Letters 31-40 of Sendivogius


Letters 1-10 . Letters 11 - 20 . Letters 21-30 . Letters 41-55.

Epistle 31.

Arts instruments are several Vessels and a small Furnace with other Appertenances and are also of a twofold Order.
Of the first are, such as do serve for the preporatory Operations and they are of two classes again.
Of the first class are which belong to the Preparation of the dissolvent and they are again of three sorts.
1. A body or Bocia wherein our Magnesia is to be distilled, to draw out of her the living Mercury.
2. A receiver to the Bocia, and these serve also for Rectification.
Of the second sort is a small Furnace for distilling in ashes, or in fine sand.
Of the third are which help the distillation of the matter, such as are Cotton or Brimstone (pumex) which check the rising of our Magnesia caused by its Flatulency.
The Instruments of the second class are such as are necessary for the preparation and Trituration of Gold and Silver. And they are also of three sorts.
1. Vessels as Crucible, long necked Bodies, Bolt heads, cleansing Sachets.
2. A calcining Furnace one with an open Fire.
3. Such as serve for calcining and Trituration of Gold and Silver by fire potential, such as are the corrosive waters where Mercury or Antimony. For it is all one which of these Things in this case the Artis makes use of provided a perfect Powder be made of Gold or Silver and that the Calces by divers washing and Reverberations afterwards be very well purged and cleaned from the saltish Impressions which Calcination and [Exkoration], is altogether most necessary. For otherwise our living Mercury cannot unlock the Prisons of the Salt, or of Vitriol the Seed of Gold and Silver.
[Note in the Margin: Mind, looks like the rectified Water and calks of Gold.]
Farewell.

Brussels, 8th August, 1646.


Epistle 32.

The Instruments of the second principle order are those which do perfect the conception or coagulation of the Lapis Philosophorum. They are of threefold conditions also.
1. A glass made into the shape of an Egg in which both substances or Matter of the Lapis is to be put viz. the living Mercury and the Vitriol of Gold and Silver in their due Proportion as shall be described hereafter, where it is to be observed that the third Part only of the Egg is to be filled and then the mouth be very well hermetically sealed if you please stopped. [Notes in the Margin: "Third full only." and "Both only two things."]
Of the second condition are an earthen vessel in which the philosophical Egg is to be buried, laying about it fine ashes about the Breadth of a Thumb and a three foot in which the vessel may hang. [A tripod-like drawing containing the glass mentioned above is sketched in the left-hand margin.]
Of the third condition are, the Furnace or Athanor, with all its Appurtenances. For it is all alike what kind of Furnace you do provide so you can but give a very moderate continual and equal heat about the Egg.
Farewell.

Brussels, 13th August, 1646.


Epistle 33.

