgar Sublimate of Apothecaries, is equal unto it in Effects, and is oftentimes by Experience found to be better, especially in the Wolf and Cancer, and in the Noli me tangere. But in ordinary Fistula’s, and the Herpes the superior Oyl effects wonders, which were they not confirmed by Experience, could not be believed, and all which I recite not, lest someone or other should judge me to do it from Ambition, or that thence I hunt after Fame, which was never by me either sought or desired; nor at this time, as I can holily affirm, is it aimed at by me.
[ANOTHER OIL OF ANTIMONY]
Now I will give you the Preparation of another Oil.
Take Mercury mortified (which is sublimed to clearness and Splendor, and sold by Apothecaries) and Antimony, of each equal parts. Grind them together, and distil them by such a Retort, as will retain the Spirits thrice, and afterward rectify this Oil with Spirit of Wine. Then the Operation is absolved, and the Oil becomes red as Blood; but at first it is White, and like Ice or congealed Butter. This Oil effects wonders in many Affects, where Nature gave no hope of Amendment, and it always mostly shows its force, virtue, power, and efficacy, in the perfect Emendation of Evil into Good.
By Addition may be prepared another Oil very profitable in external Wounds.
Take of Antimony one part, Sulphur one part, Sal-Armoniack, or Salt of Urine purified half a part, and Calx-vive two parts. Expel the Oil strongly: whatsoever is sublimted, that grind with the Caput-Mortuum, and thereon again pour the Oil distilled off, and thrice distil it; then the Oil is prepared.
When old Wounds can in no wise be healed, then use this Oil. For it is strong, potent and penetrative: and lays a good Ground (even as Oil of Vitriol doth) for future Sanation.
[BALSOM OF ANTIMONY, AND OTHER INGREDIENTS]
An admirable Balsom of divers Ingredients (among which is Antimony) very useful in old Wounds is thus prepared.
Take of Sulphur, four ounces, set it over a moderate Fire to melt, and put into it half a pound of Mercury, and stir the Mixture so long together, as until both become one Mass. [CINNABAR, HOW MADE] This Mass grind to Powder (for it is made as Cinnabar is wont to be prepared) then grind with it four ounces of Antimony, of red Arsenick four ounces, of Crocus Martis two ounces and of Powder of Tiles eight ounces. Put all these into a Glass Cucurbit, and sublime them, as such things are wont to be sublimed; [RUBIES OF ANTIMONY] and in this Sublimation you will have Rubies in Colour not inferiour to the Oriental, but tehy are not fixed; for they are volatile, and fly from the Fire. Let the Artificer separate these Rubies from the Cinnabar, which ascends in the Sublimation, grind them to Powder and extract them with strong Vinegar. This being done, let him abstract the Vinegar leisurely in B.M. and a Powder will remain; this Powder grind small as before, and having put it into another glass, extract its Tincture with Spirit of Wine, and separate the remaining Feces. This Extraction with Spirit of Wine digest in B.M. well closed for one Month. Then abstract the Spirit of Wine, as you abstracted the Vinegar, and put the remaining Powder into a flat Glass Dish, and set that dish in a Cellar into a Pail full of Water, that it may Swim upon the Water, as a Boat. So doing, the Powder which is in the Glass will in a few days resolve it self into a clear nad perlucid Liquor.
This Liquor is salutary in old open Wounds, and is a vulnerary Balsom in like Accidents, if put into them, and they covered round with a common Stiptick Plaister. In diuturnal open Wounds, it leaves no man destitute of help, although such, as in the Cure of which all otehr Remedies have been tried in vain. Of open Ulcers, which have their Original from within, I speak not here; for they cannot perfectly be healed without internal Remedies, [ROOTS OF DISEASES MINDED BY FEW] which dry up all Fluxions, and radically extirpate the Disease: although at this time few are found, who bend their thoughts this way, or take any Course to touch the Root itself of those Diseases, of which I now treat.
