Début de l'ouvrage Texte précédent Texte suivant Fin de l'ouvrage Drapeau Page d'aide Retour. Flag Help frame Return. Bandera Página de ayuda Vuelta.
Flagge Hilfeseite Rückkehr. Flag Hjælp side Tilbage. Bandiera Guida Torna.

@

Page

Réfer. : AL2401W
Auteur : Helvetius.
Titre : Golden Calf, wich the world worships and adores.
S/titre : in wich is discussed The Most Rare Miracle of Nature.

Editeur : J. Elliot and Co., London.
Date éd. : 1893 .


@



J O H N F R E D E R I C K H E L V E T I U S'
G O L D E N C A L F,
WHICH THE WORLD WORSHIPS AND ADORES:
IN WHICH IS DISCUSSED
THE MOST RARE MIRACLE OF NATURE
IN THE TRANSMUTATION OF METALS, viz,:
HOW AT THE HAGUE A MASS OF LEAD WAS IN A MOMENT OF TIME CHANGED INTO GOLD BY THE INFUSION OF A SMALL PARTICLE OF OUR STONE.
-------
JOB, XXVII., 5:-- Great things doeth God which we cannot comprehend." SENECA, Epist. 77:--" We must learn, in our pursuit of wisdom, to listen with
equanimity to the reproaches of the foolish, and to despise contempt itself," @
@



TO THE
MOST HONOURABLE AND EXCELLENT
DR. THEODORE KETJES,
A great physician, and traveller in Turkey and other foreign lands, now in practice at Amsterdam, and my intimate friend;
AND TO THE
MOST HONOURABLE AND PROFOUNDLY LEARNED
DR. JOHN CASPAR FAUSIUS,
Councillor and Court Physician to the Count Palatine of Heidelberg;
AND
DR. CHRISTIAN MENTZELIUS,
Councillor and Court Physician to the Elector of Brandenburg,

MY HONOURED PATRONS, AND
BELOVED FRIENDS.
@



DEDICATORY EPISTLE
TO THE ABOVE-NAMED NOBLE AND HONOURABLE
FRIENDS AND MASTERS.
-------
I neither can nor will withhold from my honoured and beloved friends the knowledge of this Spagyric Art, and of the
most precious and miraculous Arcanum, which I have not only
seen with my own eyes, but also executed with my own hands,
by changing a mass of lead into solid gold, persistently resisting
any test of fire, through the addition of a small particle of our
transmutatory powder. It can no longer be pretended that our
Art does not possess the power which it claims, or that the
Mercury of the Sages is not the great and glorious fountain of
all natural marvels. This wonderful secret has, through the
grace of God, been revealed to me, and as it is unworthy of man,
created in the image of God, to maintain silence in regard to
God's miraculous works, like the brute beasts, I have determined
to unveil this grand Arcanum to you, my beloved friends; and I
will now gird myself to tell you all that I know and have heard
of the sayings and doings of the Great Artist Elias. It was not,
indeed, he who revealed to me the grand secret; yet his conversation
was so instructive that I cannot refrain from reporting it
to you word for word. It is my earnest wish, honoured friends
and masters, that this Book may meet with a kindly reception at
your hands, and that you may derive from it both enjoyment
and profit. With this hope, I remain,

Your humble Servant, JOHN FREDERICK HELVETIUS
@



CHAPTER I.
B EFORE I begin to write about the philosophical Pygmy vanquishing the Giants, my honoured friends and masters, you must permit me to transcribe a passage from the works of Helmontius (Arbor Vitae, folio 630): " I cannot but believe that there is such a thing as a gold and
silver making Stone. At the same time, I cannot shut my eyes
to the fact that hundreds of painstaking Alchemists are daily
being led astray by impostors or ignorant professors of the
Spagyric Art." For this reason I shall not be astonished if --
immediately upon perusing my book -- multitudes of these
deluded victims start up, and contradict the assertion which
I have made in regard to the truth of this Art. One of these
gentry denounces Alchemy as a work of the Devil, another
describes it as sheer nonsense and humbug, a third admits the
possibility of transmuting metals into gold, but maintains that
the whole process costs more money than it is worth. But I do
not wonder at these opinions. It is a hackneyed saying of
human nature that we gape at those things whose purpose we do
not understand, but we investigate things pleasurable to know.
The Sages should therefore remember the words of Seneca (De
Moribus): " You are not yet blessed, if the multitude does not
laugh at you." But I do not care whether they believe or contradict
my teaching about the transmutation of metals I rest
calmly satisfied in the knowledge that I have seen it with my
own eyes, and performed it with my own hands. Even in our
degenerate age these wonders are still possible; even now the
Medicine is prepared which is worth twenty tons of gold, nay,
more, for it has virtue to bestow that which all the gold of the
world cannot buy, viz., health. Blessed is that physician who
knows our soothing medicinal Potion of Mercury, the great
panacea of death and disease. But God does not reveal this

@

276 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
glorious knowledge to all men indiscriminately; and some men
are so obtuse (with a judicial blindness) that they wonder at the
activity of the simplest forces of Nature, as, for instance, the
attractive power which the magnet exercises upon the steel.
But (whether they believe it or not) there is a corresponding
magnetic force in gold which attracts Mercury, in silver which
attracts copper, and so with all other metals, minerals, stones,
herbs, plants, etc. . . . We must not be surprised at this
persistent opposition to truth: the light of the sun pains the
eyes of owls.
As a matter of fact, we human beings take too much upon ourselves in hastily and dogmatically judging of things which
we do not understand. We deny the influence of the stars upon
earthly things, and by that denial only exhibit our ignorance.
And what do we know of the secret forces which slumber in
plants. You may know nothing of the glory of the Angels, the
brightness of the heavens, the transparency of the air, the
limpidity of the water, the variety of colours in flowers, the
hardness of stones and metals, the proportionate beauty of men
and animals, the image of God in regenerate souls, the faith of
believers, the rationality of the mind, &c.-- for we may be blind
and without feeling or understanding -- and yet the beauty of all
these things is not in the least affected by our ignorance.
If we bear these considerations in mind, they ought to stop our mouths when we feel tempted to deny the possibility of such
wonderful transmutatory virtue being inherent in our Stone.
Still, it must not be supposed that I wish to force this knowledge
upon any one. God has reserved it for the worthy, and I know
that it can never become known to the wicked, the irreligious,
or the scornful. All I propose to do is to lay before the reader,
for his diligent consideration, those conversations which have
passed between the Artist Elias and myself, in regard to the
nature of this Stone, the splendour of which (being more glorious
than the dawn, more brilliant than a carbuncle, more bright
than the sun or gold) has not yet faded from my mind. The
contempt of the scornful, and the ignorance of the foolish I
despise. Their ephemeral babble will soon be swept away by
the river of forget fulness; but our triumphant Art, which is
established upon a foundation of adamant, upon the foundation

