August Nordenskiöld, Spiritual Philosophers' Stone.An ADDRESS to the True MEMBERS of the NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH, revealed by the LORD in the Writings of EMANUEL SWEDENBORG, who sincerely wish to separate themselves both internally and externally from the Old Church
An ADDRESS to the True MEMBERS of the NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH (1789) is the most interesting of the alchemical writings by August Nordenskiöld, the Finnish alchemist. Not only because of his ideas of a spiritual stone and Swedenborgian connections, but also because it remained his last word on the subject of alchemy. The work was written in English. One copy of this rare print can be seen in the Helsinki University Library Rare Collections. The work contains three large sheets of paper.
Transcribed by Heikki Lehtosaari.
SPIRITUAL PHILOSOPHER’S STONEAn ADDRESS to the True MEMBERS of the NEW JERUSALEM CHURCH, revealed by the LORD in the Writings of EMANUEL SWEDENBORG, who sincerely wish to separate themselves both internally and externally from the Old Church.
THE LORD having, by Means of the new Revelation and Opening of his World, communicated to us the Spiritual Philosopher’s Stone, which will infallibly operate in the moral World, and by Degrees change and restore it to it’s primitive Order and Perfection, it is my Intention therefore to shew, by the Observations annexed to this Address, that the Discovery of the material or natural Philosopher’s Stone must of Course take Place, which in like Manner will operate in the natural or material World, by progressively changing and restoring all material Substances to their primitive State of Purity and Splendor.
It is by Means of the Writings of EMANUEL SWEDENBORG that the Foundation is laid for the Destruction of moral Evil, for had not Providence now sent to us these Writings, Adultery and Anti-conjugal Life, the very Fundamental of Hell, among Christians even apparently the most moral, would have soon been regarded as no Sin at all, or as a Matter perfectly unconnected with Religion; and hence Marriages would ultimately become intirely adulterous, and a general Corruption of Manners would have prevailed throughout all Societies.
But for the Destruction of natural Evil, which is the Tyranny of Money, the Foundation cannot be laid, before Alchemy becomes a general Art, and the Philosopher’s Stone, is universally known.
The Difference between the spiritual and natural Philosopher’s Stone, is nothing else than this; namely, that the former is the Opening of the literal Sense of the Word of God, to disclose it’s spiritual Contents, and the latter is the Opening of Gold and Diamond to the Manifestation of Urim and Thummim. The Reason of this Correspondence is, that the Holy Word is as Gold, Silver, and Diamond, the interior Quality of which has been hitherto unknown, nay, it has been even interlay denied.
It is evident that the Abuse of the literal Sense of the Word has been producing and confirming all moral Evil. This detestable and abominable Abuse of these two Things, the one in the moral World, and the other in the natural, cannot be removed, without their being unfolded, so that their interior Purity and Perfection may be generally known. It then necessarily follows, that the Word cannot be made Use of, as a Monopoly among the Clergy, and moreover Gold, Silver, and their Representations, as a Monopoly among the Wealthy and commercial World.
The Spiritual Stone, it is already acknowledged, is to be found in the Word of God, by Means of the Writings of EMANUEL SWEDENBORG, as Man may thereby be regenerated and purified: But the natural Stone has not yet been discovered and known. However I hope, with the Assistance of the Lord, that this in a short Time will also be done, when the Regeneration of all Mankind will commence as well in the Spiritual as in the Natural.
It is easy to see the Importance and Necessity of this Discovery in the New Church, when we consider that by Means of the Unfolding of the literal Sense of the Word, or the spiritual Stone, the LORD has now restored spiritual Liberty, and destroyed the Monopoly of the literary Sense of the Word among the Clergy, together with their Solifidian System; but the Correspondence hereof, namely the Restoration of natural Liberty in the Destruction of the Monopoly of Gold, Silver, &c. In the commercial World, and by Consequence their Money alone, (which constitutes an abominable Tyranny over Mankind) cannot possibly be effected but by Means of the natural Stone; nor can the new Power and Strength, which is now descending from the New Heaven, become operative, before the Correspondence of the interior and exterior of the Substantial and the Natural is completed even in the Ultimates. Therefore, that a plain Idea may be given to every Lover of the New Revelation of the LORD, the following Articles are offered for serious Consideration.
That there are two Worlds, the Spiritual or Substantial, and the Natural or Material.
