Men wholly bent on wordly treasures were the dupes of their own passions, rather than deceived by the writings or pretenses of those who claimed to be Alchemists.
These men were religious when the spirit of religion was buried in forms and ceremonies, and when the priesthood had armed itself with the civil powers to put down all opposition, and suppress all freedom, intellectual, civil, and religious.
The intolerance of the Middle, and even later, Ages, is a fact all too familiar to every one.
They should hold themselves absolutely upon the immovable foundation of truth and nature, whereby alone they can save themselves from misapprehensions and from the danger of being entirely carried away from reality into mere dreams and fictions.
Notwithstanding this high Ecclesiastical authority, he who dared accept truth only because it could be proved, or proved to be good, and disregard authority, was commonly stigmatized as an infidel.