The Philosophy of Natural Magic, by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, L. W. de Laurence ed. , at sacred-texts.com
Democritus and Orpheus, and many Pythagoreans, having most diligently searched into the virtues of celestial things and natures of inferior things, said: That all things are full of God and not without cause. For there is nothing of such transcending virtues, which being destitute of Divine assistance, is content with the nature of itself. Also they called those Divine Powers which are diffused in things, Gods; which Zoroaster called Divine Allurements; Synesius, Symbolical Inticements; others called them Lives, and some also Souls, saying that the virtues of things did depend upon these because it is the property of the Soul to be from one matter extended into divers things about which it operates: So is a man who extends his intellect unto intelligible things, and his imagination unto imaginable things; and this is that which they understood when they said, viz.: That the Soul of one thing went out and went into another thing, altering it, and hindering the operations of it: as the diamond hinders the operation of the loadstone, that it cannot attract iron. Now seeing the Soul is the first thing that is movable and, as they say, is moved of itself; but the body, or the matter, is of itself unable and unfit for motion, and doth much degenerate from the Soul, therefore they say there is need of a more excellent medium, viz., such a one that may be, as it were, no body, but, as it were, a Soul; or, as it were, no Soul, but, as it were, a body, viz., by which the soul may be joined to the body. Now they conceive such a medium to be the Spirit of the World, viz., that which we call the quintessence, because it is not from the four Elements, but
a certain first thing, having its being above and besides them. There is, therefore, such a kind of spirit required to be, as it were the medium, whereby Celestial Souls are joined to gross bodies, and bestow upon them wonderful gifts. This Spirit is after the same manner in the body of the world, as ours is in the body of man. For as the powers of our soul are communicated to the members of the body by the spirit, so also the Virtue of the Soul of the World is diffused through all things by the quintessence: For there is nothing found in the whole world that hath not a spark of the virtue thereof. Yet it is more, nay, most of all, infused into those things which have received or taken in most of this Spirit. Now this Spirit is received or taken in by the rays of the Stars, so far forth as things render themselves conformable to them. By this Spirit, therefore, every occult property is conveyed into herbs, stones, metals, and animals through the Sun, Moon, Planets, and through Stars higher than the Planets.
Now this Spirit may be more advantageous to us if any one knew how to separate it from the Elements; or at least to use those things chiefly which do most abound with this Spirit. For these things, in which this Spirit is less drowned in a body and less checked by matter, do more powerfully and perfectly act, and also more readily generate their like; for in it are all generative and seminary virtues. For which cause the Alchemists endeavored to separate this Spirit from Gold and Silver; which being rightly separated and extracted, if thou shalt afterward project it upon any matter of the same kind (i. e.), any metal, presently will turn it into Gold or Silver. And we know how to do that, and have seen it done; but we could make no more Gold than the weight of that was out of which we extracted the Spirit; for seeing that [gold] is an extense form, and not intense, it cannot beyond its own bounds change an imperfect body
into a perfect; which I deny not, but may be done by another way.