An Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft
AN HISTORICAL ESSAY CONCERNING WITCHCRAFT. WITH OBSERVATIONS UPON MATTERS of FACT; Tending to clear the Texts of the Sacred Scriptures, and confute the vulgar Errors about that Point. AND ALSO TWO SERMONS: One in Proof of the Christian Religion; the other concerning Good and Evil Angels. By FRANCIS HUTCHINSON, D.D. Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty, and Minister of St. James's Parish in St. Edmund's-Bury. PSALM xxxi. 6. I have hated them that hold superstitious Vanities: but I trust in the Lord. I TIM. iv. 7. But refuse profane and old Wives Fables, and exercise thy self rather unto Godliness. The SECOND EDITION, with considerable Additions. LONDON: Printed for R. KNAPLOCK, at the Bishop's Head, and D. MIDWINTER, at the Three Crowns, in St. Paul's Church-yard. MDCCXX.
Page 2 To the RIGHT HONOURABLE THOMAS Lord PARKER, Lord Chief Justice of England: To the RIGHT HONOURABLE Sir PETER KING, Kt. Lord Chief Justice of Common Pleas: And to the RIGHT HONOURABLE Sir THOMAS BURT, Kt. Lord Chief Baron of Exchequer. MY LORDS, I Humbly take leave to present your Lordships with the following Historical Collections and Observations, which have lain by me several Years;
Page 3 and, it may be, had still slept in Obscurity, if a new Book, which very likely may do some Mischief, had not lately come forth in Two Volumes, under the pompous Title of A Complete History of Magick, Sorcery, and Witchcraft, and c. I did not keep it by me so long, because I had any doubts about the Truth of those Notions which I endeavour to defend in it. I think it a Point very certain, That tho' the sober Belief of good and bad Spirits is an essential Part of every good Christian's Faith, yet imaginary Communications with them, have been the Spring both of the worst Corruptions of Religion, and the greatest Perversions of Justice. How many miserable Creatures have been hang'd or burnt as Witches and Wizzards in other Countries, and former Ages? In our own Nation, even since the Reformation, above a hundred and forty have been executed, if my Book hath any
Page 4 Truth in it, very much upon the Account of one ill translated Text of Scripture. If the same Notions were to prevail again, (and Superstition is never far off) no Man's Life would be safe in his own House; for the fantastick Doctrines that support the vulgar Opinions of Witchcraft, rob us of all the Defences that God and Nature have plac'd for our Security against false Accusations. For in other Cases, when wicked or mistaken People charge us with Crimes of which we are not guilty, we clear our selves by shewing, that at that time we were at home, or in some other Place, about our honest Business: But in Prosecutions for Witchcraft, that most natural and just Defence is a mere Jest; for if any wicked Person affirms, or any crack'd brain Girl imagines, or any lying Spirit makes her believe, that she sees any old Woman, or other Person pursuing her in her Visions, the Defenders of the vulgar Witchcraft tack an imaginary, unprov'd Compact to the Deposition,
Page 5 and hang the accus'd Parties for things that were doing, when they were, perhaps, asleep upon their Beds, or saying their Prayers; or, perhaps, in the Accuser's own Possession, with double Irons upon them. But as such fantastick Notions are so far from raising their sickly Visions into legal Evidence, that they are grounded upon the very Dregs of Pagan and Popish Superstitions, and leave the Lives of innocent Men naked, without Defence against them: To whom should I dedicate their Confutation, but to your Lordships, whom, with your learned Brethren, the Best of Kings hath appointed Guardians of his Subjects Rights and Lives; and whom universal Knowledge and great Experience have qualify'd for the true Judgment of such dark Cases? I need not inform your Lordships what Reception these Notions will find among different Persons; what Opposition from some, and what Neglect from others.
Page 6 As the very Nature of the Subject carries both Horror and Difficulty, polite Men, and great Lovers of Ease, will turn away their Thoughts from it with Disdain; and tho' it be of as much Importance as a sanguinary Law, and the Lives of Men, and the Honour of our Nation's Justice can make it, they will rather let the several Schemes take their own Course, than sully and disturb their own Minds, or engage their Reputations about them. Dark superstitious Tempers, that usually form their Religion suitable to their own Complexions, will always have a Bias towards the Belief of them; and upon every sudden Surprize, will be frighted into Actions that will disturb the Places where they shall be, and greatly hurt the suspected Persons.
