A R G U M E N T.
The description of all these kindes of Spirites that troubles men or women.
The conclusion of the whole Dialogue.
CHAP. I. ARGU.
The division of spirites in foure principall kindes. The description of the first kinde of them, called Spectra & umbrae mortuorum. What is the best way to be free of their trouble.
PHILOMATHES. Pray you now then go forward in
telling what ye thinke fabulous, or may be trowed in that case.
EPI. That kinde of the Devils conversing in the earth, may be divided in foure different kindes, whereby he affrayeth and troubleth the bodies of men: For of the abusing of the soule, I have spoken alreadie. The first is, where spirites troubles some houses or solitarie places: The second, where spirites followes upon certaine persones, and at divers houres troubles them: The thirde, when they enter within them and possesse them: The fourth is the kind of spirities that are called vulgarie the Fayrie. Of the three former kindes, ye harde alreadie, how they may artificallie be made by Witch-craft to trouble folke: Now it restes to speake of their naturall comming as it were, and not raysed by Witch-craft. But generally I must fore-warne you of one thing before I enter in this purpose: that is, that although in my discourseing of them, I devyde them in divers kindes, yee must notwithstanding there of note my Phrase of speaking in that: For doubtleslie they are in effect, but all one kinde of spirites, who for abusing the more of mankinde, takes on these sundrie shapes, and uses diverse formes of out-ward actiones, as if some were of nature better then other. Nowe I returne to my purpose: As to the first kinde of these spirites, that were called by the auncients by divers names, according as their actions were. For if they were spirites that haunted houses, by appearing in divers and horrible formes, and making greate dinne: they were called Lemures or Spectra. If they appeared in likeness of anie defunct to some friends of his, they were called umbra mortuorum: And so innumerable stiles they got, according to their actiones, as Ihave said alreadie. As we see by experience, how manie stiles they have given them in our language in the likemaner: Of the appearing of these spirites, wee are certified by the Scriptures, where the Prophet Esay 13. and 34. cap. [Esay.13, Jere.50] threatning the destruction of Babell and Edom: declares, that it shal not onlie be wracked, but shall become so greate a solitude, as it shall be the habitackle of Howlettes, and of Ziim and Iim, which are the proper Hebrewe names for these Spirites. The cause whie they haunte solitarie places, it is by reson, that they may affraie and brangle the more the faith of suche as them alone hauntes such places. For our nature is such, as in companies wee are not so soone mooved to anie such kinde of feare, as being solitare, which the Devill knowing well inough, hee will not therefore assaile us but when we are weake: And besides that, G O D will not permit him so to dishonour the societies and companies of Christians, as in publicke times and places to walke visiblie amongst them. On the other parte, when he troubles certaine houses that are dwelt in, it is a sure token either of grosse ignorance, or of some grosse and slanderous sinnes amongst the inhabitantes thereof: which God by that extraordinarie rod punishes.
PHI. But by what way or passage can these Spirites enter in these houses, seeith they alledge that they will enter, Doore and Window being steiked?
EPI. They will choose the passage for their entresse, according to the forme that theya re in at that time. For if they have assumed a deade bodie, whereinto they lodge themselves, they can easely inough open without dinne anie Doore or Window, and enter in thereat. And if they enter as a spirite onelie, anie place where the aire may come in at, is large inough an entrie for them: For as I said before, a spirite can occupie no quantitie.
PHI. And will God then permit these wicked spirites to trouble the reste of a dead bodie, before the resurrection thereof? Or if he sill so, I thinke it should be of the reprobate onely.