If Men would in their Minds well consider the Calamities of Life, into which the Fall of our first Parents precipited us, and seriously weigh that Original Sin, and the great troop of Evills thence issuing, viz: of Sadness, Anguish, Diseases and Miseries, they certainly would spend their time better, and employ more labour to search out the health of their neighbours, so strictly commended to them by the Supreme Ruler of Heaven, and by him commanded as their proper Duty. [SUCH AS SHUN LABOUR DO NOT WHAT THEY OUGHT] But how many (with grief be it spoken!) shunning labour, consume their time unprofitably, and do not what was to be done by them, but what they formerly have done, and still ahve a lust to do, being afraid to do so much, as will soil their Fingers Ends; as if they did envy the Tradesman, who perhaps gets a small Gain by selling Soap, which they would not willingly buy, to wash their delicate hands. Are not all we miserable Mortals, that live here, Strangers in the Earth, possessing nothing, that we can call ours? [GOODS OF GOD LENT, ONLY FOR TIME OF LIFE] Are not all Things we here use, the Goods of our Lord, lent to us, whilst we live and no longer? Therefore we ought so to behave our selves in using them, taht supported with a good Conscience we may be able to stand in that Day, in which an Account is to be given for them; and be not for our Ingratitude cast into Prison, and utter Darkness where shall be weeping and gnashing Teeth. If this were the Meditation, and this the Intention of every Man, he would be like a Monster, if he should think of admitting Sin in himself, or of neglecting his Office; and all Men would, with a certain Emulation strive to pleasure their Neighbours, with the Gifts received from GOD. But these things are remote from the thoughts of the World, and Wordly Men; Money, Money, is the Scope of all their Intentions; this the Potent seek directly or indirectly, and for this the Poor are subservient to them, that they also may participate of the Mamon of Iniquity.
Yet take heed, I advise you to take heed, lest the Bones of that Flesh, sticking in your Throat, suffocate you, or the Back-bones of Fishes pierce your Heart. But what doth Admonition help which the World little esteemes of and derides? Hear, I pray you an History; or learn a Parable. [AUTHORS PILGRIMAGE] When I, according to my vow, undertook a Pilgrimage to St. James, to visit that holy Place as a Stranger, I prayed to GOD, and bound myself with a Vow, that if he granted me an happy Return to my Monastery, I would render him due Praise. He granted my Request, and I daily return Thanks to him. But I thought many more would have rejoiced with me, and have given thanks to the same GOD, for the famous Reliques, which at that time I brought with me to our Monastery, (for Consolation of the Poor, and many Others) that it might procure to it self a Name, in this perishing Valley of Tears, that could not be wiped out by any Oblivion. Yet hence few were rendered either better, or more grateful to GOD, for so great a benefit; but persevered in Derision and Contempt of that, which GOD will vindicate in the last Day.
But of these enough at this time, let us proceed in our Instruction of Antimony, whence yet another Medicine may be prepared, which I myself have experience to be very salutary; and effectual in every kind of Feavers, and in the Pestilence.
[ANOTHER OIL OF ANTIMONY PER SE]
Grind Antimony subtily, put it inot a Glass Retort, and distil it with a strong fire, without any Addition, 3 or 4 times, and always with a large Receiving Vessel; at length of it is made a Red Powder, which extract with Vinegar, and circulate the Extraction with a gentle fire for ten whole Days; abstract the Vinegar by Distilling, and that which remains, by a singular* Artifice in distilling will be changed into an Oil. Let this Oil be further Circulated until all Humidity be drawn off therefrom, and it again be reduced to Powder, as it was; when the Vinegar is abstracted and separated by Distillation, then gather the Oil in a new Receiver.
*This Extraction may be rendered volatile with Spirit of Wine, after the same manner, as I taught you in former Operations.
[QUARTAN, QUOTIDIAN, AND TERTIAN FEVERS CURED]
Four Grains of this Oil taken with water of Carduus Benedictus, if the Sick be well covered and Sweated, heal Quotidian, Tertian and Quartan Fevers. The same Dose is very available for expelling the Pest, either given with Spirit of Wine, or with distilled Vinegar, according as the Paroxysm of the Pest first invades, either with Heat, or with Cold. [HISTORY OF 3 OF THE AUTHORS BRETHREN CURED OF THE PLAGUE] Which is witnessed by three Brethren in our Monastery, who recovered of the Plague by this Arcanum, when they expected no other but Death, and had made their Wills. This so reconciled their Minds to this my Art, as they helped me, with greater Zeal then before, both by their Prayers and Labour, and spent the leisure time they had exempt from Religious Duties, in serving me daily; and in a short time attained to so great Experience, that by their own Industry, and the Industry of their Brethren, they gained more true Knowledge in searching out the Arcanums of Nature, then they could before obtain in a longer series of time. Therefore, for these Men, I give them thanks, even unto my very old Age, and in very deed I return them thanks, because they deserved so well of me, and of others, by their so faithful Labour; but they finished their Course of this Life before me, and entred the way of all Flesh, wherefore I recommend their Reward to the Supreme Physitian, who dwells in the highest Heavens, and there will refresh them with sufficient Joy, and make up in Heaven that Just Recompence, which here on Earth was denyed them by ignorant, and ungrateful Men.