Page 7 The credulous Multitude will ever be ready to try their Tricks, and swim the old Women, and wonder at and magnify every unaccountable Symptom and odd Accident. We Clergymen are not thought to have kept our Order altogether free from Blame in this Matter. In our last famous Tryal of Jane Wenham in Hertfordshire, some of our Gown, tho' otherwise Men of no ill Character, were so weak as to try Charms, and give way to scratching, and promote the Prosecution. Wierus, a learned Physician in Germany, who in his Practice had been much concern'd in Cases of this Nature, accuses us Clergymen in Terms too severe. Saith he, Ad gravem hanc impietatem connivent Theologi pleriq; omnes. That tho' the common Prosecution of Witches was a very sad Impiety, the greatest Part of the Clergy winked at it, and let it pass. I hope his Charge was too severe and
Page 8 general even for Popish Countries: I am sure it is for ours; for tho' Reverence to our Act of Parliament, and the Influence of an ill-translated Text, and fear of loose People carrying the Notion too far the other way, may have made some pious Men too fearful in opposing the vulgar Opinions, yet in the main, I believe our Church of England and its Clergy, have as little to answer for in this Respect as any. A Year or two before the Parliament made this Statute against feeding and rewarding, and giving suck to evil Spirits; the Convocation had made the 72d Canon, which subjects to the Penalties of Imposture, any Clergyman who should undertake to use Prayers for casting out of Devils, unless he first had a License granted under the Seal of the Bishop of that Place; and I do not meet with more than one License granted in all the six Score Years that have since pass'd.
Page 9 Dr. Morton, Bishop of Litchfield and Coventry, discovered the Villanies of the Boy of Bilson, and particularly his pissing thro' Ink, and sav'd the Life of the Woman that was under Condemnation. See the Sixth Detection of Impostors. Dr. Harsenet, when he was Chaplain to Archbishop Bancrost, and who was himself afterward Archbishop of York, both disproved and ridiculed these Follies with greater Freedom than I have ventur'd to make use of. And that any that shall be disposed to find Faults, may see that the Notions in my Book are neither new, nor contrary to the Doctrines of our Church, but well agreeing with the Opinions of the greatest Men that have been of it; I will quote at large some Passages out of his Declaration of Popish Impostures. See Chap. 21. "It is a Question moved by Scaliger, why Men of a melancholick Constitution be more subject to Fears, Fancies and Imaginations
Page 10 of Devils and Witches, than other Tempers be?" His Answer is, Quia ab atrâ Bile atri and fuliginosi generantur Spiritus qui Cerebrum pingunt turbulentis Phantasmatibus. "Because from their black and sooty Blood, gloomy fuliginous Spirits do fume into their Brain, which bring back gloomy and frightful Images, Representations and Similitudes in them." A few Lines after he gives us his Opinion of Bodin the Author of Dæmonomania. "John Bodin, the Frenchman, saith he, is a perfect Idea of this, who being in his younger Years of a most piercing, quick, speculative Wit, which grew of a light, stirring, discursive Melancholy in him, fell, (as Hermogenes the Mirror of Wit did) in the middle of his Age to be a pure Sot, and c. And had his Brain veram sedem Dæmonum, the Theatre and Sport-House for Devils to dance in, and c. That a Man
Page 11 may see a great deal of Madness mix with his great Wit. For he holds, that Devils may transform themselves into any Shape of Beasts or Similitude of Men, and may eat, drink, and converse familiarly with them, and may have Act of Generation with Women as they please. And not that only, but that a Witch by Ointments and Charms may transform her self into the Shape of any Beast, Bird, or Fish: That she may fly in the Air; that she may deprive Men of their generative Power; that she may transfer Corn out of one Field into another, and may cause Hail, Thunder and Wind, at her Pleasure. And he defends Lycanthropia, and the Change of Ulysses's Men into Swine by the Witch Circe, to be real and true: And above all he tells that unsavoury, melancholy, and ridiculous Tale of an Egg which a Witch sold to an Englishman, and by the same transformed him into an
Page 12 Ass, and made him her Market Mule three Years to ride on to buy Butter; and how at last she remorphiz'd him into the Native Shape of a Man again." Page 131. "These Things, saith he, are raked together out of old doating Heathen Historiographers, Wizzardizing Augurs, Imposturizing Soothsayers, Dreaming Poets, Chimerical Conceiters, and Coiners of Fables, and c. P. 136. Out of these, saith he, is shap'd us the true Idea of a Witch, an old weather-beaten Crone, having her Chin and her Knees meeting for Age, walking like a Bow leaning on a Staff, Hollow-Ey'd, Untooth'd, Furrow'd on her Face, having her Lips trembling with the Palsy, going mumbling in the Streets: One that hath forgotten her Pater-Noster, and yet hath a shrewd Tongue to call a Drab a Drab. If she hath learned of an old Wife in a Chimney End, Pax,