Having explained the Causes and the Application of them the manner of working succeeds which contains two Parts.
1. Is the number of Operations and the Explanation.
2. The Praxis.
Now with all of these Operations could orderly be collected out of our two last Epistles, yet because some things might be thought to have been omitted about circumstances we shall minutely discuss them. Two actions (as is said before in the exemplary Cause) are principle, solution and coagulation. But these admit many other intervening middle actions viz: some preparatory Ones which are subordinate (or in order to obtain the principle ones) as means to gain proposed End, Finish, or Scope.
And they are of twofold categories or Ranks. Of the first and which are prescribed in order to make the solution are of threefold condition.
1. Is the preparation of the Dissolvent, that is, the Distillation of our Magnesia and rectification of what is distilled. [Note in the Margin: Mind this.] We do only make Mention of Distillation and Rectification decause that pernicious Caprice of Separating, the Principles of Things principiated which some false Chymists do command, is altogether useless. I mean the separation of the Sulphur from the Mercury on purpose to reunite them afterwards again. For to the Effect or Works of Solution of Gold or Silver the volitile Salt only as to the Mercurial Part is necessary. But if the fixed Salt and the Sulphur of the same Magnesia do withstand the solution, the Sulphur because of its unctuosity and the salt because of its fixity, so far as it, that they can be here useful, that as is said, they rather hinder this work.
2. The Purgation and Calcination of Gold and Silver. The Instruments of which Operation you have seen above and are necessarily to be used, because that the subtilized Gold or Silver therewith brought to Powder may so much easier yield to a physical Solution and their Vitriol the Seed or Sperma be loosened. [Note in the Margin: "Gold, Mind."]
3. The Application of the Dissolvent to the prepared and to it disposed Gold or Silver and their ten times repeated [Cortus], so that through eleven Degrees you may have eleven grana or Seed of Gold or Silver. [Note in the Margin: Attend to this.]
Of the second Catagoria are such as dispose and order of Coction and coagulation and are of twofold Condition.
1. Those which require the Artist's Hand namely for composition of our philosophical Egg and that in Proportion ten to one viz: ten Parts of Mercurial liquor (which represents the White of an Egg) to one Part of Gold if your work be intended for Gold, or four parts of Mercury to one part of the Seed of Silver either which Seed takes place or represents the Yellow of the Egg, which proportion you ought always to keep for therein consists Nature's Weight, Number and Measure. Then this Egg requires to be put into the Furnace and then according for the Coction the ordering of the actual Fire is required. [Note in the Margin: Mind this.]
2. Those which of themselves naturally or by Force of Nature happen in the Egg so disposed without the Hand of the Artist and are physical corruption, mixtion, Contriturations (contritio) sublimation, Inceration, Imbibition, and many such acts described by authors, which being understood and worse interpreted by young Beginners, referring them artificial Industry and Operations hath brought them into a Labyrinth of inextricable Errors
The last of such Nature's Work is Fixation, which is the Lapis's Perfection and is done in Ten Months or thereabouts.
It follows that we speak of Multiplication.
Farewell.

Brussels, 20th August, 1646.

[On the bottom of pages 66 and 67 of the original Ms the following notes appear:
Page 66: "Look at 72 tho on the same quite different to this leaf. 10 of our Rectifur Water to 1 of prepared Gold."
Page 67: "Philadelpha say until you can distinguish between preparatory Labors and those in the Egg you will always remain in Error. This is really the truth."]


Epistle 34.

[Note in upper margin above Epistle 34 reads: Multiplication of the first powder.]
Having made an End with the Composition of the Lapis, there remains its Multiplication in infinitum which is effected by the same way and with the same operations the Lapis was made; only that instead of dissolved Gold or Silver, you lay in only so much of the Lapis as you laid in before of the said Gold or Silver for the first Confection of the Lapis. But as to the Mercurius no other is to be used and to be put to it than which I have made mention of before. But its Quantity in the multiplication of the Lapis is managed two ways and proportionated. [Note in the margin reads: So much of the other powder, fixed, 1 part and 10 parts of Water.]
For first you may take only ten parts of Mercurius to one Part of the perfected Lapis and then the Work is ended, ten times sooner than in the first Confection of the Lapis viz: in 30 or 40 days. And if this Lapis be once more multiplied, then with the same Proportion of Ingredients the work is ended, ten times sooner than it was in the first Multiplication, viz: in 3 or 4 days, and hereby you may understand what is said of the work, to be a work of three days. [Note in the margin reads: Mind 3 days work what.] But secondly the same Quantity of Mercurius is augmented tenfold also, namely that you take in the making of the Lapis or in the first Multiplication only ten parts of Mercury. But in the second Multiplication of this kind that you take an hundred parts of Mercury, and if you do repeat it the third time that you take a thousand parts and so forwards but though then the perfection of the work will require so long a Time as did the first making of the Lapis.
However multiply it which way you will you do always augment the Lapis in tenfold Proportion, not only as to its Bulk, but also as to his Virtue and Efficacy, so that after the first Multiplication each Part of the Lapis which only increased ten Times more in every Part of the Seed of the first Gold or Silver is now increased Ten times in every Part of the single Lapis made and a hundered Times in every Part of the said seed of Gold or Silver. But after the second Multiplication it surpasses these of the Seed a thousand, but those of the Lapis a hundered Times and so it goes forward.
The Reason of all this is because that when Nature works in One and the same subject for a substantial Production adds always ten Degrees of Perfection to the foregoing Effect or Product, being that she produces a new diverse species, if she goes about only to meliorate the same which we could prove by many natural instances and Examples. But that we know that you yourself by yourself can attain to its knowledge by your own Speculation. It remains that we speak of the use of the Lapis.
Farewell.

