Page:Three Books of Occult Philosophy (De Occulta Philosophia) (1651).djvu/33

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Book I.


Of the four Elements, their qualities, and mutuall mixtions.

THere are four Elements, and originall grounds of all corporeall things, Fire, Earth, Water, Aire, of which all elementated inferiour bodies are compounded; not by way of heaping them up together, but by tranſmutation, and union; and when they are deſtroyed, they are reſolved into Elements. For there is none of the ſenſible Elements that is pure, but they are more or leſs mixed, and apt to be changed one into the other: Even as Earth becoming dirty, and being diſſolved, becomes Water, and the ſame being made thick and hard, becometh Earth again; but being evaporated through heat, paſſeth into Aire, and that being kindled, paſſeth into Fire, and this being extinguiſhed, returns back again into Aire, but being cooled again after its burning, becometh Earth, or Stone, or Sulphur, and this is manifeſted by Lightening: Plato alſo was of that opinion, that Earth was wholly changeable, and that the reſt of the Elements are changed, as into this, ſo into one another ſucceſſively. But it is the opinion of the ſubtiller ſort of Philoſophers, that Earth is not changed, but relented and mixed with other Elements, which do diſſolve it, and that it returns back into it ſelf again. Now every one of the Elements hath two ſpecificall qualities, the former whereof it retains as proper to it ſelf, in the other, as a mean, it agrees with that which comes next after it. For Fire is hot and dry, the Earth dry and cold, the Water cold and moiſt, the Aire moiſt and hot. And ſo after this manner the Elements, according to two contrary qualities, are contrary one to the other, as Fire to Water, and Earth to Aire. Moreover, the Elements are upon another account oppoſite one to the other: For ſome are heayy, as Earth and Water, and others are light, as Aire and Fire. Wherefore the Stoicks called the former paſſives, but the latter actives. And yet once again Plato diſtinguiſhed them after another manner, and aſſigns to every one of them