Page 13 Max, Fax, for a Spell; or can say Sir John Grantham's Curse for the Millers Eels, All ye that have stolen the Miller's Eels, laudate Dominum de C lis: And all they that have consented thereto, Benedicamus Domino: Why then beware, look about you my Neighbours. If any of you have a Sheep sick of the Giddies, or a Hog of the Mumps, or a Horse of the Staggers, or a knavish Boy of the School, or an idle Girl of the Wheel, or a young Drab of the Sullens, and hath not Fat enough for her Porrage, or Butter enough for her Bread, and she hath a little Help of the Epilepsy or Cramp, to teach her to roll her Eyes, wry her Mouth, gnash her Teeth, startle with her Body, hold her Arms and Hands stiff, and c. And then with an old Mother Nobs hath by Chance call'd her Idle young Houswife, or bid the Devil scratch her; then no doubt but Mother Nobs
Page 14 is the Witch, and the young Girl is Owl-blasted, and c." "They that have their Brains baited, and their Fancies distemper'd with the Imaginations and Apprehensions of Witches, Conjurers, and Fairies, and all that Lymphatical Chimæra, I find to be marshall'd in one of these five Ranks; Children, Fools, Women, Cowards, sick or black melancholick discompos'd Wits." One would have thought such a just Rally coming from so good a Hand, and back'd with such Authority as he had, should have sham'd and ridicul'd it out of the World: But the Seeds of this Evil lie deep, and many a cruel Tragedy of the same Sort hath been acted since, and many a Book written with great Assurances on the other side of the Question. Dr. More, and Mr. Glanville, and Mr. Baxter, and c. have defended and pretended to solve the grossest
Page 15 of the Notions that he exposes. Since the Return of King Charles II. there have been written the following Books that I have met with for upholding the same Notions. Meric Casaubon of Credulity and Incredulity. His Preface before Dr. Dee's Transactions of Spirits. The Tryal of Amy Duny and Rose Cullender, before the Lord Chief Baron Hale. The History of Lapland. The Devil of Mascon. A pleasant Treatise of Witches. The Opinion of Witchcraft vindicated. Dr. Burthogg's Essay upon Reason, and the Nature of Spirits. Mr. Baxter's Certainty of the World of Spirits.
Page 16 Dr. More and Mr. Glanvil's Collections. Satan's Invisible World. By Mr. Sinclare. A Blow to Modern Sadducism. By a Member of the Royal Society. Pandæmonium. A Discourse, proving that there are Witches. Mr. Spatchet's Case. By Mr. Petto. The Surrey Dæmoniac. The Kingdom of Darkness; with seventy nine several Relations. Mr. Aubery's Miscellaneous Collection, which teaches People Charms and Sorcery. Mr. Turner's Folio. Mr. Increase and Mr. Cotton Mather's several Tracts. Sadducismus Debellatus: Or an Account of the seven that were hang'd in Scotland in 1697.
Page 17 Mr. Beaumont. Two or three Pieces writ against Jane Wenham in Hertfordshire, even reflecting upon the Judge, because he would not hang her. In the Year 1717, The Compleat History of Magick, Sorcery, and Witchcraft. These Books and Narratives are in Tradesmen's Shops, and Farmer's Houses, and are read with great Eagerness, and are continually levening the Minds of the Youth, who delight in such Subjects; and considering what sore Evils these Notions bring where they prevail, I hope no Man will think but that they must still be combated, oppos'd, and kept down. As Dr. Harsenet was in hopes of ridiculing and shaming them out of the World, I have examined their Foundation, and compared their Facts and Consequences with the coolest Reason
Page 18 I could make use of; and it hath all along been a Pleasure to me to think, That tho' the Subject was irksome and unpopular, and very unpleasant; and tho' even the pious and learned Dr. More brands all those that oppose his Notions, with the odious Names of Hag-Advocates, yet I have ventur'd to bear these Reproaches, and run all Hazards, because it is on the Behalf of those that were drawn to Death, and were not able to plead their own Cause against Hebrew Criticisms, and fallacious, tho' deep Reasonings. When one Mr. Burroughs, a Clergyman, who some few Years since was hang'd in New-England, as a Wizzard, stood upon his Tryal, he pull'd out of his Pocket a Leaf that he had got of Mr. Ady's Book, to prove that the Scripture Witchcraft were not like ours: And as that Defence was not able to save him, I humbly offer my Book as an Argument on the Behalf of all
Page 19 such miserable People, who may ever in Time to come be drawn into the same Danger in our Nation. And, with all Honour and Submission of it to your Lordship's Judgments, I humbly lay it at your Feet for Protection, as far as it is right, and deserves your Favour. I am, My LORDS, (With great Deference and Honour) Your LORDSHIPS Most Humble, and Obedient Servant, FRANCIS HUTCHINSON.