EPI. What more is the reste troubled of a dead bodie, when the Devill carryes it out of the Grave to serve his turne for a space, nor when the Witches takes it up and joyntes it, or when as Swine wortes uppe the graves? The rest of them that the Scripture speakes of, is not meaned by a locall remaining continuallie in one place, but by their resting from their travelles and miseries of this worlde, while their latter conjunction againe with the soule at that time to receave full glorie in both. And that the Devill may use aswell the ministrie of the bodies of the faithfull in these cases, as of the un-faithfull, there is no inconvenient; for his haunting with their bodies after theya re deade, can no waise defyle them: In respect of the soules absence. And for anie dishonour it can be unto them, by what reason can it be greater, then the hanging, heading, or many such shameful deaths, that good men will suffer for there is nothing in the bodies of the faithfull, more worthie of honour, or freer from corruption by nature, nor in these of the unfaithful, while time they be purged and glorified in the latter daie, as is dailie seene by the vilde diseases and corruptions, that the bodies of the faythfull are subject unto, as yee will see clearelie proved, when I speake of the possessed and Daemoniacques.
PHI. Yet there are sundrie that affirmes to have haunted such places, where these spirites are alleaged to be: And could never heare nor see anie thing.
EPI. I thinke well: For that is onelie reserved to the secreete knowledge of God, whom he wil permit to see such thinges, and whome not.
PHI. But where these spirites hauntes and troubles anie houses, what is the best waie to banishe them?
EPI. By two meanes may onelie the remeid of such things be procured: The one is ardent prayer to God, both of these persones that are troubled with them, and of that Church whereof they are. The other is the purging of themselves by amendement of life from such sinnes, as have procured that extraordinare plague.
PHI. And what meanes then these kindes of spirites, when they appeare in the shaddow of a person newlie dead, or to die, to his friends?
EPI. When they appeare upon that occasion, they are called Wraithes in our language. Amongst the Gentiles the Devill used that much, to make them beleeve that it was some good spirite that appeared to them then, ether to forewarne them of the death of their friend; or else to discover unto them, the will of the defunct, or what was the say of his slauchter, as is written in the booke of the histories Prodigious. And this way hee easelie deceived the Gentiles, because they knew not God: And to that same effect is it, that he now appeares in that maner tosome ignorant Christians. For he dare not so illude anie that knoweth that, neither can the spirite of the defunct returne to his friend, or yet an Angell use such formes.
PHI. And are not our war-woolfes one sorte of these spirits also, that hauntes and troubles some houses or dwelling places?
EPI. There hath indeede bene an old opinion of such like thinges; For by the Greekes they were call [Greek characters here] which signifieth men-woolfes. But to tell you simplie my opinion in this, if anie such thing hath bene, I take it to have proceeded but of a naturall super- abundance of Melancholie, which as we reade, that it hath made some think themselves Pitchers, and some horses, and some one kinde of beast or other: So suppose I that it hath so viciat the imagination and memorie of some, as per lucida interualla, it hath so highlie occupyed them, that they have thought themselves verrie Woolfes indeede at these times: and so have counterfeited their actiones in goeing on their hands andfeete, preassing to devoure women and barnes, fighting and snatching with all the towne dogges, and in using such like other bruitish actiones, and so to become eastes by a strong apprehension, as Nebucad netzar was seven yeares [Dan. 4.]: but as to their having and hyding of their hard & schellie sloughes, I take that to be but eiked, by uncertaine report, the author of all lyes.
CHAP. II. ARGU.
[T]he description of the next two kindes of Spirites, whereof the one followes outwardlie, the other possesses inwardlie the persones that they trouble. That since all Prophecies and visiones are nowe ceased, all spirites that appeares in these formes are evill.
PHILOMATHES. Come forward now to the reste of the these kindes of spirites.
EPI. As to the next two kindes,that is, either these that outwardlie troubles and followes some persones, or else inwardlie possesses them: I will conjoyne them in one, because aswell the causes ar alike in the persons that they are permitted to trouble: as also the waies whereby they may be remedied and cured.
PHI. What kinde of persones are they that uses to be troubled?