@

HELVETIUS' GOLDEN CALF. 277
of God's own truth, will abide unshaken throughout all ages.
For adepts according to ancient experience have given their
word that this natural mystery is only to be found with JEHOVA
Saturninely placed in the centre of the world. But those we
call blessed, who can purge the Queen of the Sages of her
impurity, who can circulate the Catholic Virgin Earth by means
of our crystalline Physico-magical Art, and who have beheld
the King, with his crown on his head, and his strength of inward
fire, come forth from the chamber of his crystal grave, his
bodily semblance glorified with all the most beautiful hues
that the world affords, like a shining carbuncle, or like a
transparent, compact, and diaphanous crystal -- like a salamander
that has spued forth all water, and washes away the leprosy of
base metals with fire. Moreover, they shall behold the abyss of
the Spagyric Art, where in the mineral kingdom, the same so royal
art has, to a certain extent, for many years (in, as it were, the
safest retreat of all) lain concealed. The Sages have seen the
river in which Aeneas was cleansed of his mortality -- the river of
Pactolus in Lydia which was changed into gold by King Midas
bathing in it -- the bath of Diana -- the spring of Narcissus -- the
blood of Adonis trickling upon the snowy breast of Venus,
whence was produced the anemone -- the blood of Ajax, from
which sprang the beautiful hyacinth flower -- the blood of the
Giants killed by Jupiter's thunderbolt -- the tears which Althea
shed when she doffed her golden robes -- the magic water of
Medea, out of which grass and flowers sprang forth -- the Potion
which Medea prepared from various herbs for the rejuvenescence
of old Jason -- the Medicine of Aesculapius -- the magic juice, by
the aid of which Jason obtained the Golden Fleece -- the garden
of the Hesperides, where the trees bear golden apples in rich
abundance -- Atalanta turned aside from the race by the three
golden apples -- Romulus transformed by Jupiter into a god --
the transfiguration of the soul of Julius Caesar into a Comet --
Juno's serpent, Pytho, born of decomposed earth after Deucalion's
flood -- the fire at which Medea lit her seven torches -- the Moon
kindled by Phaethon's conflagration -- Arcadia, in which Jupiter
was wont to walk abroad -- the habitation of Pluto in whose
vestibule lay the three-headed Cerberus -- the Pile, on which
Hercules burnt those limbs which he had received from his

@

278 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
mother, with fire, till only the fixed and incombustible
elements derived from his father were left, and he became a god --
and the rustic cottage whose roof was made of pure gold.
Blessed, yea, thrice blessed, is the man to whom Jehovah has
revealed the method of preparing that Divine Salt by which the
metallic or mineral body is corrupted, destroyed, and mortified,
while its soul in the meantime is revived for the glorious resurrection
of the philosophical body -- blessed, I say, is he to whom
the knowledge of our Art is vouchsafed in answer to prayer
throughout all his work for the Holy Spirit! For it should be
remembered that this is the only way in which our Art of Arts
is vouchsafed to man, and if you would attain it, the service of
God ought to be your chief business. By committing themselves
to this sacred and practical path of piety, and to theosophical
colloquies alone with Jehovah, all true students of this Art will,
;n due course of time, behold the sight which will gladden their
hearts. Blessed, also, is he to whom some adept graciously flings
wide the gates of knowledge, and to whom the golden road of the
King is thus manifested! . . I am afraid that the Preface
will not please all my readers; nevertheless, I have a good hope
that it will cheer and hearten the better part of them. Drink, my
friends, from the fountain of truth, which w ells forth in the
Dialogue that I shall hereafter set down, and slake therewith the
thirst of your souls, for my words shall be sweeter to you than
nectar or ambrosia. For I bear in mind the saying of Julius
Caesar Scaliger that " the end of wisdom is its communication,"
and the teaching of Gregory of Nyssenus. who affirms " that the
good delight to impart their knowledge to others, because it is
the greatest joy to them to be useful."

CHAPTER II.
The truth of this Art is maintained by many illustrious writers, of whom the following are the most distinguished
representatives of their class:
Paracelsus (Rev. Natur., IX., fol. 358) has the following words: " The true sign by which the Tincture of the Physicists
is known, is its power of transmuting all imperfect metals into
silver (if it be white) or gold (if it be red), if but a small particle

@

HELVETIUS' GOLDEN CALF. 279
of it be injected into a mass of such metals liquefied in a
crucible."
Again: "The invincible Star of the Metals vanquishes all things, and changes them into a nature similar to its own. This
gold and silver are better than those found in mines for the preparation
of arcane medicines from it."
Again: " I say that any Alchemist, who has the Star of Gold, can change all metals into that precious substance."
Again: " Our Tincture of Gold contains stars, is a substance of the greatest fixity, is unchangeable in multiplication, is a red
powder (with almost a saffron tinge), liquid like resin, transparent
like crystal, fragile like glass, is of a rubinate colour, and
of great specific gravity."
Again, in Paracelsus' book called " The Heaven of the Sages," and in his seventh book on the " Transmutation of
Natural Things," he bears witness to the same fact: " Transmutation
is a great natural mystery, which is by no means -- as
fools suppose -- contrary to the course of Nature, or the law of
God. Without this Philosopher's Stone, the imperfect metals
can be transmuted neither into gold nor silver."
Paracelsus, in his Manual concerning the Medicinal Philosopher's Stone, says: " Our Stone is the heavenly and super-
perfect Medicine, because it washes away all the impurities of
metals."
Henry Khunrath, in his " Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom " (fol. 147), has the following words: " I have visited many lands,
and had speech of many learned men. I have seen the Green
Catholic Lion, and the Blood of the Lion, i.e., the Gold of the
Sages, with my own eyes, have touched it with my hands, tasted
it with my tongue, smelt it with my nose. By its means I have
cured many whose life was despaired of."
Again (fol. 202): " That which I describe is not a myth: you shall handle it with your hands, see it with your eyes, -- that
Azoth, or Catholic Mercury of the Sages, which, together with
inward and outward fire, in sympathic harmony, through an
unavoidable necessity, physico-magically united, is alone sufficient
for the preparation of our Stone."
Again: " You shall see the Philosopher's Stone, our King and Lord of Lords, go forth from the chamber of its crystal tomb into