Table of Contents
Page 20 CONTENTS OF THE Several Chapters contain'd in this BOOK. I. HOW very many Cases may be resolv'd by Nature and Art, without having recourse to the Agency of Spirits. Pag. I II) A Chronological Table of some Tryals and Executions of supposed Witches and Conjurers, and Imposters ; and of virtuous Persons and learned Men who
Page 21 have been oppress'd with great Calumnies of this sort. 15 III) Contains Observations upon those Matters of Fact ; tending to prove, that the great Numbers of Witches in some Ages above others, have been wholly owing to the different Principles and Notions of the several Times and Persons ; together with two Schemes of the several kinds of Principles that have had such different Effects. 64 IV. Is an Answer to Mr. Baxter's Account of the Suffolk Witches, in the Years 1645 and 1646, when above threescore were hang'd in that and the Neighbouring Counties , and amongst the rest Mr. Lowes, an ancient Clergyman , who had been fifty Years Minister of Brandeston, near Framlingham. In this Chapter the Reader will find the Practice of Swimming, Walking, Watching,
Page 22 and keeping them awake, being the common Method of Hopkins that styled himself the Witchfinder General. 79 V. Is an Account of nineteen hang'd in New England 1692. In this Chapter is shewn the Invalidity of Confessions, and the Vanity of the Spectral Evidence, and the great Confusion and Misery that follows such Prosecutions. 95 VI. Is an Answer to the pretended Witchcrafts at Mohra in Sweden, in the Year 1670, printed by Mr. Glanvil, as translated by Dr. Horneck. At that time fourscore and five were condemned and most of them executed. 122 VII. Is an Answer to the Case of the three Witches of Warbois, the Execution of whom is annually commermorated by a Sermon at Huntington preach'd by one
Page 23 of the Fellows of Queens' Colledge in Cambridge ; and their Case is newly reprinted by the Author of the Compleat History of Witchcraft. 130 VIII. An Answer to the Tryal of two Women condemn'd by my Lord Chief Baron Hale, and executed at Bury St. Edmonds in the Year 1664. In this the Sense of out Stature is explained, and all Charms us'd for discovering Witches are shewn to be highly criminal and punishable by our Law. 139 IX. Is the Case of Richard Dugdale, who by some is call'd the Surrey Dæmoniac, by others the Surrey Imposter. In this is seen the Vanity of Dissenters, in pretending to cast out Devils. Tho' the Case might have rested, if the Compleat History of Witchcraft had not reprinted one part, and suppres'd the other. 158
Page 24 X Is the Case of Jane Wenham of Walkern, in Hertfordshire. In this is shewn how impossible it is for the most innocent Persons to defend themselves against such fantastick Evidence, if it be allow'd of as legal Proof. In this Chapter is shewn that our Royal Society in England, having been the first of that sort that hath been founded in Europe, for discovering the true Knowledge of Nature, our Nation hath been the first in these latter Ages, that clear'd itself of such Supersitions. 163 XI. Answers the Cases of Teats, Marks, Charms, Want of Tears, and Swimming. 171 XII. Enquiries into the true Sense of Scripture, and shews what kind of Witchcrafts they were that are spoken of here. 144
Page 25 XIII. Shews, that it is a vulgar Error to think, that the Laws of all Nations have been like ours. 198 XIV. Some Remarks concerning the Occasion of our present Statute, and the Freedom we have had since the time that we have had no Execution of it. 226 XV. Contains a Collection of seven notorious Imposters detected. 228 1. Elizabeth Barton, or the Maid of Kent. 231 2. Midred Norrington and bnsp; 236 3. William Somers, thought to be disposs'd by Mr. Dorrel. 242 In this is seen how forward Witnesses are to swear in these Case ; and how easy it is to give cavilling Answers to the plainest Proofs of Imposture. 4. The Boy of Norwich. 262 5. The Lancashire Witches. 265
Page 26 6. The Boy of Bilson. 271 7. Richard Hathaway, convicted of Imposture by the Lord Chief Justice Holt. 280 XVI. Closes the Discourse with a Judgment of what the Author thinks he hath fully prov'd in this Matter, and what he still leaves open to Time and farther Experience. And gives the Reason of the two Sermons following, for preventing such ill Uses as may be made by bad Men. 286 The first Sermon is a Proof of Christianity, from the 15th of St. John, V. 24. 289 The second is concering the Nature and Ministration of good and evil Angels, from the 148th Psalm, V. 2 312
Books written by the Author
Page 27 BOOKS Written by the AUTHOR A Sermon at the Commencement in Cambridge. A. Sermon on the Thanksgiving for the Union. An Assize-Sermon at Bury St. Edmunds. A short History of the French Prophets. A Compassionate Address to Papists; in Five Letters. A Defence of the said Address, in a Sixth Letter.