EPI. Two kindes in speciall: Either such as being guiltie of greevous offences, God punishes by that horrible kinde of scourdge, or else being persones of the beste nature peradventure, that yee shall finde in all the Countrie about them, G O D permittes them to be troubled in that sort, for the tryall of their patience, and wakening up of their zeale, for admonishing of the beholders, not to truste over much in themselves, since they are made of no better stuffe, and peradventure blotted with no smaller sinnes (as C H R I S T saide, speaking of them upon whome the Towre in Siloam fell:) And for giving likewise to the spectatators, matter to prayse G O D, that they meriting no better are yet spared from being corrected in that fearefull forme.
PHI. These are good seasones for the parte of G O D, which apparantlie mooves him so to permit the Devill to trouble such persones. But since the Devill hath ever a contrarie respecte in all the actiones that G O D employes him in: which is I pray you the end and mark he shoots at in this turne?
EPI. It is to obtaine one of two thinges thereby, if he may: The one is the tinsell of their life, by inducing them to such perrilous places at such time as he either followes or possesses them, which may procure the same: And such like, so farre as G O D will permit him, by tormenting them to weaken their bodie, and caste them in incurable diseases. The other thinge that hee preasses to obteine by troubling of them, is the tinsell of their soule, by intising them to mistruste and blaspheme God: Either for the intollerablenesse of their tormentes, as he assayed to have done with J O B [Job 1]; or else for his promising unto them to leave the troubling of them, incase they would so do, as is knowen by experience at this same time by the confession of a young one that was so troubled.
PHI. Since ye have spoken now of both these kindes of spirites comprehending them in one: I must nowe goe backe againe in speering some questiones of everie one of these kindes in speciall. And first for these that followes certaine persones, yee know that there are two sortes of them: One sorte that troubles and tormentes the persones that they haunt with: An other sort that are serviceable unto them in all kinde of their necessaries, and omittes never to forwarne them of anie suddaine perrell that they are to be in. And so in this case, I would understande whither both these sortes be but wicked and damned spirites: Or if the last sorte be rather Angells, (as should appeare by their actiones) sent by God to assist such as he speciallie favoures. For it is written in the Scriptures, that God sendes Legions of Angells to guarde and watch over his elect. [Gen.32. 1.Kin.6 Psal.34.].
EPI. I know well inough where fra that errour which ye alleage hath proceeded: For it was the ignorant Gentiles that were the fountaine thereof. Who for that they knew not God, they forged in their owne imaginationes, every man to be still accompanied with two spirites, wherof they called the one genius bonus, the other genius malies: the Greekes called them [greek characters] & [greek characters]: wherof the former they saide, perswaded him to all the good he did: the other entised him to all the evill. But praised God we that are christians, & walks not amongst the Cymmerian conjectures of man, knowes well inough, that it is the good spirite of God onely, who is the fountain of all goodnes, that perswads us to the thinking or doing of any good: and that it is our corrupted fleshe and Sathan, that intiseth us to the contrarie. And yet the Devill for confirming in the heades of ignorant Christians, that errour first mainteined among the Gentiles, he whiles among the first kinde of spirites that I speak of, appeared in the time of Papistrie and blindness, and haunted divers houses, without doing any evill, but doing as it were necessarie turnes up and down the house: and this pirit they called Brownie in our language, who appeared like a rough-man: yea, some were so blinded, as to beleeve that their house was all the sonsier, as they called it, that such spirites resorted there.
PHI. But since the Devils intention in all his actions, is ever to do evill, what evill was there in that forme of doing, since their actions outwardly were good.
EPI. Was it not evill inough to deceive simple ignorantes, in making them to take him for an Angell of light, and so to account of Gods enemie, as of their particular friend: where by the contrarie, all we that are Christians, ought assuredly to know that since the comming of Christ in the flesh, and establishing of his Church by the Apostles, all miracles, visions, prophecies, & appearances of Angels or good spirites are ceased. Which served onely for the first sowing of faith, & planting of the Church. Where now the Church being established, and the white Horse whereof I spake before,having made his conqueste,the Lawe and Prophets are thought sufficient to serve us, or make us inexcusable, as Christ saith in his parable of Lazarus and the riche man. [Luk.16.]