@

280 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
this world, with its glorified body, regenerate and transcendently
perfect, a brilliant carbuncle, whose most subtle and fully purified
parts, being harmoniously mixed, are bound inseparably into
one, altogether smooth, translucid as crystal, compact and
exceedingly weighty. It is easily fused in fire, as resin, and after
the flight of artificial quicksilver, just as wax. Without smoke
it enters and penetrates solid bodies as oil enters paper. It is
soluble in any liquid, melting and commingling with the same,
fragile as glass, in a powder saffron-coloured, but in a solid mass,
red like the ruby. Its purple colour is the mark of perfect
fixation and fixed perfection, for it remains fixed and incombustible,
even when exposed to fire, corrosive waters, or burning
sulphur, since it is, like the salamander, incapable of being
consumed by fire."
Again: " When the White Tincture is added to metals as a ferment, it transmutes them into purest silver; when the Red
Tincture is mixed with pure gold, it is, within three days, multiplied
by the quantity of the gold."
Helmontius (" On Life Eternal," page 590) has the following words:--" I have seen the Stone, and touched it with my own
hands. . . . . One-fourth of a grain of this powder, wrapped
up in paper, I have cast upon eight ounces of boiling quicksilver
in a crucible, and immediately the whole mixture was congealed
into a mass like yellow wax; when the fusion was completed,
the crucible contained eight ounces of purest gold less eleven
grains). So one grain of our powder had transmuted into purest
gold 19,186 times its own weight of quicksilver,-- and this
process can be repeated indefinitely. The powder cleanses the
metal from all impurity, and protects it from rust, decay, and
fire, etc.
Again, the same Helmontius says, in his " Tree of Life " (page 630):--" I am compelled to believe that there is a Stone
which produces gold and silver; for I have several times, with
my own hands, projected one grain of powder upon one thousand
grains of boiling quicksilver, which was thereby, in the presence
of a great multitude of spectators, immediately transformed into
precious gold. He who first gave me some of this transmutatory
powder, had of it at least as much as would have sufficed for the
production of 200,000 pounds of gold. He gave me about

@

HELVETIUS' GOLDEN CALF. 281
1/2 grain of the powder, with which I transmuted 9 3/4 onces of
quicksilver.
Moreover, the most honourable and profoundly learned Dr. Theodore Ketjes, an eminent physician resident at Amsterdam,
gave me a medal on which were the following inscriptions:

pict
On the obverse of the medal there appeared the following words:

AS THIS ART IS RARE AMONG MEN, SO IT IS RARELY EXHIBITED: PRAISED BE GOD FOR EVER WHO HAS COMMUNICATED PART OF HIS INFINITE POWER TO US HIS MOST ABJECT CREATURES. @

282 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
It is also said that, in 1660, Alexander (a Scotch adept) effected a change of imperfect metals into gold, at Cologne, and
at Hanover, etc.
There are also other instances on record of such transmutations having taken place.
The following is a genuine extract from a letter written by Dr. Kuffler:--
" First I found in my own laboratory, aquafortis, next in that of Charles de Roy, I poured it over calx of gold prepared
in the ordinary way, and after the third cohobation, it sublimated
with itself the tincture of gold in the nock of the retort, which
I mingled with silver precipitated in the ordinary way, and I
beheld that it had transmuted one ounce of sublimated tincture
of gold in the crucible with the usual flux, and two ounces of
precipitated silver, into an ounce-and-a-half of the best gold,
while the third portion remained silver. The gold was white and
fixed, but the remaining two parts were the best silver, fixed
under the test of any fire. This is my experience, and I need
not say that it has made me a most enthusiastic believer in
Alchemy."
I, Helvetius, have seen this gold, without the tincture, white. Another proof of the genuineness of this Art was given at the Hague, in the year 1664, when a silversmith, of the name of
Gril, in the presence of many witnesses, transformed one pound
of lead, partly into gold, and partly into silver. Gril had
obtained the Tincture from a certain weaver of the name of
John Caspar Knöttner, with the injunction to use it for metals
only. Gril placed it with some lead in a glass cake dish, and
after about a fortnight the above change was found to have
taken place. I can testify to the genuineness of this case, as Gril
was personally known to me, and I saw the transmuted lead,
which exhibited on its surface a most beautiful silver crystal, in
the form of a star, as though prepared by most ingenious artifice
with a circle. The pity was that Gril, being obstinate and crafty,
would not let Knöttner know whether it was his " Spirit of Salt "
that had effected the change; and some time afterwards, when
Gril's obstinacy had at length been overcome, Knöttner had
forgotten which of his many chemical preparations he had given
to him, and, before he was able to find out, he and his family

@

HELVETIUS' GOLDEN CALF. 283
were swept away by the plague, while Gril fell into the water
and was drowned. Afterwards, not one of the many goldseekers
was able to discover the secret which died with them. Nevertheless,
it is a matter of never ceasing admiration that the
Philosopher's Stone should have the power of transmuting, in so
short a time, the dull and heavy nature of lead into the bright and
brilliant nature of silver and gold; of this natural law, however,
we have an illustration in the fact that steel, by contact with the
magnet, acquires its magnetic power.

