A R G U M E N T.
The description of Sorcerie and Witch-
craft in Speciall.
CHAP. I. ARGU.
Proved by the Scripture, that such a thing can be:
And the reasons refuted of all such as would call it but an
imagination and Melancholicque humor.
PHILOMATHES. Now Since yee have satisfied me nowe so fullie, concerning Magie or Necromancie I will pray you to do the like in Sorcerie or Witchcraft.
EPI. That fielde is likewise verie large: and althought in the mouthes and pennes of manie, yet fewe knowes the trueth thereof, so
wel as they beleeve themselves, as I shall so shortely as I can, make you (God willing) as easelie to perceive.
PHI. But I pray you before ye goe further, let mee interrupt you here with a shorte disgression: which is, that manie can scarely beleeve that there is such a thing as Witch-craft. Whose reasons I will shortely alleage unto you, that ye may satisfie me as well in that, as ye have done in the rest. For first, whereas the Scripture seemes to proove Witch-craft to be, by diverse examples, and speciallie by sundrie of the same, which ye have alleaged; it is thought by some, that these places speakes of Magicians and Necromancers onlie, & not of Witches. As in special, these wise men of Pharaohs, that counterfeited Moyses miracles, were Magicians say they, & not Witches: As likewise that Pythonisse that Saul consulted with: And so was Simon Magus in the new Testament, as that very stile importes. Secondlie, where ye would oppone the dailie practicque, & confession of so manie, that is thought likewise to be but verie melancholicque imaginations of simple raving creatures. Thirdly, if Witches had such power of Witching of folkes to death, (as they say they have) there had bene none left alive long sence in the world, but they: at the least, no good or godlie person of whatsoever estate, could have escaped their devilrie.
EPI. Your three reasons as I take, ar grounded the first of them negative upon the Scripture: The second affirmative upon Physicke: and the thirde
upon the certaine proofe of experience. As to your first, it is most true indeede, that all these wise men of Pharaoh were Magicians of art: As likewise it appeares wel that the Pythonisse, with whom Saul consulted, was of that same profession: & so was Simon Magus. But yee omitted to speake of the Lawe of God, wherein are all Magicians, Divines, Enchanters, Sorcerers, Witches, & whatsoever of that kinde that consultes with the Devill, plainelie prohibited, and alike threatned against. And besides that, she who had the Spirite of Python, in the Actes [Act. 16], whose Spirite was put to silence by the Apostle, coulde be no other thing but a verie Sorcerer or Witch, if ye admit the vulgare distinction, to be in a maner true, whereof I spake in the beginning of our conference. For that spirit whereby she conquested such gaine to her Master, was not at her raising or commanding, as she pleased to appoynt, but spake by her toung, aswel publicklie, as privatelie: Whereby she seemed to draw nearer to the fort of Demoniakes or possessed, if that conjunction betwixt them, had not bene of her owne consent: as it appeared by her, not being tormented therewith: And by her conquesting of such gaine to her masters (as I have alreadie said.) As to your second reason grounded upon Physick, in attributing their consessiones or apprehensiones, to a naturall melancholicque humour: Anie that pleases Physicallie to consider upon the naturall humour of melancholie, according to all the Physicians, that ever write thereupon , they sall find that that will be
over short a cloak to cover their knavery with: For as the humor of Melancholie in the selfe is blacke, heavie and terrene, so are the symptomes thereof, in any personses that are subject thereunto, leannes, palenes, desire of solitude: and if they come to the highest degree thereof, mere folie and manie: where as by the contrarie, a great nomber of them thatever have bene convict or confessors of Witchcraft, as may be presently seene by manie that have at this time confessed: they are by the contrarie, I say, some of them rich and worldly-wise, some of them fatte or corpulent in their bodies, and most part of them altogether given over to the pleasures of the flesh, continual haunting of companie, and all kind of merrines, both lawfull and unlawfull, which are thinges directly contrary to the symptomes of Melancholie, whereof I spake, and further experience daylie proves how loath they are to confesse without torture, which witnesseth their guiltines, where by the contrary, the Melancholicques never spares to bewray themselves, by their continuall discourses, feeding therby their humor in that which they thinke no crime. As to your third reason, it scarelie merites an answere. For if the devill their master were not bridled, as the scriptures teacheth us, suppose there were no men nor women to be his instrumentes, he could finde waies inough without anie helpe of others to wrack al mankinde: whereunto he employes his whole study, and goeth about like a roaring lyon (as PETER saith) [I. Pet.5.] to that effect, but the limites of his power were set down before the
foundations of the world were laid, which he hath not power in the least jote to transgresse. But beside all this, there is over greate a certainty to prove that they are, by the daily experience of the harmes that they do, both to men, and whatsoever thing men possesses, whome God will permit them to be the instrumentes, so to trouble or visite, as in my discourse of that arte, yee shall heare clearlie proved.
