diverse and manifold, yet it is always one only thing and of one thing. For that is not brought into nature whichbeing in it is not of its own nature, therefore it is necessary that the Agent and Patient be One thing, and the samething in kind or in general, but in species another and diverse, according to Mercury by which the woman isdiversified from the man, because, although they agree in one kind, yet they have a distinct difference betweenthemselves, as Matter and Form differ, for Matter suffers action but Form works and makes the Matter like itself.Therefore, Matter naturally desires Form, as the woman does the man, and the foul does the fair, so the bodyembraceth the spirit more freely that it may come to its perfection. Therefore, by knowing the natural roots you shallthe better make your work of them. Because I cannot any other way express or explain our stone, nor form it by anyother name, it is manifest by that which went before, that our stone is compounded of four elements, both rich andpoor have it, and it is found in every place, it is likened to all things and is also compounded of body, soul and spiritand it is altered from nature into nature even to the last degree of his perfection.They have also said that our stone is made of one thing and it is true for the whole magistery is done with our water,for that water is the sperm of all metals, and all metals are resolved into it, as has been declared.Likewise, the salt of metals is the stone of the Philosophers, for our stone is a water congealed into Gold and Silverand resists the fire and is resolved again into its water of which it is compounded in its kind. Therefore, the reductionof bodies into their first matter as into Argent vive is nothing else but a resolution of the congealed matter by whicha lock is opened by the ingression of one nature into another.Whereupon, the Philosophers have said that Sol is nothing else but ripened Argent vive, for in Mercury there are buttwo elements in act, that is to say earth and water which are passives, but the active elements as air and fire are inthat might and power only because those things are brought from power into act in pure Mercury according to duedigestion and proportionable decoction, then Gold is made. Wherefore there are four elements in Gold made fit inequal proportion and therefore ripe and active Sulphur is there, and our Art helpeth nature by her ministering ripeGold to Mercury, in which is ripe and well digested Sulphur, but from nature by the work of nature.
Whosoever would come to the knowledge of this Art and is not a Philosopher will prove a fool, becausethis Science is only of the Secrets of Philosophers.
This Art is reserved in the power of God and is an enemy to the lay people.
Therefore this Art is not necessary for poor and needy men but is rather an enemy to them.
Aristotle in the Second Book of his Politics:
It is impossible for a poor man to be a Philosopher.There is a double way in this art according to the Philosophers, that is - universal and particular. The universal wayis easy and rare, and it is that which is brought forth from true and natural beginnings, by which a speedy andreformative virtue doth presently and in a moment hardens Mercury, and it tinctureth any metal that is dulyprepared, into true Gold or Silver.But the second way is called particular and it is hard and laboursome. Note this, although Alchemy in the universalway be partly natural and partly artificial, yet it is more natural than otherwise, because by nature no strange orforeign thing is brought in the way of true Alchemy, for nature hath whereon to work because actives are joined topassives by a competent union and application, but the rest nature worketh by herself.
Our stone is a thing which hath not touched the fire, nor the fire touched it, from which our mercury riseth.There are three sorts of labourers according to the art of Alchemy, that is the Alchimist, the Lauchimist, and theLachrymist. Not every one who sayeth "Take, Take", shall enter into this art, because it is one only receipt, and onebody entereth not into another.
Take this and this and do thus and thus, and you shall have this, and this is a common thing among allPhilosophers.Whereupon the Philosopher said, the first word, "Take, Take", hath made many errors, therefore, the first work is todissolve the matter of the stone, that is, not common Mercury.
Fools understanding the sayings of the Philosophers according to the letter do find out no truth, and theysay it is a false science because they have tried it and found nothing, and then they become as men desperate,condemning this science and dispraising the books thereof, and therefore the science maketh small account of them,because our science of the secrets of nature hath no enemy but the ignorant, according to these verses following:This stone is had in small regardWith men of slender witBut yet the wise and learned sortMake great account of it.
Know this, that God hath not ordained this stone of which this great secret entreateth to be bought for agreat price, for it is found out being cast in the way, and may as well be had of a poor man as of a rich man, thatevery man may come unto it by reason and knowledge. Argent vive is not the stone, whereupon Constantinus saith"Because it is fusible, therefore it is not the stone".