IN these last dayes, and perillous times, among the rest of those dreadfull euills, which are fore-told should abounda in them, a close & disguised contempt of religion may be iustly accounted as chiefe, which causeth and bringeth vpon men all disastrous effects, when although it be shadowed with a beautifull Maske of holines, faire tongued: yet false-harted,b professing they know God, but in works deny him. And among these there be two especiall sorts; the one, who entertaining a stubborne, and curious rash boldnes, striue by the iudgem?t of reason, to search ouer-deeply into the knowledge of those things which are farre aboue the reach of any humane capacitie. And so making shipwracke in this deep and vnfoundable Sea, ouerwhelme themselues in the gulfe thereof. The other kind is more sottish, dull, and of a slow wit, || and therefore ouer-credulous, beleeuing euerie thing, especially when they be carried by the violent tempest of their desires, and other vngouerned affections; and among these the diuell vsually spreadeth his netts, as assured of a prey, wayting closely if hee can espie any, who either grow discontented and desperate, through want and pouerty, or be exasperated with a wrathfull and vnruly passion of reuenge, or transported by vnsatiable loue to obtaine some thing they desire; and these hee taking aduantage, assaulteth with golden and glorious promises, to performe vnto them the wishes of their owne hearts; the drift whereof is (hee being as at the first incased in a subtile Serpents skinne) onely to enthrall and invassall them slaues to himselfe. The first of these mentioned, are slie and masked Atheists, who ouer-shadow their secret impiety, loose and dissolute behauiour with some outward conformitie and shew of religion, snatching (as they thinke) a sufficient warrantize thereof from those disorders they obserue among men, and therfore passe vncensured, hauing a ciuill, but dissembled carriage. The second be Sorcerers, Wisards, Witches, and the rest of that ranke and kindred: no small multitude swarming now in the world, yet supposed of many, rather worthy pitty then punishment, as deluded by fantasies, and mis-led, not effecting those harmes wherewith they bee charged, or themselues acknowledge. But considering they be ioyned and linked together with Satan in a league (the common and professed A3 enemy of mankinde) and by his helpe performe many subtile mischieuous actions, and hurtfull designes, it is strange that from so great a smoake arising, they neither descrie nor feare some fire. And therefore, in respect of these, I haue at your appointment and request (for whom I am most willing to bestow my best labours and euer shall be) penned this small Treatise, occasioned by the detection of a late witch among you, whose irreligious care, and vnwearied industry, is not to be defrauded of deserued commendation, and by mature deliberation, and descreete search, found out her irreligious and impious demeanour, and also discouered sundry her vnnaturall and inhumane mischiefes done to others, whereof being conuicted, she was accordingly sentenced, and did vndergoe the penalty iustly appointed, and due by Law vnto malefactors of that kinde. After all which, you kindled with a holy zeale of the aduauncement of Gods glorie, and giuing satisfaction to euery one howsoeuer affected, intermitted no meanes, vsing therein the labour of your carefull Ministers (willingly offering themselues in this holy seruice) whereby she might be broght (as one conuerted in the last houre) to the sight & acknowledgement of her heinous sins in generall, & particularly of that of witchcraft, confessing the same, & by true repentance, and embracing of the tender mercies of God in Christ Iesus saue her soule (who refuseth no true and vnfained conuert at any time.) And hee gratiously blessing these religious endeuors of yours, vouchsafed || to second the same with a happy and wished for euent, which (as I hope) shall appeare manifestly in the following Treatise vnto all those who are not fondly, & without cause, too much wedded to their owne conceits: And thus, desiring GOD most humbly to confirme and strengthen you in his truth, which euer you haue loued, and is your due praise, and shall be at the last an honour vnto you: I rest
Your Worships in all Christian duty to be commaunded,
CHristian Reader, I haue vpon occasion penned this short discourse, and that of such a subject wherewith not being well acquainted, am enforced to craue some direction from those, whose names you shall finde remembred in the same: (that I be not vnthankefull vnto those from whom I receiue instruction) and haue in former time, and latter dayes, taken paines in searching out, both the speculatiue, and practique parts of this damnable Art of Witchcraft, a dangerous and seducing inuention of Sathan, who from the Arcenals, and Magisins store-houses of his ancient and mischieuous furniture, hath not spared to affoord all helpe, and the best Engines for the subuerting of soules, pliable to his allurements: and to this end, beside a plaine narration of fact in this case committed and confessed, (least the Treatise should be too bare and naked) I haue added thereunto a few Propositions, agreeing to such a subiect matter, manifesting some speciall poynts not altogether impertinent in my opinion, nor vnworthy of due consideration: I know mine owne wants, and do as willingly acknowledge them: One more experienced, and of greater leasure, and better health, had beene fitter for the opening and discouering of so deepe a mystery, and hidden secret of Iniquity, as this is; and haply hereafter may be willing to take that taske in hand: yet herein thou shalt finde something not vsuall: A manifest contract made with the Diuell, and by the solemne tearmes of a league, which is the ground of all the pernitious actions proceeding from those sorts of people, who are, haue beene, and shall be practioners in that cursed and hellish Art. And yet no more then she, that Witch of whom || in this relation we do speake, hath of her owne accord, and voluntarily acknowledged after conference had , and sundry learned and reuerend Diuines, who both prayed for her conuersion, carefully instructed her in the way to saluation, and hopefully rescued her from the Diuell, (to whom she was deuoted, and by him seduced) and regained her to God, from whom she was departed by Apostacie. And in this so Christian and holy action were the continuall paines of
And of these in the day of execution (which she in no wise would condiscend vnto should be deferred, though offered repriuall vpon hope that more might haue beene acknowledged) being very distemperate, neuerthelesse some accompanied her to the place, and were both eye and eare-witnesses of her behauiour there, seeing and hearing how she did then particularly confesse her confederacy with the Diuell, cursing, banning, and enuy towards her neighbours, and hurts done to then, expressing euery one by name, so many as be in the following discourse, nominated, and how she craued mercy of God, and pardon for her offences, with other more specialties afterward expressed. And thus I end, taking my leaue, and commending thee to the gracious guidance and preseruation of our good God in our blessed Sauiour Christ Iesus.
Thine euer in the Lord,
A. Roberts.1 B
THere is some diuersitie of iudgement among the learned, who should be the first Author and Inuenter of Magicall and curious Arts. The most generall occurrence of opinion is, that they fetch their pedigree from the aPersians, who searching more deeply into the secrets of Nature then others, and not contented to bound themselues within the limits thereof, fell foule of the Diuell, and were insnared in his nets.
2 And among these, the publisher vnto the world was Zoroaster, who so soone as he by birthb entred the world, contrary to the vsuall condition of other men, laughed (whereas the beginning of our life is a sob, the end a sigh) and this was ominous to himselfe, no warrantise for the enioying of the pleasures of this life, ouercome in battell by Ninusc King of the Assirians, and ending his dayes by the stroake of a thunder-bolt, and could not, though a famous Sorcerer, either fore-see, or preuent his owne destinie. And because he writ many bookes of this damnable Art, and left them to posterity, may well be accounted a chiefe maister of the same. But the Diuelld must haue the precedencie, whose schollers both he and the rest were, who followed treading in his steps. For he taught them South-saying, Auguration, Necromancie, and the rest, meere delusions, aiming therein at no other marke, then to with draw men from the true worshipping of God. And all these pernitious practises are fast tied together by the tailes, though their faces looke sundry wayes; and therefore the Professors thereof are stiled by sundry names, as Magitians, Necromancers, Inchanters, Wisards, Hagges, Fortune-tellers, Diuiners, Witches, Cunning Men, and Women, &c. Whose Art is such a hidden mystery ofe wickednesse, and so vnsearchable a depth of Sathan, that neither the secrets of the one can be discouered, nor the bottome of the other further sounded, 3 B2 then either the practisers thereof themselues by their owne voluntary confessions made, or procured by order of Iustice (according to the manner of that Countrey where they be questioned) haue acknowledged, or is manifested by the sundry mischiefes done of them vnto others, proued by impartiall testimonies vpon oath, and by vehement presumptions confirmed, or else communicated vnto vs in the learned Treatises, and discourses of ancient and late Writers gathered from the same grounds. Andf although this Hellish Art be not now so frequent as heretofore, since the Pagans haue beene conuerted vnto Christianity, and the thick fogges of Popery ouer-mantling the bright shining beames of the Gospel of Iesus Christ (who came to dissolue the workes of the Diuell .1. Ioh. 3. 8.) and were by the sincere and powerfull preaching therof dispersed; yet considering these bee the last times, dayes euill & dangerous, fore-told that should come, 2. Tim. 3. 1. in which iniquity must abound, Mat. 24. 12. and as a raging deluge ouer-runne all, so that Faith shall scarce be found vpon earth, Luk. 18. 8. and the Diuell loosed from his thousand yeares imprisonment, gReuel. 20. 3. enraged with great wrath walketh about, and seeketh whom he may deuoure .1. Pet. 5. 8. Because he knoweth hee hath but a short time, Reu. 12. 12. Before I enter into the particularity of the narration 4 intended, it shall be materiall to set downe some generall propositions, as a handfull of gleanings gathered in the plentifull haruest of such learned men, who haue written of this argument, whereby the erronious may be recalled, the weake strengthened, the ignorant informed, and such as iudge aright already, confirmed: and among many other these as chiefe, all which you shall see exemplified in the following Discourse.
IT is a Quære, though needlesse, whether there be any Witches: for theya haue some Proctors who plead a nullitie in this case, perswade themselues, and would induce others to be of the same minde, that there be no Witches at all: but a sort of melancholique, aged, and ignorant Women, deluded in their imagination; and acknowledge such things to be effected by them, which are vnpossible, vnlikely, and they neuer did; and therefore Magistrates who inflict any punishment vpon them, be vnmercifull and cruell Butchers. Yet by the way, and their good leaue, who take vpon them this Apology, all who are conuented vpon these vnlawfull action, are not strucken in yeares; but some euen in the flower of their youth be nuzled vp in the same, and convicted to be practisers thereof; neither be they ouerflowed with a blacke melancholique humor, dazeling the phantasie, but 5 B3 haue their vnderstandings cleere, and wits as quicke as other: Neither yet be they all women, though for the most part that sexe be inclinable thereunto: (as shall afterward be shewed, and the causes thereof) but men also on whose behalfe no exception can be laid, why any should demurre either of their offence or punishment for the same. Wherefore for this point, and confirmation of the affirmatiue, wee haue sundry pregnant and euident proofes.
First testimonies Diuine and Humane: Diuine of God himselfe in his word,b left for our instruction in all dogmaticall truth, reproofe and confutation of falshood in opinions, correction for the reforming of misdemeaners in conuersation, doctrine for the guidance of euery estate Politicall, Ecclesiasticall, Oeconomicall. 2. Timoth. 3. 16. Therefore expressely, Thou shalt not suffer a Witch, to liue, Exod. 22. 18.c but to bee executed in the same day wherein she is conuicted, and this was a custome obserued by the ancient Fathers. And Deuteronomy 18. 10.11. there is a blacke Bill set downed, and registred of sundry kinds of these slaues of Sathan, all condemned, and God addeth in the same place the reasons of this his seuere and sharpe iudgement against them. First, because they are an abhomination vnto him. Secondly, he determineth vtterly to destroy all such, and giueth his people the Israelites an example thereof in the Canaanites, whom their Land spewed out. Thirdly, for that he requireth all who belong vnto him, to be pure, vndefiled and holy, 6 not stained with impieties, for they are bound vnto him by couenant in obedience. Fourthly such were the Heathen, strangers from God, blinded in their dark vnderstanding, without sauing knowledge, with whom the Israelites, a chosen and peculiar nation, enioying his lawes and statutes, must haue no familiarity. Further, the woman of Endor acknowledgeth herselfe to be one of the rank. 1. Sam. 28. 9. And Iesabel, mother of Iehoram, is in plaine tearmes stiled a Witch. 2. King. 9. 22. who is esupposed to haue brought this Art, and the Professors thereof into Samaria, which there continued for the space of sixe hundred yeares. Insomuch that it was rife in common speech, when any would reproach another, to doe the same in this forme; Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a Diuell (a familiar spirit) which the malicious Iewes, not abiding his heauenly and gracious doctrine, obiected to Christ Iesus our blessed Sauiour, Ioh. 8. 48. The holy Apostle reprouing the Galathians for their sudden Apostasie and back-sliding from the Gospell so powerfully preached vnto them and with so great euidence of the spirit, as though Christ had bin crucified before their eyes, doth it in no other termes than these, Who hath bewitched you? Gal. 3. 1. And afterward, Cap. 5. 20. marshalleth Witch-craft among the workes of the flesh: In both which places the names are taken from the seducements and illusions of Inchanters, who astonish the mindes, and deceiue the senses of men, and all that by vertue of a contract passed betwene them and the Diuell. Other like proofes 7 may be added to these alledged, Leuit. 20. 6. Micah 5. 12. Nahum 3. 4. Now then when God affirmeth there be such, whose words are truth, shall man dare once to open his mouth, and contradict the most righteous?