CHAP. II. ARGU.
The Etymologie and signification of that word of Sorce-
rie. The first entresse and prentishippe of them that gives themselves to that craft.
PHI. Come on then I pray you, and returne where ye left.
EPI. This word of Sorcerie is a Latine worde, which is taken from casting of the lot, & therefore he that useth it, is called Sortiarius a sorte. As to the word of Witchcraft, it is nothing but a proper name given in our language. The cause wherefore they were called sortiary, proceeded of their practicques seeming to come of lot or chance: Such as the turning of the riddle: the knowing of the forme of prayers, or such like tokens: If a person diseased would live or dye. And in generall, that name was given them for using of such charmes, and freites, as that Crafte teacheth them. Manie poynts of their craft and practicques are common
betuixt the Magicians and them: for they serve both one Master, althought in diverse fashions. And as I devided the Necromancers, into two sorts, learned and unlearned; so must I devie them in other two, riche and of better accompt, poore and of basser degree. These two degrees now of persones, that practises this craft, answers to the passions in them, which (I told you before) the Devil used as meanes to intyse them to his service, for such of them as are in great miserie and povertie, he allures to follow him, by promising unto them greate riches, and worldlie commoditie. Such as though riche, yet burnes in a desperat desire of revenge, hee allures them by promises, to get their turne satisfied to their hartes contentment. It is to be noted nowe, that that olde and craftie enemie of ours, assailes none, though touched with any of these two extremities, except he first finde an entresse reddy for him, either by the great ignorance of the person he deales with, joyned with an evill life, ore else by their carelesnes and contempt of God: And finding them in an utter despair, for one of these two former causes that I have spoken of; he prepares the way by feeding them craftely in their humour, and filling them further and further with despaire, while he finde the time proper to discover himself unto them. At which time, either upon their walking solitarie in the fieldes, or else lying pansing in their bed; but alwaies without the company of any other, he either by a voyce, or in likenesse of a man inquires of them, what troubles them: and promi-
seth them, a suddaine and certaine waie of remedie, upon condition on the other parte, that they follow his advise; and do such thinges as he will require of them: Their mindes being prepared beforehand, as I have alreadie spoken, they easelie agreed unto that demande of his: And syne settes another tryist, where they may meete againe. At which time, before he proceede any further with them, he first perswades them to addict themselves to his service: which being easely obteined, he then discovers what he is unto them: makes them to renunce their God and Baptisme directlie, and gives them his marke upon some secret place of their bodie, which remaines soare unhealed, while his next meeting with them, and thereafter ever insensible, how soever it be nipped or pricked by any, as is dailie proved, to give them a proofe thereby, that as in that doing, hee could hurte and heale them; so all their ill and well doing thereafter, must depende upon him. And besides that, the intollerable dolour that they feele in that place, where he hath marked them, serves to waken them, and not to let them rest, while their next meeting againe: fearing least otherwaies they might either forget him, being as new Prentise, and not well inough founded yet, in that fiendlie follie: or else remembring of that horrible promise they made him, at their last meeting, they might skunner at the same, and preasse to call it back. At their thirde meeting, he makes a shew to be carefull to performe his promises, either by teaching them waies how to get
themselves revenged, if they be of that sort: Or els by teaching them lessons, how by moste vilde and unlawfull means, they may obtaine gaine, and worldlie commoditie, if they be of the other sorte.
CHAP. III. ARGU.
The Witches actiones divided in two partes. The actiones proper to their owne persones. Their actiones toward others. The forme of their conventiones, and adoring of their Master.