CHAP. III. ARGU.
The description of a particular sort of that kind of following spirites, called Incubi and Succubi: And what is the reason wherefore these kindes of spirites hauntes most the Northerne and barbarous partes of the world.
PHILOMATHES. The next question that I would speere, is likewise concerning this first of these two kindes of spirites that ye have conjoyned: and it is this; ye knowe how it is commonly written and reported, that amongst the rest of the sortes of spirites that followes certaine persons, there is one more monstrous nor al the rest: in respect as it is alleaged, they converse naturally with them whom they trouble and hauntes with: and therefore I would knowe in two thinges your opinion herein: First if suche a thing can be: and next if it be: whether there be a difference of sexes amongst these spirites or not.
EPI. That abhominable kinde of the Devills abusing of men or women, was called of old, Incubi and Succubi, according to the difference of the sexes that they conversed with. By two meanes this great kinde of abuse might possibly be performed: The one, when the Devill onelie as a spirite, and stealing out the sperme of a dead bodie, abuses them that way, they not graithlie seeing anie shape or feeling anie thing, but that which he so convayes in that part: As we reade of a Monasterie of Nunnes which were burnt for their being that way abused. The other meane is when he borrowes a dead bodie and so visiblie, and as it seemes unto them naturallie as a man converses with them. But it is to be noted, that in whatsoever way he useth it, that sperme seemes intollerably cold to the person abused. For if he steale out the nature of a quick person, it cannot be so quicklie carryed, but it will both tine the strength and heate by the way, which it could never have had for lacke of agitation, which in the time of procreation is the procurer & wakener up of these two natural qualities. And if he occupying the dead bodie as his lodging expell the same out thereof in the dewe time, it must likewise be colde by the participation with the qualities of the dead bodie whereout of it comes. And whereas yee inquire if these spirites be divided in sexes or not, I thinke the rules of Philosophie may easelie resolve a man of the contrarie: For it is a sure principle of that arte, that nothing can be divided in sexes, except such living bodies as must have a naturall seede to genere by. But we know spirites hath no seede proper to themselves, nor yet can they gender one with an other.
PHI. How is it then that they say sundrie monsters have bene gotten by that way.
EPI. These tales are nothing but Aniles fabula. For that they have no nature of their owne, I have shewed you alreadie. And that the cold nature of a dead bodie, can woorke nothing in generation, it is more nor plaine, as being already dead of it selfe as well as the rest of the bodie is, wanting the naturall heate, and such other naturall operation, as is necessarie for woorking that effect, and incase such a thing were possible (which were all utterly against all the rules of nature) it would bread no monster, but onely such a naturall of-spring, as would have cummed betwixt that man or woman and that other abused person, in-case they both being alive had had a doe with other. For the Devilles parte therein, is but the naked carrying or expelling of that substance: and so it coulde not participate with no qualitie of the same. Indeede, it is possible to the craft of the Devill to make a womans bellie to swel after he hath that way abused her, which he may do, either by steiring up her own humor, or by herbs, as we see beggars daily doe. And when the time of her delivery should come to make her thoil great doloures, like unto that naturall course, and then subtillie to slippe in the Mid-wives handes, stockes, stones, or some monstrous barne brought from some other place, but this is more reported and gessed at by others, nor beleeved by me.
PHI. But what is the cause that this kinde of abuse is thought to be most common in such wild partes of the world, as Lap-land, and Fin-land, or in our North Iles of Orknay and Schet- land.
EPI. Because where the Devill findes greatest ignorance and barbaritie, there assayles he grosseliest, as I gave you the reason wherefore there was moe Witches of women kinde nor men.
PHI. Can anie be so unhappie as to give their willing consent to the Devilles vilde abusing them in this forme.
EPI. Yea, some of the Witches have confessed, that he hath perswaded them to give their willing consent thereunto, that he may thereby have them feltred the sikarer in his snares; But as the othr compelled sorte is to be pittied and prayed for, so is this most highlie to be punished and detested.
