(20.) There is a third way to make gold, to wit, by separation, for every metal contains some quantity of Page 263gold; but the quantity is so small that it bears no propor∣tion to the expence of getting it out: this last way the Spagyrists never attempt; and as for the two other me∣thods, maturation, and transmuting by the grand elixir, the happy hour will never come, tho' so many ingenious men have often thought it drawing nigh. To console them for the loss of their fortunes they have had some com∣fortable moments of reflexion, that they have been with∣in some minutes of success, when crack! all is gone and vanished on a sudden, and they have nothing before them but cinders and broken crucibles. It is very strange then, that a man of Dr. Dickenson's great veracity and skill in chimistry, should affirm the thing was actually done in his presence by an adept. (Epistola ad mun∣danum de quintessentia philosophorum, etc. Oxon. 1686.) and the more so, as his friend, the great Mr. Boyle, told him the thing was an impossibility. Dick∣enson's words are, Nec potui sane quantacunque mihi fu∣erit opinio de ista re, quin aliquoties animi penderem do∣nec illustris ea demonstratio quam vestra excellentia, bi∣ennio jam elapso, coram exhibuit, omnem ansam dubi∣tandi mihi praecidisset—Placuit dominationi vestrae claro experimento ante oculos facto animum meum ad opus accendere etiam quaestionum mearum solutiones (quan∣tum licerat) promittere. — This is very surprising; and the more so, as the greatest watchings and closest application, in searching after the stone, are all in vain, unless the stars shed a propitious influence on the labours of the Spagyrist: the work must be begun and advance in proper planetary hours, and depends as much on ju∣dicial astrology, as on fire, camphire, salt, labour and patience: but judicial astrology is no science. It is a mere farce. I must conclude then, that the hands of Mundanus the adept, were too quick for the doctor's eyes, and he deceived him by legerdemain: that all the Page 264 books on the subject are fraudulent descriptions to deceive the credulous; — and what Mundanus told Dickin∣son of Sir George Ripley, canon of Bridlington, in York∣shire, in the reign of Edward the Fourth, and of Ray∣mund Lully, was mere innovation. He affirmed that Ripley sent the knights of Rhodes an hundred thousand pounds to support them in their wars against the Turks: and that Lully assisted Edward I. king of England, with six millions of gold, towards carrying on the cruisade. This piece of secret history he assures us he found in an antient manuscript of indisputable authority, quod incul∣patae fidei registris innoteseit: A M. S. that no one ever saw except Mundanus. Penes me indeed. It was to be found only in his own head.
Ripley is in great repute among the adepts to this day, and his famous unintelligible and mysterious book is called a compound of alchymie contryning twelve gates. He inscribed the manuscript to Edward IV. but the editor of it dedicated it to Q. Elizabeth, and says, it contained the right method of making the philosopher's stone and aurum potabile. Lully was a very learned man for the latter end of the 13th century, and writ several books in Latin; — Generales artium libri. — Libri logi∣cales, philesophici et metaphisici. — Variarum artium libri. — Libri spirituales praedicabiles — and the vade mecum Lulli; which is a Latin piece on the philoso∣phers stone.
As to the aurum potabile mentioned by Ripley, which then and long after was esteemed a panacea, or universal medicine, it is now a question if there can be a tincture of gold; for if it be only a division of the lests, or minims of gold, by the spicula of aqua regia, and these minims thrown into oil of rosemary where they swim, it is no radical tincture of gold, and the sole virtue lies in the oil of rosemary. The oil may be evaporated; the gold dust remains; and that by melting is reduced to a lump of Page 265 gold again. This I have experimented. But the alchy∣mists say, gold may be reduced into a gum of substance like honey, without any corrosive, and that gum steeped in spirit of wine acquires a ruby colour. An ounce of this is to be mixed with 16 ounces of another liquor, and we have aurum potabile; sovereign in all distem∣pers. This seems to me to be a second part of the ro∣mance. The making of this golden gum is a secret we can no more come at than the philosophers stone. The adepts however affirm it, and assure us, that Moses could make aurum potabile, as is evident from his pulverising the golden calf, and giving it to the children of Israel to Page 266 drink. This great man, who wrote 540 years before Homer: 200 before Sanchoniatho; and 350 before the Trojan war, was, as they inform us, an adept.Page 262
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