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immediately upon the form (or if you will) result from the determinate
structure of the Whole Concrete; and consequently they that go about
to extract the Vertues of such bodies, by exposing them to the
Violence of the Fire, do exceedingly mistake, and take the way to
Destroy what they would obtain.

I remmember that _Helmont_ himself somewhere confesses, That as the
Fire betters some things and improves their Vertues, so it spoyles
others and makes them degenerate. And elsewhere he judiciously
affirmes, that there may be sometimes greater vertue in a simple, such
as Nature has made it, than in any thing that can by the fire be
separated from it. And lest you should doubt whether he means by the
vertues of things those that are Medical; he has in one place[27] this
ingenuous confession; _Credo_ (sayes he) _simplicia in sua
simplicitate esse sufficientia pro sanatione omnium morborum._ Nag.
[Errata: Nay,] Barthias, even in a Comment upon _Beguinus_,[28]
scruples not to make this acknowledgment; _Valde absurdum est_ (sayes
he) _ex omnibus rebus extracta facere, salia, quintas essentias;
præsertim ex substantiis per se plane vel subtilibus vel homogeneis,
quales sunt uniones, Corallia, Moscus, Ambra, &c._ Consonantly
whereunto he also tells Us (and Vouches the famous _Platerus_, for
having candidly given the same Advertisement to his Auditors,) that
some things have greater vertues, and better suited to our humane
nature, when unprepar'd, than when they have past the Chymists Fire;
as we see, sayes my Author, in Pepper; of which some grains swallowed
perform more towards the relief of a Distempered stomack, than a great
quantity of the Oyle of the same spice.

[Footnote 27: Helmont Pharm. & Dispens. Nov. p. 458.]

[Footnote 28: Vide Jer. ad Begu. Lib. 1. Cap. 17.]

It has been (pursues _Carneades_) by our Friend here present observ'd
concerning Salt-petre, that none of the substances into which the Fire
is wont to divide it, retaines either the Tast, the cooling vertue, or
some other of the properties of the Concrete; and that each of those
Substances acquires new qualities, not to be found in the Salt-Petre
it self. The shining property of the tayls of gloworms does survive
but so short a time the little animal made conspicuous by it, that
inquisitive men have not scrupled publickly to deride _Baptista Porta_
and others; who deluded perhaps with some Chymical surmises have
ventur'd to prescribe the distillation of a Water from the tayles of
Glowormes, as a sure way to obtain a liquor shining in the Dark. To
which I shall now add no other example than that afforded us by Amber;
which, whilst it remains an intire body, is endow'd with an Electrical
faculty of drawing to it self fethers, strawes, and such like Bodies;
which I never could observe either in its Salt, its Spirit, its Oyle,
or in the Body I remember I once made by the reunion of its divided
Elements; none of these having such a Texture as the intire Concrete.
And however Chymists boldly deduce such and such properties from this
or that proportion of their component Principles; yet in Concretes
that abound with this or that Ingredient, 'tis not alwayes so much by
vertue of its presence, nor its plenty, that the Concrete is qualify'd
to perform such and such Effects; as upon the account of the
particular texture of that and the other Ingredients, associated after
a determinate Manner into one Concrete (though possibly such a
proportion of that ingredient may be more convenient than an other for
the constituting of such a body.) Thus in a clock the hand is mov'd
upon the dyal, the bell is struck, and the other actions belonging to
the engine are perform'd, not because the Wheeles are of brass or
iron, or part of one metal and part of another, or because the weights
are of Lead, but by Vertue of the size, shape, bigness, and
co-aptation of the several parts; which would performe the same things
though the wheels were of Silver, or Lead, or Wood, and the Weights of
Stone or Clay; provided the Fabrick or Contrivance of the engine were
the same: though it be not to be deny'd, that Brasse and Steel are
more convenient materials to make clock-wheels of than Lead, or Wood.
And to let you see, _Eleutherius_, that 'tis sometimes at least, upon
the Texture of the small parts of a body, and not alwaies upon the
presence, or recesse, or increase, or Decrement of any one of its
Principle, that it may lose some such Qualities, and acquire some
such others as are thought very strongly inherent to the bodies they
Reside in. [Errata: in;] I will add to what may from my past discourse
be refer'd to this purpose, this Notable Example, from my Own
experience; That Lead may without any additament, and only by various
applications of the Fire, lose its colour, and acquire sometimes a
gray, sometimes a yellowish, sometimes a red, sometimes an
_amethihstine_ [Transcriber's Note: amethistine] colour; and after
having past through these, and perhaps divers others, again recover
its leaden colour, and be made a bright body. That also this Lead,
which is so flexible a metal, may be made as brittle as Glasse, and
presently be brought to be again flexible and Malleable as before. And
besides, that the same lead, which I find by _Microscopes_ to be one
of the most opacous bodies in the World, may be reduced to a fine
transparent glasse; whence yet it may returne to an opacous Nature
again; and all this, as I said, without the addition of any extraneous
body, and meerly by the manner and Method of exposing it to the Fire.