CHAPTER III.
Since promises are all the more acceptable, the more quickly they are fulfilled, I will now, without any further delay, address
myself to the task which I have set myself to accomplish.
On the 27 December, 1666, in the forenoon. there came to my house a certain man, who was a complete stranger to me, but
of an honest, grave countenance, and an authoritative mien,
clothed in a simple garb like that of a Memnonite. He was of
middle height, his face was long and slightly pock-marked, his
hair was black and straight, his chin close shaven, his age about
43 or 44, and his native province, as far as I could make out,
North Holland.
After we had exchanged salutations, he asked me whether he might have some conversation with me. He wished
to say something to me about the Pyrotechnic Art, as he had
read one of my Tracts (directed against the Sympathetic
Powder of Dr. Digby), in which I hinted a suspicion whether
the Grand Arcanum of the Sages was not after all a gigantic
hoax. He, therefore, took that opportunity of asking me
whether I could not believe that such a grand mystery might
exist in the nature of things, by means of which a physician
could restore any patient whose vitals were not irreparably
destroyed. I answered: " Such a Medicine would be a most
desirable acquisition for any physician; nor can any man tell
how many secrets there may be hidden in Nature; yet, though
I have read much about the truth of this Art, it has never been
my good fortune to meet with a real Master of the Alchemical
Science." I also enquired whether he was a medical man, since

@

284 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
he spoke so learnedly about the Universal Medicine. In reply,
he modestly disclaimed my insinuation, and described himself as
a brass founder, who had always taken a great interest in the
extraction of medicinal potions from metals by means of fire.
After some further conversation, the Artist Elias (for it was he)
thus addressed me: " Since you have read so much in the works
of the Alchemists about this Stone, its substance, its colour, and
its wonderful effects, may I be allowed the question, whether you
have not yourself prepared it ? " On my answering his question
in the negative, he took out of his bag a cunningly-worked ivory
box, in which there were three large pieces of a substance
resembling glass, or pale sulphur, and informed me that here
was enough of the Tincture for the production of 20 tons of
gold. When I had held the precious treasure in my hand for a
quarter of an hour (during which time I listened to a recital of
its wonderful curative properties), I was compelled to restore it
to its owner, which I could not help doing with a certain degree
of reluctance. After thanking him for his kindness in showing
it to me, I then asked how it was that his Stone did not display
that ruby colour which I had been taught to regard as characteristic
of the Philosopher's Stone. He replied that the colour
made no difference, and that the substance was sufficiently
mature for all practical purposes. My request that he would
give me a piece of his Stone (though it were no larger than a
coriander seed), he somewhat brusquely refused, adding, in a
milder tone, that he could not give it me for all the wealth I
possessed, and that not on account of its great preciousness, but
for some other reason which it was not lawful for him to divulge;
nay, if fire could be destroyed in that way, he would immediately
throw it all into the fire. Then, after a moment's consideration,
he enquired whether I could not shew him into a room at the back
of the house, where we should be less liable to the observation of
passers-by. On my conducting him into the state parlour
(which he entered without wiping his dirty boots), he demanded
of me a gold coin, and while I was looking for it, he produced
from his breast pocket a green silk handkerchief, in which were
folded up five medals, the gold of which was infinitely superior
to that of my gold piece. On the medals appeared the following
inscriptions:--

@

HELVETIUS' GOLDEN CALF. 285
pict
I was filled with admiration, and asked my visitor whence he had obtained that wonderful knowledge of the whole world
He replied that it was a gift freely bestowed on him by a friend
who had stayed a few days at his house, who had also taught
him to change common flints and crystals into stones more
precious than rubies, chrysoliths, and sapphires; he also revealed
to me the preparation of crocus of iron (an infallible cure for
dysentery), of metallic liquid (an efficacious remedy for dropsy),
and of many other infallible Medicines, to which, however, I paid
no great heed, as I was impatiently anxious to have the chief

@

286 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
secret of all revealed to me. The Artist told me that his Master
had bidden him bring him a glass full of warm water, to which
he had added a little white powder, and in which one ounce of
silver had melted like ice in warm water. Of this draught he
emptied one-half, and gave the rest to me. Its taste resembled
that of fresh milk, and its effect was most exhilarating."
I asked my visitor whether the potion was a preparation of the Philosopher's Stone? But he answered: "You should not
be so inquisitive."
Then he told me that, at the bidding of the Artist, he had taken down a piece of leaden water-pipe, and melted the lead in
a pot, whereupon the Artist had taken some sulphureous powder
out of a little box on the point of a knife, and cast it into the
melted lead, and that after exposing the compound for a short
time to a fierce fire, he had poured forth a great mass of molten
gold upon the brick floor of the kitchen.
" The Master bade me take one-sixteenth of the gold for myself as a keepsake, and to distribute the rest amongst the
poor; which I did by making over a large sum in trust to the
Church of Sparrendam. At length, before bidding me farewell,
my friend taught me this Divine Art."
When my strange visitor had concluded his narrative, I besought him to give me a proof of his assertion, by
performing the transmutatory operation on some metals in my
presence. He answered evasively, that he could not do so then, but
that he would return in three weeks, and that, if he was then at
liberty to do so, he would shew me something that would make
me open my eyes. He appeared punctually to the promised day,
and invited me to take a walk with him, in the course of which
we discoursed profoundly on the secrets of Nature in fire, though
I noticed that my companion was very chary in imparting
information about the Grand Arcanum; he spoke very learnedly
and gravely concerning the holiness of the Art (just as if he
were a clergyman), and said that God had commanded the
initiated to make the secret known only to the deserving. At
last I asked him point blank to shew me the transmutation of
metals. I besought him to come and dine with me, and to spend
the night at my house; I entreated; I expostulated; but in
vain. He remained firm. I reminded him of his promise. He