Brussels, 26th August, 1646.


Epistle 35.

The use of the Lapis is this, that he must be degradated i.e. must be lessened in his Power of Virtue with many Imbibitions of the foresaid, or with Mercury vulgar, till he hath acquired a just Temperament and Proportion of Strength fitted for a Medicine either for animals or Metals chiefly if the Lapis be multiplied. Otherwise since he hath an overpowering Heat and Dryness, he would destroy the natural Heat of the animal and dry up the radical Moistness of anything, instead that he should give succour to a diseased Animal. And as to inferior Metals, it would convert them into Powder, like unto himself and into an irresoluble Form instead of transmuting them into most perfect Gold or Silver.
Farewell.

Brussels, 1st September, 1646.


Epistle 36.

Now follows the Practice. [Note in the margin reads: Practice, mind this much.]
Take therefore of our choisest Magnesia of a whitish Colour and a tart Taste (subacidule) [q.u.] Throw it into a glass Bocia of sufficient largeness, so that only the third Part be filled. Then lay upon the Materia so much Cotton and place little sticks athwart the glass amongst it that the whole Materia therewith be covered, or which is better make bullets out of the whole Matter and wrap them in Cotton; Throw them into the Bocia and having adjusted to it, as is usuual a reciever very large and very well adjusted, distill it in fine sand and gentle Fire. First uses a most limpid or clear Spirit. Secondly a blackish Oil. And when nothing more distilled leave off and let all cool by itself.
Then Secondly take the Liquor distilled and rectify it in clear new vessels three or four times that the blackish Oil may be separated. And if you see that with the last rectified Spirit should ascend a yellow or red Oil then filter the spirits that the oil may remain in the filter.
Third. Divide your rectified Spirit in two equal Parts. One Part you shall keep for the confection and composition of the Egg. The other Part you shall again rectify so long till no Feces at all remain more and the Liquor is become very sharp (acerrimus) like the sharpest Spirit of Wine to a common Oil of Vitriol.
This is the Preparation of Mercury.[Note in the margin reads: Preparation of Gold.]
Forthly. Take the purified Gold or Silver [Z1] and amalgamate it with Mercury vulgar washed and purified [Z viii] then mix the amalgam with common Sulphur [Z iv] or more if you please in a Mortar then let this mixture burn and deflagrate in a crucible in an open Fire of Charcoals, so that there remain a pure Calx which wash every often with common distilled Water and afterwards reververate it 12 Hours.
This is the Preparation of Gold if you have a better, use that; For herein doth not consist the Mystery of our Art. But the Preparation of Silver is no other than a common Calcination and afterwards Purgation of the Calx described and taught by many authors everywhere, so that it is needless to teach here.
Fifthly. Put your Calx in a long necked Phial and pour upon it your sour or burning Mercury [q.s.] viz: Four or Five fingers height and put your Phial closed or stint up with an Arthenorium in Ashes for to circulate twenty four hours in continual heat of the first degree, which Time being past, distill two parts of the Liqour and presently cohobate it again, i.e. throw it back again upon the remaining third Part and repeat this operation eleven times and towards the end separate the Dissolutions by inclination from the Calx which remain and could not be dissolved. And afterwards separate also by Distillation the disolvent Liqour from the dissolved Metal to the consistancy of reddish and [triadish] Honey if it hath been Gold and blueish if it hath been Silver. [Notes in the margin read: Mind operation of Gold. Gold coupile 11 times the Chalby Conceive. Quick Gold of Philosophers.]
This is now the Quick Gold or Quick Silver of Philosophers and the Seed of Gold, Silver.
But the signs that you have well proceeded in your operations are these. If the Liqour in the first circulation gets a Gold yellow Colour and in the following circulations a Redness by Degrees doth succeed. Then if the Peacock's Tail, or the Rainbow doth appear upon the Superficies of the Liqour; But the argument or sign of a radical Solution, is, when it cannot return again into a metallic Body. For this is the Propriety of Vitriol which is extracted out of Metals and such is our dissolved Gold or Silver.[Note on the bottom margin of the page reads: This differs from 66 there 10 hour, 2 of living Mercury and the preparation of Gold quite different.]
Sixthly. Take of the said Gold or Silver one part, of the living Mercury which you had reserved two parts, if you design for Gold, or four parts if you design for Silver. Both put apart in its Glass Egg provided; so that two Parts of it remain empty, and sigil the Mouth hermeticially.
This is the Confection of the Philosophical Egg.
Seventhly, and lastly have an earthen Vessel ready, or a little Pot, fill it with Ashes, bury the Egg in it, so that the Ashes surmount the Matter the Breadth of a finger and hang this earthen Vessel in a three Footmade [Tripod] on purpose for it, and so let it stand and hang in the midst of any little Furnace, of what convenient Figure so ever, be it an Athanor with the [same] or another Furnace where you can give a very gentle equal Heat and which may encompass the Matter to the very End of the Work, which is the perfect fixation ending in an obscure Redness, after that the three other principle Colours have in their order appeared, these interveneing Changes and their discoloured Mutations if the Lapis be for Silver.
But what that gentle Degree of Heat must be sole Experience will teach you because it cannot be described. And he that hath made it once, may notwithstanding therein fail.
Yet the Signs of its due Degree are the appearing of those four said Colours, at every three Months end, and of those intervening colours, at the end of every Quadragesima or 42 days or there about, till to the darkish Redness which is the Term of perpetual fixation. Of the Practice of Multiplication I need add Nothing. For you can gather that from what hath been said already, neither hath she a diverse Method from the Practice of the Lapis.
But we will add some things as to the use of the Practice and that in the following Epistle.
Farewell.