Philomathes. Ye have said now inough of their intiating in that ordour. It restes then that ye discourse upon their practicies, fra they be passed Prentises: for I would faine heare what is possible to them to performe in verie deede. Although they serve a common Master with the Necromancers, (as I have before saide) yet serve they him in an other forme. For as the meanes are diverse, which allures them to the unlawfull artes of serving of the Devill; so by diverse waies use they their practices, answering to these meanes, which first the Devill, used as instrumentes in them; though al tending to one end: To wit, the enlargeing of Sathans tyrannie, and crossing of the propogation of the Kingdome of Christ, so farre as lyeth in the possibilitie, either of the one or other sorte, or of the Devill their Master. For where the Magicians, as allured by curiositie, in the most parte of their practices, seekes principalle the satisfying of the same, and to winne to themselves a popular honoure and estimation:
These Witches on the other parte, being intised ether for the desire of revenge, or of worldly riches, their whole practices are either to hurte men and their gudes, or what they possesse, for satisfying of their cruell mindes in the former, or else by the wracke in quhatsoever sorte, of anie whome God will permitte them to have power off, to satisfie their greedie desire in the last poynt.
EPI. In two partes their actiones may be divided; the actiones of their owne persones, and the actiones proceeding from them towardes anie other. And this division being wel understood, will easilie resolve you, what is possible to them to doe. For although all that they confesse is no lie upon their parte, yet doubtlesly in my opinion, a part of it is not indeede, according as they take it to be: And in this I meane by the actiones of their owne persones. For as I said before, speaking of Magie that the Devill illudes the senses of these schollers of his, in manie thinges, so saye I the like of these Witches.
PHI. Then I pray you, first to speake of that part of their owne persons, and syne ye may come next to their actiones towardes others.
EPI. To the effect that they may performe such services of their false Master, as he employes them in, the devill as Gods Ape, counterfeites in his servants this service & forme of adoration, that God prescribed and made his servants to practice. For as the servants of GOD, publicklie uses to conveene for serving of him, so makes he them in great
numbers to conveene (though publickly they dare not) for his service. As none conveenes to the adoration and worshipping of God, except they be marked with his seale, the Sacrament of Baptisme: So none serves Sathan, and conveenes to the adoring of him, that are not marked with that marke, whereof I alredy spake. As the Minister sent by God teacheth plainely at the time of their publick conventions, how to serve him in spirit & truth: so that uncleane spirite, in his own person teacheth his Disciples, at the time of their conveening, how to work all kinde of mischiefe: And craves compt of all their horrible and detestable proceedinges passed, for advancement of his service. Yea, that he may the more viuelie counterfeit and scorne God, he oft times make his slaves to conveene in these verie places, which are definate and ordeined for the conveening of the serving of God (I meane by Churches) But this farre, which I have yet said, I not onelie take it to be true in their opiniones, but even so to be indeede. For the forme that he used in counterfeiting God amongst the Gentiles makes me so to thinke: As God spake by his Oracles, spake he not so by his? As GOD had aswell bloudie Sacrifices, as others without bloud, had not he the like? As God had Churches sanctified to his service, with Altars, Priests, Sacrifices, Ceremonies and Prayers; had he not the like polluted to his service? As God gave responses by Vrim and Thummim, gave he not his responses by the intralls of beastes, by the singing of Fowles, and by their
actiones in the aire? As God by visiones, dreames, and extases reveiled what was to come, and what was his will unto his servantes; used he not the like meanes to forwarne his slaves of things to come? Yea, even as God loved cleannes, hated vice, and impuritie, & appoynted punishmentes therefore: used he not the like (though falselie I grant, but in eschewing the lesse inconvenient, to draw them upon a greater) yet dissimuled he not I say, so farre as to appoynt his Priestes to keepe their bodies cleaned and undefiled, before their asking responses of him? And feyned he not God to be a protectour of everie vertue, and a just revenger of the contrarie? This reason then moves me, that as he is that same Devill; and as craftie nowe as he was then; so wil hee not spare as pertelie in these actiones that I have spoken of, concerning the witches persones: But further, Witches ofttimes confesses not only his conveening in the Church with them, but his occupying of the Pulpit: Yea, their forme of adoration, to be the kissing of his hinder partes. Which though it seeme ridiculous, yet may it likewise be true, seeing we reade that in Calicute, he appearing in forme of a Goate-bucke, hath publicklie that un-honest homage done unto him, by everie one of the people: So ambitious is he, and greedie of honour (which procured his fall) that he will even imitate God in that parte, where it is said, that Moyses could see but the hinder parts of God for the brightness of his glorie [Exo. 33]: And yet that speache is spoken but [Greek characters here]
CHAP. IIII. ARGU.