Concerning humane witnesses, they be almost infinite; and therefore it shall be sufficient to produce some few, choyce, and selected: fThe second Councell of Constantinople held and gathered together in the Imperiall palace, of two hundred seuen and twenty learned and reuerent Bishops, nameth sundry sorts of such Sorcerers, and censureth their actions to be the damned practises of the Pagans, and decreeth all the Agents therein excommunicated from the Church and society of Christian people, adding the motiue reason of this their determined sentence, from the Apostle, 2. Cor. 6. 14. For righteousnesse hath no fellowship with vnrighteousnesse, neither is there communion of light with darknesse, nor concord with Christ and Belial, nor the beleeuer can haue part with an Infidell. And gChrysostome sharply reproueth all such, and those who aduise with them vpon any occasion, confuting the reasons which they take to be sufficient warantise of their doings. As among the rest they will pretend, Shee was a Christian woman who doth thus charme or inchant; and taketh no other but the name of God in her mouth, vseth the words of sacred Scripture. To this that holy Father 8 replieth, Therefore she is the more to be hated, because shee hath abused and taken in vaine that great and glorious name, and professing herselfe a Christian, yet practiseth the hdamnable Arts of miscreant and vnbeleeuing Heathen. For the Diuels could speake the name of God, and neuerthelesse were still Diuels; and when they said vnto Christ, they knew who he was, the holy one of God, &c. Mar. 1. 24.25. their mouthes were stopped, he would no such witnesse, that wee should learne, not to beleeue them when they say the truth: for this is but a bait, that wee might afterward follow their lies. There is much mention made of these, both in the Ciuill and iCanon Lawes, and diuersitie of punishment alotted out for them; so that none can doubt but that there hath beene, and are such. I might remember vnto you the authority of Clemens Romanus in his Recognitions, and those Constitutions which are fathered vpon the Apostles; but their credit is not so great, that they may without exception be impannelled vpon this Iury, for they haue long since been chalenged of kinsufficiencie.
Among the Gentiles, when these so qualitied persons did swarme, and were accounted of high esteeme, there be reckoned vp whole troopes of this blacke guard of the Diuell; As lCirce whom Homer reporteth to haue turned Vlysses Companions into Wolues, Lyons, Swine, &c. by her Inchantments, insauaging and making them beast-like and furious. Medeam famous in this kinde, for she murthered by Witch-craft Glauca 9 C in the day of her marriage, who enioyed Iason her loue. Andn the Mortars of these two, wherein they stamped their Magicall drugges, were for a long time kept in a certaine mountaine, and shewed as strange monuments to those who desired a sight of them. For othe Diuel furnisheth such with powders, oyntments, hearbes, and like receipts, whereby they procure sicknesse, death, health, or worke other supernaturall effects. Of the same profession were pSimotha, qErictho, rCanidia, and infinite others beside, whose damnable memory deserueth to be buried in euerlasting obliuion.
But because the reports of these may seeme to carry small credit, for that they come from Poets, who are stained with the note of licentious sfaining, and so put off as vaine fictions; yet seeing they deliuer nothing herein but that which was well knowne and vsuall in those times wherein they liued, they are not slightly, and vpon an imagined conceit, to be reiected: for they affirme no more then is manifest in the records of most approued Histories, whose essence is and must be ttruth, uas straightnesse of a rule, or else deserue not that title. In which wee reade of xMartiana, yLocusta, zMartha, aaPamphilia, bbAruna, &c. And not to insist vpon particulars, there bee infinite numbers ouerflowing euen in these ourcc dayes, 10 since the sinceritie of Christian Profession hath decreased, and beene in a sort ecclipsed in the hearts of men: for the period of the continuance thereof (after it be once imbraced) in his first integrity, either for zeale of affection, or strictnesse of discipline, hath beene by some learned Diuinesdd obserued, to bee confined within the compass of twenty yeares; and then afterward by degrees, the one waxed cold, and the other dissolute: which being so, it is not to be maruelled though the Diuell now begin to shew himselfe in these his instruments, as heretofore, though he cannot in the same measure, in respect of those sparkes of light which yet shine amongst vs. But of this so much now, because I shall haue afterward occasion further to enlarge this poynt.
Againe, the policie of all Statesee haue prouided for the rooting out of these poysonfull Weedes, and cutting of these rotten and infected members; and therefore infallibly prouing their existence and being: for allff penall lawes looke to matters of fact and are made to punish for the present, and preuent in future, some wicked actions already committed. And therefore Solon the Athenian making statutes for the setling of that Common-wealth, when a defect was found, that he omitted to prouide a cautelous restraint, and appointgg answerable punishm?t for such who had killed their parents, answered, He neuer suspected there were or would be any such. Wherefore to confirme the position set downe, God doth 11 C2 not threaten to cast away his people for murther, incest, tyranny, &c. But Sorcery, Leuit. 20. 6. And Samuel willing to shew Saul the grieuousnesse of his disobedience, compareth it to witch-craft, 1. Sam. 15. 23. The Holy Ghost also manifesting how highly God was displeased with Manasses, maketh this the reason, because hee gaue himselfe to Witch-craft, and to Charming, and to Sorcery, and vsed them who had familiar spirits, and did much euill in the sight of the Lord to anger him, 2. Chro. 33. 6. And for this offence were the ten tribes of Israell led into captiuitie, 2. King. 17. 17. hhThe twelue Tables of the Romans (the ancientest law they haue) by a solemne Embassage (sent for that purpose) obtained from Athens, & accounted as a Library of knowledge, do both make mention of such malefactors, & decree a penaltie to be inflicted vpon them. iiConstantius and Constantinus thinke them worthy of some vnusuall death, as enemies of mankinde, strangers from nature: kkand Iulius Paulus distinguishing the punishment according to the different qualitie of the offenders, pronounceth out of the then receiued opinions, that the better sort found guilty, were to dye (not determining the manner) those of meaner condition either to bee crucified, or deuoured of wilde beasts.
Our ancient Saxon Kings before the llConquest, haue in their municipall Lawes apparantly demonstrated what they conceiued of these so dangerous and diuellish persons. Alucidus keepeth the expresse words of God; Fœminas sagas 12 ne sinite viuere. Suffer not women Witches to liue. Gunthrunus and Canutus will haue them, being once apprehended (that the rest of the people might bee pure and vndefiled) sent into banishment, or if they abide in the kingdome (continuing their lewd practises) executed according to desert. So Athelstane, if they be conuicted to haue killed any, &c. And how the present estate standeth affected toward them, the sundry strict statutes in this case prouided, may giue any, not wedded to his owne stubbornenesse, sufficient and full satisfaction. Wherefore not to erect a Tabernacle, and dwell longer in perswading an vndeniable truth, that there bee Sorcerers and Witches, I leaue these Hellish Infidels, and proceede.
THe second Proposition: aWho those be, and of what quality, that are thus ensnared of the Diuell, and vndermined by his fraudes. For resolution whereof, this may suffice. Those who either maliciously reiect the Gospell offered vnto them: or receiuing and vnderstanding the same, do but coldly respect, and carelessly taste it, without making any due estimation, or hauing any reuerent regard therof. In both which is a manifest and open contempt of God. For as he purposing to honour the first comming of his Sonne into 12 C2 the World, cloathed in the cloud of our flesh, which he assumed then, suffered many to be really possessed of Diuels, to bee lunatique, deafe, dumbe, blinde, &c. whom he might deliuer from these torments, and so make apparant his glory, and shew by these his miracles wrought, that hee was the promised Messias, Esay 35. 5.6. And therfore Christ referreth those Disciples whom Iohn sent vnto him (doubting in respect of that base forme which he tooke, and demanding whether it was he that should come, or another to be looked for) vnto his Doctrine and Workes; and by them to bee instructed, whereof they were then both hearers and beholders, Math. 11. 3.4.5. So now comming in the dew of his grace, and hauing restored the light of the Gospell, and bestowed that vpon mankinde, as an especiall and vnvaluable blessing, in his iustice giueth ouer the despisers thereof vnto the power of Sathan, whereby both others who contemne the same, might by their dreadfull example bee terrified, and the faithfull stirred vp to a respectiue thankfulnesse, for so great a mercy vouchsafed vnto them, and acknowledge their happinesse in being made partakers thereof, and by especiall fauour deliuered out of the tyranny of the Diuell: For this is one of the fearefull iudgements of God, and hidden from vs (as all are a great depth, Psal. 36. 6.) that those who receiued not the truth that they might be saued, should haue strong delusions sent vnto them, and bee giuen ouer to belieue Sathan and his lying signes, and false wonders, 2. Thess. 2. 10. 14 And thus consenting vnto sinne, and his suggestions, they are depriued of the bhelpe and assistance of God, and so disabled to resist all violent rushing temptations: for one offence, not being truely repented of, bringeth another, and at last throweth head-long downe into hell: and by this meanes man despising God his creator & redeemer, and obeying the Diuell a professed enemy, and irreconciliable aduersary, not easie to be confronted, becommeth his seruant: for of whomsoeuer any is ouercome, euen of the same is hee brought into bondage, 2. Pet. 2. 19. And the Apostle giueth as the reason why the heathen were so sottish Idolaters, and defiled themselues with many detestable and loathsome sinnes, cbecause when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankfull, therefore God gaue them ouer to a reprobate sence, and vile affections to doe those things which were not conuenient, full of all vnrighteousnesse, Rom 1. 24.25. &. 29 So these being enthralled, and deuoting themselues to the Diuell by a mutuall league (either expresse or secret) he brandeth with his mark for his downe, as in ancient time was an vse with Bondslaues and eCaptiues, and these bee ??????µ????, taken aliue in his snare, 2. Tim. 2. 26. and that in some part of the body, least either suspected or perceiued by vs (for hee is a cunning concealer) as vnder the eye-lids, or in the palat of the mouth, 15 or other secret places: Wherefore some Iudges cause them, once being called into question, and accused, to be shauen all the bodyf ouer. And for the manner of impression, or branding, it is after this sort. The Diuell when hee hath once made the contract betweene himselfe and the Witch, and agreed vpon the conditions, what they shall doe, the one for the other, giueth her some scratchg, which remaineth ful of paine & anguish vntill his return againe: at which time hee doth so benumme the same, that though it be pierced with any sharpe instrument, yet is without any sence of feeling, and will not yeeld one droppe of bloud at all: a matter knowne by iust, often, and due triall.
And for the most part, hee bringeth these his slaues and vassailes obliged to him as his owne, to some desperate, Tragicall,h and disastrous end; and that either by the execution of Iustice for their demerits, or by laying violent hands vpon themselues, or else God powreth vpon them some strange and extraordinary vengeance, or their Grand-maister whom they haue serued, dispatcheth them in such manner, as they become dreadfull and terrible spectacles to the beholders, whereof Histories will furnish vs with ivarietie and plenty of examples: For the Diuell is a murthering spirit, desirous to doe mischiefe, swelling in pride, malitious in hatred, spitefull in enuy, subtill in craft; and therefore it behoueth euery one resolutely to withstand his assaults, Ephes. 4. 27. and cautelously to decline his subtilties, and 16 cunning ambushments µe??de?a? from whence he inuadeth vs, Eph. 6. 11.k For this aduersary against whom we fight, is an old beaten enemy, sixe thousand yeares are fully compleat since the first time hee began to assault mankinde. But if any keepe the Commandements of God, and constantly, by a liuely faith, cleaue fast vnto Christ, he shall ouercome: for our Lord is inuincible.l The Diuels indeed doe willingly offer themselues to be seene of those who are not gouerned by the Holy Ghost; and that either to win themselues some estimation, or to intangle and deceiue men, vailing their treacheries vnder a smiling countenance, whom they deadly hate, for if it lay in their possibilitie, they would ouerthrow and destroy heauen it selfe. Now vnable to do this, they endeuour to worke vpon a more weake subiect and matter; and therefore hee that will not bee subdued of them, must auoid all occasions whereby he may take any aduantage, and couered with the Breast-plate of Righteousnesse, and defended with the Shield of Faith, quench all his fiery Darts. Ephes. 6. 14.