[ANOTHER OIL OF ANTIMONY PER SE]
Another Oil of Antimony for wounds, is prepared with Addition in the following manner.
[OIL OF SULPHUR PER CAMPAN. HOW MADE] Take of Antimony, Sulphur, Saltnitre, of each equal parts; Fulminate those under a Bell, as Oil of Sulphur per Campan. is made; which way of preparing hath long since been known to the Ancients. But Consider, you will have a better way, if instead of a Bell, you take an Alembeck*, and apply to it a Recipient; so you will obtain more Oil, which will indeed be of the same Colour, as that which is made of Common Sulphur, but in powers and virtues not a little more excellent, then it.
*I now, O Lover of Chymistry, Speak to you by Pictures, not in words onely that by a Compendium of Speech, you may also have this Compendium of Labour, and Charge. Behold this Instrument, and provide for yourself such an One, that you may follow Basilius, in making Oil of Sulphur per Campan. For this way one ounce will yield you as much Oil, as a Pound will make in the Common Method. From Sixteen ounces of Sulphur you may extract half an Ounce of Oyl, which others, in their way, do scarcely expect from Sixteen Pounds.
We use 3 or 4 Drops of this inwardly taken with Spirit of Wine against the Phthisick of the Lungs; but outwardly, if it first be anointed, and a Stiptick Playster applyed, against all Wounds stinking, and tending to putrefaction, and so you will find it to be the most certain Remedy of all Wounds.
[ANOTHER OIL OF ANTIMONY PER SE]
Again another Oil of Antimony against all corroding Wounds very profitable, is this way made.
Take of Antimony, one pound, Common Salt dried, one-half pound, Tiles broken; five pounds. Grind all together, and put them into a Retort, whence distil a Yellow Oil. When all the Spirits are come forth, put the Matter in another glass. and from it extract the Phlegm, and a powder will remain; which in an humid place spread upon a stone, and you will have an Humid Balsom, which is a singular Remedy in all Verminant Wounds, and in the Cancer, which hath being cheifly in the Face of a Man, and in the Breasts of a Woman. Much more might be written of this Balsom, did I not fear, that every unskillful Man, and the Rabble of Sophisters would fall foul on me, and say I speak too largely, and commit more to writing, then Experience hath taught me; and so that I boast only of Speculations, and mere Imaginations.
[ANOTHER OIL OF ANTIMONY PER SE]
Moreover, another Oil is made in this manner.
Sublime one part of Antimony, with a fourth part of Sal Armoniack, with subtile Fire. The Salt carries up the Sulphur of Antimony, red as Blood. Grind this Sublimate to a fine Powder, and if you took at first one pound of Antimony, grind with it again five ounces of Sal Armoniack, and Sublime as before. The Sublimate dissolve in a moist place. Or otherwise, take the Sublimate, and edulcorate it from the Salt added, gently dry it, and you will have Sulphur, which burns like Common Sulphur, which is sold at the Apothecaries. From this Sulphur extract its Tincture with distilled Vinegar, and when you have abstracted the Vinegar by gentle Heat of B.M. and by a subtile Operation again distilled the remaining Powder, you will have (if in this Operation you erre not) a most Excellent* Oil, grateful, Sweet, and pleasant in its use, without any Corrosiveness or peril.
*This is another Repetition of the Process, by which the Balsom of Antimony is made, as our Author calls it in this Treatise, or the Quintessence of Antimony, of which often above. Yet in the process there is this difference, that here the Sulphur is separated by the Sal Armoniack from the Antimony, and then extracted from the Vinegar; whereas in the other Process, the Sulphur is extracted by the Vinegar, whilst it is yet united with the Antimony. But these are not things of so great a Moment, as to frustrate the Effect of Operations. Therefore this Variety gives the greater Liberty to the Operator, that he may not be Scrupulous is these Things, in which he understands the Reason of what he doth, and of the Method by which he acts.
It heals the Phthisick, remedies the Prickings of the Sides; and if any One labours with difficulty of Breathing, let him take two Grains in the morning, and as many at Night going to Bed. In the Elixir or Spirit of Wine, and he shall be healed, For it dilates the Passages of the Breast, expells all Impurities, and Phlegmes out of the Breast; and to me it hath often produced many unlooked for Effects. But cince in other Preparations of Antimony, I have described such Virtues, as with this are common to them, I Judge it needless to repeat them all, lest in the Sectators of Art I should create tediousness through multiciplity of Words, or alien thoughts by an impertinent Tautology.