Brussels, 7th September, [year not included, presumably 1646.]


Epistle 37.

The use of the Practice of this.
1. As to Medicine to Animals. Dissolve 1 grain of the single Lapis in 100 grain of that Mercury wherewith the Lapis is made or in any other Liqour or specific vehicle for the present condition of the disease and the Temperament of the patient giving a due Portion of such liqours with the one grain of Lapis dissolved.
But if the lapis hath been once multiplied then one grain of it must be dissolved in a thousand grains of such convenient Liqour, if twice multiplied in ten thousand Grains of Liqour and so forwards.
2. As to the transmutation of the Metals. Take one Part of the single Lapis and two Parts of the said our, not of common Mercury or the once multiplied Lapis one part, and ten Parts of the same Mercury, or lastly one part of twice multiplied Lapis and a thousand parts of the said Mercury and set them to dry, first in a gentle Fire, then stronger and stronger till it gets the consistance of a stone. And such Imbibitions and [Desiecations] repeat till one Part of the Lapis converts ten Parts of Mercury common, twenty of Lead, 30 of Tin, 50 of Copper, and lastly 100 of Silver into perfect Gold. But half of the Part or thereabouts of the said proportion of those metals if the Lapis before Silver.
But if you should want a sufficient Quantity of the forsaid Mercury then you can degrade the Lapis with Mercury vulgar also in a manner following.
Project one Part of this single or multiplied Lapis upon ten Parts of Mercury vulgar heated and you shall have a powder of the same Nature with the Lapis, but a lesser Virtue and Effiacy. All this Powder project again upon two Parts of the same Mercury vulgar and if then the Powder grows moisted dry it by the Fire and it will remain a Powder, which lastly you can advance, project upon the foresaid Metals keeping the same proportion.
This is now the Universal and most exact Theory and Practice of the Lapis.
It remains that we make an access to the particular Chrysopoeia.
Farewell.