EXcept God do by his especial grace and ouerruling power, restraine the malice of these Witches and preserue his Children, they are permissiuely able,a through the helpe of the Diuell 17 D their maister, to hurt Men and Beasts, and trouble the elements, by vertue of that contract & agreement which they haue made with him. For man they endamage both in body & mind: In body, for bDaneus reporteth of his owne knowledge, as an eye-witnesse thereof, that he hath seene the breasts of Nurces (onely touched by their hands) those sacred fountaines of humane nourishment so dried vp that they could yeeld no milke; some suddenly tormented with extreame and intolerable paine of the Cholicke, othersc oppressed with the Palsie, Leprosie, Gout, Apoplexie, &c. And thus disabled from the performance of any action, many tortured with lingring consumptions,d and not a few afflicted with such diseases, which neither they themselues who wrought that euill, could afterward helpe; nor be cured thereof by the Art and diligent attendance of most skilfull Physitians. I willingly let passe other mischiefes wrought by them, of which many things are deliuered in the Canon and Ciuill Lawes, in the Schoole-men, and Diuines both ancient and moderne.
In minde, stirring vp men to lust, to hatred, to loue, and the likee passions, and that by altering the inward and outward sences, either in forming some new obiect, or offering the same to the eye 18 or eare, or stirring the humors: for there being a neere coniunction betweene the sensitiue and rationall faculties of the soule, if the one bee affected, the other (though indirectly) must of necessity be also moued. As for example, when they would prouoke any to loue or hatred, they propound an obiect vnder the shew and appearance of that which is good and beautifull, so that it may be desired and embraced: or else by representation of that which is euill & infamous, procure dislike and detestation. Neither is this any strange position, or improbable, but may bee warranted by sufficient authority; and therefore fConstantius the Emperour doth expressely determine, all those iustly punishable who sollicite by enchantments chaste mindes to vncleannesse: And Saint gIerome attributeth vnto them this power, that they can enforce men to hate those things they should loue, and affect that which they ought to auoyd: and the ground hereof hath his strength from the holy Scriptures: for the Diuell is able to enflame wantonh lust in the heart, and therfore is named, the Spirit of Fornication, Osea 4. 12. and vncleane, Math. 12. 43.
There is a very remarkeable example mentioned by Ieromei, of a maiden in Gaza whom a yong man louing, and not obtaining, went to Memphis in Egypt, and at the yeares end in his returne, being there instructed by a Priest of Aesculapius, and furnished with Magicall Coniurations, graued in a plate of brasse, strange charming words, and pictures which he buried vnder the threshold 19 D2 of the doore where the virgin dwelt: by which meanes she fell into a fury, pulled off the attire of her head, flung about her haire, gnashed with her teeth, and continually called vpon the name of her louer.
The like doth kNazianzene report of Cyprian before his conuersion (though some thinke it lwas not he whose learned and religions writings are extant, and for the profession of his faith and doctrine was crowned with Martyrdome) but another of that name, toward Iustina, whom hee lasciuiouslym courted, and vnlawfully lusted after. It were easie for me to instance this in many, and to adde more testimonies, but my intended purpose was, to set downe onely some few propositions, whereby the iudicious reader might be stirred vp to a deeper search, and further consideration of these things: for often they driue men to a madnesse, and other such desperate passions, that they become murtherers of themselues. But this alwayes must be kept in minde, as a granted and infallible truth, nThat whatsoeuer the Witch doth, it receiueth his force from that society which she hath with the Diuell, who serueth her turne in effecting what she purposeth, and so they worke together as oassociates.
Now concerning beasts they doe oftentimes kill them out-right, and that in sundry manner, or pine and waste them by little and little, till they be consumed.
For pthe Elements, it is an agreeing consent of all, that they can corrupt and infect them, procure 20 tempests, to stirre vp thunder & lightning, moue violent winds, destroy the fruits of the earth: for God hath a thousand wayes to chasten disobedient man, and whole treasures full of vengeance by his Angels, Diuels, Men, Beasts. For the whole nature of things is ready to reuenge the wrong done vnto the creator.
It were but fruitlesse labour, and ill spent, to bestow long time in confirming this so manifest a truth, and not much better then set vp a candle to giue the Sunnelight when it shineth brightest in mid-heauen: yet to satisfie those who doubt here-of, I will giue a small touch of an example or two.
qCurius Sidius the Roman Generall in a battell against Salebus, Captaine of the Moores, in want of water, obtained such abundance of raine from Heauen by Magicall inchantments, that it not onely sufficed the thirst of his Souldiers, but terrified the enemies in such sort, (supposing that God had sent helpe) as of their owne accord, they sought for conditions of peace, and left the field.
The narration of Olausr Magnus which he maketh of his Northerne Wisards and Witches, would seeme to be meere , and altogether Ericus, who had the winde at command, to blow alwayes from that quarter to which he would set his hat. Or Hagbert, who could shew herselfe in any shape, higher or lower, as she pleased, at one time so great as a Giant, at another as little as a Dwarfe: by whose Diabolicall practises 21 D3 mighty Armies haue beene dicomfited, and sundry others, except the truth hereof were without contradiction approued: by the experience of our owne Nauigators, who trade in Finland, Denmarke, Lapland, Ward-house, Norway, and other Countries of that Climate, and haue obtained of the inhabitants thereof, a certaine winde for twenty dayes together, or the like fixed period of time, according to the distance of place and strings tied with three knots, so that if one were loosed, they should haue a pleasant gale: if the second, a more vehement blast: if the third, such hideous & raging tempests that the Mariners were not able once to looke out, to stand vpon the hatches, to handle their tackle, or to guide the helme with all their strength; and are somtimes violently carried back to the place from whence they first loosed to sea; and many (more hardy then wise) haue bought their triall full deere, opening those knots, and neglecting admonition giuen to the contrary. Apuleius ascribeth to Pamphile, a Witch of Thessalia, little lesse then diuine power to effect strange wonders in heauen, in earth, in hell; to darken the starres, stay the course of riuers, dissolue mountains, and raise vp spirits, this opinion went for currant and vncontrouled. And without all question the Diuells can do this and much more, when God letteth him loose. For he is stiled, The Prince of the world, Ioh. 12. 31. A strong man armed, Luke 11. 21, Principality, a ruler of darknesse, spirituall wickednesse in high places, Ephes. 6. 12.
Thus he dismaied the heart of Saul (when he had 22 broken the Commandement of God) with dreadfull feare, and enraged his minde with bloudy fury, 1. Sam. 16. 14. Entred into Iudas, prouoked him to betray his maister, dispaire and hang himselfe, Math. 27. 3. filled the heart of Ananias and Saphira with dissimulation,Act. 5. 3. possessed the bodies of many really, as is manifest in the History of the Gospell. Our Sauiour Christ assureth vs, that a daughter of Abraham was bound for 18 yeares by Sathan, with such a spirit of infirmitie, as bowed together, shee could in no wise lift vp herselfe, Luk. 13. 11.16. He spake out of the Pythonesse, Act. 16. 17. brought downe fire from heauen, and consumed Iobs sheepe 7000. and his seruants, raised a storme, strooke the house wherein his sonnes and daughters feasted with their elder brother, smote the foure corners of it, with the ruine whereof they all were destroyed, and perished: and ouerspread the body of that holy Saint their father with botchest and biles from the sole of his foot to the crowne of his head.u And hee 23 wil haue his seruants Wisards & Witches, coadiutors with him, and maketh them fit instruments to the performance of all wicked exploits, and this is when God pleaseth (of which I shall haue occasion to speake more afterward) to giue leaue, for his wil is the first supreme and principal cause of all things: and nothing can be done visibly in this Common-wealth here below of the creatures, but is decreed and determined so to be first in the high Court of Heauen, according to his vnsearchable wisedome and iustice, disposing punishments and rewards as seemeth good vnto himselfe. So Pharaohsx Magitians could turne water into bloud, their roddes into serpents, produce frogges, &c. But when it came to the base vermine, to make lice, they were pusled, and acknowledged their imbecillity, confessing, Digitus Dei est,y Gods finger is here, Exod. 18. 19. For if they could effect and bring to passe all mischieuous designements without his sufferance, it would inferre a weakenesse, and conclude a defect ofz power in him, as not sufficient to oppose their strength, supplant their force, and auoid their stratagems. And we must not imagine that the practioners of these damnable Arts of which sexe soeuer, be they men or women, do performe those mischifes which they effect, by their owne skills or such meanes as they vse, of which sort bee the bones of dead mens skuls, Toades, Characters, Images, &c. But the cooperation of the Diuell, who is by nature subtile, by long experience instructed, swift to 24 produceth strange works, & to humane vnderstanding admirable. Yetaa he will haue those his vassals perswaded of some great benefit bestowed vpon them, whereby they are inabled to helpe and hurt, whom, how, and when they list; and all to indeere them, & by making them partakers in his villany, being strongly bound in his seruice, & stedfastly continued in the same, might more grieuously offend God, and bring iust condemnation vpon themselues. And for the greater, and more forceable inticing allurement hereunto, hee promiseth to giue and doe many things for their sakes, and reueale to them hidden secrets, and future euents, suchbb as he himselfe purposeth to doe, or knoweth by naturall signes shall come to passe. So then to conclude, incc euery Magicall action, there must be a concurrence of these three. First, the permitting will of God. Secondly, the suggestion of the Diuell, and his power cooperating. Thirdly, the desire and consent of the Sorcerer; and ifdd any of these be wanting, no trick of witch-craft can be performed. For if God did not suffer it, neither the Diuell, nor the Witch could preuaile to do any thing, no not so much as to hurt oneee bristle of a Swine. And if the Diuell had not seduced the minde of the wicked woman, no such matter would haue beene attempted. And againe, if hee had not the Witch to bee his instrument, the Diuell were debarred of his purpose.
And as these euill spirits are in themselues different in power, vnderstanding, and subtiltie: so 25 E can their seruants do more or lesse through their meanes.
I conclude with that memorable speech of a most noble and learned man,ff The Diuell is the Author and principall of all that euill which the Witch or Wisard committeth, not thereby to make them more powerfull, but to deceiue them by credulity and ouer-light beliefe, and to get himselfe a companion of his impiety, cruelty, and hatred, which he beareth both to God and man; and also of eternall damnation: for indeed it is his worke, which the foolish and doating wisards coniecture is brought to passe by the words and inchantments which they vtter: and is very busie thus to colour his proceedings, which neuer come abroad in their owne likenesse, because he enuieth the blessed estate of man, and his eternall saluation purchased by the perfect obedience of Christ the Redeemer, and hateth that Image of God which hee beholdeth in him; much like the Panther,gg who when hee cannot get hold of the man himselfe, is so inflamed with rage, that he teareth his picture in peeces violently which is cast vpon the ground to hinder his pursuit of the hunter who hath carried away his whelpes. And hhso as Lactantius speaketh, these vncleane spirits cast from heauen, wander vp and downe the earth, compasse land and sea, seeking to bring men to destruction as a consort of their owne desperate and irrecouerable estate.
HAuing shewed before, that the pracise of Witches receiueth the being and perfection from thata agreement which is made betweene them and Diuell, it now followeth necessarily, that we do enquire whether it bee possible that there may be any such agreement and league betweene them. The cause of doubt ariseth from the diuersity or disparity of their natures, the one being a corporall substance, the other spirituall, vpon which ground someb haue supposed that no such contract can passe: But we are to hold the contrary affirmatiue, both de esse, and de posse, there may be, and is, notwithstanding this difference of essence, a mutuall contract of the one with the other: for we read of sundry leagues between God & his people, and some with great solemnitie of ceremonies vsed in the same, ac Genesis 15. 9.17. and Deut. 5. 2. and in many other like places, yet is hee a simple essence,d free from all diuision, multiplication, composition, accidents, incorporeall, spirituall, and inuisible. But in Angelicall creatures, though there be no Physicall composition of matter and forme, or a soule and a body; yet is there a metaphysicall, being substances consisting of an act and possibility, subiect and accidents. And furthcr, betweene a spirit and a man, there is communication of the 27 E2 vnderstanding and will, the faculties and actions whereof must concurre in euery couenant, which is nothing else but the consent of two or more persons about the thing.