What are the waies possible, whereby the witches may transport themselves to places far distant. And what ar impossible & mere illusiones of Sathan. And the reasons thereof.
Philomathes. But what way say they or thinke ye it possible that they can com to these unlawful coventios?
EPI. There is the thing which I esteeme their senses to be deluded in, and though they lye not in confessing of it, because they thinke it to be true, yet not to be so in substance or effect: for they saie, that by diverse meanes they may convenned, either to the adoring of their Master, or to the putting in practice any service of his, committed unto their charge: one way is natural, which is natural riding, going or sayling, at what hour their Master comes and advertises them. And this way may be easilie beleved: another way is some-what more strange: and yet it is possible to be true: which is being carryed by the force of the Spirite which is their conducter, either above the earth or above the Sea swiftlie, to the place where they are to meet: which I am perswaded to be likewaies possible, in respect that as Habakkuk was carryed by the Angell in that forme to the denne where Daniell laie [Apocrypha of Bell and the Dragon.]; so thinke I, the Devill will be reddie to imitate God, as well in that as in other thinges: which is much more possible to him to doe, being a Spirite, then to a mighty winde, being but a naturall meteore, to transporte from one place to an other a solide bodie, as is commonlie and dailie seene in practise: But in this vio-
lent forme they cannot be carryed, but a short boundes, agreeing with the space that they may reteine their breath: for if it were longer, their breath could not remain unextinguished, their bodie being carryed in such a violent & forceable maner, as be example: If one fall off an small height, his life is but in perrell, according to the harde or soft lighting: but if one fall from an high and stay rock, his breath wil be forceablie banished from the bodie, before he can win to the earth, as if oft seen by experience. And in this transporting they say themselves, that they are invisible to anie other, except amongst themselves; which may also be possible in my opinion. For if the devil may forme what kind of impressions he pleases in the aire, as I have said before, speaking of Magie, why may he not far easilier thicken & obscure so the air, that is next about them by contracting it strait together, that the beames of any other mans eyes, cannot pearce thorow the same, to see them? But the third way of their comming to their conventions, is, that where in I think them deluded: for some of them sayeth, that being transformed in the likeness of a little beast or foule, they will come and pearce through whatsoever house or Church, though all ordinarie passages be closed, by whatsoever open, the aire may enter in at. And some sayeth, that their bodies lying stil as in an extasy, their spirits wil be ravished out of their bodies, & caried to such places. And for verefying thereof, wil give evident tokes, as wel by witnesses that have seen their body lying senseles
in the meane time, as by naming persones, whom-with they mette, and giving tokens quhat purpose was amonst them, whome otherwaies they could not have knowen: for this forme of journeing, they affirme to use most, when they are transported from one Countrie to another.
PHI. Surelie I long to hear your owne opinion of this: for they are like old wives trattles about the fire. The reasons that moves me to thinke that these are meere illusions, are these. First for them that are transformed in likenes of beastes or foules, can enter through so narrow passages, although I may easelie beleeve that the Devill could by his woorkemanshippe upon the aire, make them appeare to be in such formes, either to themselves or to others: Yet how he can contract a solide bodie within so little roome, I thinke it is directlie contrarie to it selfe, for to be made so little, and yet not diminished: To be so straitlie drawen together, and yet feele no paine; I think it is so contrarie to the qualitie of a naturall bodie, and so like to the little transbustantiate god in the Papistes Masse, that I can never beleeve it. So to have aquantitie, is so proper to a solide bodie, that as all Philosophers concludes, it cannot be any more without one, then a spirite can have one. For when PETER came out of the prison [Act. 12.], and the doores all locked: It was not by any contracting his bodie in so little roome: but the giving place of the dore, though un-espyed by the Gaylors. And yet is there no comparison when this is done, betwixt the power of God, and