In the mean while, the Liquor, which, as I above said, was resolved in an Humid Place, is an external Medicine, and very profitable; for it cleanseth the Impurities of the Skin, and if a little Oil of Tartar be mixed therewith, it heals the Phagedena of the Fingers; and it often anointed therewith, it purifies the Skin and cures Scrophulaes.
[TRUE SULPHUR OF ANTIMONY, OTHERWISE PREPARED]
Also, Sulphur of Antimony is prepared in another Manner.
Grind Antimony to a fine Powder, which boil for two hours or a little longer, in a sharp Lixivium made of the ashes of Beechwood. When boiled, filter the Antimony clear, and pour Vinegar upon the filtered Liquor, and then the Sulphur will settle to the bottom wholly red. Pour off the Phlegm and gently dry the Powder. Distil this Powder with Vinegar of Wine; extract the Tincture, and do as you did with the former Sulphur. To reduce the same into an Oil by Distilling, is worth your while: Although the Oil above mentioned hath greater Virtues, because its Body, by the Sal Armoniack, in the beginning of the Sublimation was better dissolved and opened.
There yet remain many things to be written of Antimony, and especially Three, necessary to be knwon by the Spagyrick Physician and Philosopher, viz. the Preparation of Vinegar, which is made of its Minera; and then the Philosophick Signate Star, which is not to be omitted; and lastly the Lead of Philosophers, of which we shall speak somewhat; touching which Many have imagined Great Things, and though (in their way of Reasoning, and Speculation) to prepare the true and sincere Mercury of Philosophers of it; which indeed cannot be done, since so great Efficacy is not from above insited in Antimony, as that in it can exist that Mercury, or of it be prepared. That Mercury is the first Ens, or first Water of Metals, which is perfect, otherwise the Great Stone of the ancient Wise Men could not be made of it. That first Ens, I say, and the Seeds thereof, are found in another Mineral, in which the Operation (according to the Genius Metals) is Particular, and most profitable Operation; and besides in it you may find whatsoever appertains to internal and external Medicine. For it is the Column of every Shop of Apothecaries, if duely prepared, as I often admonish; nor is anything wanting in it, provided the Artist hath learned well to distinguish the Disposition of Metals and Minerals, and diligently observes both the Preparation and Use of Antimony; because then, and not before, follows a perfect Judgement of it. Therefore I will stand to my Promise and comfort my Disciples, according to their Wish, by satisfying and instructing them, which way the Separation of Good from Evil may be known to them, and giving Information touching the Vinegar of Philosophers, which is made of Antimony.
[VINEGAR OF ANTIMONY]
Melt the Minera of Antimony, and purify it, grind it to a Subtile Powder, this Matter put into a Round Glass, which is called a Phial, having a long Neck, pour upon it distilled Water, that the Vessel may be half full. Then having well closed the Vessel, set it to putrefy in Horse-dung, until the Mineral begins to wax hot, and cast out a Froath to the Superficies: then ‘tis time to take it out; for that is a Sign the Body is opened. This digested Matter put into Cucurbit, which well close, and extract the Water, which will have an acid Taste. When all the Water is come off, intend the Fire, and a Sublimate will ascend; this again grind with the Feces, and again pour on the same Water, and a second time abstract it, then it will be more Sharp. This Operation must be repeated, until the Water be made as Acid, as any other Sharp distilled Vinegar of Wine. But the Sublimate, the oftner the Operation is repeated, the more it is diminished. When you have obtained this Acid Vinegar, take fresh Minera as before and pour this Vinegar on it, so as it may stand above it three Fingers; put it into a Pelican, and digest it two days in Heat, then the Vinegar becomes red, and much more sharp then before. Cant this clean off, and distil it without Addition in B.M. The Vinegar comes off white, and the Redness remains in the bottom, which extract with Spirit of Wine is an excellent Medicine. Again rectify the Vinegar in B.M. that it may be freed from its Phlegm; lastly dissolve in its proper Salt, viz: in four ounces of it, one ounce of the Salt, and force it strongly by Ashes; then the *Vinegar becomes more sharp, and acquires greater Strength, and virtue.