PHI. Is it not the thing which we cal the Mare, which takes folkes sleeping in their bedds, a kinde of these spirites, whereof ye are speaking?
EPI. No, that is but a naturall sicknes, which the Mediciners hath given that name of Incubus unto ab incubando, because it being a thick fleume(?), falling into our breast upon the harte, while we are sleeping, intercludes so our vitall spirites, and takes all power from us, as maks us think that there were some unnaturall burden or spirite, lying upon us and holding us downe.
CHAP. IIII. ARGU.
The description of the Damoniackes & possessed. By what reason the Papistes may have power to cure them.
PHILOMATHES. Wel, I have told you now all my doubts, and ye have satisfied me therein, concerning the first of these two kindes of spirites that ye have conjoyned. Now I am to inquire onely two thinges at you concerning the last kinde, I meane the Daemoniackes. The first is, whereby shal these possessed folks be discerned fra them that are trubled with a natural Phrensie or Manie. The next is, how can it be that they can be remedied by the Papistes Church, whom wee counting as Hereticques, it should appeare that one Devill should not cast out an other, for then would his kingdome be divided in it selfe, as C H R I S T said [Mat. 12, Mark.3].
EPI. As to your first question; there are divers symptomes, whereby that heavie trouble may be discerned from a naturall sickenesse, and speciallie three, omitting the divers vaine signes that the Papistes attributes to it: such as the raging at holie water, their fleeing a back from the Croce, their not abiding the hearing of God named, and innumerable such like vaine thinges that were alike fashious and feckles to recite. But to come to these three symptomes then, whereof I spake, I account the one of them to be the incredible strength of the possessed creature, which will farre exceede the strength of six of the wightest and wodest of any other men that are not so troubled. The next is the boldning up so far of the patients breast and bellie, with such an unnaturall sturring and vehement agitation within them: And such an ironie hardnes of his sinnowes so stiffelie bended out, that it were not possible to prick out as it were the skinne of anie other person so far: so mightely works the Devil in all the members and senses of his body, he being locallie within the same, suppose of his soule and affectiones thereof, he have no more power then of any other mans. The last is, the speaking of sundrie languages, which the patient is knowen by them that were acquainte with him never to have learned, and that with an uncouth and hollowe voice, and al the time of his speaking, a greater motion being in his breast then in his mouth. But fra this last symptome is excepted such, as are altogether in the time of their possessing bereft of al their senses being possessed with a dumme and blynde spirite, whereof Christ releived one, in the 12 of Mathew. And as to your next demande, it is first to be doubted if the Papistes or anie not professing the the [sic] onelie true Religion, can relieve anie of that trouble. And next, in-case they can, upon what respectes it is possible unto them. As to the former upon two reasons, it is grounded: first that it is knowen of manie of them to bee counterfite, which wyle the Clergie inventes for confirming of their rotten Religion. The next is, that by experience we find that few, who are possessed indeede, are fullie cured by them: but rather the Devill is content to release the bodelie hurting of them, for a shorte space, thereby to obteine the perpetual hurt of the soules of so many that by these false miracles may be induced or confirmed in the profession of that erroneous Religion: even as I told you before that he doth in the false cures, or casting out of diseases by Witches. As to the other part of the argument in-case they can, which rather (with reverence of the learned thinking otherwaies) I am inducedto beleeve, by reason of the faithfull report that men found of religion, have made according to their fight thereof, I think if so be, I say these may be the respectes, whereupon the Papistes may have that power. C H R I S T gave a commission and power to his Apostles to cast out Devilles, which they according thereunto put in execution: The rules he bad them observe in that action, was fasting and praier: the action it selfe to be done in his name. This power of theirs proceeded not then of anie vertue in them, but onely in him who directed them. As was clearly proved by Judas his having as greate power in that commission, as anie of the reste. It is easie then to be understand that the casting out of Devilles, is by the vertue of fasting and prayer, and in-calling of the name of God, suppose manie imperfectiones be in the person that is the instrumente, as C H R I S T him selfe teacheth us [Mat.7.] of the power that false Prophets sall have to caste out Devils. It is no wonder then, these respects of this action being considered, that it may be possible to the Papistes, though erring in sundrie points of Religion to accomplish this, if they use the right forme prescribed by C H R I S T herein. For what the worse is that action that they erre in other thinges, more then their Baptisme is the worse that they erre in the other Sacrament, and have eiked many vaine freittes to the Baptisme it selfe.