But (sayes _Carneades_) after having already put you to so prolix a
trouble, it is time for me to relieve you with a promise of putting
speedily a period to it; And to make good that promise, I shall from
all that I have hitherto discoursed with you, deduce but this one
proposition by way of Corollary. [_That it may as yet be doubted,
whether or no there be any determinate Number of Elements; Or, if you
please, whether or no all compound bodies, do consist of the same
number of Elementary ingredients or material Principles._]

This being but an inference from the foregoing Discourse, it will not
be requisite to insist at large on the proofs of it; But only to point
at the chief of Them, and Referr You for Particulars to what has been
already Delivered.

In the First place then, from what has been so largely discours'd, it
may appear, that the Experiments wont to be brought, whether by the
common Peripateticks, or by the vulgar Chymists, to demonstrate that
all mixt bodies are made up precisely either of the four Elements, or
the three Hypostatical Principles, do not evince what they are
alledg'd to prove. And as for the other common arguments, pretended to
be drawn from Reason in favour of _Aristotelian Hypothesis_ (for the
Chymists are wont to rely almost altogether upon Experiments) they are
Commonly grounded upon such unreasonable or precarious Suppositions,
that 'tis altogether as easie and as just for any man to reject them,
as for those that take them for granted to assert them, being indeed
all of them as indemonstrable as the conclusion to be inferr'd from
them; and some of them so manifestly weak and prooflesse; that he must
be a very courteous adversary, that can be willing to grant them; and
as unskilful a one, that can be compelled to do so.

In the next place, it may be considered, if what those Patriarchs of
the _Spagyrists_, _Paracelsus_ and _Helmont_, do on divers occasions
positively deliver, be true; namely that the _Alkahest_ does Resolve
all mixt Bodies into other Principles than the fire, it must be
decided which of the two resolutions (that made by the _Alkahest_, or
that made by the fire) shall determine the number of the Elements,
before we can be certain how many there are.

And in the mean time, we may take notice in the last place, that as
the distinct substances whereinto the _Alkahest_ divides bodies, are
affirm'd to be differing in nature from those whereunto they are wont
to be reduc'd by fire, and to be obtain'd from some bodies more in
Number than from some others; since he tells us, he could totally
reduce all sorts of Stones into Salt only, whereas of a coal he had
two distinct Liquors.[29] So, although we should acquiesce in that
resolution which is made by fire, we find not that all mixt bodies are
thereby divided into the same number of Elements and Principles; some
Concretes affordding more of them than others do; Nay and sometimes
this or that Body affording a greater number of Differing substances
by one way of management, than the same yields by another. And they
that out of Gold, or Mercury, or Muscovy-glasse, will draw me as many
distinct substances as I can separate from Vitriol, or from the juice
of Grapes variously orderd, may teach me that which I shall very
Thankfully learn. Nor does it appear more congruous to that variety
that so much conduceth to the perfection of the Universe, that all
elemented bodies be compounded of the same number of Elements, then it
would be for a language, that all its words should consist of the same
number of Letters.

[Footnote 29: _Novi saxum & lapides omnes in merum salem suo saxo aut
lapidi & æquiponderantem reducere absque omni prorsus sulphure aut
Mercurio._ Helmont. pag. 409.]




THE

SCEPTICAL CHYMIST

OR,

_A Paradoxical Appendix to the Foregoing Treatise._

_The Sixth Part._


Here _Carneades_ Having Dispach't what he Thought Requisite to oppose
against what the Chymists are wont to alledge for Proof of their three
Principles, Paus'd awhile, and look'd about him, to discover whether
it were Time for him and his Friend to Rejoyne the Rest of the
Company. But _Eleutherius_ perceiving nothing yet to forbid Them to
Prosecute their Discourse a little further, said to his Friend, (who
had likewise taken Notice of the same thing) I halfe expected,
_Carneades_, that after you had so freely declar'd Your doubting,
whether there be any Determinate Number of Elements, You would have
proceeded to question whether there be any Elements at all. And I
confess it will be a Trouble to me if You defeat me of my Expectation;
especially since you see the leasure we have allow'd us may probably
suffice to examine that Paradox; because you have so largly Deduc'd
already many Things pertinent to it, that you need but intimate how
you would have them Apply'd, and what you would inferr from them.