@

HELVETIUS' GOLDEN CALF. 287
retorted that his promise had been conditional upon his being
permitted to reveal the secret to me. At last, however, I
prevailed upon him to give me a piece of his precious Stone --
a piece no larger than a grain of rape seed. He delivered it to
me as if it were the most princely donation in the world. Upon
my uttering a doubt whether it would be sufficient to tinge more
than four grains of lead, he eagerly demanded it back. I
complied, in the hope that he would exchange it for a larger
piece; instead of which he divided it in two with his thumb, threw
away one-half and gave me back the other, saying: " Even now it
is sufficient for you." Then I was still more heavily disappointed,
as I could not believe that anything could be done with so small
a particle of the Medicine. He, however, bade me take two
drachms, or half an-ounce of lead, or even a little more, and to
melt it in the crucible; for the Medicine would certainly not
tinge more of the base metal than it was sufficient for.
I answered that I could not believe that so small a quantity
of Tincture could transform so large a mass of lead.
But I had to be satisfied with w hat he had given me, and my chief
difficulty was about the application of the Tincture. I confessed
that when I held his ivory box in my hand, I had managed to
extract a few small crumbs of his Stone, but that they had changed
my lead, not into gold, but only into glass. He laughed, and
said that I was more expert at theft than at the application of
the Tincture. " You should have protected your spoil with
'yellow wax,' then it would have been able to penetrate the lead
and to transmute it into gold. As it was, your Medicine
evaporated, by a sympathetic process, in the metallic smoke.
For all metals, gold, silver, tin, and mercury, are corrupted by the
fumes of lead, and degenerated into glass." I shewed him the
crucible, and there he discovered the yellow piece of Medicine still
adhering to it. He promised to return at nine o'clock the next
morning, and then he would show me that my Medicine could well
be used for transmuting lead into gold. With this promise I had
to declare myself satisfied. Still I asked him to favour me with
some information about the preparation of the Arcanum. He
would not tell me anything about the cost and the time; " as to
its substance," he continued, " it is prepared from two metals or
minerals; the minerals are better because they contain a larger

@

288 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
quantity of mature Sulphur. The solvent is a certain celestial
Salt, by means of which the Sages dissolve the earthy
metallic body, and this process elicits the precious Elixir of the
Sages. The work is performed from beginning to end in a
crucible over an open fire; it is consummated in tour days, and its
cost is only about three florins. Neither the Mineral from the
Egg nor the Solvent Salt are very expensive." I replied that
his statement was contradicted by the sayings of the Sages, who
assign seven or nine months as the duration of the Work. His
only answer was that the sayings of the Sages were to be understood
in a philosophical sense and no ignorant person could
apprehend their true meaning. I besought him that, as a
stranger had made known to him this precious mystery, so he
would extend to me the same kindness, and give me at least
some information which would remove all the most formidable
obstacles out of my path; for if one knew one thing, other
facts connected with it were more easily discovered. But the
Artist replied: " It is not so in our Magistery; if you do not
know the whole operation from beginning to end, you know nothing
at all. I have told you all; yet you do not know how the
crystal seal of Hermes is broken, and how the Sun colours it
with the marvellous splendour of its metallic rays, or in what
mirror the metals see with the eyes of Narcissus the possibility
of their transmutation, or from what rays adepts collect the fire
of perfect metallic fixation." With these words, and a promise
to return at nine o'clock the next morning, he left me. But at
the stated hour on the following day he did not make his
appearance; in his stead, however, there came, a few hours later,
a stranger, who told me that his friend the Artist was unavoidably
detained, but that he would call at three o'clock in the afternoon.
The afternoon came; I waited for him till half-past seven o'clock.
He did not appear. Thereupon my wife came and tempted me
to try the transmutation myself. I determined, however, to wait
till the morrow, and in the meantime, ordered my son to light
the fire, as I was now almost sure that he was an impostor. On
the morrow, however, I thought that I might at least make an
experiment with the piece of " Tincture " which I had received;
if it turned out a failure, in spite of my following his directions
closely, I might then be quite certain that my visitor had been a

@

HELVETIUS' GOLDEN CALF. 289
mere pretender to a knowledge of this Art. So I asked my
wife to put the Tincture in wax, and I myself, in the meantime,
prepared six drachms of lead; I then cast the Tincture,
enveloped as it was in wax, on the lead; as soon as it was
melted, there was a hissing sound and a slight effervescence, and
after a quarter of an hour I found that the whole mass of lead
had been turned into the finest gold. Before this transformation
took place, the compound became intensely green, but as soon
as I had poured it into the melting pot it assumed a hue like
blood. When it cooled, it glittered and shone like gold. We
immediately took it to the goldsmith, who at once declared it to
be the finest gold he had ever seen, and offered to pay fifty florins
an ounce for it
The rumour, of course, spread at once like wildfire through the whole city; and in the afternoon, I had visits from many
illustrious students of this Art; I also received a call from the
Master of the Mint and some other gentlemen, who requested
me to place at their disposal a small piece of the gold, in order that
they might subject it to the usual tests. I consented, and we
betook ourselves to the house of a certain silversmith, named
Brechtil, who submitted a small piece of my gold to the test
called " the fourth ": three or four parts of silver are melted in
the crucible with one part of gold, and then beaten out into
thin plates, upon which some strong aquafortis is poured. The
usual result of this experiment is that the silver is dissolved,
while the gold sinks to the bottom in the shape of a black
powder, and after the aquafortis has been poured off, and
melted once more in the crucible, resumes its former shape....
When we now performed this experiment, we thought at first
that one-half of the gold had evaporated; but afterwards we
found that this was not the case, but that, on the contrary, two
scruples of the silver had undergone a change into gold.
Then we tried another test, viz., that which is performed by means of a septuple of Antimony; at first it seemed as if eight
grains of the gold had been lost, but afterwards, not only had
two scruples of the silver been converted into gold, but the silver
itself was greatly improved both in quality and malleability.
Thrice I performed this infallible test, discovering that every
drachm of gold produced an increase of a scruple of gold, but the

@

290 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
silver is excellent and extremely flexible. Thus I have unfolded
to you the whole story from beginning to end. The gold I still
retain in my possession, but I cannot tell you what has become
of the Artist Elias. Before he left me, on that last day of our
friendly intercourse, he told me that he was on the point of
undertaking a journey to the Holy Land. May the Holy.
Angels of God watch over him wherever he is, and long preserve
him as a source of blessing to Christendom! This is my earnest
prayer on his and our behalf.