Page 28 BOOKS printed for R. KNAPLOCK. THe French Church's Apology for the Church of England: Or, the Objections of Dissenters against the Articles, Homilies, Liturgy, and Canons of the English Church, consider'd and answer'd upon the Principles of the Reformed Church of France. A Scholastical History of the Practice of the Church, in reference to the Administration of Baptism by Lay-Men, where-in an Account is given of the Practice of the Primitive Church, the Practice of the Modern Greek Church, and the Practice of the Churches of the Reformation. With an Appendix containing some Remarks on the Historical Part of Mr. Laurence's Writings, touching the Invalidity of Lay-Baptism, his Preliminary Discourse of the various Opinions of the Fathers, concerning Re-baptization' and invalid Baptisms, and his Discourse of Sacerdotal Powers. A Scholastical History of Lay-Baptism, Part II. with some Considerations on Dr. Brett's, and Mr. L------'s Answer to the first Part. These by Joseph Bingham, M. A. Rector of Hanant. The Christian Pattern, or the Imitation of Jesus Christ.Vol.II. Being the Genuine Works of Thomas à Kempis. Containing four Books, viz. 1. The Sighs of a penitent Soul, or a Treatise of true Compunction. II. A short Christian Directory. III. Of Spiritual Exercises. IV. Of spiritual Entertainments. Translated from the Original Latin, and recommended by Dr. Hickes. To which is prefix'd a large Account of the Author's Life and Writings. A Defence of the fifty fifth Canon, in Answer to a Book, entitul'd, Reflections on Mr. Bennet's Discourse of Joint Prayer. Humbly offer'd to the Clergy. With some Considerations, pleading for a strict Conformity to those Rules of the Church, and Laws of the Realm which we have promis'd to obey. By J. Bowtell, B. D. and Fellow of St. John's College in Cambridge. The Psalter or Psalms of Holy David, according to the Translation used in the Common-Prayer Book, with explanatory Notes on all those Words and Sentences that are most difficult to be understood; together with Directions for the more devout Use of them, and an Historical Account of the Translation, and Translators. As also a general Defence of this Psalter against all Objections that the Dissenters have rais'd against it. By J. Johnson, M.A. and Vicar of Apledore in Kent.
Page 29 BOOKS printed for D.MIDWINTER. JUdge Hale's Contemplations, Moral and Divine, in two Vol. 12mo. The Christian's Defence against the Fears of Death, with seasonable Directions how to prepare our selves to die well. Written in French by Charles Drelincourt. Translated into English. The present State of Great Britain; with divers Remarks upon the ancient State thereof. By John Chamberlayne, Esq; The twenty fixth Edition, with great Additions. In two Parts. Sermons and Discourses on several Occasions, and c. By the Most Reverend Father in God William Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. The Second Edition. A Collection of Meditations and Devotions: In three Parts. By the late learned Dr. Hickes. Published by N. Spinkes, M. A. The great Apostasy from Christianity, with its evil Influence on the Civil State, and c. By John Broughton, D. D. Bishop Patrick's Mensa Mystica, or a Discourse concerning the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and c. A Treatise concerning the Causes of the present Corruptions of Christians, and the Remedies thereof: In three Parts. The third Edition. Glossographia Anglicana Nova, or a Dictionary interpreting such hard Words of whatever Language, as are at present used in the English Tongue. The Second Edition. A Daily Office for the Sick, compiled out of the Holy Scriptures and the Liturgies of our Church, with occasional Prayers, Meditations, and c. Bishop Burnet's Abridgment of his History of the Reformation of the Church of England. In three Volumes. With Cuts. 12mo. Miscellanies by the late Marquis of Halifax. Dr. Taylor's Golden Grove. 12mo. Mr. Thomas Browne's Translation of Justin Engl. 12mo. Dr. Patrick's Christian Sacrifice. 12mo. -----His Devout Christian. 12mo. -----His Advice to a Friend. 12mo. The Marquis of Halifax's Advice to a Daughter. 12mo. The Practice of Piety in 8vo and 12mo.
