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SYMPATHY AND ANTIPATHY OF THINGS.
finally, they are the great and wonderful works of nature. But this part of philosophy, namely, of the sympathy and antipathy of things is most impure, which also they call natural magic, and (which always likely comes to pass) where diligence and care hath wanted, there hath hope remained; but the operation thereof in men is merely like unto certain soporiferous medicines which cast one asleep, and do moreover send and infuse into him merry and pleasant dreams. For first it casts man's understanding into a sleep, representing unto him specifical properties and hidden virtues, whereby men awake no more, nor look after the finding and searching out of true causes, but acquiesce and lie still in these idle ways. Then it insinuates an innumerable company of fictions like unto dreams; and vain men hope to know the nature by the outward shape and show, and by extrinsical similitudes to discover inward properties. Their practice also is very like unto their inquiry; for the precepts of natural magic are such as if men should be confident that they could subdue the earth, and eat their bread without the sweat of their brow, and to have power over things by idle and easy applications of bodies; and still they have in their mouths, and like undertakers or sureties, they call upon the loadstone, and the consent which is between gold and quicksilver; and some few things of this kind they allege for to prove other things, which are not bound by any such like contract. But God hath appointed the best of things to be inquired out and be wrought by labours and endeavours. We will be a little more careful in searching out the law of nature and the mutual contracts of things, neither favouring miracles, nor making too lowly and straightened an inquisition.
THE HISTORY OF SULPHUR, MERCURY, AND
THIS triple of principles hath been introduced by the chymists, and as concerning speculatives is of them which they bring the best invention. The most subtile and acute of these, and those who are most philosophical, will have the elements to be earth, water, air, and the sky; and those
they will not have to be the matter of things, but the matrixes in which the specifical seeds of things do engender in the nature of a matrix. But for the materia prima, or primary matter (which scholars do lay down as it were naked and indifferent), they substitute those three, Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt; out of which all bodies are gathered together and mixed. We do accept of their words, but their opinions are not very sound. Yet that doth not ill agree with their opinion, namely, that we hold two of them, to wit, sulphur and mercury (taken according to our sense), to be very first and prime natures, and most inward figurations of matter, and almost chief amongst the forms of the first class. But we may vary the words of sulphur and mercury, and name them otherwise oily, waterish, fat, crude, inflammable, not inflammable, or the like. For these seem to be two very great things of the three, and which possess and penetrate the universe, for amongst subterraneal things, they are sulphur and mercury, as they are called; in the vegetable and animal kind, they are oil and water; in the inferior spiritual things, they are air and flame; in the heavenly, the body of a star, and the pure sky; but of this last duality we yet say nothing, though it seem to be a probable decyphering; for if they mean by salt the fixed part of the body which is not resolved either into flame or smoke, this belongeth to the inquisition of fluid and determinate things. But if we take salt according to the letter without any parabolical meaning, salt is no third thing from sulphur and mercury, but mixed of both, connexed into one by an acrimonious and sharp spirit; for all manner of salt hath inflammable parts, and other parts also, which not only will not take fire, but do also abhor it and fly from it: yet the inquisition of salt, being somewhat allied to the inquisition of the other two, and exceeding useful as being a tie and band of both natures, sulphureous and salt, and the very rudiment of life itself, we have thought fitting to comprehend it also within this history and inquisition; but in the mean time we give you notice, that those spiritual things, air, water, stars, and sky, we do (as they very well deserve it) reserve them for proper and peculiar inquisitions, and here in this place to set down the history only of tangible, that is to say, mineral or vegetable sulphur and mercury.
HISTORY OF LIFE AND DEATH.
THE Entrance to this History will be found in the History itself, which follows next in order.
NATURAL AND EXPERIMENTAL
LIFE AND DEATH:
THE PROLONGATION OF LIFE.
WRITTEN IN LATIN BY THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
BARON OF VERULAM, VISCOUNT ST. ALBANS.
PRINTED FOR THOMAS LEE, AT THE TURK'S HEAD,
IN FLEET STREET.
TO THE READER.
I AM to give advertisement, that there came forth of late a translation of this Book by an unknown person, who though he wished well to the propagating of his Lordship's Works, yet he was altogether unacquainted with his Lordship's style and manner of expressions, and so published a translation lame and defective in the whole. Whereupon I thought fit to recommend the same to be translated anew by a more diligent and zealous pen, which hath since travelled in it; and though it still comes short of that lively and incomparable spirit and expression, which lived and died with the author, yet I dare avouch it to be much more warrantable and agreeable than the former. It is true, this Book was not intended to have been published in English; but seeing it hath been already made free of that language, whatsoever benefit or delight may redound from it, I commend the same to the courteous and judicious Reader. W. R.
TO THE PRESENT AGE AND POSTERITY.
ALTHOUGH I had ranked the History of Life and Death as the last amongst my six monthly designations, yet I have thought fit, in respect of the prime use thereof (in which the least loss of time ought to be esteemed precious), to invert that order, and to send it forth in the second place. For I have hope, and wish, that it may conduce to a common good; and that the nobler sort of physicians will advance their thoughts, and not employ their times wholly in the sordidness of cures, neither be honoured for necessity only, but that they will become coadjutors and instruments of the divine omnipotence and clemency in prolonging and renewing the life of man; especially, seeing I prescribe it to be done by safe, and convenient, and civil ways, though hitherto unassayed. For though we Christians do continually aspire and pant after the land of promise; yet it will be a token of God's favour towards us in our journeyings through this world's wilderness, to have our shoes and garments (I mean those of our frail bodies) little worn or impaired.
FR. ST. ALBANS.