And when the Diuell durst in expresse tearmes tender a contract to our blessed Sauiour, tempting him in the wildernesse, shewing him the kingdomes of the world, and the glory thereof, offered them with this condition, All these will I giue thee, if thou wilt fall downe and worship me, Mat. 4. 9. How much more then will hee aduenture vpon man, weake, wicked, and easie to be seduced? And whoe can doubt but that these bee the solemne and formall words of a bargaine, Do vt des, do vt facias, I giue this for to haue that giuen, I bestow this, to haue such, or such a thing done for me.
Now this couenant is of two sorts, secret or manifest; secret, when one indeuoureth or intendeth to do any thing by such meanes, which neither in nature, nor by institution haue power to produce the purposed effects, or be conioyned as neccessary with other, which can bring the same to passe. Expresse, wherein consent is giuen either by writing, and words, or making such signes, whereby they renounce God, and deuote themselues slaues and vassals vnto the Diuell, hee promising, that vpon such condition they shall doe wonders, know future euents, helpe and hurt at their pleasure, and others like vnto these.
An example whereof wee may obserue inf Siluester the second, one of the holy Fathers of 28 Rome, who did homage to the Diuell his Lord, and made fidelity to liue at his will and appoyntment, vpon condition to obtaine what he desired, by which meanes he got first the Bishopricke of Rhemes, after of Rauenna, and at the last the Papacie of Rome. Which Sea, though it will yeeld good plenty of such like presidents, and we may finde them in authenticall records of Histories, yet I content my selfe with this one.
gThe formall tearmes of this couenant, as they bee set downe by some, are most dreadfull: and the seuerall poynts these.
To renounce God his Creator, and that promise made in Baptisme.
To deny Iesus Christ, and refuse the benefites of his obedience, yea to blaspheme his glorious and holy name.
To worship the Deuill, & repose all confidence and trust in him.
To execute his commaundements.
To vse things created of God for no end, but to the hurt and destruction of others.
And lastly, to giue himselfe soule and body to that deceitfull and infernall spirit, who on the other part appeareth to them in the shape of a man (which is most common) or some other creature, conferreth familiarly, and bindeth himselfe by many promises, that at all times called for, he will presently come, giue counsell, further their desires, answer any demaund, deliuer from prison, and out of all dangers, bestow riches, wealth, pleasure, and what not? and all without any labour and 29 E3 paines-taking, in a word to become seruiceable to their will, & accomplish all their requests. And this is that which the Prophet Esay speaketh, chap. 28. 15. to make a couenant with death, and an agreement with hell. The consent of the ancient Fathers, if there were any doubt, might be added to the further clearing of this conclusion. For hCyprian directly affirmeth, that all those who vse magicall Arts, make a couenant with the Diuell, yea he himselfe, while he practized the same (before his calling to the light and true knowledge of God) was bound vnto him by an especialli writing, whereunto some subscribe with their owne bloud, which was a vse among diuers nations, and a most sure bond of constant friendship, and kinuiolable consociation. But herein these seduced wretches are deceiued: for these promises which he makes, are treacherous, and the obseruances whereunto he enioyneth and perswadeth them, as powerfull in producing such or such effects, meere deceipts, and haue no qualitie in them to that purpose, but respecteth his owne ends, which are one of these foure.
First, to the mouing of them to the breaking of Gods law.
Secondly, to adore him with diuine worship and sacred rites.
Thirdly, to weaken their hope and faith in God.
Fourthly, to couer his owne fraud and treachery, that it may not be perceiued.
And when they finde this Impostor failing in the performance of his vowed promises, then he 30 wanteth not his shifts: as that these defects are not to be imputed to him, or the weakenesse of the Art, but their owne negligence or ignorance, who haue not exactly obserued such directions, and in that manner they were deliuered: or mistooke his meaning, which is commonly deliuered inl ambiguous tearmes, such as will admit a double construction: and herein appeareth the lamentable and woefull blindnesse of man, who is contented to swallow vp, and excuse many of his lies by one truth fore-told; which hath casually come to passe, whereas in other matters they make light account of, yea cõtemne infinit truths, if they shall finde by long search and diligent inquiry, but one falshood. Wherefore it behooueth vs to be carefull Centinels ouer our selues, for that our grandm aduersary, proud, enuious, and not standing in the truth, reposeth all his possibility of victory in lies, and out of this poysoned sinke, deuiseth all kinde of deceits, that so hee might depriue man of that happy and blessed estate which he lost by pride, and draw him into the society of his owne damnation: therefore it is a needfull caueat giuen by one of the ancient Fathers: Our enemy is old against whom wee 31 fight, sixe nthousand yeares fully compleat are passed since he began to oppose himself against vs; but if wee obserue the commandements of God, and continue steadfast in faith, apprehending Iesus Christ, then shall we be able to withstand all his violent assaults, and ouer-come him because Christ in whom we trust, is inuincible.
THe Diuell can assume to himselfa a body, and frame a voyce to speake with, and further instruct and giue satisfaction to those who haue submitted themselues vnto him, and are bound to his seruice. For he lost not by his transgression and fall, his naturallb endowments, but they continued in him wholec and perfect, as in the good Angels, who abide in that obedience and holiness wherein they were created, from whence a reason confirmatiue may bee thus framed, Good Angels can take vnto themselues bodies, as Genes. 18. 2. Iudg. 13. 3.6. therefore the euill also. Thus the Diuell hath appeared to some in the forme of a dMan, cloathed in purple, & wearing a crowne vpon his head: to others in the likenesse of a eChilde: sometime he sheweth himselfe in the 32 forme of foure-footed beastes, foules, creeping things, froaring as a Lyon, skipping like a Goat, barking after the manner of a dogge, and the like. Butg it is obserued by some, that he cannot take the shape of a Sheepe, or Doue, though of an Angell of light: 2. Cor. 11. 14. And further, hmost of the learned doe hold, that those bodies wherein they doe appeare, are fashioned of thei aire, (though it is not to be denied, but they can enter into other, as the Diuell did into the Serpent, deceiuing Eue, Gen. 3. 1.) which if it continuing pure and in the owne nature,k hath neither colour nor figure, yet condensed receiueth both, as wee may behold in the clouds, which resemble sometime one, sometime another shape, and so in them is seene the representation of Armies fighting, of beasts and Birds, houses, Cities, and sundry other kinds of apparations.
Histories of all can witnesse of the Diuels appearance in humanl shape: thus a Pseudo-Moses, or Messias in Crete, perswaded the Iewes that it was he who brought their Fathers the Israelites out of Egypt, and led them through the Red Sea, and would conduct them also out of that land vpon the waters into Iudea. But many following his counsell, perished: the rest admonished by that destruction, turned back, accusing their folly; and when they made enquiry for this guide, to haue rewarded him according to his desert, was no where to be found, whereof they conceiued hee was a Diuell in Mans likenesse. And such an one mwas that merry (but malicious) spirit, who walked 33 F for a long time in Saxony, and was very seruiceable, clothed in country apparrell, with a cappe on his head, delighted to conuerse and talke with the people, to demaund questions, and answer what he was asked, hurting none, except iniured before, and then declared himselfe a right diuell in reuenge.
nThe late Discoueries and Nauigations made into the west Indies, can furnish vs with abundant testimonies hereof, in which the mindes of the inhabitants are both terrified & their bodies massacred by his visible sight, and cruell tortures; yet (which is the opinion of many learned) he cannot so perfectly represent the fashion of a mans body, but that there is some sensible deformity, by which hee bewrayeth himselfe; as his ofeete like those of an Ox, a Horse, or some other beasts, clouen houed, his hands crooked, armed with clawes, or talants like a vulture: or some one misshapen part, wherein (though hee delight in the shape of man, as most fitting for company and conference) is demonstrated, the great and tender loue of God toward vs, who hath so branded this deceiuer, that hee may bee discerned euen of those who are but of meane capacity, and so consequently auoyded. And as in his body assumed, so in his speech there is a defect, for it is weake, small, whispering, imperfect.
And thus it is preported of Hermolaus Barbarus, who inquiring of a spirite, the signification and meaning of a difficult qword in Aristotle, 34 he hard a low hissing, and murmuring voyce giuing answere.
And this hee doth of set purpose, that so his sophisticall & doubtfull words might be the lesse perceiued.
Neither can this seeme strange to any, that the Diuell should speake, who brought a voyce from Trees to saluter Apollonius, and inspired that talkatiue Oke in Dodona, famous for the Oracles vttered there in Heroicall verse, to the Grecians, and to euery nation in his owne language, Chaldeans, Egyptians, Armenians, and other people who were led by him, and depended vpon his resolution.
And thus the sImage of Memnon, when the Sunne did shine vpon it, and his beames touched the lips thereof, (which was at the arising in the East) speake vnto them who were present.
And considering, as hath beene mentioned before, that there passeth betweene the Witch and her Diuell, a compact, as with a Maister and a Seruant, it must therefore consist vppon prescript tearmes of commaunding, and obeying; and then of necessity is required a conuersing together; and conference whereby the same couenant may be ratified.
GOd giueth, both the diuell, and his seruants the witches, power sometimes to trouble his owne children; so aChrist our blessed Sauiour, was by Sathan carryed from place to place, Math. 4. 5. Iobb in strange manner afflicted, and his children slaine, through his power, whom none can conceiue but were Gods seruants, religiously brought vp in his feare: and their father hath an honourable testimonie from the mouth of God himselfe, Iob 1. ver. 8. Dauid, a man according to Gods owne heart, Acts 13. 22. is by Sathan stirred vp to number the people, 1. Chron. 21. 1. and that incuriosity and the pride of his heart, onelie to know the multitude of his subiects, 2. Sam. 24. 2.
Whereas the Law appoynteth another end, Exod. 30. 12. which hee had cnow forgotten, the maintenance of the Ministerie and worshippe of God. And a daughter of Abraham is bound of the diuell eighteene whole yeeres, had a spirit of Infirmity, was bowed together, and could in no wise lift vp herselfe, Lu. 13. 11.16. a grieuous calamity in respect of the author, the , and the effect. But to handle this poynt a little more distinctly; It shall not be amisse to open first some reasons, why God doth giue this power to the diuel ouer the righteous his children sometimes, as also vpon the wicked and disobedient to 36 his will: And in the second place, why Witches haue the like leaue graunted vnto them. Therefore for his children.
The first reason of his permission is his inscrutabled wisedome, who out of euill bringeth good; so Paul had a minister of Sathan to buffet him, to keepe him in humility, that hee might not waxe proude and high-minded, in regard of those great mysteries which were reuealed when hee was taken into the third heauen, 2. Corint. 12. 4. Thus his tentation was a medicine preseruatiue preuenting the disease of his soule, which otherwise hee might haue falne into, efor both himselfe, and the rest of the Apostles, though they were chosen vessells, yet were they also fraile and brittle, wandring yet in the flesh vpon earth, not triumphing securely in heauen.
Second, It isf proceeding from his mercy and goodnes, for the trial of faith, obedience and constancy in such as belong to God: whereof there is an excellent patterne, and vnparaleld in Iob 1. 13.14. &c. for by this triall is made a proofe to examine whether wee doe continue firme vpon our square, and vnshaken, or no; and be not remoued, eyther by the gseeming wonders of the diuell, or of his seruants and associats. And therefore the Apostle pronounceth him blessed, who endureth temptation, for when hee is tryed hee shall receiue the crowne of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that loue him, Iames 1. 12. for he is faithfull, and wil not suffer vs to be tempted aboue that we are able, but with the temptation 37 F3 also make a way to escape, &c. 1. Cor. 10. 13.
Third, Wee are admonished alwayes to stand in a readines, and be armed for to fight, prepared to withstand the diuell, knowing that God doth oftentimes giue him leaue to assault vs. Therefore we haue need to be furnished in all points, for we wrastle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkenesse of this world, against spirituall wickednesses in high places, Ephes. 6. 11.12. And 1. Pet. 5. 8.9. be sober and vigilant, because your aduersary the diuell as a roaring Lyon walketh about, seeking whom he may deuoure. He his no weake assaylant, and therefore heere by the Apostle are noted in him foure things: First, his power (a Lyon): Second, his hatred, and wrath in the word (roaring): Third, his subtilty (walking about) obseruing euery oportunity and occasion to hurt vs: Fourth, his cruelty (deuoure) no contentment but in our ruine and vtter destruction.
