The wild application of a wild catholic tradition which has just been quoted, is introductory to a piece of quackery of the same imaginative character.
It is probable, says this German physician, that the Serpent had his cavern under or about the tree of knowledge, and this tree became scientifical by way of transplantation from the Serpent, that is, this tree and its fruit had both the 283spiritual essence and the spiritual virtue of the Serpent Communicated to them, and impressed in them, by virtue of the Serpent’s cohabitation with them. For in nature we find that many bodies do not only by their qualities affect their adjacents, but also infuse their virtue into them, and endue them with the same faculty. Thus the magnet doth not only attract iron, but also communicates its virtues to it.
Upon this principle is founded what Theophrastus asserts, “that the hairy and white serpents in Germany are indued with such admirable and υπερ φυσιν αριοις,… supernaturally excellent virtues, that they are of special use for the attainment of knowledge, both natural and occult. The way then to get this spiritual mummy of the serpent, and to confer it upon man, is to take the sperm, that is the eggs of the serpent, which are τα σοχεια κὶ σχηματα, the elements and principles both of their corporal and spiritual mummy, and mixing them with fat 284earth, (for greater efficacy’s sake in conferring knowledge) transplant them into some fruit appropriated to the brain. Place therefore a cherry tree in the earth, for so it will magnetically attract the mumial spirit of the serpent into its nutriment, whose virtue and quality will appear in the cherries; out of which by Vulcan’s hammer, that is fire, you may elicit the spirit, and therewith roborate and acuate the brain, and no little advance knowledge.”
But the grand receipt of Tentzelius is for Serpentine Mummy, and there cannot be a more complete specimen of mystical quackery.
“Take serpents, and detracting their sweat and colluvies from them, cut off their heads and tails (which are else of much use to other effects, as well as the other parts) and cast those away: but put their flesh under the stock, amongst the roots of a Juniper tree, and occlude the hole with a knot of a wild Plumb tree, 285for thus in winter time, the flesh will by the natural heat of the Juniper, which is temperate, be redacted to its first entity; and in the spring, the vegetable spirit of the Juniper will attract the balsam therof to its nutriment; insomuch that its fruits or berries will be indued with most eximious faculties, and enrich their possessor with a most admirable and excellent remedy against the Leprosy. For which end,
“Take the berries of the aforesaid Juniper, pour warm water, with a convenient quantity of leaven upon them, and thus let them macerate for eight days, till they be reduced into one mixed mass; for which purpose agitate them once or twice a day, then distil the mass through a vesica, at first with a slower, but gradually with a hotter fire, till all the spirit be distilled. And now because this spirit is mixed with phlegme, it must be rectified in B, M. through a cucurbite, and then again through a phiola, 286and so you shall have the true spirit of Juniper.
“Then calcinate the dead head into lees, and make salt thereof by evaporation, whereof take one pound, and resolving it in the former phlegme, mix it with a sufficient quantity of good and well-dried argil, till you may make it into pastils; which take, and distil in a close furnace, through a well-beaked retorta, putting a handfull or two of the berries into the receptacle. Let your fire be first slow, for the phlegme, afterwards hotter, and at last so hot, that the retorta may be made red therewith; for so you may extract all the spirits. Make salt again of the dead head, which mix with argil, and the fore-extracted spirit, and then distil it again into spirit; then so draw the spirit through a glass retorta in a dry bath, that the phlegme may be collected apart, and then the great secret may proceed in flave drops, which you must shut up in a glass with the seal of Hermes, and 287then insolate and repose it. “And thus you have that altogether praise-worthy remedy; for the berries of Juniper being of themselves so conducive to the cure of the leprosy, that they will not only preserve from it, but also in its initiation profligate it; they are now by this mystical art, and the participation of the serpentine faculty so much advanced that they will easily overcome it in it’s height and strength.”