Brussels, 10th September, 1646.


Epistle 38.

The particular Chrysopoeia tends, and aims (as I said before) at a particular conversion of every Metal imperfect into perfect Gold or Silver and that either in the whole or only in part. According to which Division, this Member shall be divided again into two Sections.
The first shall be of Transmutation of imperfect Metals as to their whole Quantity or Bulk.
The second as to some Part of it.
The Transmutation of the whole Quantity is twofold.
1. It is effected by a Proportion of the Particular Transmutative agent of much greater Inequality in Respect of the Metal which is to be Transmuted, so the one Part of the Agent is able to convert many Parts of imperfect Metals into Gold or Silver according to its Ferment viz: Silver in Gold if you have for the ferment Gold and Gold in Silver, if you administer for a coagulum Silver. For in this work the specific Ferment must be applied just as it was in the confection of the Lapis and in the same manner namely the Gold or Silver dissolved in our Mercury. But the Difference is in the fermentable subject. Form in the confection of the Lapis our Mercury is taken and used as the thing fermentable, Because of Intention is not to make immediately Metal, But only the Seeds of Metals. But there the Matter which is to be fermented, is some Metal wherewith the Confection of a Metal is intended immediately. But as to the Metal it matters not of what Kind is taken for the thing fermentable, if it doth but symbolize with the Ferment, in the principal Qualities, though the Pondus will vary, because that all their connection and perfection is not equal, neither is the Virtue of its Ferment equal. Therefore according to the Nature of the ferment and the thing fermental, diversity of doses will be required, the rule of which I have not observed. For possessing greater Things I have such Trifles neglected.
But the manner of Preparation of the fermentable Metal consists in its Reduction into Vitriol, as the ferment is himself and like unto the agent namely our Mercury on purpose that like the dissolved Agent doth more efficaciously and sooner operate than if it was not dissolved so might the dissolved Patient better and easier receive the actions of the Agent. [Note in the margin reads: Good Observation.]
The regimen here of the Fire is not of the continual Degree, but of divers according as the colours do change For no Conflagration or precipitated sudden [Exsiccation] of the thing fermentable is here to be feared as it was in the Confection of the Lapis.
2. The Transmutation of the whole happens through Proportion of greater Inequality of the Transmutative Agent, with the imperfect Metal so that one Part of the Agent, can transmute but an equal Weight, or Part of the imperfect Metal, which Transmutation is rather effected upon common, or some other metallick Mercury than upon solid Metals. Neither needs this Transmutation, any dissolving Operations of the thing fermentable as the former did, but the Solution and Preparation of the Ferment here, always is necessary, for reason, that the activity of Form substantial, being otherwise hindered and now freed of its Fetters and Obstacles may act with the more Efficacy. If you do not do this seldom or never shall happen any due transformation.
But concerning the Transmutation as only to some Part of the Metal. This properly is not Transformation because it transmutes nothing substantially and he is twofold. The first is done by Extraction of perfect Metal out of the bowels of an imperfect Metal, namely Gold out of Silver, Iron, and Copper, but Silver out of Lead and Tin. For in the first three Metals, there is a great Deal of good Gold perfectly by Nature, elaborated and true and good in all its conditions and in the last there lies much Silver. For in the Mines of any Metal, there are many Ferments also of other Metals as the Seed of Gold in Silver, Iron and Copper Mines, and which Seeds when they meet Mercury they do determine him into Gold or Silver, according to their Nature. But because in the same Mine, there is a greater quantity of the ferment of imperfect metals ahich being confused with the ferment of perfect Metals, which Nature could not Separate except Art had intervened therefore it happened that thus the perfect Metal remained confined to the Substance of imperfect Metal. But the way to extract such perfect Metal, I have not for the present at hand though I have experimented it more than once.
