OF THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD.
NOW seeing that the soul is the essential form, intelligible and incorruptible, and is the first mover of the body, and is moved of itself; but that the body, or matter, is of itself unable and unfit for motion, and does very much degenerate from the soul, it appears that there is need of a more excellent medium:--now such a medium is conceived to be the spirit of the world, or that which some call a quintessence; because it is not from the four elements, but a certain first thing, having its being above and beside them. There is, therefore, such a kind of medium required to be, by which celestial souls may be joined to gross bodies, and bestow upon them wonderful gifts. This spirit is, in the same manner, in the body of the world, as our spirit is in our bodies; for as the powers of our soul are communicated to the members of the body by the medium of the spirit, so also the virtue of the soul of the world is diffused, throughout all things, by the medium of the universal spirit; for there is nothing to be found in the whole world that hath not a spark of the virtue thereof. Now this spirit is received into things, more or less, by the rays of the stars, so far as things are disposed, or made fit recipients of it. By this spirit, therefore, every occult property is conveyed into herbs, stones, metals, and animals, through the sun, moon, planets, and through stars higher than the planets. Now this spirit may be more advantageous to us if we knew how to separate it from the elements; or, at least, to use those things chiefly
which are most abounding with this spirit. For those things in which the spirit is less drowned in a body, and less checked by matter, do much more powerfully and perfectly act, and also more readily generate their like; for in it are all generative and seminal virtues. For which cause the alchymist endeavours to separate this spirit from gold and silver, which, being rightly separated and extracted, if it shall be afterwards projected upon any metal, turns it into gold or silver; which is no way impossible or improbable, when we consider that by art that may be done in a short time, what Nature, in the bowels of the earth (as in a matrix), perfects in a very long space of time.