of the Devill. As to their forme of extasie and spirituall transporting, it is certaine the soules going out of the bodie, is the onely difinition of naturall death: and who are once dead, God forbid wee should thinke that it should lie in the power of all the Devils in Hell, to restore them to their life againe: Although he can put his owne spirite in a dead bodie, which the Necromancers commonlie practise, as yee have harde. For that is the office properly belonging to God; and besides that, the soule once parting from the bodie, cannot wander anie longer in the worlde, but to the owne resting place must it goe immediatelie, abiding the conjuction of the bodie againe, at the latter daie. And what CHRIST or the Prophets did miraculouslie in this case, it cannot in no Christian mans opinion be maid common with the Devill. As for anie tokens that they give for prooving this, it is verie possible to the Devils craft, to perswade them to these meanes. For he being a spirite, may hee not so ravishe their thoughtes, and dull their senses, that their bodie lying as dead, hee may object to their spirites as it were in a dreame, & (as the Poets write of Morpheus) represent such formes of persones, of places, and other circumstances, as he pleases to illude them with? Yea, that he maie deceive them with the greater efficacie, may hee not at that same instant, by fellow angelles of his, illude such other persones so in that same fashion, whome with he makes them to beleeve that they mette; that all their reportes and tokens, though
severallie examined, may every one agree with an other. And that whatsoever actiones, either in hurting men or beasts: or whatsoever other thing that they falslie imagine, at that time to have done, may by himselfe or his marrowes, at that same time be done indeede; so as if they would give for a token of their being ravished at the death of such a person within so short space thereafter, whom they beleeve to have poysoned, or witched at that instante, might hee not at that same houre, have smitten that same person by the permission of G O D, to the farther deceiving of them, and to moove others to beleeve them? And this is surelie the likeliest way, and most according to reason, which my judgement can finde out in this, and whatsoever uther unnaturall poyntes of their confession. And by these meanes shall we faill surelie, betwixt Charybdis and Scylla, in eschewing the not beleeving of them altogether on the one part, least that drawe us to the errour that there is no Witches: and on the other parte in beleeving of it, make us to eschew the falling into innumerable absurdities, both monstrouslie against all Theologie divine, and Philosophie humaine.
CHAP. V. ARGU.
Witches actiones towardes others. Why there are more women of that craft nor men? What thinges are possible to them to effectuate by the power of their master. The reasons thereof. What is the surest remedie of the harmes done by them.
PHILOMATHES. Forsooth your opinion in this, seemes to carrie most reason with it, and sense yee have ended, then the actions belonging properly to their owne persones: say forwarde now to their actions used towardes others.
EPI. In their actions used towardes others, three things ought to be considered. First the manner of their consulting thereupon: Next their part as instrumentes: And last their masters parte, who puts the same in execution. As to their consultationes thereupon, they use them oftest in the Churches, where they conveene for adoring: at what time their master enquiring at them what they would beat: everie one of them propones unto, what wicked turne they would have done, either for obteining of riches, or for revenging them upon anie whome they have malice at: who granting their demande, as no doubt willinglie he wil, since it is to doe evill, he teacheth them the means, wherby they may do the same. As for little trifling turnes that women have ado with, he causeth them to joynt dead corpses, & to make powders thereof, mixing such other things there amongst, as he give unto them.
PHI. But before yee goe further, permit mee I pray you to interrupt you one worde, which yee have put me in memorie of, by speaking of Women. What can be the cause that there are twentie women given to that craft, where ther is one man?
EPI. The reason is easie, for as that sexe
is frailer then man is, so is it easier to be intrapped in these grosse snares of the Devill, as was over well proved to be true, by the Serpents deceiving of Eva at the beginning, which makes him the homelier with that sexe sinsine.
PHI. Returne now where ye left.
