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those evils which only proceeded from their own depravity.

But not content with such absurdities, which destroyed the very idea of liberty, they asserted that these stars, which had not the least connection with mankind, governed all the parts of the human body, and ridiculously affirmed that the ram presided over the head, the bull over the gullet, the twins over the breast, the scorpion over the entrails, the fishes over the feet, etc. The juggles of astrology have been admirably ridiculed by Butler in the following lines :

Some by the nose with fumes trepan 'em,
As Dunstan did the devil's gramam;
Others, with characters and words,
Catch 'em, as men in nets do birds ;
And some with symbols, signs, and tricks,
Engrav'd in planetary nicks,
With their own influence will fetch 'em
Down from their orbs, arrest and catch 'em ;
Make 'em depose and answer to
All questions, ere they let them go.
Bombastus kept a devil's bird
Shut in the pummel of his sword,
And taught him all the cunning pranks
Of past and future mountebanks.

Hudibras, part ii. canto 3.

By means of the zodiac, astrologers pretended to account for the various disorders of the body, which were supposed to be in a good or bad disposition, according to the different aspects* of these signs. the week,

* By aspect is to be understood an angle formed by the rays of two planets meeting on the earth, able to execute some natural power or influence.

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To mention only one instance, they pretended that great caution ought to be used in taking medicine under Taurus, or the bull ; because, as this animal chews his cud, the person would not be able to keep it in his stomach.

Each hour of the day had also its presiding star. The number seven, as being that of the planets, became of mighty consequence.

The seven days in period of time handed down by tradition, happened to correspond with the number of the planets : and therefore they gave the name of a planet to each day; and from thence some days in the week were considered more fortunate or unlucky than the rest ; and hence seven times seven, called the climacterical period of hours, days, or years, were thought extremely dangerous, and to have a surprising effect on private persons, the fortunes of princes, and the government of states. Thus the mind of man became distressed by imagiDary evils, and the approach of these moments, in themselves as harmless as the rest of their lives, has by the strength of the imagination, brought on the most fatal effects.

Nay, the influence of the planets were extended to the bowels of the earth, where they were supposed to produce metals.

From hence it appears that when superstition and folly are once on foot, there is no setting bounds to their progress. Gold, as a matter of course, must be the production of the sun, and the conformity in point of colour, brightness, and value, was a sensible proof of it. By the same mode of reasoning, the moon produced all the silver, to which it was related by colour ; Mars, all the iron, which ought to be the favourite metal of the god of war. Venus presided over copper, which she might be well supposed to produce, since it was found in abundance in the isle of Cyprus, the sup: posed favourite residence of this goddess. In the same strain, the other planets presided over the other metals. The languid Saturn domineered over the lead mines, and Mercury, on account of his activity, had the superintendency of quicksilver ; while it was the province of Jupiter to preside over tin, as this was the only metal left him, it would appear, a kind of

“ Hobson's choice.” This will explain the manner in which the metals obtained the names of the planets ; and from this opinion, that each planet engendered its own peculiar metal, they at length formed an idea that, as one planet was more powerful than another, the metal produced by the weakest was converted into another by the predominating influence of a stronger orb.

Lead, though really a metal, and as perfect in its kind as any of the rest, was considered only half a metal, which, in consequence of the languid influences of old Saturn, was left imperfect ; and, therefore, under the auspices of Jupiter, it was converted into tin ; under that of Venus, into copper : and at last into gold, under some particular aspects of the sun. From hence, at length, arose the extravagant opinion of the alchymists, who, with amazing sagacity, endeavoured to find out means for hastening these changes or transmutations, which, as they conceived, the planets performed too slowly. The world, however, became at length convinced that the art of the alchymist was as ineffectual as the influences of the planets, which, in a long succession of

ages, had never been known to change a mine of lead to that of tin or any other metal.*

The first author we are acquainted with who talks of making gold by the transmutation of one metal, by means of an alcahestt into another, is Zozimus the Pomopolite, who lived about the commencement of the fifth century, and who has a treatise express upon it, called, “ The divine art of making gold and silver," in manuscript, and is, as formerly, in the library of the King of France.

As regards the universal medicine, said to depend on alchemical research, we discover no earlier or plainer traces than in this author, and in Æneas Gazeus, another Greek writer, towards the close of the same century ;* nor among the physicians and materialists, from Moses to Geber the Arab,ľ who is supposed to have lived in the seventh century. In that author's work, entitled the “ Philosopher's stone,” mention is made of medicine that cures all leprous diseases. This passage, some authors suppose, to have given the first hint of the matter, though Geber himself, perhaps, meant no such thing; for, by attending to the Arabic style and diction of this author, which abounds in allegory, it is highly probable that by man he means gold, and by leprous, or other diseases, the other metals, which, with relation to gold, are all impure.

* Those who wish to read a curious monument of the follies of the alchymists, may consult the diary of Elias Ashmole, who is rather the historian of this vain science, than an adept. It may amuse literary leisure to turn over his quarto volume, in which he has collected the works of several English alchymists, to which he has subjoined his commentary. It affords curious specimens of Rosicrucian mysteries ; and he relates stories, which vie for the miraculous, with the wildest fancies of Arabian invention.

+ Alcahest, in chemistry, (an obsolete term,) means a most pure and universal menstruum or dissolvent, with which some chemists have pretended to resolve all bodies into their first elements, and perform other extraordinary and unaccountable operations.

The origin and antiquity of alchymy have been much controverted. If any credit


be placed on legend and tradition, it must be as old as the floodnay, Adam himself is represented to have been an alchymist. A great part, not only of the heathen mythology, but of the Jewish Scriptures, are supposed to refer to it. Thus, Suidast will have the

* In this writer we find the following passage:

« Such as are skilled in the ways of nature, can take silver and tin, and changing their nature, can turn them into gold.” He also tells us that he was “ wont to call himself a gold-melter and a chemist.

+ The principal authors on alchymy are Geber, the Arab, Friar Bacon, Sully, John and Isaac Hallendus, Basil Valentine, Paracelsus, Van Zuchter, and Sendirogius.

Corringius calls this statement in question, and asks how Suidas, who lived but five hundred years between them,

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