Alchemy rediscovered and restored by Archibald Cockren

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Eirenaeus Philalethes, by reason of his very numerous writings, must be mentioned. There has been much discussion as to whether this was the name of another adept, or merely another pen name for Vaughan. Mr. Waite has attempted to prove to his satisfaction that they were two different men. 'Personally, I should attribute both names to Thomas Vaughan, but although the question of these authors' identity may make interesting debating material, it is of negligible importance from the standpoint adopted in this book.

In his preface to the Open Entrance from the 'Collectanea Chymica,' published by William Cooper in 1684, he gives testimony:

'I being an adept anonymous, a lover of learning, and a philosopher, decreed to write this little treatise of medicinal, chemical and physical secrets in the year of the world's redemption 1645, in the three and twentieth year of my age, that I may pay my duty to the Sons of Art, that I might appear to other adepts as their brother and equal. Now therefore I presage that not a few will be enlightened by these my labours. These are no fables, but real experiments which I have made and know, as every other adept will conclude by these lines. In truth, many times I laid aside my pen, designing to forbear from writing, being rather willing to have concealed the truth under a mask of envy, but God compelled me to write and Him I could in no wise resist, who alone knows the heart and unto Whom be glory for ever. I believe that many in this last age of the world shall be rejoiced with the Great Secret because I have written so faithfully, leaving of my own will nothing in doubt for a young beginner. I know many already who possess it in common with myself, and am persuaded that I shall yet be acquainted in the immediate time to come. May God's most holy will be done therein. I acknowledge myself all unworthy of bringing those things about, but in such matters I submit in adoration to Him, to Whom all creation is subject, Who created all to this end, and having created, preserves them.'

He then goes on to give an account of the transmutation of metals into silver and gold, and also of the fact that the medicine administered to some at the point of death affected their miraculous recovery. Of one occasion he writes:

'On a time in a foreign country I would have sold so much pure silver worth £600, but although I was dressed like a merchant they said unto me presently that the said metal was made by Art. When I asked their reasons it was answered "We know the silver that comes from England, Spain, and other places, but this is none of these kinds." On hearing this I withdrew suddenly, leaving the silver behind me as well as its price and never returning."

Again he remarks:

'I have made the Stone: I do not possess it by theft but by the gift of God. I have made it and daily have it in my power, having formed it often with my own hands. I write the things that I know.'

In the last chapter of the Open Entrance is his message to those who have attained the goal:

'He who hath once, by the blessing of God, perfectly attained this Art, I know not what in the world he can wish but that he may be free from all snares of wicked men so as to serve God without distraction. But it would be a vain thing by outward pomp to seek for vulgar applause. Such trifles are not esteemed by those who have this Art, nay, rather they despise them. He therefore whom God hath blessed with this talent has this field of content. First, if he should live a thousand years and every day provide for a thousand men, he could not want, for he may increase his Stone at his pleasure, both in weight and virtue so that if a man would, one man might transmute into perfect gold and silver all the imperfect metals that are in the whole world. Secondly, he may by this Art make precious stones and gems, such as cannot be paralleled in Nature for goodness and greatness. Thirdly and lastly, he hath a Medicine Universal, both for prolonging life and curing of all diseases, so that one true adeptist can easily cure all the sick people in the world I mean his medicine is sufficient.

'Now to the King, Eternal, Immortal and sole Almighty, be everlasting praise for these His unspeakable gifts and invaluable treasures. Whosoever enjoyeth this talent, let him be sure to employ it to the glory of God and the good of his neighbours, lest he be found ungrateful to God his Creditor--who has blessed him with so great a talent--and so be in the last day found guilty of misproving it and so condemned.'

His principal works are 'An Open Entrance to the Shut Palace of the King,' 'Ripley Revived,' 'The Marrow of Alchemy' in verse, 'Metallorum Metamorphosis,' 'Brevis Manuductio ad Rubinem Coelestum,' 'Fone Chemicae Veritatis,' and a few others in the 'Musaeum Hermiticum' and in Manget's collection. There is also the story of a transmutation before Gustavus Adolphus in 1620, the gold of which was coined into medals, bearing the King's effigy with the reverse Mercury and Venus; and of another at Berlin, before the King of Prussia.

Sir Isaac Newton, the famous seventeenth-century mathematician and scientist, though not generally known as an alchemist, was undoubtedly an experimenter in that particular branch of science. If one follows carefully, in the light of alchemical knowledge, the biography of Sir Isaac Newton by J. W. V. Sullivan, I think it is quite easy to realize the experimental theories on which he was working. Sir Arthur Eddington, in reviewing this book, says: 'The science in which Newton seems to have been chiefly interested, and on which he spent most of his time was chemistry. He read widely and made innumerable experiments, entirely without fruit so far as we know.'

His amanuensis records:

'He very rarely went to bed until two or three of the clock, sometimes not till five or six, lying about four or five hours, especially at spring or the fall of the leaf, at which time he used to employ about six weeks in his laboratory, the fire scarce going out night or day. What his aim might be I was unable to penetrate into.'

I think the answer to this might certainly be that Newton's experiments were concerned with nothing more or less than alchemy.

In the same century Alexander Seton, a Scot, suffered indescribable torments for his knowledge of the art of transmutation. After practising in his own country he went abroad, where he demonstrated his transmutations before men of good repute and integrity in Holland, Hamburg, Italy, Basle, Strasbourg, Cologne, and Munich. He was finally summoned to appear before the young Elector of Saxony, to whose court he went somewhat reluctantly. The Elector, on receiving proof of the authenticity of his projections, treated him with distinction, convinced that Seton held the secret of boundless wealth. But Seton refused to initiate the Elector into his secret, and was imprisoned in Dresden. As his imprisonment would not shake his purpose he was put to the torture. He was pierced, racked, beaten, seared with fire and molten lead, but still he held his peace. At length he was left in solitary confinement until his release was finally engineered by the adept Sendivogius. Even to his friend he refused to reveal the secret until shortly before his death, two years after his escape from prison, when he presented Sendivogius with his transmuting powder.

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