*This Vinegar also is numbered among the chief of those things, which are prepared of Antimony, therefore I thought it worthwhile to illustrate this with some Commentaries. For although it may be made in the way Basilius prescribes, yet there are still some things wanting to render the Work both more easy and more perfect, which I here subjoin; For six pounds of Antimony are required sixteen pounds of Distilled Water, and when (after Digestion) we would distil it, a certain manual Operation must be observed, on which depends the Success of the whole Work almost. For the Alembeck must be so placed, as his Pipe or Beak may be covered with Water, which either must be put into the Recipient, or pass out by distilling into the same; otherwise the Spirit’s of the Antimony will be lost, and more then half part of the same perish, or the Work require much more time for its perfection. I have expressed this by a Figure here placed, that if any by hearing do not sufficiently perceieve this, they may be seeing understand. When the whole Water hath passed over by Alembeck, the Fire (as the Author admonisheth) is to be increased, and three Days, and as many Nights continued without intermission. Then let all cool, and the Sublimate, as he teaches, must again be mixed with the Antimony; this Labour for three Days and Nights must be re-assumed, and afterwards repeated to the third time. [AUTHOR BALSOM OF LIFE, WHAT.] Then your Water will be acid, as common Vinegar. If you tinge this Vinegar with new Minera of Antimony, you will have a Tincture, which Basilius names his Balsome of Life, so often described, but never sufficiently commended. O, did Mortals know what Mysteries lie absconded in this Tincture, I question whether they would be desirous to set about any other Preparation of Antimony. All things are in this One. I have spoken, O Lover of Chymistry, do thou act.
[VINEGAR OF ANTIMONY, ITS PROPERTY]
This Vinegar Cools vehemently, not as common Vinegar, but with great Admiration, and certain Experience, especially for assuaging the Gangreane, produced from Gunpowder; also it heals other enraged Wounds and Members, when joined with the Soul of Saturn, wrought up into an Unguent, and applied outwardly. And mixt with Water of Endive, to which Salt prunella is added, it consumes the Squinancy, and extinguisheth its great Heat: besides, it assuageth the Motion of the Blood inflamed. In time of the Pestilence, taken inwardly, the Dose of one Spoonful, several times, and outwardly applied to the Swellings by Linen Clothes moistened therein, extracts the Venom, and most excellently cools: but consider, when you would use it in this manner outwardly, it must be mixed with a third part of Water distilled from Frogspawn.
Many highly esteem the Signate Star of Antimony, and very many have endeavoured to prepare it, sparing no labour to attain the same. Which some have acquired with good success, others have lost all their labour and Cost, Many have assumed an Opinion, that this Star is the true Matter, whence the Stone of Philosophers may be made, induced hereunto, by this thought or Imagination, viz. because Nature herself hath signed it into a Star, therefore they could not choose but esteem of it, and by these Cogitations were led into the Way of Error, But I sincerely denounce, that it is nothing so. For these kind of Searchers erre from the Kings high-way, and kill themselves in clambering up Rocks and Cliffs, in which wild Goats inhabit, and Birds of Prey build their nests. It is not given to this Star to contain in itself so great Potency, or from itself to form so precious a Stone. Yet I affirm, that in it lies absconded a famous Medicine, which may be made of it. The Star is thus made.
[SIGNATE STAR OF PHILOSOPHERS]
Take of Hungarian Antimony 3. parts. of Steel 1 part. melt these together with 4. parts of burnt Tartar, when melted pour out the whole into a cone, when cold take out the Regulus, and separate it from all impurity, and the Scoria. Grind this Regulus to Powder and weigh it, then add thereto thrice so much of burnt Tartar, and pour it out as before. Repeat this labour the third time; then the Regulus purgeth itself, and becomes pure and clear. Note, when you have rightly completed the Fusion, and have used a manual Operation, as is fit (which is of principal concern in this Work) you will obtain a fair Star* bring and shining like Cupellate Silver, no less artificially formed, then if some Painter had with Compasses diligently divided the same.
*Here it is to be noted. In the third fusion of the Regulus, the Fire must be vehemently heightened, that if any Impurity remain with the Regulus, it may by that intense heat be taken away. By this means you will have a Regulus in beauty and Whiteness comparable to Silver, but in Virtue and Price far Superior.
This Star with Sal Armoniack is reduced to red *Sublimate; for the Tincture of Mars ascends. Such a Sublimate may be resolved in a moist place into a Liquor, which discovers wonderful Virtues in Chirurgy.
*This Sublimate, before it is set in a Cellar to be there resolved, should be purged from the Sal Armoniack with distilled Water. They are few Things which I admonish, but by the ignorance of these or those, great Errors are committed, and the Work with all its Costs and Charges perisheth, or at least yeilds not sufficient to pay what the Materials cost.
[ANOTHER OIL OF ANTIMONY MADE OF REGULUS]
This Regulus, or Signate Star, melted often with the Stone Serpent, is brought to such a state, as at length it consumes itself in it, and wholy unites itself with the Serpent.* This being done, the Sectator of Art hath a Matter altogether hot and fiery in which very much of Art is latent. This prepared Matter resolves itself into an Oil; this very Oil ought to be brought over the Helm by Distillation, and then rectified, that it may be pure and clear,
*Of a Snake or Serpent the Nature is such, if you slacken your hold he riseth up, if you gripe him hard he bursts, the same I fear here: Therefore the Author calls that a Serpent, which he mixeth with this Regulus. But it is the Serpent of a Stone, or a Stony-Serpent; because the Salt, as a Snake willing licks a Stone.