CHAPTER IV.
I will now proceed to give an account of the conversations which passed between the Artist Elias and myself (the
Physician), on the occasion of his kindly visits to my house.
The reader is to imagine the Artist entering my room, and
introducing himself with the following words:
I salute you, Dr. Helvetius. I am one of the readers of the Tract you wrote against Dr. Digby, and his Sympathetic Pills,
and I should like to have some conversation with you on this
and kindred subjects. I am a close student of Nature's secrets,
and delight in the company of those who have a kindred aim.
And, certainly, I have found as the result even of my paltry
investigations, that no natural marvels are to be rashly
pronounced impossible.

PHYSICIAN.
Let me bid you a hearty welcome. Discourses on the secrets of Nature are the great delight of my heart, as they are
of yours. Come with me, I pray you, into my study.

ARTIST ELIAS.
You do, indeed, possess a wonderfully well-equipped laboratory, and I make no doubt that, by its means, you have
sounded all the secret depths of Alchemy. But why do you
keep so many medicines ? Do you not believe that there exists
in the nature of things one or more remedies, fully capable of
counteracting discase in all cases, where neither the heart, the

@

HELVETIUS' GOLDEN CALF. 291
liver, nor the lungs, are entirely destroyed, or the vital juices
altogether consumed ?

PHYSICIAN.
From what you say I conclude that you are either one of the profession, or else a Master of the Chemical Art. I do
believe, as you say, that there exist in Nature other more excellent
medicines than any that I possess. This view is both
natural and reasonable, and it is supported by the authority of
many celebrated writers. They tell us of a certain Universal
Medicine, which, as they say, is known only to the elect, but it
enables its possessors to heal all diseases (even those otherwise
incurable), and to prolong their lives almost indefinitely. Yet is
anyone able to conduct us to this miraculous fountain, whence
this vitalizing water is drawn? I am afraid it is a hopeless
aspiration.

ARTIST ELIAS.
I am not, as you suppose, a physician, but only a brass- founder. I have, however, from a very early age, taken an all-
absorbing interest in the Art of Alchemy, and the secret qualities
of metals. And as a result of my investigations (humble as they
have been), I most decidedly incline to the belief that the discovery
of the Medicine you mention will, even in our degenerate
age, be vouchsafed to some earnest student, as a reward of
prayer and work.

PHYSICIAN.
It is true that God grants His gifts to those who love Him ungrudgingly and without upbraiding. But I also find that in
former ages, as in our own, there have lived hosts of chemists
who have spent their lives, as the saying is, in scooping up water
with a sieve. Moreover, it seems quite impossible to gain from
the writings of he genuine Sages any intelligible information,
either as to the substance or the mode of preparation of this
Universal Philosopher's Stone. . . . In the meantime, it is
the duty of a good physician to make the most of those appliances
for the cure of discase, which are actually within his reach. If
he refused to give any medicines until he had discovered the

@

292 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
Universal Remedy, his patients would suffer through his folly and
carelessness. Moreover, taking into consideration the great
variety of human constitutions, I really do not see how one Medicine
can possibly cure all diseases; the effect Of morbid matter
upon the glands and vital juices of different persons being
well known to be utterly different. If you give a certain
quantity of wine to Peter, it will make him quarrelsome, and
even furious; its effect on Paul is to produce in him the mildness
and timidity of a lamb; in Matthew it causes gaiety and
laughter; while it makes Luke melancholy and tearful. In the
same way, the morbid matter known as scorbutic poison becomes,
in Peter's case, an acid, consuming the whole of the vital juices
and organs, and breaking out on his hands and feet in the
shape of bluish, discoloured boils. The same poison in the body
of Paul is changed into a bitter aperient, which shows itself on
the arms and feet in the form of subcutaneous red spots, with
punctures like flea-bites, and, in times of plague, turns to anthrax.
In the body of Matthew the poisonous fluid is of a sweetish
taste, and produces on arms and legs watery tumours, like those
seen in dropsical subjects; in times of plague, they turn to
plague sores. In Luke's case, the humour is saltish and acrid;
the swellings on his arms and legs are dry and inflammatory;
and when there is infectious matter in the air, the sores become
so red and malignant as to produce madness and death. It
stands to reason, then, that these different symptoms require
different treatment, and that no one herb or medicine could possibly
suffice for such different cases. The volatile bitter salt of
Cochlearia, which relieves Peter, makes Paul worse; a fixed acid
salt only aggravates the symptoms of Luke, but it very often
suffices to produce a complete cure in the case of Paul. In every
instance we require a remedy which is different from the morbid
matter already in the system, and therefore capable of counteracting
it. In the face of this need of specific remedies for every
particular form of disease, you must pardon a medical man if he
does not quite see the possibility of an Universal Medicine.

ARTIST ELIAS.
I admit the truth of all that you say, as far as the Vegetable Kingdom is concerned, though very few physicians employ this

@

HELVETIUS' GOLDEN CALF. 293
method of cure. At the same time, I see no reason why there
should not be in the Mineral Kingdom an Universal Medicine
which combines all the virtues of the different vegetable remedies
you have named. I acknowledge that this Gift of Grace
is bestowed only on a few persons; but the truth of the
Alchemistic Art is too strongly supported to admit of any
doubt.

PHYSICIAN.
I have by no means exhausted the list of objections which may with reason be urged against the existence of this Universal
Medicine. But how can the same remedy be equally suited to
the case of a man or a woman, a delicate and a robust person,
the initiatory or the final stage of a disease, a chronic or an acute
affection ?