Fourth, God would haue vs get the victorie against Sathan, and take knowledge, that Christ on our side fighteth for vs, through whom we triumph, and so are made more vndoubtedly assured of our saluation; and this is that which hee promised, The iSeed of the woman shall bruise the head of the Serpent, Gen. 3. 15. And the Apostle confirmeth, God shall tread down Sathan vnder your feete, Rom. 16. 20.
God suffereth the diuell to preuaile against the wicked, yet in the most Holy there is no iniustice 2. Chron. 19. 7. But 38 First, kHerein is the declaration of his iustice, whereby hee punisheth obstinate sinners, & those who prouoke him to wrath, and will not repent: And thus it is sayd of the Aegiptians, whom no plagues could soften, that hee cast vpon them the fiercenes of his anger, and indignation, and trouble, by sending euill Angels among them, lPsalm 78. 49. And when Saul had neglected the commandement of God, an euill spirit from the Lord troubled him, 1. Sam. 16. 14. Thus Ahab seduced by his false prophets descendeth into the battaile, and is slaine (contemning the words of Michaiah) inm whose mouthes the diuell was a lying spirit, who sent of the Lord, perswaded him and preuailed, 1. Kin. 22. 22.23.24.
Second, By affliction in the body or goodes, Godn would quicken them vp to seeke the saluation of their soules. And so Paul gaue ouer a scandalous and incestuous person vnto the diuell, that he might be induced to forsake his sin, liue chastely heereafter, and be an edifying example to those whom he had offended: and this kinde of discipline was more soueraigne, then any other could haue beene, because mans nature abhorreth Sathan, and trembleth with feare once to conceiue that he should fall into his power and hands, and this is that which he writeth, aduising the Corinthians to deliuer him vnto Sathan, for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saued in the day of the Lord Iesus, 1. Cor 5. 5. And in this sort he speaketh of two other deceiuers and blasphemers, Hymenaus and Alexander, I haue deliuered 39 them vnto Sathan, that they may learne not to blaspheme, 1. Timothie 1. 20. therfore this giuing ouer, was not to destruction, but for correction.
The last poynt propounded, was, That witches haue power granted to vex Gods owne children aswell as others, and preuaile ouer them; and that we doe enquire (so farre as we may, and is iustifiable) of the causes thereof, which may be these.
First, oThis is permitted vnto them for the experience of their faith and integrity, so that by this meanes their loue towards God which lay hidden in the heart, is now made manifest. To be quiet and patient in prosperity, when we may enioy benefites at our owne pleasure, is a matter easily to be performed: But to endure the fire of Tribulation, that is the proofe of a stedfast Christian, and in losses and sickenesse procured by such to bee silent, and submit our selues, this is the note of a faithfull man, & to choose rather obeying the law of God, to beare the infirmity of the body, then to ouer-flow in riches, and enioying health and strength offend the Lord.
Second, this maketh a difference betweene the wicked and the godly: for thus the holy Apostle speaketh of the righteous, that by many afflictions they must enter into the kingdome of heauen, Act. 14. 22. And all that will liue godly in Christ Iesus suffer tribulations, 2. Timoth. 3. 12. for whom the Lord loueth, he doth chasten, Prouer. 3. 12. It is a Christians glory to vndergoe for Gods cause, any vexation whatsoeuer, whether wrought by the 40 diuell, or brought to passe by wicked men his pinstruments; for when he is tryed, hee shall receiue the crowne of life, which God hath promised to those who loue him, Iames 1. 12. But wee reade contrary of the wicked, they become olde, yea, are mighty in power, their seede is established in their sight with them, and their of-spring before their eyes, their houses are safe from feare, neyther is the rod of God vpon them, &c. they spend their dayes in wealth, and in a moment go downe into the graue, Iob 21. 7.8.9. &c. Yet surely they are set in slippery places, sodainely destroyed and perished, & horribly consumed as a dreame when one awaketh: O Lord, thou shalt make their Image despised, &c. Psal. 73. 18.19.20.
MOre women in a farre different proportion prooue Witches then men, by a hundred to one; therefore the Lawe of God noteth that Sex, as more subiect to that sinne, Exodus 22. 18. It is a common speach amongst the Iewish Rabbins, amany women, many Witches: And it should seeme that this was a generally receiued opinion, for so it is noted by Pliny, Quintilian, and others, neyther doth this proceede (as some haue thought) from their frailtie and imbecillity, for in many of them there is stronger resolution, to vndergoe any torment then can bee found in 41 G man, as was made apparant in that conspiracy of Piso against Nero,b who that Epicharis, knowne to bee of the same faction, should first presently be set vpon the racke, Muliebre corpus impar dolori. imagining that being a woman, she would neuer bee able to ouercome the paine: But all the tortures that he or his could deuise, were not able to draw from her the least confession of any thing that was then obiected against her. The first dayes question shee so vtterly contemned, that the very Chaire in which they conueied her from the place, did seeme as a Chariot wherein shee rid, triumphing ouer the barbarous vsage of their inhumane cruelty. The morrow following brought thither againe, after many rough incounters, remained so vnshaken, that wrath it selfe grew madde, to see the strokes of an obstinate and relenting fury fall so in vaine vpon the softer temper of a Woman: and at the last tooke a scarfe from about her necke, and by it knits vp within her bosome the knowledge shee had of that fact, together with that little remainder of spirit, whereof by force and violence they laboured to depriue her.
cFormer ages haue likewise produced Leena, an exemplary president of this sort, to all posterity, who when Armodius and Aristogiton hauing failed of the execution of their enterprise against Hipparchus a tyrant, had beene put to death, she was brought to the torture to be enforced to declare what other complices there were of the conspiracie. But rather then shee 42 should bee compelled thereunto, bit her tongue asunder, and spit it in the face of the tyrant, that though she would, yet could not now disclose them. In remembrance whereof the Athenians caused a Lyon of Brasse to bee erected, shewing her inuincible courage by the generosity of that beast, and her perseuerance in secrecie, in that they made it without a tongue. Therefore the learned haue searched out other causes thereof, and among the rest, obserued these as the most probable.
First, they are by nature credulous, wanting experience, and therfore more easily deceiued.
Secondly, dthey harbour in their breast a curious and inquisitiue desire to know such things as be not fitting and , and so are oftentimes intangled with the bare shew and visard of goodnesse. As the Lady of Rome, who was importune, and vehemently instant vpon her husband, to know what was debated of that day at the Councell Table. And when he could not be at rest, answered, The Priests had seene a Larke flying in the aire with a golden Helmet on his head, and holding a speare in his foot. Scarce she had this, but presently she told it to one of her maids: she to another of her fellowes, so that report was spread through the whole Citie, and went for currant vntill it receiued a checke: But all are not of this mould.
Thirdly, their complection is softer, and from hence more easily receiue the impressions offered by the Diuell; as when they be instructed and 43 gouerned by good Angels, they proue exceeding religious, and extraordinarily deuout; so consenting to the suggestions of euill spirits, become notoriously wicked, so that there is no mischiefe aboue that of a woman, Eccles. 25. 13. &c.
Fourthly, in them is a greater facility to fall, and therefore the Diuell at the first took that aduantage, and set vpon Eue in Adams absence, Genes. 3. 3.
Fifthly, this sex, when it conceiueth wrath or hatred against any, is vnplacable, possessed with vnsatiable desire of reuenge, and transported with appetite to right (as they thinke) the wrongs offered vnto them: and when their power herein answereth not their will, and are meditating with themselues how to effect their mischieuous proiects and designes, the Diuelle taketh the occasion, who knoweth in what manner to content exulcerated mindes, windeth himselfe into their hearts, offereth to teach them the meanes by which they may bring to passe that rancor which was nourished in their breasts, and offereth his helpe and furtherance herein.
Sixthly, they are of a slippery tongue, and full of words: and therefore if they know any such wicked practises, are not able to hold them, but communicate the same with their husbands, children, consorts, and inward acquaintance; who not consideratly weighing what the issue and end thereof may be, entertaine the same, and so the poyson is dispersed. Thus Dalilah discouered her husbands strength where it lay, vnto the 44 and procured his infamous and disastrous ouer-throw. Judg. 16. 18.
MArie wife of Henrie Smith, Glouer, possessed with a wrathfull indignation against some of her neighbours, in regard that they made gaine of their buying and selling Cheese, which shee (vsing the same trade) could not doe, or they better (at the least in her opinion) then she did, often times cursed them, and became incensed with vnruly passions, armed with a setled resolution, to effect some mischieuous 46 proiects and designes against them. The diuell who is skilfull, and reioyceth of such an occasion offered and knoweth how to stirre vp the euill affected humours of corrupt mindes (she becomming now a fitte subject, through this her distemper, to worke vpon, hauing the vnderstanding darkened with a cloude of passionate, and reuengefull affections) appeared vnto her amiddes these discontentments, Proposition 4. in the shape of a blacke man, and willed that the she should continue in her malice, enuy, hatred, banning and cursing; and then he would be reuenged for her vpon all those to whom she willed euill: Proposition 5. and this promise was vttered in a lowe murmuring and hissing voyce: and at that present they entred tearmes of a compact, he requiring that she should forsake God, and depend vpon him: to which she condescended in expresse tearmes, renouncing God, and betaking herselfe vnto him. I am sparing by anie amplification to enlarge this, but doe barely and nakedly rehearse the trueth, and number of her owne words vnto mee. After this hee presented himselfe againe at sundry times, and that to this purpose (as may probably bee coniectured) to hold her still in his possession, who was not able, eyther to looke further into these subtilties, then the superficiall barke thereof, or not discouer the depth of his designements, and in other formes, as of a mist, and of a ball of fire, with some dispersed spangles of blacke; and at the last in prison (after the doome of iudegement, and sentence of condemnation was passed against her) two seuerall 47 times, in that figure as at the first: only at the last he seemed to haue a paire of horns vpon his head, and these as shee came downe from her chamber, being sent for to conferre with some learned and reuerend , by whose prayers and instructions she might be brought to the sight and confession of her grieuous offences, be regained and rescued out of his hands, brought to repentance, and the fauour of God, assured hope of mercie, and eternall life, and at these times he wished her to confesse nothing to any of them, but continue constant in her made promise, rely vpon him, and hee would saue her. This was too high a straine aboue his reach to haue made it good, and a note of his false descant, who hauing compassed this wretched woman, brought her to a shamefull and vntimely end; yet doing nothing herein contrary to his malicious purposes, for hee was a murtherer from the beginning, Iohn 8. 44.
The first who tasted of the gall of her bitternes was Iohn Orkton a Sailer, and a man of strong constitution of body, who about some fiue yeares sithence, returning out of Holland in the Netherland, or low Countries beyond the Seas, hapened, for some misdemeanors committed by him to strike the sonne of this Mary Smith (but in such sort as could not in reason bee offensiuely taken) who hearing his complaint, came forth into the streete, cursing and banning him therefore, as oftentimes shee did, dwelling in the next adioyning house, and wished in a most earnest and bitter manner, that his fingers might rotte off; wherevpon presently hee grew weake, distempered in stomacke, and could digest no meate, nor other nourishment receiued, and this discrasie or feeblenesse continued for the space of three quarters of a yeare; which time expired, the fore-mentioned griefe fel downe from the stomacke into his hands and feete, so that his fingers did corrupt, and were cut off; as also his toes putrified & consumed in a very strange and admirable manner. Neuerthelesse, notwithstanding these calamities, so long as hee was able, went still to Sea, in the goods and shippes of sundry Merchants (for it 49 H was his onely meanes of liuing) but neuer could make any prosperous voyage (as then other men did) eyther beneficiall to the Owners, or profitable to him selfe. Whereupon, not willing to bee hindrance to others, and procure no good for his owne maintenance by his labours, left that trade of life, and kept home, where his former griefe encreasing, sought to obtaine help and remedie by Chirurgery, and for this end went to Yarmouth, hoping to be cured by one there, who was accompted very skilfull: but no medicines applyed by the Rules of Arte and Experience, wrought any expected or hoped for effect: for both his hands and feete, which seemed in some measure euery euening to be healing, in the morning were found to haue gone backeward, and growne far worse then before: So that the Chirurgian perceiuing his labour to bee wholly frustrate, gaue ouer the cure, and the diseased patient still continueth in a most distressed and miserable estate, vnto the which hee was brought by the hellish practises of this malitious woman, who long before openly in the streetes, (whenas yet the neighbours knew of no such thing) reioycing at the calamity, said, Orkton now lyeth a rotting. And no maruell though she could tell that which herselfe had done, and her good maister would not suffer to be concealed, but that the testimony of her owne tongue should remayne as a record towardes her further detection and condemnation, who sought meanes of her voluntary accord to be reconciled with the wofull distressed 50 party, but this was nothing else but to plaister ouer and disguise her former inhumane and barbarous actions, for no reliefe at all followed thereof: for oftentimes, as hath beene prooued, the Propositiõ 3. diuells and witches his instruments doe cause such diseases, which neyther the one, nor the other can remoue againe. And this is not any vaporous imagination, but a most vndoubted trueth. For now this poore man continueth still in a lamentable estate, griefe, and paines encreasing, without hope of helpe, except God in the abundance of his tender mercies vouchsafe to grant comfort and deliuerance.
