It was the doctrine of the Alchemists, that there was a certain mineral, the discovery of which was the object of their art, because, being mixed with the baser metals, it would transmute these into gold. This mineral, known only to the adepts, they called Lapis Philosophorum, or the philosopher's stone.
Hitchcock, who wrote a book in 1857 on Alchemy and the Alchemists, to maintain the proposition that Alchemy was a symbolic science, that its subject was Man, and its object the perfection of men, asserts that the philosopher's stone was a symbol of man. He quotes the old Hermetic philosopher, Isaac Holland, as saying that "though a man be poor, yet may he very well attain unto it--the work of perfection--and may be employed in making the philosopher's stone." Hitchcock (on page 76) in commenting on this, says: "That is, every man, no matter how humble his vocation, may do the best he can in his place--may 'love mercy, do justly, and walk humbly with God'; and what more doth God require of any man?" If this interpretation be correct, then the philosopher's stone of the Alchemists, and the spiritual temple of the Freemasons are identical symbols (see Alchemy).
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