Page 30 A DIALOGUE BETWIXT A CLERGY-MAN, a Scotch ADVOCATE, and an English JURY-MAN. C H A P. I. Clerg. A GOOD Morning to you, Neighbour. Are all well at Home, that you are here this Forenoon? Jur. Thanks be to God, we are in good Health: But I am come at this time to desire your Opinion and Advice; and therefore I chose
Page 31 the Morning, in hope to find you most at Leisure. You know how much Discourse there hath been about the poor Woman, who hath suffered a great deal already, and is now in Goal upon Suspicion of Witchcraft. Now I received a Summons last Night to serve upon the Jury that is to try her. But tho' I never in my Life refused to serve my Country as well as I have been able, yet I have a great Mind to stay at Home now, and desire some Friend to excuse me. Clerg. I would not advise that; since the Law of the Nation puts the Judgment upon you, and with due Care you may preserve your Innocence: For if the Case be not very plain, save Life. Jur. But I am pretty sure, that the Case will not be plain. For I have heard already, perhaps as much as I shall at the time of Tryal; and for my Life I know not what Judgment to make of it. I happened once to hear two very Learned and Good Men discourse just such a Case, and instead of clearing the Point, they disputed themselves into a Passion: And therefore, if you do advise me to appear in so difficult a Case, pray let me know a little what you have met with about these dark Matters. Clerg. You could not have come to me at a better Time, for my Friend that is here with me, lives in Scotland, and hath been Advocate in the Tryals of Witches; and as I hope our happy Union of Interests and Counsels will be a Means of improving one another in all useful
Page 32 Notions, as far as either of us have had the Opportunity of seeing farther than the other in any Case, I am glad of this Occasion, that you may have my Friend's Opinion as well as mine. And therefore you shall put to us as many Doubts as you have upon you: And for Argument's sake, I will make the best I can of the poor Woman's Case, and Mr. Advocate shall urge the Case against her. Jur. The first thing they tell me of her, is, That the afflicted Person falls into Fits, as soon as the Woman is brought into the Room where she is. Clerg. But did she fall into any such Fits, before common Fame, or some Accident or Fancy, had given this poor Woman this frightful Character of a Witch? If not, her Fits may proceed only from her own Imagination: For an ill-grounded Fear hath the same Effect upon the Imagination, that a Fear hath which is reasonable. I once knew some Young Gentlewomen dress up a Post like an Apparition, and put it where one of their Play-fellows was to come, and it threw her into Fits, that kept her senseless for a great while, and might as well have kill'd her. Now if some foolish Young Women, by lying Stories, or otherwise, are made as fearful of this poor Creature, as that Girl was of a Spirit, is it any wonder, that she falls into Fits when she sees her? Adv. I allow this, if she sees her: But many afflicted Persons fall into Fits, when the supposed Witch hath been brought in, so as the Party hath not seen her.