EPI. To some others at these times hee teacheth, how to make Pictures of waxe or clay: That by the rosting thereof, the persones that they beare the name of, may be continuallie melted or dryed awaie by continuall sicknesse. To some hee gives such stones or poulders, as will helpe to cure or cast on diseases: And to some he teacheth kindes of uncouthe poysons, which Mediciners understandes not (for he is farre cunningner then man in the knowlege of all the occult proprieties of nature) not that anie of these meanes which hee teacheth them (except the poysons which are composed of thinges naturall) can of themselves helpe anything to these turnes, that they are employed, but onelie being Gods Ape, as well in that, as in all other thinges. Even as God by his Sacramentes which are earthlie of themselves workes a heavenlie effect, though no waies by any cooperation in them: And as CHRIST by clay & spettle wrought together, opened the eies of the blynd man [John. 9.], suppose there was no vertue in that which he outwardlie applyed, so the Devill will have his out-warde meanes to be shewes as it were of his doing, which hath no part of cooperation in his turnes with him, how farr that ever the ignorantes be abused
in the contrarie. And as to the effectes of these two former partes, to wit, the consultationes and the outward meanes, they are so wounderfull as I dare not allege anie of them, without joyning a sufficient reason of the possibilitie thereof. For leaving all the small trifles among wives, and to speake of the principall poyntes of their craft. For the common trifles thereof, they can do without conversing well inough by themselves: These principall poyntes I say are these: They can make men or women to love or hate other, which may be verie possible to the Devil to effectuate, seing he being a subtile spirite, knowes well inough how to perswade the corrupted affection of them whom God will permit him so to deale with: They can lay the sikness of one upon an other, which likewise is verie possible unto him: For since by Gods permission, he layed sikness upon Job, why may he not farre easilier lay it upon any other: For as an old practisian, he knowes well inough what humor domines most in anie of us, and as a spirit hee can subtillie walken up the same, making it peccant, or to abounde, as he thinkes meete for troubling of us, when God will so permit him. And for the taking off of it, no doubt he will be glad to relieve such of present paine, as he may thinke by these meanes to perswade to bee catched in his everlasting snares and fetters. They can be-witch and take the life of men or women, by rosting of the Pictures, as I spake of before, which likewise is verie possible to their Master to performe, for although, (as I saide
before) that instrumente of waxe have not vertue in that turne doing, yet may hee not verie well even by that same measure that his conjured slaves meltes that waxe at the fire, may he not I say at these same times, subtile as a spirite so weaken and scatter the spirites of life of the the patient, as may make him on th' one part, for faintnesse to sweate out the humour of his bodie: And on the other parte, for not the concurrence of these spirites, which causes his digestion, so debilitat his stomak, that his humour radicall continually, sweating out on the one parte, and no new good luck being put in the place thereof, for lack of digestion on the other, hee at last shall vanish awaie, even as his picture will doe at the fire. And that knavish and cunning woorkeman, by troubling him onely at some times, makes a proportion so neare betwixt the woorking of the one and the other, that both shall ende as it were at one time. They can rayse stormes and tempestes in the aire, either upon Sea or land, though not universally, but in such a particular place and prescribed boundes, as God will permitte them so to trouble: Which likewise is verie easie to be discerned from anie other naturall tempestes that are meteores, in respect of the suddaine and violent raising thereof, together with the short induring of the same. And this is likewise verie possible to their master to do, he having such affinitie with the aire as being a spirite, and having such power of the forming and mooving thereof, as ye have heard me alreadie declare: For
in the Scripture, that stile of the Prince of the aire [Ephes. 2] is given unto him. They can make folkes to becom phrenticque or Maniacque, which likewise is very possible to their master to do, sence they are but naturall sicknesses: and so he may lay on these kindes, as well as anie others. They can make spirites either to follow and trouble persones, or haunt certaine houses, and affraie oftentimes the inhabitantes: as hath bene knowen to be done by our Witches at this time. And likewise they can make some to be possessed with spirites, & so to become verie Daemoniacques: and this last sorte is verie possible likewise to the Devill their Master to do, since he may easilie send his owne angells to trouble in what forme he pleases, any whom God wil permit him so to use.
PHI. But will God permit these wicked instrumentes by the power of the Devill their master, to trouble anie of these meanes, anie that beleeves in him?
EPI. No doubt, for there are three kinde of folkes whom God will permit so to be tempted or troubled; the wicked for their horrible sinnes, to punish them in the like measure; The godlie that are sleeping in anie great sinnes or infirmities and weakenesse in faith, to waken them up the faster by such an uncouth forme: and even some of the best, that their patience may bee tryed before the world, as Jobs was. For why may not God use anie kinde of extraordinarie punishment, when it pleases him; as well as the ordinarie roddes of sicknesse or other adversities.
PHI. Who then may be free from these Devilish practises?