ARTIST ELIAS.
Your arguments against the Universal Medicine are very learned and orthodox, and I am not disinclined to allow to
them some importance. At the same time, you will admit that
" many men many minds " is a saying of some weight, and those
who know anything by experience, are the best qualified to speak
about it. The sweetest music does not delight all hearers; the
best story appears dull to some readers; some like one kind of
food or wine and some another: and so there are as many
different verdicts about this Universal Medicine as there are
(self-constituted) judges. But only he who is acquainted with
its properties has a right to deliver an authoritative opinion.
Now, it is quite true that in your common, tinkering Medicinal
Art, which seeks to counteract only the separate symptoms or
manifestations of discase, there is no room for an Universal
Medicine But the true physician knows that all discase (whatever
shape it may assume) is simply a depression of the vital
spirits, and that whatever strengthens vitality, will cut off the
possibility of discase at the very source, expelling the humours
which each produce their own peculiar malady, and I maintain
that our Universal Medicine is a remedy of this radical kind. It
gently promotes and quickens the movement of the vital spirits,
and thus, by renewing the source of life, renovates and quickens

@

294 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
the whole frame, infusing new vitality and strength into every
part. For this reason adepts call it the Great Mystery of
Nature, and the preventive of old age and disease. By its aid
any man may live the full term of days naturally allotted to
him, and need have no fear of contagion, even when the plague,
or some other malignant epidemic, is striking down hundreds of
his neighbours.

PHYSICIAN.
If I take your meaning, this Remedy does not set itself merely to correct depraved humours, but directly restores the
vital spirits themselves; and it cannot prolong existence beyond
the span of life originally allotted to each man by the Creator,
though it does prevent his being cut off prematurely by weakness
or disease. All this sounds very reasonable. But there is
another question I should like to ask. Does this Medicine
change a man's temperament, so as to convert a phlegmatic
person into one of a sanguine character, or a melancholy person
into a gay and jovial boon companion ?

ARTIST ELIAS.
Certainly not. It is impossible for any medicine of any kind to alter the nature of a man: just as wine does not produce
a change in a man, but only brings out his true character. The
effect of the Universal Medicine is of a corresponding kind. lt
is like the warmth of the Sun, which does not change or even
modify the shapes, colours, and scents of the different flowers,
but only fully develops all that is in them by means of its
genial influence. . . . If our Universal Medicine possessed
the property of prolonging the life of man beyond the term
assigned to each individual by Divine foreknowledge, no doubt
Sages like Hermes Trismegistus, Paracelsus, Raymond Lullius,
Count Bernhard, and many other genuine possessors of this
Great Mystery, would be still with us in the land of the living.
It would be folly and madness to suppose that any medicine in
the whole world can do more than protect a man against being
cut off prematurely, i.e., before his appointed time.

@

HELVETIUS' GOLDEN CALF. 295
PHYSICIAN.
All that you have said about the operation of this Blessed Universal Medicine seems both reasonable and in harmony with
Nature's general plan of working. The worst of it is that,
though I now fully believe in the existence of the £Medicine, all
my efforts to find it have hitherto resembled the futile endeavours
of a mariner who, attempting to put out to sea in a frail boat, is
again and again driven back to the shore by the united force of
wind and wave. Though many illustrious persons have written
concerning the preparation, they have so cautiously veiled it, that
the smallest possible number might become acquainted with the
steps to be taken to arrive at their desire. The best thing one
can do, I think, is to stay in one's laboratory, work and pray,
and wait for God's blessing.

ARTIST ELIAS.
You reason well, my friend; yet you must not despair of learning the secret of the Alchemists' Art, especially if you can
induce some adept to become your teacher. But we will now
proceed to discuss the transmutatory virtues of our most precious
Stone, which are still more wonderful than its medicinal
properties.

PHYSICIAN.
Oh, I see! You wish to discuss the transmutation of metals. In the possibility of such transmutation, I certainly do feel constrained
to believe, considering that I have heard and read of
cases which admit of no manner of doubt, and in which such
transmutation is attested by the most authentic and trustworthy
witnesses (such as Dr. Kiffler, Helmont, Scotus, &c.), as having
really taken place. I am especially thinking of that wonderful
experiment of metallic transformation which was achieved at
Prague, in the presence of the German Emperor Ferdinand III.,
when, by means of one grain of the Tincture, three pounds of
Mercury were changed into the best gold; for that event was
commemorated by a medal struck at the Imperial Mint. But
though I firmly believe in the possibility of such a transmutatory
Tincture, I have never in the whole course of my life come across
any one who possessed it.

@

296 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
ARTIST ELIAS.
You are quite right in what you say, albeit your belief or unbelief could not make any difference to the truth of our Art,
just as a magnet would go on attracting steel, and rendering it
magnetic by such contact, even if you did not credit it. It is
also true that hitherto our secret has been rather hidden than
revealed by those who have written about it in the obscurest of
language. But you can no longer feel disposed to doubt that
which you see with your own eyes; and here in this box you
behold a large quantity of the true substance of the Sages.
There! Examine it.

PHYSICIAN.
Is this yellow, sulphureous, glassy substance really and truly the Philosopher's Stone ? Did you prepare it yourself ? Surely
you are hoaxing me !

ARTIST ELIAS.
No, indeed; you now hold the most precious of mundane treasures in your hand; and I myself prepared it from beginning
to end. If you can take me to a room where we shall be more
secret, I will shew you some gold obtained through its means
(and having been ushered into the state parlour, he produced the
five medals described above). These (said he) I keep in
memory of my Master.

PHYSICIAN.
So you had a Master from whom you learned the glorious secret ! How wonderful that I should at this moment be holding
the true substance in my hands! Can you not give me a small
piece of it, just enough to transmute four grains of lead into gold,
so that I may be able to test the truth of y our statement ? Do
give me a piece, at least as large as a grain of mustard seed, and
let me make the trial! It would be a great kindness.

ARTIST ELIAS.
I admit that a certain stranger once instructed me both as to the possibility of this Art, and in its methods of procedure.

@

HELVETIUS' GOLDEN CALF. 297
But I cannot give you even a small fragment of my Tincture,
though you offered me this room full of ducats; not because the
substance is so precious in my eyes, but for another momentous
reason which I may not reveal. Indeed, if fire could consume
fire, I should at once throw the whole of this Tincture on the
hearth. I will, however, return to you after the lapse of three
weeks, and shew N °U some beautiful experiments which will both
surprise and delight you. If by that time I shall have obtained
leave to do so, I will also satisfy your curiosity by performing in
your presence a change of lead into gold. In the meantime, I
bid you good-bye, and warn you not to invest too much of your
substance in the pursuit of this Art, as it will all turn to ashes.