Page 33 Clerg. But perhaps they expected her, and perceived her coming by the Countenances, or Whispers of the Company. But if not by that way, I would ask you, What is the Reason why some Persons fall into an Agony, if there be a Cat in the Room, tho' they do not see her? Adv. Some Scent or secret Communication of Spirits, that are the common Ground of all such Antipathies. Clerg. And when some poor old Creature, through Poverty, and Old Age, and bad Diet, and want of convenient Linen, is grown nasty, may she not have some rank unsavory Smell, that may grow to an Antipathy against those that have fallen into Fits by their Fear at the Sight of her? Pliny, and many others also suppose these ill Scents may be to the Degree of Venom and Infection: And we need not wonder at it: For every Malignant Fever makes any of us venomous for the time it lasts. This may be the Cause why Young Persons are more subject to these Afflictions than Old; for they are more apt to take both Fears and Infections. This may be the Reason why it is so often thought to be taken from the Witches Breath, as if they could breathe Evil Spirits rather than Infection. Now this is a just Cause, why Children and fearful People should be kept from supposed Witches: But if the Friends of the Afflicted bring them together, and try Experiments, and then punish the poor Women for the Consequences; for ought I know, they may be as much to blame, as if they should put Persons
Page 34 to Death for being sick of infectious Diseases. Jur. But the bare Fits make the least Part of the Wonder. They tell of strange Actions beside them. Clerg. And yet they may be Natural Fits and Vapours, for all that. For when some sort of Fits which are undoubtedly Natural, continue, they alter the Habit of the Body: Whence many times there grows a lurking Intermitting Fever, and Delirium, or particular Madness; and then their Fancies and strange Symptoms are more surprising. There are marvellous Effects, both in their Minds, Eyes, Ears, Voices, and whole Body. Their Minds will sometimes be so clouded, and oppressed, and dull, that they think themselves Dead: At another time, they shall be elevated far above their usual Pitch. Those that were slow, and of a few Words in their Health, shall then be full of Raptures and High Discourses, and give strange Answers, and repeat Prayers or Chapters by Memory; and sometimes speak their Fancies in Verse. In deep Melancholy, they shall think themselves Glass, or a Rotten Stick, or Kings and Queens, or even God himself. Now if the Stories that were before in their Heads, or any present Circumstances, bring the Point of Witchcraft or Witches into their Imagination; why may they not think themselves bewitched by those they hear of, or believe that they are Witches themselves? Why may they not fancy
Page 35 themselves Witches, or Wizards, as well as Kings and Queens? Then their Eyes are so deceived, that they believe they see in Reality any thing that inwardly dances in their Imagination. Thence we come to have so many Apparitions and Spectres, and Sights of Persons, who are at home at that time about their lawful Occasions. Their Ears are as much deceived as their Eyes. They fancy they hear Musick and Voices, and talk with the Phantoms, that they think they see. But what doth it signify what they imagine themselves to see or hear? Their Brain is disordered, and we may as well fetch Witnesses out of Bedlam, as build any thing upon what they say. The Vapours have as strange Effects upon the Organs of their Speech: Insomuch that they will often imitate most Noises that they hear or think of. I have been told of one that did but hear some Hogs that used to go often under the Window, and he grunted like them. Another would Crow like some Cock Chickens that were in a Coop near. In that Madness that comes from the Biting of a Mad Dog, the Person will Bark, and Snatch at those that are near, and even think himself a Dog, and Lap instead of Drinking. Another thing that is very observable, is the great Strength that they have at such Times. One Hour they will lie stiff, that you cannot bend them: The next Hour (perhaps when those fixed Spirits are kindled into a rapid Motion)
Page 36 Three Men shall hardly hold them from really acting that which happens to be in their Mind. If their Imagination leads them to run at such a Time, their great Strength and nimble Motion shall make them go as if they flew: And if they happen to give a Skip, they shall throw themselves to a great Height or Length. Convulsive Motions turn their Heads, as if their Necks were broken; draw their Mouths on one side: wring their Arms out of Joint: turn their Eyes inward, and make them lamentable Spectacles. If Blood be extravasated slowly, the Heat of the Stomach in a little time may form it into odd Figures, that when they are vomited, may seem very surprising, Or if it hath received any Seed or Spawn, the Heat and Nourishment may produce the Animal. Pins or Needles that have been swallowed long before, will work their way to the outward Parts of the Body, and be taken out of the Persons Thighs or Sides. There are many Instances of that Nature, where there hath been no manner of Reason to think of Witchcraft. Jur. I suppose the meeting with these Things in their Practice, may be the Reason, why they say, that Physicians give least Ear to Stories of Witches: But all these put together, will not reach the undoubted Facts that are told in most of these Cases. Clerg. Therefore we have a great many other Matters to consider of. One is the great Addition that will be made to the strangeness of