EPI. No man ought to presume so far as to promise anie impunitie to himselfe: for God hath before all beginninges preordinated as well the particular sortes of Plagues as of benefites for every man, which in the owne time he ordaines them to be visited with, & yet ought we not to be the more affrayde for that, of any thing that the Devill and his wicked instrumentes can do against us: For we dailie fight against the Devill in a hundreth other waies: And therefore as a valiant Captaine, affraies no more being at the combat, nor stayes from his purpose for the rummishing shot of a Cannon, nor the small clack of a pistolet: suppose he be not certaine what may light upon him; Even so ought we boldlie to goe forwarde in fighting against the Devill without anie greater terrour, for these his rarest weapons, nor for the ordinarie whereof wee have daily the proofe.
PHI. Is it not lawfull then by the helpe of some other Witche to cure the disease that is casten on by that craft?
EPI. No waies lawfull: For I gave you the reason thereof in that axiome of Theologie, which was the last wordes I spake of Magie.
PHI. How then may these diseases be lawfullie cured?
EPI. Onelie by earnest prayer to G O D, by amendment of their lives, and by sharp persewing everie one, according to his calling of these instru-
mentes of Sathan, whose punishment to the death will be a salutarie sacrifice for the patient. And this is not onely the lawfull way, but likewise the most sure: For by the Devils meanes, can never the Devill be casten out, as Christ sayeth [Mark. 3]. And when such a cure is used, it may wel serve for a shorte time, but at the last, it will doubtleslie tend to the utter perdition of the patient, both in bodie and soule.
CHAP. VI. ARGU.
What sorte of folkes are least or most subject to receive harme by Witchcraft. What power they have to harme the Magistrate, and upon what respectes they have any power in prison: And to what end may or will the Devill appeare to them therein. Upon what respectes the Devill appeires in sundry shapes to sundry of them at anytime
PHILOMATHES. But who dare take upon him to punish them, if no man can be sure to be free from their unnaturall invasions?
EPI We ought not the more of that restraine from vertue, that the way whereby we climbe thereunto be straight and perrilous. But besides that, as there is no kinde of persones to subject to receive harme of them, as these that are of infirme and weake faith (which is the best buckler against such invasions:) so have they so smal power over none, as over such as zealouslie and earnestlie persewes
them, without sparing for anie worldlie respect.
PHI. Then they are like the Pest, which smites these sickarest, that flies it farthest, and apprehends deepliest the perrell thereof.
EPI. It is even so with them: For neither is it able to them to use anie false cure upon a patient, except the patient first beleeve in their power, and so hazard the tinsell of his owne soule, nor yet can they have lesse power to hurte anie, nor such as contemnes most their doinges, so being it come of faith, and not of anie vaine arrogancie in themselves.
PHI. But what is their power against the Magistrate?
EPI. Lesse or greater, according as he deales with them. For if he be slouthfull towardes them, God is verie able to make them instrumentes to waken & punish his slouth. But if he be the contrarie, he according to the just law of God, and allowable law of all Nationes, will be diligent in examining and punishing of them: G O D will not permit their master to trouble or hinder so good a worke.
PHI. But fra they be once in handes and firmance, have they anie further power in their craft?
EPI. That is according to the forme of their detention. If they be but apprehended and deteined by anie private person, upon other private respectes, their power no doubt either in escaping or in doing hurte, is no lesse nor ever it was be-
fore. But if on the other parte, their apprehending and detention be by the lawfull Magistrate, upon the just respectes of their guiltinesse in that craft, their power is then no greater than before that ever they medled with their master. For where God beginnes justlie to strike by his lawfull Lieutennentes, it is not in the Devilles power to defraude or bereave him of the office, or effect of his powerfull and revenging Scepter.
PHI. But will never their master come to visite them, fra they be once apprehended and put in firmance?
EPI. That is according to the estaite that these miserable wretches are in: For if they be obstinate in still denying, he will not spare, when he findes time to speake with them, either if he finde them in anie comfort, to fill them more and more with the vaine hope of some maner of reliefe: or else if he finde them in a deepe dispaire, by all meanes to augment the same, and to perswade them by some extraordinarie meanes to put themselves downe, which verie commonlie they doe. But if they be penitent and confesse, God will not permit him to trouble them anie more with his presence and allurementes.
PHI It is not good using his counsell I see then. But I woulde earnestlie know when he appeares to them in Prison, what formes uses he then to take?