One chief thing in this Business is to be taken Notice of, namely that this Operation is to be done by [repetensing] agents as are Tartar, Quick Lime, Sal Amoniac and such the like biting Salts for what corrodes the volatile Parts of the repercussing or repelling Agents, do depress and keep down the fix resisting Parts, so that by the separating Waters, or the Test, the fix Parts being united do no more yeild, which before being dispersed in more loose Quantities were forced to yield to be carried along with other volatile Parts, so that there is a reality in this Business, but little Profit when you come to complete and compare the Expences with that little quantity of good fix Metal which you have extracted.
Moreover is to be noted, that the perfect Metal thus extracted, comes forth of itself in its natural colour and splendor; Gold colour if it be Gold; Silver Colour if it be Silver, because that the Tinctures of Metals are of a fix and therefore unchangeable Condition or (which is all one) because the colours are inseperable Properties to the essence of fixed Metals.
But the second particular and improper Transmutation is effected by Condensation, or (as they call it) by fixation of Metals. And this in Reality and Truth, is but a sophistick Mutation or Change, though some Metals thus prepared do nevertheless sustain several Probations and Examina.
To this there are two ways.
The first is by Abstraction which is made with some metallick excrements or rather Recrements and some Mineral Salts by way of Cementation.
And it is not to be valued what is objected commonly, viz: that the spirits of volatile Metals cannot give a fixed form, which they have not. For such metallic Matters do first send forth and insinuate their spirits, into the Pores of the Metal which is to be condensed and fixed by means of their salts, and that with the first degrees of Cementation Fire where at least by means of sthe same salt , (whose Property is to be vitrified and to dispose to vitrification) the calcinated Metals (and such are the said Metalic Recrements) by the action of external Fire, are vitrified and that at the end of the Cementation, from whence those cemented Metals, become fixeable, and not so metallic, which is an undoubted sign of vitrification or mixture of Glass. In which state, it is of no wonder at all, if such cemented Metals do sustain corrosive waters.
The second way is Exsiccation, which again is practiced in two ways.
The first by amalgamating the Metals which are to be condensed or exsiccated with Mercury or Antimony, and then by burning of the amalgam.
Here the Humidity of any Metal is mixed with the humidity of Antimony or Mercury, and both fly away as soon as they feel the burning Fire.
The Second is Corrosion with Salts corrosive and Metals of a dry Constitution being mixed with such as Iron is and any other dry minerals. But Metals thus condensed commonly do want a just Tincture, for Reason above alledg'd. For bring that a metalic fix Tincture, is an essential Condition of a fixed Metal, certainly it cannot be found in a Metal not really, truly and Naturally fix. However I do not deny, but that by Art, there can be given in some manner, a fix Tincture especially as to Gold provided you add to your Work true upright Gold. I mean to the metals already condensed and then when they are, in the melting, united together, that you have put to it again a great quantity of [subifying] Metals, and thus be corroded again.
For in this Mixture, (as it is said before) there, what is real is joined to true Gold. And therefore the Tincture is augmented, namely by addition of Parts tinging. However such Tincture is weak always. But for White, there cannot be so given a fix Tincture.
Farewell.