This Oil may commodiously and securely be taken inwardly; but with great Prudence and Caution, and not oftner then twice or thrice in a Week, and no more at one time, then three Drops in two ounces of Wine, or other Water distilled from Herbs, according to the Exigency of the Disease. For this Reason, it is the Physicians part to know the Causes of Diseases, together with the Complexion of the Sick, that he may the more securely use his Remedies.
[SOME ARTS WHY SUPPRESSED]
This is a famous Acrimony* containing in itself many Arcanums; but there is no need to reveal all things together and at once to unskillful men. Some Arts are to be suppressed, that some Secrets and Arcanums may remain proper to the Philosopher, who in searching them out hath daily sustained grievous Toil.
*They, who understand of how great Utility it is to extract the Essences from Metals, are not ignorant of the Virtues of this sharp Oil. For this is the only Menstruum for this purpose. How many are they who have spent their whole Life in Chymical Operations, and never could arrive to the knowledge of a true Menstruum? To thee it is here revealed, if Health be your aim, you may safely use it in the Body; if you attempt somewhat more sublime, and have already conceived good hope you shall compound it, this is the principal help of all, for ascending to the Throne of the Chymical Kingdom.
But let him, who resolves to tread in my Footsteps not be weary of Searching; but what I have done, let him do, and what I have so often desired, and what with so earnest Wishes I have sought, let him seek. These Principles, which I have prescribed you, are sufficient for to search out the End by. Many have failed, yea many have been cut off by Death, before they could in their Learning attain to the Principles only; that is, they are deprived of Life, before they could acquire the Magistery of Art. Therefore, I at first set forth a Book of Rudiments, that the Studious follower of Art (who in his first Experiences had need of so much time) might the sooner attain his desired end, and wished Scope, and next unto GOD give me thanks.
[ANOTHER OIL OF ANTIMONY MADE OF REGULUS, ITS EFFECTS]
Moreover, in this Oil a wonderful Effect is latent. For if this Oil be circulated with Crystals for sometime, viz. for three Days and Nights (the Crystals being first Calcined) it from them extracts a Salt: which being done, the Oil may again be distilled off by Retort. Thus you will have a Medicine, which admirably breaks the Stone in the Bladder, and expels it, and there also effects many other Things, by a certain famous virtue in it.
[LEAD OF PHILOSOPHERS]
But that we may also say something of the Lead of Philosophers, let the curious searchers of Nature know, that between Antimony and common Lead, there is a certain near affinity, and they hold a strict friendship each with other. As a Tree casts out of its side it’s superfluous Rosin, which is the Sulphur of that Tree; as the Cherry-tree, and other Trees, which give forth such Gums: there are other kinds of Trees also, which by reason of their abundance of Mercury, produce and cast forth from themselves a certain Excrescency, which neither in Form, nor Virtue is in any wise like to their Fruit; but hath wholy other properties, as in Oaks and Apple-trees is apparent, which produce like bastard Fruits, or Monsters: So the Earth also hath like abortive Fruits, which in Separation from the pure Metals, are severed and cast out.
Now although there is so strict an affinity between Antimony, and Saturn; yet by reason of the too much Sulphur, which Antimony hath in itself, it is cast out from it: because its viscous Body (in it’s Nativity) could not come to perfection; and therefore it was constrained necessarily to consist among Minerals: because it’s abundance of hot Sulphur was the Cause, that hindred it’s Mercury, that through defect of Cold it could neither come to Coagulation, nor into a Malleable Body. Morever, I say, the Lead in Antimony is no other, then its Regulus, which hath not as yet obtained Mallaeableness. And, as above I said, when the Regulus and Steel by Liquefaction are united, and deduced to a Star, there are many, who would thence make the ancient stone of Philosophers; which I before denied to be possible. Yet what Medicines may be prepared of it, you have already briefly heard; therefore touching them, I shall not add a Word more.
[WHY THE REGULUS IS CALLED LEAD]
But the Reason, why the Regulus is called and accounted Lead, is this. When that Regulus is taken, which Antimony gives forth from itself in making glass, and put into a Crucible well closed, which can resist the fire, with the Salt of Saturn (having been first Cemented with the Salt for three hours) and these permitted to melt together, in a Wind Furnace, the *Regulus, when taken out, is found to be rendered soft, and more ponderous, then it was before. For it receives it’s ponderosity from the Spirit of the Salt, which also gave it softness, so that it’s Body now is compact and heavy.