EPI. Divers formes, even as he uses to do at other times unto them. For as I told you, speking of Magie,
he appeares to that kinde of craftes-men ordinarily in an forme, according as they agree upon it amongst themselves: Or if they be but prentises, according to the qualitie of their circles or conjurationes: Yet to these capped creatures, he appeares as he pleases, and as he findes meetest for their humors. For even at their publick conventiones, he appeares to divers of them in divers formes, as we have found by the difference of their confessiones in that point: For he deluding them with vaine impressiones in the aire, makes himselfe to seeme more terrible to the grosser sorte, that they maie thereby be moved to feare and reverence him the more: And les monstrous and uncouthlike againe to the craftier sorte, least otherwaies they might sturre and skunner at his uglinesse.
PHI. How can he then be felt, as they confesse they have done him, if his bodie be but of aire?
EPI. I heare little of that amongst their confessiones, yet may he make himselfe palpable, either by assuming any dead bodie, and using the ministrie thereof, or else by deluding as wel their sence of feeling as seeing; which is not impossible to him to doe, since all our senses, as we are so weake, and even by ordinarie sicknesses will be often times deluded.
PHI. But I would speere one worde further yet, concerning his appearing to them in prison, which is this. May any other that chances to be present at that time in the prison, see him as well as they.
EPI. Some-times they will, and some-times not, as it pleases God.
CHAP. VII. ARGU.
Two formes of the devils visible conversing in the earth, with the reasones wherefore the one of them was communest in the time of Papistrie: And the other sensine. Those that denies the power of the Devill, denies the power of God, and are guiltie of the errour of the Sadduces.
Hath the Devill then power to appeare to any other, except to such as are his sworne disciples: especially since al Oracles, & such like kinds of illusiones were taken awaie and abolished by the cumming of C H R I S T?
EPI. Although it be true indeede, that the brightnesse of the Gospell at his cumming, scaled the cloudes of all these grosse errors in the Gentilisme: yet that these abusing spirites, ceases not sensine at sometimes to appeare, dailie experience teaches us. Indeede this difference is to be marked betwixt the formes of Sathans conversing visiblie in the world. For of two different formes thereof, the one of them by the spreading of the Evangell, and conquest of the white horse, in the sixt Chapter of the Revelation, is much hindred and become rarer there through. This his appearing to any Christians, troubling of them outwardly, or possessing of them constraynedly. The other of them is be-
come communer and more used sensine, I meane by their unlawfull artes, whereupon our whole purpose hath bene. This we finde by experience in this Ile to be true. For we know, moe Ghostes and spirites were seene, nor tongue can tell, in the time of blinde Papistrie in these Countries, where now by the contrarie, a man shall scarcely all his time here once of such things. And yet were these unlawfull artes farre rarer at that time: and never were so much harde of, nor so rife as they are now.
PHI. What should be the cause of that?
EPI. The diverse nature of our sinnes procures at the Justice of God, diverse sortes of punishments answering thereunto. And therefore as in the time of Papistrie, our fathers erring grosselie, & through ignorance, that mist of errours overshaddowed the Devill to walke the more familiarlie amongst them: And as it were by barnelie and affraying terroures, to mocke and accuse their barnelie erroures. By the contrarie, we now being sounde of Religion, and in our life rebelling to our profession, God justlie by that sinne of rebellion, as Samuel calleth it, accuseth our life so wilfullie fighting against our profession.
PHI. Since yee are entred now to speake of the appearing of spirites: I would be glad to heare your opinion in that matter. For manie denies that anie such spirites can appeare in these daies as I have said.
EPI. Doubtleslie who denyeth the power of
the Devill, woulde likewise denie the power of God, if they could for shame. For since the Devill is the verie contrarie opposite to God, there can be no better way to know God, then by the contrarie; as by the ones power (though a creature) to admire the power of the great Creator: by the falshood of the one to considder the trueth of the other, by the injustice of the one, to considder the justice of the other: And by the cruelty of the one, to considder the mercifulnesse of the other: And so foorth in all the rest of the essence of God, and qualities of the Devill. But I feare indeede, there be over many Sadduces in this worlde, that denies all kindes of spirites: For convicting of whose errour, there is cause inough if there were no more, that God should permit at sometimes spirits visiblie to kyith.
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Refs and Further Reading
Anaesthesia and Anaesthetics
Science and Theology by A.D. White
King James I (Scotland) and VI (England)