PHI. Surelie it is no little wonder that God should permit the bodie of anie of the faithful to be so dishonoured, as to be a dwelling place to that uncleane spirite.
EPI. There is it which I told right now, would proove and strengthen my argument of the devils entring in the dead bodies of the faithfull. For if he is permitted to enter in their living bodies, even when they are joyned with the soule: how much more will God permit him to enter in their dead carions, which is no more man, but the filthie and corruptible caise of man. For as C H R I S T sayth, It is not any thing that enters within man that defiles him, but onely that which proceedes and commeth out of him [Mark.7.].
CHAP. V. ARGU.
The description of the fourth kinde of Spirites called the Phairie: What is possible therein, and what is but illusiones. How far this Dialogue entreates of all these thinges, and to what end.
PHILOMATHES. Now I pray you come on to that fourth kinde of spirites.
EPI. That fourth kinde of spirites, which by the Gentiles was called Diana, and her wandring court, and amongst us was called the Phairie (as I tould you) or our good neighboures, was one of the sortes of illusiones that was risest in the time of Papistrie: for although it was holden odious to Prophesie by the devill, yet whome these kinde of Spirites carryed awaie, and informed, they were thought to be sonsiest and of best life. To speake of the many vaine trattles founded upon that illusion: How there was a King and Queene of Phairie, of such a jolly court & train as they had, how they had a teynd, & dutie, as it were, eate and drank, and did all other actiones like naturall men and women: I thinke it liker V I R G I L S Campi Elysy, or anie thing that ought to be beleeved by Christians, except in generall, that as I spake sundrie time before, the devil illuded the senses of sundry simple creatures, in making them beleeve that they saw and harde such thinges as were nothing so indeed.
PHI. But how can it be then, that sundrie Witches have gone to death with that confession, that they have ben transported with the Phairie to such a hill, which opening, they went in, and there saw a faire Queen, who being now lighter, gave them a stone that had sundrie vertues, which at sundrie times hath bene produced in judgement?
EPI. I say that, even as I said before of that imaginar ravishing of the spirite foorth of the bodie. For may not the devil object to their fantasie, their senses being dulled, and as it were a sleepe, such hilles & houses within them, such glitering courtes and traines, and whatsoever such like wherewith he pleaseth to delude them. And in the meane time their bodies being senselesse, to convay in their hande any stone or such like thing, which he makes them to imagine to have received in such a place.
PHI. But what say ye to their fore-telling the death of sundrie persones, whome they alleage to have seene in these places? That is, a sooth-dreame (as they say) since they see it walking.
EPI. I thinke that either they have not bene sharply inough examined, that gave so blunt a reason for their Prophesie, or otherwaies, I thinke it likewise as possible that the Devill may prophesie to them when he deceives their imaginationes in that sorte, as well as when he plainely speakes unto them at other times for their prophesying, is but by a kinde of vision, as it were, wherein he commonly counterfeits God among the Ethnicks, as I told you before.
PHI. I would know now whether these kindes of spirites may only appeare to Witches, or if they may also appeare to anie other.
EPI. They may do to both, to the innocent sort, either to affraie them, or to seeme to be a better sorte of folkes nor uncleane spirites are, and to the Witches, to be a cullour of safetie for them, that ignorant magistrates may not punish them for it, as I told even now. But as the one sorte, for being perforce troubled withthem ought to be pittied, so ought the other sorte (who may bee discerned by their taking uppon them to Prophesie by them,) That sort I say, ought as severely to be punished as any other Witches, and rather the more, that that [sic] they goe dissemblingly to woorke.