Brussels, 17th September, 1646.


Epistle 39.

Our last Epistle hath thoroughly sifted all things that belong to particular Chrysopoeia or the Art of Gold making short and plain. There wants only (wherewith I shall conclude the whole Tractation of metals) the way to try the metallic works, its order and Examination of what is good or bad.
Be it known then; Two Metals to be the only perfect Gold and Silver yet to have obtained a Degree of Fixation.
And the Conditions of either Perfection are three; Solidity Weight and Tincture.
The signs then and Examination of the Reality of these conditions is twofold; common or private to either.
Common Examinations to both Gold as well as Silver are the Eye, Ignition, Candefaction, Extension; the Needle, or Knife, Fusion and the Cement.
The Eye doth judge the Title of the Tincture by the Touchstone, The Ignition if she makes a black spot upon the metal tried, such as covers the whole [Superficies], it argues a false Mixture.
The Extension, if it cannot be made readily, or if the metal while it is worked and extended, cracks, it argues a mixture of heterogeneous things, Salts or friable Metals as Tin. The Needle, or Penknife, if it finds the Metal to hard and that it will not easily yield to the Iron it argues also a Mixture of other Minerals.
The Fusion or Melting if it be very easily done, it argues a great Quantity of admixed imperfect Metals: For thus Ferrumen is made. If the Metal be harder to be Melted than ordinary it argues a great gathering of vitrified Minerals in the Metal. If this Tincture and Substance thereby is lessened it argues a sophistical Work.
The Test if it lessens the Tincture, or Substance bears the same sign of altered or adulterated Metal.
The private signss concern Gold or Silver apart.
The Trials of Gold are Regal Cementation; separation by corrosive waters; the trial with Antimony solution in Lapis Armenius, and the Reduction to a body after Solution.
By the regal Cementation true Gold is known, if no notable Loss after several repeated Cementations, is found.
Through Separation and Inquartation, defective Gold is known, if a part which should be fixed, Gold will dissolve with Silver, or though it be not dissolved if some things is separated in manner of Gold and some things of Grey colour also lies above the Gold, or lastly if the whole Part, not dissolved is grey and not of black colour, neither receives by [nealing] the Yellowness again, such as is due to Gold, and if the Calces being reduced into a body shall sustain the corrosive Water, upon a Touchstone.
Lapis Armenius Purgation evidences faulty Gold, if after its evaporation the Gold doth lose of its Substance and Colour.
Solution, of the Gold is very hard to be dissolved, and it is to be advised that Aqua Regis which dissolves Silver and not Gold, as soon as it is made regal, should dissolve Gold and not Silver. Hence if the Solution proves difficult in Aqua Regis it is argument of unchanged Silver, or vitrified Bodies to be mixed with it.
Lastly, if the dissolvin waters being loaded with the dissolved Calces, and yet do not turn yellow, it is malum Omen, an Ill omen; and if the Calces cannot be reduced into a body, or the greatest part of them doth vitrify, it is a sign of a mixture of heterogeneous Minerals and Salts, moreover if the Tincture thereby is diminished.
The private or particular Trials and Examinations of Silver besides the Test are following these.
The solution of the Calces; separation from corrosive Water by copper Plates, and lastly their Reduction into a body. If the dissolving Waters loaden with the Calces, have no blue, [coruleous] Colour, or if the Silver be too quick dissolved it is faulty.
In the separation of the Calces from the dissolving waters by copper plates, if the Calces do not stick to the plates the Silver is Sophisticated; for true Silver doth not do that.
These said Trials, solution of the Calces, Separation and Reduction into a body are the surest before all others of Gold as well as Silver. And yet they are ignorantly neglected of Tryers and Examinators, not making as the should true use of.
The order to be held in the Trial follows and is threefold.
Right, Retrograde, and Oblique.
The Right Order follows successive the [phases] above described, in the Trials, as well as common and equivocal as private and universal.
All which is that the Metal doth legitimately sustain, there is no doubt, but it hath its physical Reality viz: That it is all its natural always approved conditions commendable. But if the contrary, that it faulters in one or the other Trial, then know that such comes to pass, either in the first and second trials, or in the last univocal Ones.
In the first and middle ones, viz: common and equivocal, it argues altogether the work be sophisticated and by no means to be approved; But if the fault be but found by the last Trials, it is a sign of some Fixation, and the work is fit for mechanical things. Yet this Reason is not so very certain neither, it be then that the Metal have sustained, that same Trial and in the same Order 3 or 4 times over and over again.
For as I have said, the vitrified Bodies mixed with the Metal can defend themselves against the first Times Trial which if it be repeated, it makes those substances and vitrified Bodies to vanish away, so that the metallic substance comes to its natural State again; But if the Metal doth not return to it again, then that Fixation as is said, is good and sufficient for Workmanship, though it be not a true and natural Fixation and Perfection and therefore cannot be useful for medicinal Affairs and other natural and proper Offices required from essential Gold or Silver.
The retrograde Order, which is shorter, begins from the last universal Trial, viz: from the solution, collection of the Calces and their Reduction into a body, which if it succeeds legitimately, then there needs no further trial. For these Trials alone legitimate a Reality, manifesting the essential Properties of the Metal. But if it doth not succeed, go on in the retrograde Trials, of which if but one doth fail it is an ill Omen. But if all do answer according to your wish it is an argument of sufficient Fixation, as it is said for [fabrile] Works especially if after such retrograde Trials, the right Order also hath been followed, and that hath well succeeded.
The oblique Order, begins with the middle Trials and it goes on either straight forwards, to the very last Trial, or in retrograde Order from the last to the first. If after all such Trials, there be a happy comming out, tis well; but if after the retrograde Way the Trial succeeds indifferently, the Probation is uncertain. For many sophistical Works do sustain all probations and trials made, in contrary and preposterous Order, which will not suffer the right Order and Trials made according to the natural Series.
Farewell.