That in each World there is a distinct Sun, in the Spiritual World a Spiritual Sun, and in the Natural World a Material Sun.
That the Emanation proceeding from the Spiritual Sun is Spiritual Heat and Light, or what is the fame, Love and Wisdom.
That the Receptacles of the Heat and Light of the Spiritual Sun are all the Subjects of the Vegitable and the Animal Kingdom, the most perfect of which is Man, who is the true organick Form in all it’s Power and Effect.
That the Emanation proceeding from the Material Sun is the Material Heat and Light.
That the Receptacles of the Heat and Light of the Material Sun, are all the Subjects of the Mineral Kingdom, such as Airs, Waters, and Earths, the most perfect of which is the principal organick Form in all it’s Power and Effect.
Hence it follows, that here on Earth, these two Worlds may be manifestly seen in their Ultimates, viz. the Spiritual World, in what is called Organick Nature, including Vegetables, Animals, and Man, all which Subjects receive Influx from the Spiritual Sun; the Material World, in what is called Unorganick Nature, including Airs, Waters, and Earths, which Subjects receive Influx from the Material Sun.
That all the material Substances which envelope Vegetables, Animals, and Man, are only borrowed from the material Kingdom, and must be restored again. This is clearly seen, when we consider the first Rudiments of Seeds, and afterwards the successive Food and Increases they receive to their Forms, and lastly their Decay and Death, when their material Forms and Clothes return to the Air, Water, and Earth, which composed them, and which they were derived, as form a common Store-House of Matter.
Consequently that the material Substances in Organick Nature are not new Matters, in any Respect different from the material Substances which compose Unorganick Nature; which every Natural Philosopher can prove, by decomposing them and reducing them to their first Elements, namely, Air, Water, and Earth, from whence they were derived.
And therefore, that the Subject of the physical Philosopher’s Stone is in no wise to be taken from Organick Nature.
That as the Progression of Matters in Unorganick Nature, or in the Material Kingdom, is, first, all Kinds of Air; second, all Kinds of Water; third, all Kinds of Salt; fourth, all Kinds of Phlogiston; fifth, all Kinds of Stones; sixth and last, all Kinds of Metals, of which Gold is the highest and most perfect: And inasmuch as all these Kinds of Matters are but Receptacle of the Heat and Light of the Sun in different Forms; and as Gold is the most powerful and complete Receptacle of that Heat and Light; hence it follows, that the physical Philosopher’s Stone must be a Receptacle of the Sun’s Heat and Light, infinitely more powerful and perfect than Gold itself; consequently that the Philosopher’s Stone can only be made of Gold alone.
That every Angel, by his Wisdom and his Love, is a spiritual and a moral Philosopher’s Stone; but to attempt to form an Angel out of any other Being but man, or out of any of the inferior Animals, would be as ridiculous as to attempt to make the physical Philosopher’s Stone out of any other Matter but Gold itself.
That the LORD HIMSELF, and consequently His Word, is the true Spiritual and Moral Philosopher’s Stone; but inasmuch as the fundamental Error in Theology has been the setting up a Trinity of Persons, instead of a Trinity in One Person, so in like Manner the fundamental Error in Alchemy consisted in adopting a Trinity of Matters, instead of a Trinity or Three-fold Principle in the Matter; consequently that it is necessary to take Gold alone to make the physical Philosopher’s Stone.
That in all Things, even in the smallest and most simple Substance, there is a Two-fold and a Three-fold Principle; consequently also in Gold itself, the same Two-fold and Three-fold Principles exist; and that those Principles cannot be formed by Composition and Mixture of different Substances.
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In short, the whole Universe is composed of two grand Series, or Chains of Links, which is manifested in the general Kingdoms of Organick and Unorganick Nature.
That the Beginning in the first Series is God in the Spiritual Sun, and in the second Series, the visible material Sun.
That the last Link in the first Series is Man, and the last Link in the second Series is Gold.
Consequently, that there are four cardinal Points, if we may be allowed the Expression, in the whole Universe, namely, God, Man, the Sun, and Gold.
That to perfect Man, is to render him more and more receptive of God, or of his Heat and Light, that is, of his Love and Wisdom.
That to perfect Gold is to render it more and more receptive of the Sun, or of it’s Light and Heat.
