"Some Philosophers would have it one thing, and affirm, that the Salt of Metals is the Philosophers Stone; Others say, all's in Mercury that the Wise-men seek; and again, others do teach, that the whole Art depends in and upon the true preparation of their Sulphur, as being the most perfect of the three principles, whose Orbs must be thrice turned about, as in my three Figures and Celestial Wheels: and some would have it one thing comprising the nature of two, as a Hermophradite or Embrio moreover, some would have it absolutely two things, as Male and Female, Fire and Water, or Water and Earth, Sulphur and Mercury, or Heaven and Earth.
Some likewise would have it consist of three, Salt Sulphur, and Mercury; Sun, Moon, & Mercury; Body, Soul, and Spirit; Others would have it the four Elements, and say, the Conversion of them is the whole work. And some again would have it a fifth Essence and a Quintessential Spiritual Body; and say their Mastery and Mistery consists in these five numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5. as in my said Epitaph and Circular Scutcheons appear, thus comprehended, in and by the Chaos and Products.
All which nevertheles, I acknowledge is really but one onely thing, or Essence in the Root, viz. the Philosophers Mercury, although out of two or three particulars, or more in kind; and one operation of several parts, as in my said Epitaph, and Circular Figures comprised: Nay indeed may be but one onely particular thing, and one continued simple and single operation, when duely prepared and superfluities removed.
But if one onely thing be taken, then it is divided into several parts; or if several things be taken, they are brought to one and so may it be said of the Operation, which all being but one, the Philosophers nevertheless are pleased to distinguish it by its several Progressions, Colours, and Properties, intimated by, and within the said three figured Circles and their Titles; all agreeing with this old Enigma of Vitriol, which being in many of the Metallick kind, is and hath but one thing or substance; and although but one, yet may be opened, divided, and having several parts; and being done, be brought to one again in one single and simple operation of Nature;
Visit the interiours of Earth, Rectifying,
And you shall find the hid Stone, and true Medicine."
- The Philosophical Epitaph of W.C. Esquire