The second person distressed, by this witch, was Elizabeth Hancocke, then widdow, now wife of Iames Scot: the maner, occasion, and proceeding of whose dealing against her was thus. She comming out of the towne from the shoppe of one Simon Browne a Silkeman, vnto whom she had carried home some worke, which was by him put out vnto her; Henry Smith, as shee passed by his doore, tooke her by the hand, and smilingly said, that his ducke (meaning his wife, this woman of whome we now speake) told him that shee had stolne her henne; which wordes she then passed 51 H2 ouer, as onely spoken in merriment, and denying the same: in the meane time, as they were interchanging these words, shee came herselfe, and directly charged her with the henne, and wished that the bones thereof might sticke in her throat, when she should eate the same: which speech also she made no great reckoning of, supposing them to be but words of course, and might bee vttered in jeast. Neuerthelesse, afterward better considering of the same, conceiued much griefe, to bee counted one of so euill quality and disposition, and espying that hen for which she was accused, to sit vpon the hatch of her shoppe doore, went to her, and mooued with the indignity of that slaunder, and vniust imputation, told her in some passion and angry manner, that it was a dishonest part thus to blemish the good name of her neighbors with so vntrue aspersions: whereupon, breaking foorth in some violence, she wished the pox to light vpon her, and named her prowde Iinny, prowde flurts, and shaking the hand, bade her go in, for she should repent it; and the same night, within three or foure houres after these curses and imprecations vttered, she was taken and pinched at the heart, and felt a sodaine weaknesse in all the parts of her body; yet her appetite to meare nothing diminished, and so continued for the space of three weekes; in which time, when she was any thing well, would come to the doore, and leane vpon the stall, whom this Marie Smith seeing, did euer banne, adding the former curse, the poxe light vpon you, can you yet come to the doore? 52 and at the end of these three weekes, beeing but very weake, came foorth as shee vsed to doe, to take the ayre, this mischieuous woman most bitterly cursed her againe, whereupon she went into the house, fell into such a torturing fit, and nipping at the heart, that she fainted, hardly recouerable for the space of halfe an houre, and so grieuously racked and tormented through all parts of her body, as if the very flesh had beene torne from the bones, by the violent paine whereof she could not refraine, but tore the haire from off her head, and became as one distraught, bereaued of sence, and vnderstanding: And the same night the bed whereon she lay, was so tossed, and lifted vp and downe, both in her owne feeling, and in the sight of others then present beholders of her extreamities, by the space of one houre or more, that she was therewith exceedingly terrified, & did thinke oftentimes in her sleepe, that she did see this Marie Smith standing before her. And this fit continued sixteene houres, during which passion Edward Drake her father came to the Towne, touched with griefe for this torture of his daughter (as parents hearts are relenting and tender, and naturall compassion is soone stirred vp in them) tooke her vrine, went to one for his aduice (whose fact herein is no way iustifiable, and argued but a small measure of religion, and the knowledge of God in him) who first tolde vnto him the cause of his comming, that is, to seeke help for his daughter, and then added, that she was so farre spent, that if hee had stayed but one day longer, the woman 53 H3 who had wronged her, would haue spent her heart, and so become vnrecouerable, and thereupon shewed him her face in a Glasse; and further, opened the beginning cause of falling out, which was for a hen, which before this, Drake neyther knew nor heard of, and then gaue his counsell for remedy, which was the matter sought for & desired, & that was in this order. To make a cake with flower from the Bakers, & to mix the same instead of other liquor, with her own water, and bake it on the harth, wherof the one halfe was to be applyed and laid to the region of the heart, the other halfe to the back directly opposit; & further, gaue a box of ointment like triacle, which must be spread vpon that cake, and a powder to be cast vpon the same, and certaine words written in a paper, to be layd on the likewise with the other, adding this caueat, that if his daughter did not amend within six houres after the taking of these receits, then there was no health or recouery to be looked for: & further, wished silence to be kept herein, for the womã who had done this, would know any thing.
And being thus furnishing with instructions, and returning home, as shee alighted from his horse to enter into that house where his daughter lay (being the next vnto Mary Smiths) shee then stood leaning ouer her shop window, whom hee knew to be that person, which was shewed vnto him, and she cursed him passing by, and told his daughter that her Father had beene with a Wisard. And the next day following after they had put in practise the directions giuen, she affirmed 54 to diuers of the neighbours, that Drake the afflicted womans father, had beene to aske counsell, and made a Witch Cake, but shee would learne how they came to haue that knowledge: yet for the present she found helpe, and was freed from the languishing and other conflicts wherewith she was assaulted by the space of sixe weekes.
After this, being married vnto Iames Scot, a great Cat which kept with this Witch (of whose infernall both purposes and practises wee now speake) frequented their house; and vpon doing some scathe, her husband moued therwith, thrust it twice through with his sword: which notwithstanding those wounds receiued, ran away: then he stroke it with all his force vpon the head with a great pike staffe, yet could not kill her; but shee leapt after this vpward almost a yard from the boords of that chamber where she now was, and crept downe: which hee perceiuing, willed his lad (a boy of foureteene yeares) to dragge her to the muck-hill, but was not able; and therefore put her into a sacke, and being in the same, still moued and stirred. Whereupon they put her out againe, and cast her vnder a paire of staires, purposing in the morning, to get more helpe, and carry her away; but then could not be found, though all the doores that night were locked, and neuer heard what afterward became thereof.
Not long after, this Witch came forth with a Birchin broome, and threatned to lay it vpon the head of Elizabeth Scot, and defiled her cloathes therewith, as she swept the street before her shop 55 doore, and that in the sight of her husband, who not digesting this indignity offered vnto his wife, threatned that if she had any such fits, as she endured being a Widow before marriage, hee would hang her. At this she clapped her hands, and said hee killed her Cat. And within two or three dayes after this enterchange of words betweene them, his wife was perplexed with the like paine and griefe at her heart, as formerly she had beene; and that for two dayes and a night: wherefore her husband went to this wrathfull and malicious person, assuring that if his wife did not amend, hee would accuse her to the Magistirate, and cause the arigor of the law to be executed vpon her, which is due to such malefactors. These things were done some three yeares sithence. The party troubled yet liueth, but in no confirmed health, nor perfect soundnesse of body.
A third subiect whereupon this wrathfull womans anger wrought, was Cicely Balye, then seruant to Robert Coulton, now wife of William Vaux, who sweeping the street before her maisters doore vpon a Saturday in the euening, Mary Smith began to pick a quarrell about the manner of sweeping, and said vnto her she was a great fat-tail'd sow, but that fatnesse should shortly be pulled 56 downe and abated. And the next night being Sunday immediatly following, a Cat came vnto her, sate vpon her breast, with which she was grieuously tormented, and so oppressed, that she could not without great difficulty draw her breath, and at the same instant did perfectly see the said Mary in the chamber where she lay, who (as she conceiued) set that Cat vpon her, and immediatly after fell sicke, languished, and grew exceeding leane; and so continued for the space of halfe a yeare together, during the whole continuance in her maisters seruice; vntill departing from him, she dwelt with one Mistres Garoway, and then began to bee amended in her health, and recouer of her former pining sicknesse: for this Witch had said, that so long as she dwelt neere her, she should not be well, but grow from euill to worse.
Thus euery light trifle (for what can be lesse then sweeping of a lttle dust awry?) can minister matter to set on fire a wrathfull indignation, and inflame it vnto desired reuenge, the Diuell being willing to apprehend and take hold vpon such an occasion, that so he might do some pleasing office to his bond-slaue, whom she adored in submisse manner, vpon her knees, with strange gestures, vttering many mumuring, broken, and imperfect speeches, as this Cicely did both heare and see, there being no other partition between the chamber wherein shee performed these rites, and the house of her maister with whom she then dwelt, but only a thin seeling of boord, through a cranny or rift of whereof she looked, listned attentiuely 57 I vnto her words, and beheld diligently her behauiour, and might haue seene and heard much more, but that she was with the present spectacle so affrighted, that she hastened downe in much feare and distemper.
The fourth endammaged by this Hagge, was one Edmund Newton: the discontentment did arise from this ground; Because hee had bought seuerall bargaines of Holland cheese, and sold them againe, by which she thought her benefit to be somewhat impaired, vsing the like kinde of trading. The manner of her dealing with him was in this sort. At euery seuerall time buying Cheese he was grieously afflicted, being thrice, and at the last either she or a spirit in her likenesse did appeare vnto him, and whisked about his face (as he lay in bed) a wet cloath of very loathsome sauour; after which hee did see one cloathed in russet with a little bush beard, who told him hee was sent to looke vpon his fore legge, and would heale it; but rising to shew the same perceiuing hee had clouen feet, refused that offer, who then (these being no vaine conceits, or phantasies, but well aduised and diligently considered obseruances) suddenly vanished out of sight. After this she 58 sent her Impes, a Toad, and Crabs crawling about the house, which was a shoppe planchered with boords, where his seruants (hee being a Shooemaker) did worke: one of which tooke that toad, put it into the fire, where it made a groaning noyse for one quarter of an houre before it was consumed; during which time Mary Smith who sent it, did endure, (as was reported) torturing paines, testifying the felt griefe by her out-cryes then made.
The sicknesse which he first sustained, was in manner of a madnesse or phrensie, yet with some interposed release of extremity: so that for thirteene or foureteene weekes together hee would be of perfect memory, other times distracted and depriued of all sence. Also the ioynts and parts of his body were benummed, besides other pains and greifes from which hee is not yet freed, but continueth in great weakenesse, disabled to performe any labour, whereby hee may get sufficient and competent maintenance. And by the councel of some, sending for this woman by whom hee was wronged, that he might scratch her (for this hath gone as currant, and may plead prescription for warrant foule sinne among Christians to thinke one Witch-craft can driue out another) his nailes turned like feathers, hauing no strength to lay his hands vpon her.
And it is not improbable but that she had dealt no better with others then these aboue mentioned. For Mr Thomas Yonges of London, Fishmonger, reported vnto me, that after the demand of 59 I2 a debt due vnto Mr Iohn Mason, Silkeman of the same Citie, whose Widow hee married, from Henry Smith Glouer her husband, some execrations and curses being wished vnto him, within three or foure dayes (being then gone to Yarmouth in Norfolke vpon necessary businesse) there fell sicke, and was tortured with exceeding and massacring griefes, which by no meanes (hauing vsed the aduise of sundry learned and experienced Physitians in Norwich) could in any part be mitigated, and so extraordinarily vexed thirteene moneths, was constrained to go on Crutches, not being able to feed himselfe, and amended not before this mischieuous woman was committed to prison (accused for other wickednesses of the like kinde) at which time (so neere as he could conjecture) he then receiued some release of his former paines, though at the present when hee made this relation, which was at Candlemas last past, had not perfectly recouered his wonted strength: for his left hand remained lame, and without vse.
But thus much by the way onely, omitting how before this accident a great Water-dogge ranne ouer his bed, the doore of the chamber where he lay being shut, no such one knowne (for carefull enquiry was made) either to haue been in that houfe where hee lodged, or in the whole Towne at any time.