_Carneades_ having in Vain represented that their leasure could be but
very short, that he had already prated very long, that he was
unprepared to maintain so great and so invidious a Paradox, was at
length prevail'd with to tell his Friend; Since, _Eleutherius_, you
will have me Discourse _Ex Tempore_ of the Paradox you mention, I am
content, (though more perhaps to express my Obedience, then my
Opinion) to tell you that (supposing the Truth of _Helmonts_ and
_Paracelsus's_ Alkahestical Experiments, if I may so call them) though
it may seem extravagant, yet it is not absurd to doubt, whether, for
ought has been prov'd, there be a necessity to admit any Elements, or
Hypostatical Principles, at all.

And, as formerly, so now, to avoid the needless trouble of Disputing
severally with the _Aristotelians_ and the Chymists, I will address my
self to oppose them I have last nam'd, Because their Doctrine about
the Elements is more applauded by the Moderns, as pretending highly to
be grounded upon Experience. And, to deal not only fairly but
favourably with them, I will allow them to take in Earth and Water to
their other Principles. Which I consent to, the rather that my
Discourse may the better reach the Tenents of the Peripateticks; who
cannot plead for any so probably as for those two Elements; that of
fire above the Air being Generally by Judicious Men exploded as an
Imaginary thing; And the Air not concurring to compose Mixt Bodies as
one of their Elements, but only lodging in their pores, or Rather
replenishing, by reason of its Weight and Fluidity, all those Cavities
of bodies here below, whether compounded or not, that are big enough
to admit it, and are not fill'd up with any grosser substance.

And, to prevent mistakes, I must advertize You, that I now mean by
Elements, as those Chymists that speak plainest do by their
Principles, certain Primitive and Simple, or perfectly unmingled
bodies; which not being made of any other bodies, or of one another,
are the Ingredients of which all those call'd perfectly mixt Bodies
are immediately compounded, and into which they are ultimately
resolved: now whether there be any one such body to be constantly met
with in all, and each, of those that are said to be Elemented bodies,
is the thing I now question.

By this State of the controversie you will, I suppose, Guess, that I
need not be so absur'd [Errata: absurd] as to deny that there are such
bodies as Earth, and Water, and Quicksilver, and Sulphur: But I look
upon Earth and Water, as component parts of the Universe, or rather
of the Terrestrial Globe, not of all mixt bodies. And though I will
not peremptorily deny that there may sometimes either a running
Mercury, or a Combustible Substance be obtain'd from a Mineral, or
even a Metal; yet I need not Concede either of them to be an Element
in the sence above declar'd; as I shall have occasion to shew you by
and by.

To give you then a brief account of the grounds I intend to proceed
upon, I must tell you, that in matters of Philosophy, this seems to me
a sufficient reason to doubt of a known and important proposition,
that the Truth of it is not yet by any competent proof made to appear.
And congruously herunto, if I shew that the grounds upon which men are
perswaded that there are Elements are unable to satisfie a considering
man, I suppose my doubts will appear rational.

Now the Considerations that induce men to think that there are
Elements, may be conveniently enough referr'd to two heads. Namely,
the one, that it is necessary that Nature make use of Elements to
constitute the bodies that are reputed Mixt. And the other, That the
Resolution of such bodies manifests that nature had compounded them of
Elementary ones.

In reference to the former of these Considerations, there are two or
three things that I have to Represent.

And I will begin with reminding you of the Experiments I not long
since related to you concerning the growth of pompions, mint, and
other vegetables, out of fair water. For by those experiments its
seems evident, that Water may be Transmuted into all the other
Elements; from whence it may be inferr'd, both, That 'tis not every
Thing Chymists will call Salt, Sulphur, or Spirit, that needs alwayes
be a Primordiate and Ingenerable body. And that Nature may contex a
Plant (though that be a perfectly mixt Concrete) without having all
the Elements previously presented to her to compound it of. And, if
you will allow the relation I mention'd out of _Mounsieur De Rochas_
to be True; then may not only plants, but Animals and Minerals too, be
produced out of Water, And however there is little doubt to be made,
but that the plants my tryals afforded me as they were like in so
many other respects to the rest of the plants of the same
Denomination; so they would, in case I had reduc'd them to
putrefaction, have likewise produc'd Wormes or other insects, as well
as the resembling Vegetables are wont to do; so that Water may, by
Various Seminal Principles, be successively Transmuted into both
plants and Animals. And if we consider that not only Men, but even
sucking Children are, but too often, Tormented with Solid Stones, but
that divers sorts of Beasts themselves, (whatever _Helmont_ against
Experience think to the contrary) may be Troubled with great and Heavy
stones in their Kidneys and Bladders, though they Feed but upon Grass
and other Vegetables, that are perhaps but Disguised Water, it will
not seem improbable that even some Concretes of a mineral Nature, may
Likewise be form'd of Water.

