had become a part of the creed of the Church. Martin Luther was especially drawn to believe in the alchemistic doctrine of transmutation by this analogy. The Bible was everywhere used, both among Protestants and Catholics, in support of these mystic adulterations of science, and one writer, as late as 1751, based his alchemistic arguments on more than a hundred passages of Scripture. As an example of this sort of reasoning, we have a proof that the elect will preserve the philosopher's stone until the last judgment, drawn from a passage in St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians, "This treasure have we in earthen vessels."
The greatest thinkers devoted themselves to adding new ingredients to this strange mixture of scientific and theologic thought; the Catholic philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, the Protestant mysticism of Jacob Boehme, and the alchemistic reveries of Basil Valentine were all cast into this seething mass.
And when alchemy in its old form had been discredited, we find scriptural arguments no less perverse and even comical used on the other side. As an example of this, just before the great discoveries by Stahl, we find the valuable scientific efforts of Becher opposed with the following syllogism: "King Solomon, according to the Scriptures, possessed the united wisdom of heaven and earth; but King Solomon knew nothing about alchemy (or chemistry in the form which then existed), and sent his vessels to Ophir to seek gold, and levied taxes upon his subjects; ergo alchemy (or chemistry) has no reality or truth." And we find that Becher is absolutely turned away from his labors, and obliged to devote himself to proving that Solomon used more money than he possibly could have obtained from Ophir or his subjects, and therefore that he must have possessed a knowledge of chemical methods and the philosopher's stone as the result of them.
- For an extract from Agrippa's Occulta Philosophia giving examples of the way in which mystical names were obtained from the Bible, see Rydberg, Magic of the Middle Ages, pp. 143 et seq. For the germs of many mystic beliefs regarding number and the like, which were incorporated into mediæval theology, see Zeller, Plato and the Older Academy, English translation pp. 254 and 572, and elsewhere. As to the connection of spiritual things with inorganic Nature in relation to chemistry, see Eicken, p. 634. On the injury to science wrought by Platonism acting through mediæval theology, see Hoefer, Histoire de la Chimie, vol. i, p. 90. As to the influence of mysticism upon strong men in science, see Hoefer; also Kopp, Geschichte der Alchemie, vol. i, p. 211. For a very curious Catholic treatise on sacred numbers, see the Abbé Auber, Symbolisme Religieux, Paris, 1870; and for an equally important Protestant work, see Samuell, Seven the Sacred Number, London, 1887. It is interesting to note that the latter writer, having been forced to give up the seven planets, consoles himself with the statement that "The earth is the seventh planet, counting from Neptune and calling the asteroids one" (see p. 426). For the electrum magicum, the seven metals composing it, and its wonderful qualities, see extracts from Paracelsus's writings in Hartman's Life of Paracelsus, London, 1887, pp. 169 et seq. For Basil Valentine's view, see Hoefer, vol. i. pp. 453-465; Schmieder, Geschichte der Alchemie, pp. 197-209; Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, article Basilius. For the discussions referred to on