I doe not insist vpon this, because shee did not nominate him or any other vnto vs, but onely those foure already expressed: and for the wrongs 60 done to them, she craued mercy at Gods hands, as for all other her sins, and in particular for that of Witch-craft, renounced the Diuell, embraced the mercies of God purchased by the obedience of Iesus Christ, and professed that her hope was onely by his suffering and passion to bee saued. And all these, that is to say, her former grieuous offences committed against God, and his people, her defiance of the Diuell, and reposing all confidence of saluation in Christ Iesus alone, and his merits, she in particular maner confessed openly at the place of execution, in the audience of multitudes of people gathered together (as is vsuall at such times) to be beholders of her death. And made there also profession of her faith, and hope of a better life hereafter; and the meanes whereby she trusted to obtaine the same, as before, hath beene specified. And being asked, if she would be contented to haue a Psalm sung, answered willingly that she desired the same, and appointed it herselfe, The Lamentation of a Sinner, whose beginning is, Lord turne not away thy face, &c. And after the ending thereof thus finished her life: So that in the iudgement of charity we are to conceiue the best, and thinke shee resteth in peace, notwithstanding her heynous transgressions formerly committed: for there is no maladay incurable to the Almighty Physitian, Esay 1. 18 Ezech. 33. 11. Therefore Caine did iniury to God, when conuicted of the barbarous and vnnaturall murther of his righteous brother, cryed out tht his sinne was greater then could be forgiuen, Gen. 4. 13 61 I3 for Gods mercy is greater then mans misery can be. And euen for the like vnto this very fact, we haue a booke case, already adiudged, and ouer-ruled in those Ephesians, who brought their coniuring bookes, sacrificed them in the fire, æstimated at the bvalue of nine hundred pounds of our money, repented of theirc sinnes, and obtained mercy, Acts 19. vers. 19.
NOw then from this premised narration, these two corrollaries or consequents do necessarily follow.
It is not lawfull for any Christian to consult with a witch or wisard, or goe to them for helpe. God himselfe, whose commandement is and must be the rule of our life & direction hath forbidden it, Leuit. 19. 31. and 20. 6. Deuter. 18. 10.11. And the Imperiall lawes, haue beene in this case verie respectiue.a Therefore, Leo the Emperour 62 straitly enioyneth, that none should resort vnto them, and stileth their aduice nothing but meere impostures and deceit; and in the bDecrees collected by Gratian, the teachers of the people are seriously exhorted to admonish them, that magicall arts and inchantments cannot heale any infirmity: and that they bee the dangerous snares, and subtilties of that ancient enemy of mankind, by which he indeuoureth to entangle themc: and these so streight and seuere prohibitions are not without iust and weighty cause. For,
First, wee must haue no commerce or dealing with the diuell, eyther directly and immediately, or mediately and indirectly; for we ought to haue our recourse to God alone in all distresses, and this is that which Eliah spake with great indignation vnto the messengers of Ahaziah, who went to enquire of Baal-zelub, for the recouerie of their Lords health, 2. King. 1. 3.d So that wee must not seeke to Sathan, or any of his ministers. For none can serue two maisters, Matt. 6. 24. But as religious Iehosaphat, when we know not what to doe, then lift vp our eyes to heauen, 2 Chron. 20. 12.
Secondly, that help which any receiue from them bringeth destructon of our soules, for such as seeke for relief this way, make ae separation & 63 departing from God, which is the death of the soule. And though it may be obiected, that some haue receiued benefite hereby, yet these are not one of tenne. And further, wee are not to iudge heerein of the lawfulnesse of these actions by the successe, but rest vpon the commaundement, for it falleth out sometime, that a thiefe and common robber by the high way, may liue in more aboundance, then those who with a lawfull and honest trade painefully maintaine themeelues, yet therefore hee is not iustified. And when wee haue recourse vnto others beside God, we bewray herein our fdistrust, infidelitie, contempt and rebellion against him, which grieuous sinnes bring his wrath and eternall destruction. But let it be taken for granted, that wee may receiue good by them, yet this maxime is sure, & a truth vnrepealeable, which no distinction can elude; we must not doe euill that good may come thereof, Rom. 3. 8.g yea, it were better to end our dayes in any extremitie whatsoeuer, then to vse these for our helpers.
Thirdly, theyh cure not diseases but in shew, except such as themselues haue inflicted, otherwise those doe returne, as is reported of Adrianus thei Emperour, who troubled with a dropsie, by magicall charmes did oftentimes empty the water thereof, but in a short space increased againe; and perceiuing the same to grow worse & worse, sought to dispatch and rid himselfe of life, by poyson, or the sword, or some other desperate attempts. Or a worse malady (the first being abated) followeth: as I haue knowne one, who vsing the help of 64 a wisard for the cure of a sore in his breast, prescribed in this sort: crossed the place affected with his thumb, and mumbled to himself some words in secret, after gaue the patient a powder like the ashes of wood, which was to be boiled in running water, and with it to wash the vlcer, after certaine clouts were to be applyed, with speciall care to lay that side of the clout vnto the sore, which was by him crossed, and marked; and all these clothes must at once be bound vpon it, and euery day the lowest remoued or taken away: thus in short time that anguish and griefe ceased; but not long after the party fell into a more grieuous infirmity, and still continueth therein. Or if the euill be taken from thek person presently afflicted, then is it layd vpon his friends children or cattell, and sometime it falleth to the lot of the witch herselfe, so that alwayes the diuell is a diuell, doing euill, and working mischiefe.
Fourth, a lwisard, witch, or sorcerer can not releeue any but by his or her inuocation, and help of the diuell, but this fact is absoluteIy, and without exception, wicked, and can by no limitation or circumstance bee made tolerable: Therefore they who require this at their hands, which they cannot performe without committing of sinne, be liable to the same vengeance and wrath of God to which they are; for not only the principall offenders, but the maccessaries, and consenters to their euill, are worthy of death, Rom. 1. 32.
Now before I conclude this poynt, because by these kinde of creatures, many toyes bee vsed, to 65 K shaddow and maske the diuells suggestion and workes, it shall not be amisse to mention some of them, and among the rest be ncharacters written or grauen in plates of mettall: and for these it is most certayne that Quantities haue no actiue qualitie; and therefore, if any expected successe according to desire doe follow in the vse thereof, it proceedeth from the illusion of Sathan, and is his worke, that hereby he might winne credite to his crafty fleights and conueyances, and procure to himselfe authority, establishing the kingdome of darknesse, withdraw men from resting vpon God, and reposing their trust in his almighty power, and boundlesse mercy, and sollicite them to expect helpe from him. There are besides these, other idle trifles (for they deserue no better name which are appoynted to be hung about the neck) for Amulets, as opowerfull and effectuall remedies against certayne diseases, and pictures made of gold, brasse, lead, wax, &c. which neyther haue nor can haue any other vertue, then that which they doe receiue from the matter wherof they be framed, for the figure worketh not as a cause of alteration; but if it bring to passe any other effect that is from the power of the diuell an old enemy, and craftie deluder of mankinde, and therefore, presupposeth a contract made with him: wherefore pAntoninus Caracalla condemned those who vsed the same, for the helpe of Tertian and Quartan agues, and Constantiusq decreeth such to be woorthy capitall punishment, and put to death. And that naturall couer wherewith some children 66 are borne, and is called by our women, the sillie how, Midwiues were wont to sell to credulous Aduocates and Lawyers, as an especiall meanes to furnish them with eloquencer and perswasiue speech, and to stoppe the mouthes of all, who should make any opposition against them: for which cause one sProtus was accused by the Clergie of Constantinople to haue offended in this matter. And Chrysostome often accuseth Midwiues for reseruing the same to Magicall vses. And Clemenst Alexandrinus giueth vs to vnderstand of one Erecestus, who had two inchaunted rings, so framed, that by the sound thereof he had direction for the fit time and in mannaging all the businesses hee intended, and yet notwithstanding was priuily murthered, though hee had warning giuen by that sound which was his vsuall instructer. Thus, none can escape the reuenging hand of God, which pursueth those who haue infeoffed themselues to such vanities, and are besotted with these vnlawfull curiosities. But among all other, charmes and inchaunting spells, haue gotten the start of the rest, which some think absolutely lawfull, and may vpon warrantise bee vsed, and pleade prescription for their iustification; for wee reade in Homeru that Vlysses being wounded by words, stayed the flux of blood; and xCardanus tells vs, that himselfe cutting his lip, could by no meanes restraine the flowing blood, vntill he charmed it, and then presently stanched: but dare not affirm whether his owne confidence, or the words did make this restraint. I might adde 67 K2 to these, that infallible meanes (as is supposed) by finding out a thiefe with a Siue and a payre of Sheares, with that coniunction yDies, mies, Iescet, &c. and the rest of such sencelesse and monstrous tearmes, a Riddle that Oedipus himselfe could not vnfolde. But because this conceit of charming hath ouer-spread it selfe in this Sunneset of the world, and challengeth a lawfull approbation from the authority and practise of ancient zPhysitians, yea and found some aaDiuines to be their Patrons respectiuely, and with clauses of mitigation, I thinke it very necessarie to shew the vnlawfulness thereof. Wherefore,
First, they had their originall and beginning from the diuell, who abode not in the truth, Iohn 8. 44. was cast downe with the apostata angels to hell, and deliuered into chaines of darkenesse, 2. Pet. 2. 4. who enuying mans felicity receiued into grace after the bbfall, himselfe eternally reiected, omitted no occasion to weaken and ouerthrow the same, that the benefite thereof might come but to a few, and the greatest number perish with him for euer. Whereupon he endeuoured to inwrappe the weaker sort of that fraile corporation in superstitions, beguile them with doubtfull and false oracles, and bring to a forme of worshippe contrary to that which God had commaunded, ccwhereby the world beganne to abound with Idolatry, disobedience, contempt, murthers, vncleanenesse, lusts, thefts, lying, and such like outrages: and that hee might with his infections impoyson them more dangerously, and soueraigne 68 in their hearts, he vndertooke to worke wonders, imitating such miracles as God had done, and deuised cunningly many subtile sleights and legerdemaines, and for this end most blasphemously abused the glorious and holy name of God, and the word vttered by his mouth, and represented a false shew of those effects, which hee had wrought in nature: and heerein leuelled at two intentions, one to reproch God, and counterchecke his works; the other to ouer-mask and couer his owne secret traps and frauds, perswading men, that by the power of wordes these things were brought to pass, which must needes therefore be of great efficacie: seeing that the world & all things therein were so made of nothing; for he spake, and they were created, and thus practised to disgrace, and extenuate, that admirable and great worke of Creation, and cause men to make lighter account of the Creator, seeing that they also (instructed by him) were enabled thorow the pronunciation of certayne words contriued into a speciall forme, eyther to infuse new strength into things, or depriue them of that which formerly they had, or alter the course of Nature, in raysing tempests, stirring vp thunder and lightning; in ddtaming serpents, and depriuing them of their naturall fiercenesse and venime, and cause wilde beasts to become meeke and tractable, yea in seeming to make sensible bodies; as cloudes, wind, raine & the like. And thus the diuell is that father who begot Charmes, and brought them foorth, not powerfull in themselues, but by that 69 K3 inter-league which hee hath with those who are invassaled vnto him.
Secondly, God doth as straitly prohibit them, and seuerely punish the practisers thereof, as others offending in any exercise of vnlawfull arts, Deut. 18. 10.11. There shall not be found among you (instructing the Israelites his people) a charmer, &c. for these are abhomination vnto the Lord, &c. And this is recorded in the Catalogue of those sinnes of Manasses, by which hee sought to prouoke God vnto anger, 2. Kin. 21. 8. 2. Chronicles 33. 6.
Thirdly, words haue no vertue,ee either to signifie and expresse the conceits of the minde, or to affect the eares of the Auditors, so that they can worke nothing but in these two respects: first of the matter which is vttered by them, which vnderstood of the hearers, affect the mind diuersly, and that especially when there is ioyned with it a comelinesse of action and pronunciation, as wee we see oftentimes in the speeches of the Ministers of the Word, and in the pleadings of Orators. As when Paul reasoned before and Drusilla his wife, of Temperance, Righteousnesse, and Iudgement to come, hee trembled, Acts 24. 25. ffbeing guilty to himselfe of fraudulent and cruell dealing, of lasciuiousnesse and a filthy life, and therefore might iustly feare vengeance for the same.