We may further Take notice, that as a Plant may be nourisht, and
consequently may Consist of Common water; so may both plants and
Animals, (perhaps even from their Seminal Rudiments) consist of
compound Bodies, without having any thing meerly Elementary brought
them by nature to be compounded by them: This is evident in divers
men, who whilst they were Infants were fed only with Milk, afterwards
Live altogether upon Flesh, Fish, wine, and other perfectly mixt
Bodies. It may be seen also in sheep, who on some of our English Downs
or Plains, grow very fat by feeding upon the grasse, without scarce
drinking at all. And yet more manifestly in the magots that breed and
grow up to their full bignesse within the pulps of Apples, Pears, or
the like Fruit. We see also, that Dungs that abound with a mixt Salt
give a much more speedy increment to corn and other Vegetables than
Water alone would do: And it hath been assur'd me, by a man
experienc'd in such matters, that sometimes when to bring up roots
very early, the Mould they were planted in was made over-rich, the
very substance of the Plant has tasted of the Dung. And let us also
consider a Graft of one kind of Fruit upon the upper bough of a Tree
of another kind. As for instance, the Ciens of a Pear upon a
White-thorne; for there the ascending Liquor is already alter'd,
either by the root, or in its ascent by the bark, or both wayes, and
becomes a new mixt body: as may appear by the differing qualities to
be met with in the saps of several trees; as particularly, the
medicinal vertue of the Birch-Water (which I have sometimes drunk upon
_Helmonts_ great and not undeserved commendation) Now the graft, being
fasten'd to the stock must necessarily nourish its self, and produce
its Fruit, only out of this compound Juice prepared for it by the
Stock, being unable to come at any other aliment. And if we consider,
how much of the Vegetable he feeds upon may (as we noted above) remain
in an Animal; we may easily suppose, That the blood of that Animal who
Feeds upon this, though it be a Well constituted Liquor, and have all
the differing Corpuscles that make it up kept in order by one
præsiding form, may be a strangely Decompounded Body, many of its
parts being themselves decompounded. So little is it Necessary that
even in the mixtures which nature her self makes in Animal and
Vegetable Bodies, she should have pure Elements at hand to make her
compositions of.

Having said thus much touching the constitution of Plants and Animals,
I might perhaps be able to say as much touching that of Minerals, and
even Metalls, if it were as easy for us to make experiment in Order to
the production of these, as of those. But the growth or increment of
Minerals being usually a work of excessively long time, and for the
most part perform'd in the bowels of the Earth, where we cannot see
it, I must instead of Experiments make use, on this occasion, of
Observations.