PHI. And what makes the spirites have so different names from others.
EPI. Even the knaverie of that same devil; who as hee illudes the Necromancers with innumerable feyned names for him and his angels, as in special, making Sathan, Beelzebub, & Lucifer, to be three sundry spirites, where we finde the two former, but divers names given to the Prince of all the rebelling angels by the Scripture. As by C H R I S T, the Prince of all the Devilles is called, Beelzebub in that place, which I alleaged against the power of any hereticques to cast out Devils. By John in the Revelation, the old tempter is called, Sathan the Prince of all the evill angels. And the last, to wit, Lucifer, is but by allegorie taken from the day Starre (so named in divers places of the Scriptures) because of his excellencie (I meane the Prince of them) in creation before his fall: Even so I say he deceaves the Witches, by attributing to himselfe divers names: as if every divers shape that he trans formes himselfe in, were a divers kinde of spirit.
PHI. But I have hard many moe strange tales of this Phairie, nor ye have yet told me.
EPI. As well I do in that, as I did in all the rest of my discourse. For because the ground of this conference of ours, proceeded of your speering at me at our meeting, if there was such a thing as Witches or spirites: And if they had any power: I therefore have framed my whole discours, only to prove that such things are and may be, by such number of examples as I show to be possible by reason: & keepes me from dipping any further in playing the part of a Dictionarie, to tell what ever I have read or harde in that purpose, which both would exceede fayth, and, and rather would seeme to teach such unlawfull artes, nor to disallow and condemne them, as it is the duetie of all Christians to do.
CHAP. VI. ARGU.
Of the tryall and punishment of Witches. What sorte of accusation ought to be admitted against them. What is the cause of the increasing so far of their number in this age.
PHILOMATHES. Then to make an ende of our conference, since I see it drawes late, what forme of punishment thinke ye merites these Magicians and Witches? for I see that ye account them to be all alike guiltie?
EPI. They ought to be put to death according to the Law of God, the civill and imperial law, and municipall law of all Christian nations.
PHI. But what kinde of death I pray you?
EPI. It is commonly used by fire, but that is an indifferent thing to be used in every cuntrie, according to the Law or custome thereof.
PHI. But ought no sexe, age nor ranck to be exempted?
EPI. None at al (being so used by the lawful Magistrate) for it is the highest poynt of Idolatrie, wherein no exception is admitted by the law of God.
PHI. Then bairnes may not be spared?
EPI. Yea, not a haire the lesse of my conclusion.
For they are not that capable of reason as to practice such thinges. And for any being in company and not reveiling thereof, their lesse and ignorant age willno doubt excuse them.
PHI. I see ye condemne them all that are of the counsell of such craftes.
EPI. No doubt, for as I said, speaking of Magie, the consulters,trusters in, over-seers, interteiners or sturrers up of these craftes-folkes, are equallie guiltie with themselves that are the practicers.
PHI. Whether may the Prince then, or supreame magistrate, spare or over-see any that are guiltie of that craft? upon som great respects knowen to him?
EPI. The Prince Magistrate for further tryals cause, may continue the punishing of them such a certaine space as he thinkes convenient: But in the end to spare the life, and not to strike when God bids strike, and so feverelie punish in so odious a fault & treason against God, it is not only unlawful, but doubtlesse no lesse sinne in that Magistrate, nor it was in S A V L E S sparing of AGAG. And so comparable to the sin of Witch-craft it selfe, as S A M U E E L alleaged at that time [I.Sam.15.].
PHI. Surely then, I think since this crime ought to be so severely punished. Judges ought to beware to condemne any, but such as they are sure are guiltie, neither should the clattering reporte of a carling serve in so weightie a case.