*I not enviously, as many Chymists do, but affectionately deal with Chirurgeons: wishing that they would in their mind, as according to their faculty they may and ought, endeavour to prepare such helps, for their miserably afflicted Patients, and such Compendiums of Sanity, as may be prepared of this Regulus. Would you have me discover to you the Mystery? Hear with pleasure, and use it. This Regulus, by the Salt of Saturn rendered Malleable, must be mixed with equal parts of Mercury condensed by Saturn, and in a vehement fire fluexed, and so well mixed. The Matter comes forth, in it’s external Face like unto Silver, but in its internal Virtues is more noble, and more precious than any Silver. But you Chyrurgeon, studious of your own Art, and by Art covetous of Glory, deduce that into thin plates, and externally apply it to Wounds, and Malignant Fistula’s. So doing, you will be amazed, when you shall see Nature, helped by this Art, to perform more, in a very short time, then you could have hoped for in a longer time, by so many Unguents and Plaisters. The Rusticks (to use the Words of Basilius) will no more deride and upbraid you, saying, they can effect more with a piece of crude and stinking Lard, then you are able to do with the laborious Process of your whole Chirurgick Art.
Therefore I say, there is not much difference between the Stignate Star, and Lead of Antimony; which notwithstanding are every where distinguished as two diverse things. For either of them is made of the Glass of Antimony, and prepared into one and the same Medicine, as is already by me sufficiently declared. Here therefore I break off my Discourse, that I may explain what the stone of fire is, after I shall have declared the Appendix which follows.
O GOD grant thy Grace, and open the Hearts and Ears of Men unwilling to hear, and to them impart thy Blessing, that they may acknowledge Thee in thy Omnipotency, and wonderful Works of Nature, to thy Praise, Honor and Glory, and for the Health, Solace, and Confirmation of the Strength of their Neighbour, and also for Restoring the Sick to their Pristine Health. Amen.
For a Conclusion you are further to know, that Antimony may be applied to many other Uses, then as above expressed, as to Scripture or Printing, for which Printers use it. Also under a certain Constellation and Concourse of the Planets, a Mixture of Metals is made with Antimony, of which Artists form Signatures and Characters endued with singular Virtues. Of the same Mixture also are made Speculums, of many and wonderful Aspects and Properties. Also Bells and other Instruments may be made thereof, of admirable sound. Likewise Images of Men, and many other Things*.
[ANTIMONY ITS WONDERFUL VIRTUES, THE HUNDREDTH PART OF THEM NOT KNOWN] *The virtues and powers of Antimony which the Author here in this Appendix so lightly toucheth, and passeth over, are so many and so various, as indeed the hundredth part of them is not yet known to Men. Which Ignorance undoubtedly redounds to the Reproach and Ignominy of our kind; because we Men, among so many other Animals, only endued with Reason, and a Faculty of Discoursing, are hurryed with so great impetuousness, to that wicked and abominable Desire of Gain, as scarcely any Man hath leisure to search out the Wonders, which the Author of Nature hath insited in his Creatures. But I am unwilling to repeat this Reprehension so often spoken of by Valentine; I do only call it to mind. This Mineral, in which lies hid so admirable Spirit, that by Exhausting it cannot be exhausted, hath also Virtues, which by no man studying can be sufficiently known. What I have tried, out of the way of Chymistry and Medicine are few; yet Experience hath taught me so much, as I judge Antimony in other things will show itself no less admirable, then in Chymistry and Medicine.
Yet what I think of Characters and Signatures, which the Author saith may be made under a Concourse of certain Constellations, I shall not here discover. It sufficeth me, that I can say, that among all Metals and Minerals, there is not any Substance known, which contains so much of a Celestial Spirit, and hath so great Sympathy with the Stars, as Antimony. Weigh this, with all that I have before said of Antimony, but not negligently, and Hasten to the Stone, which is called the Stone of Fire.
But since these things concern not Medicine, nor appertain to my Order, Rule, and Calling, I rest well satisfied in my Vocation, and commend them to the Handling of Others, who know them better.
What the STONE of FIRE is.
When, at a certain time an abundance of Thoughts (which my internal and fervent Prayer to GOD suggested) had set me loose and wholy free from all terrene Businesses, I purposed in my self to attend to Spiritual Inspirations, of which we have need, for the more accurate scrutiny of Nature. Therefore I resolved to make myself Wings, that I might ascend on high, and inspect the stars* themselves, as Icarus, and his Father Daedalus in times past did, if credit may be given to the Ancient Writings of Poets.
