PART THE SECOND.
OF THE FOUR ELEMENTS AND THEIR NATURAL QUALITIES.
IT is necessary that we should know and understand the nature and quality of the four elements, in order to our being perfect in the principles and ground-work of our studies in the Talismanic, or Magical Art.
Therefore, there are four elements, the original grounds of all corporeal things, viz. fire, earth, water, and air, of which elements all inferior bodies are compounded; not by way of being heaped up together, but by transmutation and union; and when they are destroyed, they are resolved into elements. But there are none of the sensible elements that are pure; but they are, more or less, mixed, and apt to be changed the one into the other: even as earth, being moistened and dissolved, becomes water, but the same being made thick and hard, becomes earth again; and being evaporated through heat it passes into air, and that being kindled into fire, and this being extinguished, into air gain, but being cooled after burning, becomes earth again, or else stone, or sulphur; and this is clearly demonstrated by lightning. Now every one of these elements have two specifical properties: the former whereof it retains as proper to itself; in the other, as a mean, it agrees with that which comes directly after it. For fire is hot and dry--earth, cold and dry;--water, cold and moist--and air, hot and moist. And so in this manner the elements, according to two contrary qualities, are opposite one to the other: as fire to water, and earth to air. Likewise, the elements are contrary one to the other n another account: two are heavy, as earth and water--and the others are light, as fire and air; therefore the Stoics called the former, passives--but the latter, actives. And Plato distinguishes them after another manner, and
assigns to each of them three qualities, viz. to the fire, brightness, thinness, and motion--to the earth, darkness, thickness, and quietness; and, according to these qualities, the elements of fire and earth are contrary. Now the other elements borrow their qualities from these, so that the air receives two qualities from the fire,--thinness, and motion; and the earth one, viz. darkness. In like manner water receives two qualities of the earth,--darkness and thickness; and the fire one, viz. motion. But fire is twice as thin as air, thrice more moveable, and four times brighter; the air is twice more bright, thrice more thin, and four times more moveable. Therefore, as fire is to air, so is air to water, and water to the earth; and again, as the earth is to the water, so is water to air, and air to fire. And this is the root and foundation of all bodies, natures, and wonderful works; and he who can know, and thoroughly understand these qualities of the elements, and their mixtures, shall bring to pass wonderful and astonishing things in magic.
Now each of these elements have a threefold consideration, so that the number of four may make up the number of twelve; and, by passing by the number of seven into ten, there may be a progress to the supreme unity upon which all virtue and wonderful things do depend. Of the first order are the pure elements, which are neither compounded, changed, or mixed, but are incorruptible; and not OF which, but THROUGH which, the virtues of all natural things are brought forth to act. No man is able fully to declare their virtues, because they can do all things upon all things. He who remains ignorant of these, shall never be able to bring to pass any wonderful matter.
Of the second order are elements that are compounded, changeable, and impure; yet such as may, by art, be reduced to their pure simplicity; whose virtue, when they are thus reduced, doth, above all things, perfect all occult and common operations of Nature; and these are the foundation of the whole of Natural Magic.
Of the third order, are those elements which originally and of themselves are not elements, but are twice compounded, various and changeable into another. These are the infallible medium, and are called the middle nature, or soul of the middle nature; very few there are that understand the deep mysteries
thereof. In them is, by means of certain numbers, degrees, and orders, the perfection of every effect in what thing soever, whether natural, celestial, or supercelestial: they are full of wonders and mysteries, and are operative as in Magic natural, so divine. For from these, through them, proceeds the binding, loosing, and transmutation of all things--the knowledge and foretelling of things to come--also, the expelling of evil, and the gaining of good spirits. Let no one, therefore, without these three sorts of elements, and the true knowledge thereof, be confident that he can work any thing in the Occult Science of Magic and Nature.
But whosoever shall know how to reduce those of one order into another, impure into pure, compounded into simple, and shall understand distinctly the nature, virtue, and power of them, in number, degrees, and order, without dividing the substance, he shall easily attain to the knowledge and perfect operation of all natural things, and celestial secrets likewise; and this is the perfection of the Cabala, which teaches all these before mentioned; and, by a perfect knowledge thereof, we perform many rare and wonderful experiments.