Three Books of Occult Philosophy/Book 1/Chapter 4

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Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, translated by John French
Book 1, Chapter 4

CHAP. IV.

Of a three-fold confideration of the Elements.

THere are then, as we have said, four Elements, without the perfect knowledge whereof we can effect nothing in Magick. Now each of them is three-fold, that so the number of four may make up the number of twelve; and by passing by the number of seven into the number of ten, there may be a progress to the supream Unity, upon which all vertue and wonderfull operation depends. Of the first Order are the pure Elements, which are neither compounded nor changed, nor admit of mixtion, but are incorruptible, and not of which, but through which the vertues of all naturall things are brought forth into act. No man is able to declare their vertues, because they can do all things upon all things. He which is ignorant of these, shall never be able to bring to pass any wonderfull 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 vertue, when they are thus reduced to their simplicity, doth above all things perfect all occult, and common operations of nature: and these are the foundation of the whole naturall Magick. Of the third Order are those Elements, which originally and of themselves are not Elements, but are twice compounded, various, and changeable one into the other. They are the infallible Medium, and therefore 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 Naturall, Celestiall, or Supercelestiall; they are full of wonders, and mysteries, and are operative, as in Magick Naturall, so Divine: For from these, through them, proceed the bindings, loosings, and transmutations of all things, the knowing and foretelling of things to come, also the driving forth of evill, and the gaining of good spirits. Let no man therefore, without these three sorts of Elements, and the knowledge thereof, be confident that he is able to work any thing in the occult Sciences of Magick, and Nature. But whosoever shall know how to reduce those of one Order, into those of another, impure into pure, compounded into simple, and shall know how to understand distinctly the nature, vertue, 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 Naturall things, and Celestiall secrets.