That stones were not all made at once, but that are some of them now
adayes generated, may (though it be deny'd by some) be fully prov'd by
several examples, of which I shall now scarce alledg any other, then
that famous place in _France_ known by the name of _Les Caves
Gentieres_ [Errata: Goutieres], where the Water falling from the upper
Parts of the cave to the ground does presently there condense into
little stones, of such figures as the drops, falling either severally
or upon one another, and coagulating presently into stone, chance to
exhibit. Of these stones some Ingenuous Friends of ours, that went a
while since to visit that place, did me the favour to present me with
some that they brought thence. And I remember that both that sober
Relator of his Voyages, _Van Linschoten_, and another good Author,
inform us that in the Diamond Mines (as they call them) in the
_East-Indies_, when having dig'd the Earth, though to no great depth,
they find Diamonds and take them quite away; Yet in a very few years
they find in the same place new Diamonds produc'd there since. From
both which Relations, especially the first, it seems probable that
Nature does not alwayes stay for divers Elementary Bodies, when she is
to produce stones. And as for Metals themselves, Authors of good note
assure us, that even they were not in the beginning produc'd at once
altogether, but have been observ'd to grow; so that what was not a
Mineral or Metal before became one afterwards. Of this it were easie
to alledg many testimonies of professed Chymists. But that they may
have the greater authority, I shall rather present you with a few
borrowed from more unsuspected writers. _Sulphuris Mineram_ (as the
inquisitive _P. Fallopius_ notes) _quæ nutrix est caloris subterranei
fabri seu Archæi fontium & mineralium, Infra terram citissime renasci
testantur Historiæ Metallicæ. Sunt enim loca e quibus si hoc anno
sulphur effossum fuerit; intermissa fossione per quadriennium redeunt
fossores & omnia sulphure, ut autea [Errata: antea], rursus inveniunt
plena._ _Pliny_ Relates, _In Italiæ Insula Ilva, gigni ferri
metallum._ Strabo _multo expressius; effossum ibi metallum semper
regenerari. Nam si effossio spatio centum annorum intermittebatur, &
iterum illuc revertebantur, fossores reperisse maximam copiam ferri
regeneratam._ Which history not only is countenanced by _Fallopius_,
from the Incom which the Iron of that Island yielded the Duke of
_Florence_ in his time; but is mention'd more expressely to our
purpose, by the Learned _Cesalpinus_. _Vena_ (sayes he) _ferri
copiosissima est in Italia; ob eam nobilitata Ilva Tirrheni maris
Insula incredibili copia, etiam nostris temporibus eam gignens: Nam
terra quæ eruitur dum vena effoditur tota, procedente tempore in venam
convertitur._ Which last clause is therefore very notable, because
from thence we may deduce, that earth, by a Metalline plastick
principle latent in it, may be in processe of time chang'd into a
metal. And even _Agricola_ himself, though the Chymists complain of
him as their adversary, acknowledges thus much and more; by telling us
that at a Town called _Saga_ in _Germany_,[30] they dig up Iron in the
Fields, by sinking ditches two foot deep; And adding, that within the
space of ten years the Ditches are digged again for Iron since
produced, As the same Metal is wont to be obtain'd in _Elva_. Also
concerning Lead, not to mention what even _Galen_ notes, that it will
increase both in bulk and Weight if it be long kept in Vaults or
Sellars, where the Air is gross and thick, as he collects from the
smelling of those pieces of Lead that were imploy'd to fasten together
the parts of old Statues. Not to mention this, I say, _Boccacius
Certaldus_, as I find him Quoted by a Diligent Writer, has this
Passage touching the Growth of Lead. _Fessularum mons_ (sayes he) _in
Hetruria, Florentiæ civitati imminens, lapides plumbarios habet; qui
si excidantur, brevi temporis spatio, novis incrementis instaurantur;
ut_ (annexes my Author) _tradit Boccacius Certaldus, qui id
compotissimum [Errata: compertissimum] esse scribit. Nihil hoc novi
est; sed de eadem Plinius, lib. 34. Hist. Natur. cap. 17. dudum
prodidit, Inquiens, mirum in his solis plumbi metallis, quod derelicta
fertilius reviviscunt. In plumbariis secundo Lapide ab Amberga dictis
ad Asylum recrementa congesta in cumulos, exposita solibus pluviisque
paucis annis, redunt suum metallum cum fenore._ I might Add to these,
continues _Carneades_, many things that I have met with concerning the
Generation of Gold and Silver. But, for fear of wanting time, I shall
mention but two or three Narratives. The First you may find Recorded
by _Gerhardus_ the Physick Professor, in these Words. _In valle_
(sayes he) _Joachimaca [Errata: Joachimica] argentum gramini [Errata:
graminis] modo & more e Lapidibus mineræ velut e radice excrevisse
digiti Longitudine, testis est Dr. Schreterus, qui ejusmodi venas
aspectu jucundas & admirabiles Domi sua aliis sæpe monstravit &
Donavit. Item Aqua cærulea Inventa est Annebergæ, ubi argentum erat
adhuc in primo ente, quæ coagulata redacta est in calcem fixi & boni
argenti._

[Footnote 30: _In Lygiis, ad Sagam opidum; in pratis eruitur ferrum,
fossis ad altitudinem bipedaneam actis. Id decennio renatum denuo
foditur non aliter ac Ilvæ ferrum._]

The other two Relations I have not met with in Latine Authours, and
yet they are both very memorable in themselves, and as pertinent to
our present purpose.

The first I meet with in the Commentary of _Johannes Valehius_ upon
the _Kleine Baur_, In which that Industrious Chymist Relates, with
many circumstances, that at a Mine-Town (If I may so English the


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