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fixes together the alchemical earth and water, and causes the mystic medicines to flow like wax. The matter is then augmented with the alchemical spirit of life, and the exaltation of the philosophic earth is accomplished by the natural rectification of its elements. When these processes have been successfully completed, the mystic stone will have passed through the chief stages characterized by different colours, black, white and red, after which it is capable of infinite multication, and when projected on mercury, it will absolutely transmute it, the resulting gold bearing every test. The base metals made use of must be purified to insure the success of the operation. The process for the manufacture of silver is essentially similar, but the resources of the matter are not

carried to so high a degree.”According to the “Commentary on the Ancient War of the Knights” the transmutations performed by the perfect stone are so absolute that no trace remains of the original metal. It cannot, however, destroy gold, nor exalt it into a more perfect metallic substance; it, therefore, transmutes it into a medicine a thousand times superior to any virtues which can be extracted from its vulgar state. This medicine becomes a most potent agent in the exaltation of base metals.”There are not wanting authorities who deny that the transmutations of metals was the grand object of alchemy, and who infer from the alchemistical writings that the end of the art was the spiritual regeneration of man. Mrs. Atwood, author of “A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic

Mystery”, and an American writer named Hitchcock are purhaps the chief protagonists of the belief the by spiritual processes akin to those of the chemical process of alchemy, the soul of man may be purified and exalted. But both commit the radical error of stating the the alchemical writers did not aver that the transmutation of base metal into gold was their grand end. None of the passages they quote, is inconsistent with the physical object of alchemy, and in a work, “The Marrow of Alchemy”, stated to be by Eugenius Philaletes, it is laid down that the real quest is for gold. It is constantly impressed upon the reader, however, in the perusal of esteemed alchemical works, that only those who are instructed by God can achieve the grand secret. Others, again, state that a

tyro may possibly stumble upon it, but that unless he is guided by an adept he has small chance of achieving the grand arcanum. It will be obvious to the tyro, however, that nothing can ever be achieved by trusting to the allegories of the adepts or the many charlatans who crowded the ranks of the art. Gold may be made, or it may not, but the truth or fallacy of the alchemical method lies with modern chemistry. The transcendental view of alchemy, however, is rapidly gaining ground, and probably originated in the comprehensive nature of Hermetic theory and the consciousness in the alchemical mind that what might with success be applied to nature could also be applied to man with similar results. Says Mr. Waite, “The gold of the philosopher is not a metal, on the other hand, man

is a being who possesses within himself the seeds of a perfection which he has never realized, and that he therefore corresponds to those metals which the Hermetic theory supposes to be capable of developing the latent possibilities in the subject man.” At the same time, it must be admitted that the cryptic character of alchemical language was probably occasioned by a fear on the part of the alchemical mystic that he might lay himself open through his magical opinions to the rigors of the law.RECORDS OF ACTUAL TRANSMUTATIONS: Several records of alleged transmutations of base metal into gold are in existence. These were achieved by Nicholas Flamel, Van Helmont, Martini, Richthausen, and Sethon. For a detailed account of the methods employed the reader is referred to several

articles on these hermetists. In nearly every case the transmuting element was a mysterious powder or the “Philosopher’s Stone”.MODERN ALCHEMY: That alchemy has been studied in modern times there can be no doubt. M. figuier in his “L’Alchimie et les Alchimistes”, dealing with the subject of modern alchemy, as expressed by the initiates of the first half of the nineteenth century, states that many French alchemists of his time regarded the discoveries of modern science as merely so many evidences of the truth of the doctrines they embraced. Throughout Europe, he says, the positive alchemical doctrine had many adherents at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth. Thus a “vast association of alchemists”, founded in Westphalia in 1790,