That there are no Bounds in this Perfection; for Men as well as Gold can be rendered more and more receptive of the Heat and Light of their respective Suns, and thus be perfected ad infinitum.
That as God, by Means of the Natural Sun as an Instrument, has created all Nature or the Material Kingdom, and also continues to support it thereby; so in like Manner must Man, by Means of Gold as an Instrument, regenerate all Nature, or the whole material Kingdom, and afterwards constantly support it in a regenerate State: for as Creation is the Work of the LORD only, so is the restoring it back to Order or it’s Regeneration the Work of Man alone, and that so essentially, that if he dot not study this Doctrine of Regeneration, both he and all Nature must needs remain imperfect to all Eternity, and his Habitation the Earth must also remain in Misery and Wretchedness, which State, however, Man has it in his Power to change into Glory.
That in this and in no other Manner, Man can actually become Master of all Nature, for which he was created; he can restore the Earth, with all it’s Materials, and bring it back to Glory, and render the Day of his Tabernacling in the Body a continual State of Bliss, correspondent with the spiritual State of Happiness, which was prepared in him before; consequently that this is only possible with the Man or Members of the New Church of the LORD.
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That the only genuine Science of Alchymy consists in the three following Branches; namely, 1st, the Theory concerning the Matter; 2d, the Theory of the Furnace; and 3d, that of the Regulation of the Fire. The first Theory shews that Gold is the only Subject Matter of the Work; the second shews that this Work requires a Furnace that can stand the Fire for the Space of a Year at least, and admits of being regulated with Ease and Facility; and the third Theory shews by what a Regulation of Fire Gold may be so opened in the Furnace, as to discover it’s two-fold and it’s three-fold Principles, and how to put them into Action, in Order to accomplish it’s Perfection.
That the characteristic Difference between the true and the false Alchymist may be seen at once from the Theory of Matter, for, as the first works on no other Subject except Gold per se, so the other works on all Sorts of Materials, and is always employed with Compositions and Mixtures; as is the Case with Theology, for true Divinity admits of no other God save JESUS CHRIST alone, whereas the false, on the other Hand, does not accept of the LORD, or when it does, it takes him always in Conjunction with other Powers.
The Alchymist who will not see when it is laid open for him, that Gold only is the Subject Matter of the Philosopher’s Stone, shews thereby he has little Knowledge in natural History, little in natural Philosophy, little in Chemistry, and none at all in the Science of Correspondences; for from these four Sciences it may be confirmed that Gold per se is really the only Subject Matter of the Philosopher’s Stone.
That true Alchemy to this Day has been an entirely sealed Science, and an absolutely impenetrable Mystery, is from no other Reason but because they have not been able to see and perceive that Gold per se is the only Subject for the Philosopher’s Stone, and that by Means of this only can Gold be made, or Transmutation rendered possible.
That every other Way or Method that can be imagined, in any Manner whatever throughout all Nature, to make Gold and the universal Medicine, besides that of exalting and rendering perfect common Gold per se for the Philosopher’s Stone merely by Fire, and after that by Means of the same to operate very wonderful Transmutations, is not only contrary to every Experience, but in the highest Degree irrational and absurd, when examined into with a sound Judgement.
However, after being finally convinced that Gold is the only Subject Matter for the making the Stone of the Ancients, our Knowledge would yet be very incomplete in Alchymy, if we had not the Knowledge of the Construction of the Furnace, and the Regulation of Fire, two Things not to be attained without great and long Experience, although this in itself is very simple when known.
That in these two chief Points, viz. the Furnace, and particularly the Regulation of the Fire, I have laboured these 20 Years, and endeavoured to render myself Master of them; but that I did not till very lately attain to so much Knowledge and Experience as I now Have; so that I can at present look on myself as almost Master of these two essential Points.
That Alchymical Furnace or Athanor, which I was so happy as to discover 12 Years ago, and which has since been much improved, for Simplicity, Commodiousness, and the Ease of it’s Regulation, is not only the best Alchymical Furnace, but also a real Regulator for Chemists, and all such as use lasting Fires in their Works.
That the Regulation of the Fire consists in the Theory of the four Elements of Alchymists, the Weights, the Inclusion of the Matter, or the Hermetic Seal, the two Parts of the Work, namely, the Preparatory and the Afterwork, &c. all which together are nothing else but the Gradation of Fire. The Regulation of the Fire is the most difficult and mysterious Work in the whole Art of Alchymy, and can only be obtained by long Experience.