EPI. Judges ought indeede to beware whome they condemue: For it is as great a crime (as SALOMON sayeth,) To condemne the innocent, as to let the guiltie escape free [Pro. 17.]; neither ought the report of any one infamous person, be admitted for a sufficient proofe, which can stand of no law.
PHI. And what may a number of guilty persons confessions, woork against one that is accused?
EPI. The assise must serve for interpretour of our law in that respect. But in my opinion, since in a mater of treason against the Prince, barnes or wives, or never so diffamed persons, may of our law serve for sufficient witnesses and proofes. I think surely that by a far greater reason, such witnesses may be sufficient in matters of high treason against God: For who but Witches can be prooves, and so witnesses of the doings of Witches.
PHI. Indeed, I trow they wil be leath to put any honest man upon their counsell. But what if they accuse folke to have bene present at their Imaginar conventiones in the spirite, when their bodies lyes sencelesse, as ye have said.
EPI. I think they are not a haire the lesse guiltie: For the Devill durst never have borrowed their shaddow or similitude to that turne, if their consent had not bene at it: And the consent in these turnes is death of the law.
PHI. Then Samuel was a Witch: For the Devill resembled his shape, and played his person in gluing response to S A V L E.
EPI. SAMUEL was dead as well before that; and so none could slander him with medling in that unlawfull arte. for the cause why, as I take it, that God will not permit Sathan to use the shapes or similitudes of any innocent persones at such unlawful times, is that God wil not permit that nay innocent persons shalbe slandered with that vile defection: for then the devil would ifnd waies anew, to calumniate the best. And this we have in proofe by them that are carryed with the Phairie, who never see the shaddowes of any in that courte, but of them that thereafter are tryed to have been brethren and sisters of that craft. And this was likewise proved by the cofession of a young Lasse, troubled with spirites, laide on her by Witchcraft. That although shee saw the shapes of diverse men & women troubling her, and naming the persons whom these shaddowes represents: yet never one of them are found to be innocent, but al clearely tried to be most guilty, & the most part of them confessing the same. And besides that, I think it hath ben seldome harde tell of, that any whom persones guiltie of that crime accused, as having knowen them to be their marrowes by eye-sight, and not by hear-say, but such as were so accused of Witch-craft, could not be clearely tryed upon them, were at the least publickly knowen to be of a very evil life & reputation: so jealous is God I say, of the fame of them that are innocent in such causes. And besides that, there are two other good helpes that may be used for their trial: the one is the finding of theri marke, and the trying the insensiblenes thereof. The other is their fleeting on the water: for as in a secret murther, if the deade carcase be at any time thereafter handled by the murtherer, it wil gush out of bloud, as if the blud wer crying to the heaven for revenge of the murtherer, God having appoynted that secret super-naturall signe, for tryall of that secrete unnaturall crime, so it appeares that God hath appoynted (for a super-naturall signe of the monstruous impietie of the Witches) that the water shal refuse to receive them in her bosom, that have shaken off them the sacred Water of Baptisme, and wilfullie refused the benefite thereof: No not so much as their eye are able to shed teares (thretten and torture them as ye please) while first they repent (God not permitting them to dissemble their obstinacie in so horrible a crime) albeit the women kinde especially, be able other-waies to shed teares at every light occasion when they will, yea, although it were dissemblingly like the Crocodiles.
PHI. Well, wee have made this conference to last as long as leasure would permit: and to conclude then, since I am to take my leave of you, I pray God to purge this Cuntrie of these divellishe practices: for they were never so rife in these partes, as they are now.
EPI. I pray God tha so be to. But the causes ar over manifest, that makes them to so so rife. For the greate wickednesse of the people on the one parte, procures this horrible defection, whereby God justlie punisheth sinne, by a greater iniquitie. And on the other part, the consummation of the worlde, and our deliverance drawing neare, makes Sathan to rage the more in his instruments, knowing his kingdome to be so neare an ende [Revel. 12.]. And so fare-well for this time.
F I N I S
His Magesty King James VI & I Page
Another Bible, Another Gospel