A like example to this is that in King Agrippa, though working vpon a better subject, Act. 26. 28. And if I may conioyne Diuine eloquence 70 with Humane, it is memorable, that while ggTully pleaded before Cæsar for Ligarius, accused by Tubero, to haue beene confederate with Pompey, purposing to put him to death, as an enemy, when the Orator altered, and in Rhetoricall manner inforced his speech, the other changed accordingly his countenance, and bewrayed the piercing words to be so affecting, that the supplications, when he came once to vrge and mention the battell of Pharsalia, (trembling and dismayed) did fall from his hands, hauing the passions of his minde extraordinarily moued, and absolued the offender. Or else when by their pleasantnesse, with delight they slide into the hearts of men, and rauish their affections: and thus it was with hhAugustine, as he acknowledgeth of himselfe, that being at Milaine where he was baptized by S. Ambrose, when he heard the harmony which was in singing of the Psalmes, the words pierced his eares, the truth melted his heart, his passions were moued, and showers of teares with delight fell from his eyes.ii But these effects are wrought onely in such who vnderstand that which is spoken, but neither of both these properties are to bee found in the Charmes of Wisards: besides, that they are conceiued and expressed in monstrous and vnknowne tearmes, not intelligible, and without signification: and therefore the effects they produce beingkk supernaturall must proceed from that secret compact, the least made with the Diuell.
Fourthly, these charmes are meere mockeries, 71 and grosse abuses, both of God, and Men his creatures, I will giue you a taste of one or two, whereby you may iudge of the rest, for they came all out of one shoppe, and are fashioned in one forge, and haue the same workman or Artificer. llAn old woman crauing helpe for bleare eyes, had deliuered a Billet of Paper to weare about her necke, in which was written, The Diuell pull out thine eyes, and recouered. Anothere tied a scroule to a sicke man, full of strange Characters, with which were intermingled a few names of Diuels, as Lucifer, Sathan, Belzebub, Oriens, Behal, Mammon, Beuflar, Narthin, Oleasar, &c. and other of this sort; but what manner of blessing this was, and how likely to be medicinable, a Christian truely instructed in Gods word knoweth; and the Lord who is the father of mercies, and God of all comfort, preserue vs from such blasphemies, which are the Diuels Sacrifices.
Fifthly, the discreeter sort among the Heathen, by that small glimpse of naturall reason which they had, misliked of these things: mmAnd therefore Cato among the rest of admonitions to the Bailiffe of his husbandry, giueth this charge, to aske no aduice of any Southsaier, Diuiner, Wisard, or Natiuity Calculator. nnAnd Columella vtterly forbiddeth all acquaintance with Witches, wherby ignorant people are inforced to expence detestable Arts, and mischieuous deeds. ooHippocrates doth almost like a Christian discourse of this poynt, and condemne the whole practise of this Art, as iniurious vnto God, who onely purgeth 72 sinnes, and is our preseruer; and for these fellowes who make profession of such wonder-working, brandeth them for Impostors and deceiuers. I conclude with that remarkeable saying of an ancient Diuine;pp These vanities doe separate and with-draw vs from God, though they may seeme to haue something in them to allure and delight vs; yet let no Christian entertaine them, whose hope ought to be setled in God alone. And if thou be in distresse, or afflicted with sicknesse of body, and feele no present release or comfort, what then? here is the tryall of thy patience, haue not recourse to superstitious and vnlawfull helpers, although they promise thee present remedy; and when they fore-tell thee of things which doe truely according to the prediction to fall out, beleeue them not, follow the example of Christ, who rebuked the Diuell, though he called him (as he was indeed) the Son of God. For vnder the vaile of truth he shadoweth falshood; euen as if one should sweeten with honey or sugar the brimme of the Cup wherein he bringeth poyson: But some will say, they call vpon the name of the Lord of Sabbaoth. Well, but this title they giue not to God, but to the Diuell: therefore betake thou thy selfe to God alone, craue health at his hand, and follow the Apostles direction; If any bee sicke among you, let him call for the Elders of the Church, and let him pray, Iames 5. 14.
THere hath alwayes beene some wanton, or peruerse wits, who only to make triall of their skill, would take in hand to defend absurd positions, and commend both such things and persons, which were infamous, and contemptible as aPhauorinus writ the praise of the Quartane Ague, one of the gout, blindnesse, and deafness, bLucian of a flye, cErasmus of folly, dSynesius of baldnesse, eGlaucus in Plato of iniustice. And among the exercises of the fancient Orators, wee finde those who strained all their vnderstanding to blaze the honour of that witlesse and deformed Coward Thersites. And this they haue performed with great Art and eloquence, onely to shew their faculty, but neuer in good earnest took such a matter in hand. And therefore more deeply is hee to be censured, who hath made himselfe an aduocate to plead the cause of gWitches, and defend th? as innocent. And because this is a dangerous example, and doth draw those who are euill affected to offend, hoping for patronage of their impiety, I adde for conclusion this last proposition: Wisards, Witches, and the whole rabble of Sorcerers (no kinde excepted) are iustly liableh to extreame punishment. The arguments alleaged for 74 proofe hereof, are many: I will make choyce of a few (with reference to such authors in whose writings more may bee found) and those which are mosti demonstratiue.
First, God himselfe hath enacted that pœnall statute, Thou shalt not suffer a witch to liue. Exod. 22 18. and nameth here a kwoman practising this damnable Art for two reasons: First, they are more inclinable hereunto then man. Secondly, that though their fault may seeme, as being the weaker, excuseable, and is in this respect extenuated by some, yet is not therefore to bee spared, whether of that sort which they call lgood, or bad (for so are they distinguished) & there be some who neuer broughtm harme vpon any in body, goods, or minde. The cause of this so sharpe a doome, is their compacting with the Diuell, openly or secretly, whereby they couenant to vse his helpe, in fulfilling their desires, and by this meanes make themselues guilty of horrible impiety: for in this they renounce the Lord, who hath created them; make no account of his fauour and protection, cut themselues off from the couenant made with him in baptisme, from the communion of Saints, the true fellowship and seruice of God; and on the contrary yeeld themselues by this confederacy, to Sathan, as their God (and therefore nothing more frequent and vsuall in their mouthes, then my God will do this that for me) him they continually feare and honour. And thus do at the last become professed enemies both to God and Man. You may adde to this former 75 L2 law, that which is Leuit. 19. 26. & cap. 6. You shall vse no inchantment: the soule that turneth after such as haue familiar spirits, and are Wisards, to goe a whooring after them, I will set my face against that soule, and will cut him off from among his people, &c. Againe, Deut. 18. 10. There shall not bee found among you any that vseth Diuination, nor an obseruer of times, or an inchanter, or a Witch, or a Charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, a Wisard, or Necromancer. And that God might shew hown much Manasses had prouoked him to wrath, through his transcendent and outragious sinnes in the Catalogue thereof, his conspiring with Diuels is mentioned 1. King 21. 8. And therefore is depriued of his kingdome, bound in fetters, and carried captiue vnto Babel, 2. Chron. 33. 6.11. and though he repented of these outragious and enormious transgressions, yet God would not bee appeased for them fiftie yeares after he was dead, Ierem. 15. 4.
Secondly, the ciuill lawes in this case are most strict, decreeing them to bee burned, and their goods confiscate, though they were persons of quality, and honourable, seated in dignity, and place of :o and there is a seuere constitution made by p the fift in late dayes against them, that though they shall not haue done, or be conuinced to haue hurt any, yet because they attempted a thing vnlawfull, and abhominable vnto God, are extraordinarily to be punished. And concerning this particular, S. Augustin discourseth excellently, worthy to be read, de ciu. dei. l. 8. c. 19.
76 Thirdly, God willeth those should bee put to death, who by Diabolical and vnlawfull Arts, do endeuour to helpe or harme others, whether in act they performe the same, or purpose with intention, conceiuing and thinking they can do it, with ranke Witches must needs be marshalled; and therefore iustly subiect to deserued punishment.
Fourthly, all Idolaters are to dye by diuine appointment, Deu. 17. 5. But I thinke no mans forehead is so brasen, that will stand Proctor, and plead guiltlesse for these sort of people, who deuote themselues wholly to the Diuell, though neuer so closely, and with great and cautelous secresie: and no doubt God therefore was reuenged of the Templars, and their detestable wickednesse practised in darknesse and obscurity, who allq perished, as it were, in a moment for the same; of which at the full we may be informed in our owne ancient histories.
Fifthly, they doe solicite others to be of their profession (which is one clause of that contract made betweene them and the Diuell) and consecrate their childen vnto him: and against this, there is an especiall caution put in Deuteronomy 13. 6.9.10.
Sixtly, they deserue death as inhumane and barbarous tyrants, for lingringly vt sentiant se mori, that they may feele how they doe decay by degrees, seek the vtter ouerthrow of those whom they doe maligne: and as a further appendix to this, oftentimes by the helpe of their grand teacher, 77 L3 sowe discord betweene husband and wife, sollicite maydens, yea enforce both them, and married women to vncleane, and vnlawfull lusts, and heerein implore the helpe of the diuell, to accomplish their malicious designes, which trangression is capitall.
Seuenthly, the exercise of this act or vanity is punishable by death, although it be practised but onely in sport and ieast, which appeare thus, because God hath seriously forbidden (and vnder no lesse forfeiture of life it self) to aske counsell of a Soothsayer or Coniurer; if this then be a crime of such nature, in those, who it may bee heerein thought not to doe euill, ther is no reason to induce any to thinke that hee will spare the wilfull, and purposed authors thereof, and Magitians, who worke onely iuggling trickes, and illusions, and fore-tell some future things, as yet vnknowne vntill they doe so fall out, are not freed from the sentence condemnatorie, much more then those who willingly, and vpon premeditated malice, murther or impaire the life and good estate of other, deserue to stand paralell with them. And there can no reson be yielded of this so sharp a censure, but onely because they haue learned, and accordingly exercise vnlawfull arts, for whosoeuer endeuoureth to bring that thing to passe, by pretending naturall meanes, which exceedeth the power of Nature, and is now thereunto enabled eyther by God, or the ministery of good Angells at his appoyntment, hee must of necessity haue this faculty communicated by some combination 78 and inter league with the diuell.
Eightly, the Iudge or ciuil Magistrate is bound by vertue of that office, and superioritie he sustaineth in the common-wealth, to purge and free that place, in, and ouer which he hath command, of all malefactors, which if he doe neglect, then is a double offender, against the Law both of Iustice and Charity; for hee is obliged by duety to foresee (so much as in him lyeth) that the publike state should be secured, which it concerneth to haue offenders punished, otherwise hee maketh himselfe partner with them in their outrages and offences, and standeth answerable for those damages sustained by the whole bodie of the people in generall, or vndergone by any particular of the same, for sparing of the wickedr is hurting the good, and hee that doth not represse and forbid euill (when it is in his power) doth countenance and maintaine it.
Much more might be added, and many examples produced, to manifest, how in all Nations these odious company of witches, and the like haue euer beene accounted detestable; and for their impious deedes requited with neuer dying shame, aud vtter confusion, and iustly by law executed; for among the Romans, Mathematitians,s and Magitians by the Decree of the Senate were expelled out of all Italy: and amongst these Pituanus was throwne downe from the rock Tarpeius, and crushed apeeces. Martius by the Consuls put to death with the sound of a Trumpet without the gate Exquilina: Publicia and Licinia 79 women,t and seauenty more witches hanged. The uspeedy judgement of the Athenians, witnesse of their hatred against these kinde of malefactors, is much commended, who without any other solemnity of proceeding at the onely accusation of a Maide, without delay put one Lemnia a witch to death: and it is memorable which Ammianusx Marcellinus hath left in record, that one Hilarius, because hee committed his sonne yong, and not of mature yeares, to be taught and instructed vnto a Coniurer, was adjudged to die, and escaping from the hands of the executioner, who had negligently bound him, drawne by force out of the next church of the Christians to which hee fled as vnto a Sanctuary, and executed.
The end of yVarasolo, a famous Inchantresse in Hungarie is dreadfull, who for her sundry witcheries was cast into prison, and there constrayned through extremity of hunger, to reare off and eate the flesh of her owne legges and armes, and at the last, impatient of further delay, there murthered herselfe, and shortned the span of her life.
But here I stay my hand, take it from the table, and the rather, because much hath already beene spoken to this purpose. Wherefore, for conclusion, I shut vp this whole Treatise with a remarkeable speech of a noble zKing; Let the streight rigor 80 of law bee inflicted vpon all, both practisers and partakers with wisards, by putting any confidence in them; for it is vngodly for man to be remisse and fauourable vnto those whom diuine piety, and our duety to God will not suffer vnpunished. For what folly were it to forsake the Creator and Giuer of life, and to follow the author of death? this dishonest fact, vnbeseeming, and vtterly repugnant to the credite and reputation of a Iudge, be farre from him. Let none countenance that which the Lawes doe condemne, for all are by the Regall Edicts to bee punished with death, who intermeddle with such forbidden and vnlawfull Artes.