¶Of Fire. Cap. 4.
FIre is a simple body most hot & dry, as Const. saith, & hath kinde appetite to be aboue the aire: & if fire be violent∣ly holden in the aire or in the earth, it passeth little & little into softe aire, & va∣nisheth, as Isid. saith. Denis in Hierar∣chia Angelica cap. 12. teacheth the pro∣perties of fire, and saieth in this man∣ner: Fire is a sensible bodye, more ex∣cellent and subtill than all other bodely things, and is next the spirituall kinde: and thereby it is shewed, that it is most vnlike to other things. And fire is in all things, & custometh to giue it self into al things, & is not remoued out of all thinges. But yet it is priuy & hid, vnknowen, vnmeasured, vnseene, & some∣deale bodilesse: mightie to his own wor∣king, moueable, giuing it selfe some deale to all thing that commeth him nigh, and moueth all things that be partners with him, and reneweth all thing, and is war∣den of kinde, and brightneth with wrap∣ped brightnesse, he is cléere distinguish∣ing, sprankling, and leaping, feeding, and moouing vpwarde, and passing downe∣warde, sharply high, & not taking shame of decreasing, alway moueable, taking, & chaunging, comming againe into it selfe and working mightely.
Page [unnumbered]These words of the holye man Denis, are most darke and mistike, and descri∣ueth fire touching his substaunce, vertue, and working: and for declaration of the foresayd words we shall shortly reherse the words of the Commentour vppon the same place. For among all elements, fire hath the highest place, and that for he hath most light kinde, and therefore he is called high, for he wāting weight, séeketh and desireth the high place: and is aboue all other elements. And except fire, all that is bodelye, is kindlye vnder fire, among all Elements, fire hath the most pure and subtill kinde: and there∣fore he is called some deale bodilesse, for by reason of subtilnesse of his substance, it is not séene without subiect matter. Therefore it séemeth, that fire is most nigh to spirituall kinde: for some deale it séemeth, that fire is middle and meane betwéene séene things and vnséene. In∣asmuch as he nigheth to nether thinges, he is bodilesse: and inasmuch as he nigh∣eth to the ouer parts, he is bodelye. Also he hath kinde more actual & more strong in working, than other Elements, and therefore he is called vnmesured, for his vertue and working increaseth without ende: For if matter that fire worketh in, were endlesse, as long as the matter sufficeth, fire faileth not, but worketh al∣way. Also he hath full priuie kinde, and therefore he is called hid: for in his be∣ing, he is not sensibly séene: And hée is called vnséene and vnknowen, for fire is not perceiued, without matter subiect, that is the matter that fire worketh in. Also what fire is in his beginning and substaunce, vnneth wit maye know. Also he hath vertue and kind more mo∣uable than other Elements: and there∣fore he is called mouable and mightie of all things: for in fire is the head & ver∣tue of mouing, for he moueth himselfe and other, and is not moued by thinges that be lower than he. Also he hath kind more cléere than other neather things: therefore it is sayd, that he brightneth, for he brighteneth all things with his cléerenesse, but that is with wrapped brightnesse. For bright beames of fire, shine without, but they be wrapped, for they foume againe to the priuye bosome of their owne substaunce, and bée hidde from our sight and féelyng. Also of sub∣tiltie of his substaunce, fire hath vertue more sharpe and more thirlyng than o∣ther Elementes. Therefore he is called sharplye passing, for by mouing of his owne vertue, he entreth and thirleth all things without resistaunce and let: and so fire hath vertue to make himselfe and other things knowen and séene, and to make difference and distinction. For in shewing of himselfe, he sheweth other things that be present, and presenteth co∣lours, figures and shapes to them to the eyen, and therefore he is called cléere, & openly discréete and distinguished. Also fire hath vertue to drawe nether things to the other, for the matter in which fire worketh, fire maketh stretch, & maketh it thin, and departeth it, and draweth it vpward by vyolence of his heate: ther∣fore he is called feeding beneath, & draw∣ing vpward. Also fire hath vertue of re∣newing: for all things were aged, and olde, and fayle, if they be not kept & sa∣ued by vertue of fire, as it fareth in old men, in whome kinde heate fayleth. And he is called renewer of all things, & war∣den of kinde: For without vertue of fire may no vertue of bodely kinde, en∣dure nor abide. Also he hath vertue of chaunging: For hée ouercommeth all things, that he worketh in, and chaun∣geth it, and tourneth it into his owne kinde. And therefore hée is called receiuing, and taking, and chaunging: for the matter in which he worketh, hée receiueth and taketh, & forfaiteth it not, but wasteth it, and tourneth it to his owne lykenesse. And fire receiueth and taketh, and is not receiued nor taken: for when that thing is which he work∣eth is spent and wasted, he withdraw∣eth, and leapeth and turneth againe: and therefore he is called leaping, and tour∣ning againe. Also he hath vertue and kinde to commune and to spred himselfe without dimunition and decreasing. And therfore it is said, that he taketh not, nei∣ther receiueth despite nor villany of mi∣nishing and decreasing: for as fire in∣creaseth not, when he burneth outward, Page 155 so when he is receiued, he minisheth •oot• nor taketh worship, in that it séemeth, that he increaseth and wareth: nor •••a∣lanie in that he séemeth lesse, and decrea∣seth. Also fire hath: vertue and kinde of purging and of cleansing: for fire purg∣eth and cleanseth off sinder and rushe: & amendeth mettall, yt he may not wast• Also he hath vertue to chaunge sauours and humoures, and therefore he seetheth and defieth in the body, humours, & was steth superfluities, that be therein; & ma∣keth them ofte sauourie and wholesome: Also he hath vertue for to shed and spred his substaunce into the substance of all meddeled bodies, for in all things, hée is closed and vnséene, though he cannot bée séene indéede closed in all things: & this is knowen, for of froting and smiting of hard bodies together, fire commeth, and is smitten out of bodyes, in whome men déemed no fire to be. Also fire, by his substantiall subtilnesse, hath vertue to ioyne and vnite himselfe to other bo∣dies, as it fareth in fire hot yron, and in burning coales full of flame, and in other such: in the which all the partes of fire be ioyned to all the partes of yron, & to all the parties of coales, that it woulde séeme one substaunce, and the sensible di∣stance of the other, is perceiued nothing at all. Therefore Philosophers define thrée manner of kindes of fire: for fire is light, and fire is flame, & fire is coale, Fire is in his owne sphere, light: but fire is called flame, in airy matter: and in earthly substaunce and troubly, & boy∣stous matter, fire is called coale.
Fire hath these properties and many o∣ther. Socke before li. 2. in tractatis de or∣dine Seraphin, and li. 3. in tract de qua∣litatibus element. ca. 3. of heate: and this that is now spoken, is sufficient for this time.