Human language is totally unfit to give an idea of this “Being” who is altogether unique. Whether it is Spinoza or the Christian theology that is more right in their premises and conclusion, we leave the reader to judge for himself. Every attempt to the contrary leads a nation to anthropomorphize the deity in whom it believes, and the result is that given by Swedenborg. Instead of stating that God made man after his own image, we ought in truth to say that “man imagines God after his image,” forgetting that he has set up his own reflection for worship.
Where, then, lies the true, real secret so much talked about by the Hermetists? That there was and there is a secret, no candid student of esoteric literature will ever doubt. Men of genius — as many of the Hermetic philosophers undeniably were — would not have made fools of themselves by trying to fool others for several thousand consecutive years. That this great secret, commonly termed “the philosopher’s stone,” had a spiritual as well as a physical meaning attached to it, was suspected in all ages. The author of Remarks on Alchemy and the Alchemists very truly
observes that the subject of the Hermetic art is MAN, and the object of the art is the perfection of man. But we cannot agree with him that only those whom he terms “money-loving sots,” ever attempted to carry a purely moral design (of the alchemists) into the field of physical science. The fact alone that man, in their eyes, is a trinity, which they divide into Sol, water of mercury, and sulphur, which is the secret fire, or, to speak plain, into body, soul, and spirit, shows that there is a physical side to the question. Man is the philosopher’s stone spiritually — “a triune or trinity in unity,” as Philalethes expresses it. But he is also that stone physically. The latter is but the effect of the cause, and the cause is the universal solvent of everything — divine spirit. Man is a correlation of chemical physical forces, as well as a correlation of spiritual powers. The latter react on the physical powers of man in proportion to the development of the earthly man. “The work is carried to perfection according to the virtue of a body, soul, and spirit,” says an alchemist; “for the body would never be penetrable were it not for the spirit, nor would the spirit be permanent in its supra-perfect tincture, were it not for the body; nor could these two act one upon another without the soul, for the spirit is an invisible thing, nor doth it ever appear without another GARMENT, which garment is the SOUL.
” The “philosophers by fire” asserted, through their chief, Robert Fludd, that sympathy is the offspring of light, and “antipathy hath its beginning from darkness.” Moreover, they taught, with other kabalists, that “contrarieties in nature doth proceed from one eternal essence, or from the root of all things.” Thus, the first cause is the parent-source of good as well as of evil. The creator — who is not the Highest God — is the father of matter, which is bad, as well as of spirit, which, emanating from the highest, invisible cause, passes through him like through a vehicle, and pervades the whole universe. “It is most certain,” remarks Robertus di Fluctibus (Robert Fludd), “that, as there are an infinity of visible creatures, so there is an endless variety of invisible ones, of divers natures, in the universal machine.
Through the mysterious name of God, which Moses was so desirous of him (Jehova) to hear and know, when he received from him this answer, Jehova is my everlasting name. As for the other name, it is so pure and simple that it cannot be articulated, or compounded, or truly expressed by man’s voice . . . all the other names are wholly comprehended within it, for it contains the property as well of Nolunty as volunty, of privation as position, of death as life, of cursing as blessing, of evil as good (though nothing ideally is bad in