*This Leave is to be given to all, who treat of Sacred Things, viz. to declare those things, which they are willing to discover (not to the unlearned ignorant Deriders, but only to Men, worthy, and to such as sincerely desire, and aspire to the knowledge of the same) in a certain singular and Parabolical kind of Writing. In which our Author is the more to be excused, because when he comes to the greatest of Mysteries, which he intended to explain in this Book, he betakes himself to certain hiding Places of Parables, and with the Heaven of Piety, which is wont to cover all things (yea even the most wicked) he so veils his Secrets, as None but Pious and sincere Disciples of Art can with the acuteness of their sight penetrate these Clouds. Do thou therefore, with a certain intellectual Luxury sport with him, he will not delude thee.
But when I soared to near the Sun, my Feathers with it’s vehement heat were consumed, and burnt, I fell headlong into the depth of the Sea: yet to me, in this my extreme Necessity invoking GOD, help was sent from Heaven, which freed me from all peril and the present Destruction. For an Angel hastened to my assistance, who commanded the Waters they should be still, and instantly, in that deep Abyss appeared a most high Mountain, upon which at length I ascended, [INFLUENCE OF SUPERIORS ON INFERIORS] that I might thereon examine, whether (as Men had affirmed) there was any Friendship* and Familiarity between Superiors and Inferiors, and whether the Superior Stars have acquired power from GOD, their Creator, to produce any one Thing like themselves in the Earth.
*There hath been no Man, who had darted his sight but as it were through a Lattice, into the Penetrals of Chymistry, who did ever deny this Influence of Superiors upon Inferiors. Therefore let Basilius so holily affirming, and so often openly declaring it to Men, be credited by those, who, the true Light being not yet risen upon them, do by feelign without sight practice Chymistry.
And having searched into Things, I found, that whatsoever the Ancient Masters had so many Ages since committed to Writing, and delivered to their Disciples, who earnestly desired to be the true Imitators of them, was (as I may say) more true than Truth itself. Wherefore, as is fit, I give praise and thanks to my Lord and Heavenly Father, for his incomprehensible Works.
[MINERALS HOW MADE] In very deed (that I may expound the matter in few Words) I found all Things, which are generated in the Bowels of Mountains, to be infused from the Superior Stars, and take their beginning from them, in the form of an aqueour Cloud, Fume or Vapour, which for a very long time fed and nourished by the Stars, is at length educted to a tangible form by the Elements. Moreover, this Vapor is dried, that the Wateriness may lose its Dominion, and the Fire next, by help of the Air, retain the Ruling Power. Of Water Fire, and of Fire and Air Earth is produce: which notwithstanding are found in all things consisting of Body, before the Separation of them. Therefore this, viz. Water is the first Matter* of all things, which by the Dryness of Fire and Air is formed into Earth.
*This is an Old Song, this is the Sum of Art; from this Imitation of Nature is found the lesser Stone of Fire, from this it is made, whensoever it is prepared, from the Same also the great Philosophick Stone derives its Original. [WATER OF ANAXAGORAS, WHAT] This is the water of Anaxagoras, the Fire of Empedocles, and Aristotle’s first Matter, of which all things have been, and to this Day are made. Which is clearly evident in the Nutrition of Man, the Growth of a Tree, and in the Generation of Metals, for that, which constitutes Flesh, Woods, and Metals, is not taken from Food, Rain or Earth, but is infused into them from elsewhere. [ALIMENT, WHICH NOURISHETH ALL THINGS, WHAT] That very Thing is the Aliment, which nourisheth all things, but that it may be so variously specificate, it must be separated from that Body, in which it dwells, and by joined to another, which by the Chymical Art is performed.
But now since my Intention is to describe the Stone of Fire, how it is made of Antimony, together with the Process of its Preparation, which not only heals Men, but Metals also particularly; it will be necessary before all Things, to speak somewhat of these following Heads. What properly the Stone of Fire is; what is its Minera; whether a Stone can be made without Matter or no; what is the extreme difference of Stones, and how many Species of them are found, and lastly of their use.
[AUTHORS PRAYER] In this my purpose, I pray, O spirit of Heaven illuminate me, that I may give a true and sincere Instruction, viz. according as is fit for me, and the matter itself permits. Indeed I have hopes of Eternal Absolution from this my Supreme confessor, who from Eternity possesseth the Throne of Mercy, and will give Testimony of all things, when the Decretory Sentence shall be pronounced upon all Men, in the Last Judgement, without any appeal.