That in a continual and well-regulated Fire, Gold goes through a regular Circle of Colours, passing from it’s own Redness to that of Blood; such a regular Circle of Colours, always consisting of three Colours, viz. the Black, the White, and the Red, between which all the other intermediate Colours arise during the Process. Three such regular Circulations at least must Gold undergo, before it can become the true Philosopher’s Stone, or transmuting Fire. The Gold undergoes only per se the first of these Circulations, but all the succeeding Circulations must always be done with the Addition either of Gold already exalted, or of fresh and raw Gold. The first Revolution takes 9 or 12 Months, the second 2 or 3 Months, and the third is performed in 1 Month, or even less. These Revolutions can be so reiterated ad infinitum, that the Gold at last will pass through all it’s Colours in one hour, or even in a shorter Space of Time, and on the most gentle Fire.
That this Process has in all Respects the most perfect Analogy with the Progress of the Regeneration of Man; the sore Part of the Work answering to his Reformation and the Progress of the same, and the after or second Part to the State of Regeneration. The Black Period answers to Repentance, or the Rejection of Evils and Falseness, the White to the Implantation of Truth, and the Red to the Implantation of Good; the four Elements answer to the celestial and spiritual, or to the internal and external Good and Truth. The Inclusion of the Matter answers to the Conjunction of Good and Truth, by Means whereof Regeneration is veiled over, in the State of Temptations, and so forth.
That this complete Science, which in the aforementioned Period of 20 Years has been confirmed in me by a most solid Theory, and a very extensive Experience, I now offer to all the Members of the New Jerusalem Church, who being fully convinced of it’s Reality, find themselves disposed to put this Science into Execution.
This I will do without any Regard to pecuniary Interest or Reward, as I would not make a private Advantage of the Things and Gifts of God; consequently whosoever is desirous to receive my Information and Assistance, shall have it gratuitously whenever he gives me Notice, either by calling personally, or by a Letter directed as below. The whole Apparatus can be set up, and put into complete Order, within the Space of three Weeks or a Month.
If one single person (which I should prefer) cannot undertake this highly important Work, I should then advise that several would associate and chose one in whom they can place Confidence, when I would undertake to instruct him in all that is necessary to this Work.
The most material Expense for this Course is in the Charcoal of Fuel, after that, in the Board of two or three Servants; and lastly, in the Erection of a proper Laboratory and Furnace. As to the Expense of the Matter itself which is to be used, though it be Gold, it will be very trifling, not exceeding 15 or 20 Grains.
The only Condition I have to impose on teaching the Mystery is, that the Produce shall be consecrated to the Use of the New Jerusalem Church, and not to any civil or political Purpose in any Society, where the New Revelation of the LORD is not received.
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I had three Ways opened to me to make Use of this Knowledge, acquired in Alchymy, as 1st, to set to work myself in the Process, and thus bring it out; 2d, by Means of an open Publication, to communicate the same to the whole World; or, 3d, by Means of a circular Letter to impart the same to the Friends of the New Church only. As to the first, I have already tried it myself for these 20 Years, but not being independent, I was always interrupted in the Pursuit. As to the second Way, I have often intended to do it, but found that, for many Reasons, this Way should not be pursued. The third Way, therefore, appears to me the most useful, and more suited for this present Time.
At length I must declare, that I have not this Knowledge of myself, but from another, who died in 1756 in Finland, and who had obtained this Science by a supernatural Way. The same had even Revelations concerning the Last Judgement, that was to take Place in 1757, and concerning the New Church of the LORD that was to be established afterwards.
The latest Author in true Alchymy, EIRENEUS PHILALETHA, an Englishman, lived 100 Years ago in America, and was an anonymous Writer. Since which Time, in the whole learned World there has not been one proper Work published in this Science; and before his Time no other Writings deserve to be read, but what he himself has recommended in his Preface to his Ripley Revived, and his Metamorphosis Metallorum.
London, May 26, 1789. AUGUST NORDENSKJÖLD,
Member of the New Jerusalem Church in London, and one of his Majesty’s Superintendants of the Mines in Sweden.
P.S. It is particularly requested, that the Contents of this Letter be not made public; and that all Answers be directed for me at MR. ROBERT HINDMARSH’S, Printer to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, No, 32, Clerkenwell-Close, London.