OF COMPOUND, OR MIXED BODIES--IN WHAT MANNER THEY RELATE TO THE ELEMENTS--AND HOW THE ELEMENTS RELATE TO THE SOULS, SENSES, AND DISPOSITIONS OF MEN.
THE next in order, after the four simple elements, are the four kinds of perfect bodies compounded of them, viz. metals, stones, plants, and animals; and although in the generation of each of these, all the elements combine together
in the composition, yet every one of them follows and resembles one of the elements which is most predominant: for all stones, being earthy, are naturally heavy, and are so hardened with dryness that they cannot be melted;--but metals are watery, and may be melted, which naturalists and chemists find to be true, viz. that they are composed or generated of a viscous water, or watery argent vive. Plants have such an affinity with the air, that unless they are out in it, and receive its benefit, they neither flourish nor increase. So also animals, as the Poet finely expresses it--
"Have, in their natures, a most fiery force,
"And also spring from a celestial source:"
and fire is so natural to them that, being extinguished, they soon die.
Now, amongst stones, those that are dark and heavy, are called earthy--those which are transparent, of the watery element, as crystal, beryl, and pearls--those which swim upon the water and are spongious, as the pumice-stone, sponge, and sophus, are called airy--and those are attributed to the element of fire, out of which fire is extracted, or which are resolved into fire; as thunder-stones, fire-stones, asbestos. Also, amongst metals;--lead and silver are earthy; quicksilver is watery; copper and tin, airy; gold and iron, fiery. In plants, also, the roots resemble earth--the leaves, water--flowers, the air--and seed, the fire, by reason of their multiplying spirit. Besides, some are hot, some cold, some moist, others dry, borrowing their names from the qualities of the elements. Amongst animals, also, some are, in comparison of others, earthy, because they live in the very bowels of the earth, as worms, moles, and many other reptiles; others watery, as fish; others which always abide in the air, therefore airy; others, again, fiery, as salamanders, crickets; and such as are of a fiery heat, as pigeons, ostriches, eagles, lions, panthers, &c. &c.
Now, in animals, the bones resemble earth--vital spirit, the fire--flesh, the air--and humours, the water; and these humours also resemble the elements, viz. yellow choler, the fire--the blood, the air--phlegm, the water--and
black choler, or melancholy, the earth. And, lastly, in the soul itself, the understanding resembles the fire--reason, the air--imagination, the water-- and the senses the earth. And these senses again are divided amongst themselves, according to the elements: for the sight is fiery, because it cannot perceive without the help of fire and light--the hearing is airy, for a sound is made by the striking of the air--the smell and taste resemble water, without the moisture of which there is neither smell nor taste-and, lastly, the feeling is wholly earthly, because it takes gross bodies for its object. The actions, also, and operations of man are governed by the elements: for the earth signifies a slow and firm motion; the water, fearfulness, sluggishness, and remiss ness in working; air signifies cheerfulness, and an amiable disposition; but fire, a fierce, working, quick, susceptible disposition. The elements are, therefore, the first and original matter of all things; and all things are of and according to them and they in and through all things diffuse their virtues.