Brussels, 22nd September, 1646.


Epistle 40.

For these forsaid Probations and Trials we have thought fit to add some caution for Fear you should one Time or other be deceived and by ovserving perhaps in the Antimonial Trial a diminution of the Substance of Gold, to condemn that as not good. For in the said Antimonial Trial (as it is commonly made) the best and the purest Gold may suffer a Detriment, not that it flies with the Antimonial Mercury but because it doth mix it self in the Trial, which the Recrements, in which there remains a small Portion of Gold and that through the too accurate Industry of the Examinator and not without great Labour and weariness of the Body. For this comes to pass according to the common Way, when by great violent labour, and long agitation of great bellows, the whole quantity of trial substance is dissipated and thus the Gold which is to be purified, is by this Operation driven into divers crucibles and also lose by the way.
But do so, mix with the fitted Antimonial Powder, the eigth Part of the crude Tartar and then go on in your Way and you shall lose nothing or vey little of your Gold and your Labour will be so much less. For the Tartar throws down the whole quantity of Gold to the Bottom of the crucible so that nothing can remain in it but the Antimonial Feces.
And now what besides this I have said might belong to the Methods of Trials, viz: in what manner they are performed, such Things you shall find in common Books, which herein do give you good Directions, but if anything sould be wanting you must converse with expert Ethnicks. For such things are better learned by experimental Habits than by Precepts.
Neither doth Philosophy's shortness concern herself with such little Artifices, or unusual Commerce engaged in greater Business should allow it. And herewith is finished the accurate and true compendious Doctrine of the Whole-hermetical Dosciente, I promised you by means whereof you can when you please lay hand yourself on the Wolrk.
And if by Chance in the Work itself, though done according to the Rule given above, in the Practice all things should not presently succeed according to your With the Senses, do not leave therefore your Work, but rather have a Recourse to our theoretical Epistles, in which we have explained both creations, and endeavor by that, what is explained there and orderly described to explain that, what in the Practice seems to you intricate and obscure, remembering that Proposition which there we have laid down for an undoubted Axiom, viz: that Art imitates Nature and yet perfects the same, and that as many Acts be in the One as the Other few excepted such as we have there noticed and rehearsed. And again those acts, if you cannot distinguish, read over and over again the very Text of mosaical Exposition of the Creation of the inferior World, namely the Fabrick attentively considering each Day's Operation of the primordial Week. For with the number, Order and Manner also, is admirably well thought of all our philosophical operations and practice that by the dictate of the Holy Ghost and himself in a s true Exemplar given to all true Philosophers, nothing therein being left out or preposterously or confusedly written.
This Council I have given you for a Conclusion, provoking all others, which as to this matter can be given.
Farewell.

Brussels, 1st October, 1646.

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