PHYSICIAN.
I am deeply obliged to you for your kindness in coming to me, and shewing me this Stone; but you can hardly expect me
to be satisfied with the mere sight of it. I am one of those
whose souls are always athirst for knowledge; and I believe that
if our first parent Adam, who lost Paradise by touching the
forbidden fruit, were alive at the present day, he would once
more risk the happiness of his life in order to become possessed
of the " golden apples from the garden of Atlas." I thank you
most heartily, however, for comforting me with the prospect of
your return in three weeks. I will endeavour to spend the
interval in strict obedience to your wise and kindly counsel; but
you may easily suppose that the feeling uppermost in my mind
will be one of eager hope and longing for the fulfilment of your
promise. I also thank you for the proof of your confidence
involved in making yourself known to me as an adept of this
Art. If the secret which you have entrusted to my safe keeping,
were, by any accident, to come to the ears of a tyrannical prince
or noble, would you be terrified by his threats into betraying it ?

ARTIST ELIAS.
I have never made this secret known to anyone except to yourself and one good old man. Nor must any human being
hear or see the like in future. But if any prince or king were to
cast me into prison, or put me to the rack, he would not be able

@

298 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
to extract a single syllable of direct or indirect information from
me by the most cruel tortures which he could devise; not even
death itself would make me shrink from the path of duty, or
become disloyal to my trust.

PHYSICIAN.
Are there any Alchemistic writers that are more easily understood than the rest, or who can at least be warranted to
possess a real knowledge of those things wherein they undertake
to instruct others ?

ARTIST.
I do not read many of these books; but of all the writers on Alchemy whose works I have studied, I have found Sendivogius,
the Cosmopolitan, to be the most trustworthy; also Basilius, in
his twelve Keys. Truth has chosen the obscure style of Sendivogius
for her hiding-place, if you could only discover her -- just
as our Substance is really and truly hidden and concealed in the
outward bodies of all metals and minerals.

PHYSICIAN.
Accept once more my warmest thanks for all your kindness and friendly counsel. I do indeed believe that, as you say, the
essences of metals are hidden in their outward bodies, as the
kernel is hidden in the nut. Every earthly body, whether
animal, vegetable, or mineral, is the habitation and terrestrial
abode of that celestial spirit, or influence, which is its principle of
life and growth. The secret of Alchemy is the destruction of
the body, which enables the Artist to get at, and utilize for his
own purposes, the living soul. But what man is sufficient to
search out this wonderful secret ?

ARTIST ELIAS.
You have spoken truly, and judged rightly concerning the natural destruction of things; and if you find grace in the sight
of God, He will commission either me or some other adept of
our Art to unfold to you the right way of destroying the outward
bodies of metals and seizing the inward, vital, life-giving

@

HELVETIUS' GOLDEN CALF. 299
soul. This gracious gift, I sav, God may bestow on you sooner
than you think, in answer to devout and earnest prayer. Once
more, farewell, and rest assured that I will always remain your
friend. I cherish a fond hope that I shall soon see you again, in
a flourishing state of health.
With these words he departed; and I have already told you how after three weeks he came back and gave mc a small
piece of the transmutatory Tincture. But since our second
parting I have neither set eyes on him, nor heard either of him
or from him.
He has, however, left deeply seated in my heart the conviction that through metals and out of metals purified by
highly refined and spiritualized metals there may be prepared
the living gold and quicksilver of the Sages, which bring both
metals and human bodies to perfection. If my friend had
condescended to give me one or two practical hints as to the
best method of proceeding in this Magistery, I might have
discovered the grand secret of collecting the rays of the Sun and
Moon in their own proper womb, whereby their power of
metallic transmutation by magnetic sympathy might have been
brought out. Thus I might have obtained the red seed which
transmutes into gold, and the white seed which transmutes into
silver. For the Artist Elias told me that the Chalybs of
Sendivogius was that true Mercurial metallic humour which--
without the aid of any corrosive -- would suffice to separate the
fixed rays of the Sun and Moon from their body, and to render
them volatile and Mercurial for the dry philosophical Tincture
which he shewed me, and the efficacy of which I subsequently
experienced. This is the same method by which metals are still
being produced day by day in the bowels of the earth, and
stones developed, in their different saline wombs, out of the
spiritual tingent sulphureous seed. . . . . Metallic sulphur
mixed with saltpetre, may be converted, by gentle heat,
first into solid earth, then into air, then into limpid water, and
then into glass of a most beautiful colour, and of a penetrativeness
superior to that of fire -- just as the chicken is developed
out of the apparently lifeless egg by gentle heat. Between the
different metals there exists a sympathy such as that between
the magnet and steel, gold and quicksilver, silver and copper;

@

300 THE HERMETIC MUSEUM.
and this sympathy is the rationale of the transmutation of metals.
On the other hand, there are also metallic antipathies, such as
that of lead to tin, of iron to gold, of lead to mercury -- antipathies
which have their counterpart in the animal and vegetable
worlds. An accurate and comprehensive knowledge of these
sympathies and antipathies is the one great qualification oi every
man who aspires to be a Master of this Art.
In making known to you all that I have seen and experienced, I am only following the maxim of Seneca, who said that
he desired knowledge chiefly that he might impart it to others.
Lf anyone doubts the truth of my statements, let him but live a
pious and Christ-like life here below, and he will learn the truth
of all things in the new Jerusalem above. That a share of this
glory may be vouchsafed to you and him, is the prayer of
Your faithful and loving servant, JOHN FREDERICK HELVETIUS, M.D.

===============

Début de l'ouvrage Texte précédent Texte suivant Fin de l'ouvrage Drapeau Page d'aide Retour. Flag Help frame Return. Bandera Página de ayuda Vuelta.
Flagge Hilfeseite Rückkehr. Flag Hjælp side Tilbage. Bandiera Guida Torna.