Page 37 such Cases, if the Persons themselves give their Minds to do those Things that will encrease the Wonder. There are few under such kind of Afflictions, but do it a little: For People naturally delight to make Things strange and marvellous, that those that see them may have the Pleasure of wondering, and they themselves may be admired or pitied: But too many go a great way farther, even to a wicked Management of their own Distempers, and counterfeiting Symptoms that their Diseases did not occasion. Jur. Sure none can be so desperately wicked, as to add counterfeit Tricks to a real Distemper, that puts them into Pain and Danger. It is hardly charitable to think that. Clerg. Virtuous Persons, who judge of others by themselves, can never imagine what wicked Wretches, or humoursome People, or those that are secretly encouraged or managed by others, will do. And therefore, as strange as this seems, Mahomet did it, and the Maid of Kent, and in all Probability, the Surrey Impostor, and other, as you will find afterward in some following Narrations. There was a Work of Nature, an odd Distemper for the Foundation; and upon that they grafted such Practices as deceived great Multitudes. For, tho' a Distemper at first be surprizing, and puts the afflicted Persons beyond their Thoughts of Tricking, yet a little Time makes them familiar with their own Calamity; and when they find themselves come safe out of strange Fits, and begin to have the Use of their Thoughts, while they are in them, and hear
Page 38 what Judgments are made of their Case; they manage their Calamity to the serving their own Interest, or Party, or Passion, or Humour: And when some cunning Fellow, who hath a Body fit for it, falls into this wicked way, it is hardly to be believed, how they can distort their own Bodies. And here, tho' I shall mention many Instances that will be thought strange, by those pious Persons who have had their Minds upon better Things than the Tricks of such Rascals; yet I will name none but such as I have either read in sober Authors, or heard from very good Hands. It is common then with such, that by long holding their Breath, they can throw themselves into real Fits when they will. By often moving and stretching the Skin of their Heads, if the Hair be short, they can make it stand upright like an angry Dog; and then they will Bark, and Snarl, and run upon all Four, as if they were changed into Mastives. They can turn their Eyes inward, swallow their Tongues, foam at the Mouth, and put their own Arms, or Legs, or Back-bones out of Joint. They can huff up their Bellies, that they may seem much swell'd: And at other Times they can suck up their Breath, and draw in their Guts, till the By-standers may feel the Backbone. One, a very honest Man, not long since of my own Parish, would thrust a Pin to the Head, into a hallow Place of his Arm without Bleeding. Some Counterfeits can speak out of their Bellies with a little or no Motion of their Lips.
Page 39 They can change their Voices, that they shall not be like their own. They can make, that what they say shall be heard, as if it was from a different Part of the Room, or as if it came from their own Fundament. And as this last may perhaps seem as unlikely as any I have named, I will confirm it with the Testimony of the University of Montpelier in France. The Occasion of their giving their Judgment was this. After the Nuns of Loudon, in the Year 1634. had brought great Wealth to their Nunnery by those Counterfeit Possessions, for which they have been famous ever since; Possessions and Accusations of Witches encreased in many Places thereabouts, and particularly in the Diocese of Nisines. To stop the growing Evil, Cardinal Mazarin (who was at that Time only the Pope's Legat at Avignon) threaten'd some of them with severe Punishments; and one Santerre collected the Signs of Possession, that appeared in the supposed Dæmoniacks, and laid them before the University of Montpelier for their Judgment. Now his 6th Question was, Whether Barking or Crying like a Dog, that seem'd to come from the Fundament, rather than the Throat, was a sure Sign of a Dæmoniack? The Answer of the University is, L'Industrie Humaine est si souple a Countrefaire, and c. Human Industry can go so far in Imitation, that it is seen every Day, that Persons learn to imitate, in great Perfection, the Way, the Cry, the Note, of all kind of Creatures, and do it so as one shall perceive no Motion in
Page 40 their Lips. There are also many that can form Words and Voices in their Stomach, which shall seem to come from others, rather than the Person that speaks them. Such People are call'd Engastriloques, or Ventriloquists; as Pasquier hath observed, in the 38th Ch. of his Recherches, from the Example of a Buffoon, call'd Constantine. Vid. Historie de Diables de Loudun, p. 320. Then besides these, there are a Multitude of Tricks that may be done by sleight of Hand; and pretending to vomit Pins, and Stones, and Clouts. I will give you an Account, if you desire it, before we part, of several, who have stood in the Pillory for this very Trick of vomiting Pins. Besides these, there are twice as many more, and twice as strange, that may be done, if the Impostor hath Confederates to give him Intelligence, and carry on his Tricks. Then they can reveal Secrets, tell who comes at a Distance, answer by Voices, make Things seem to move without Hands, or shew Spirits. It is not to be imagined, how they may deceive a credulous Company, when one that is their Confederate pretends to wonder as much as any: And for my part, when I hear of such odd Things, I take it for granted, that there is a Confederate, and I cannot forbear looking in this World for his Confederate, before I look in the other. I do in this Case, as we all do in the Case of Robberies, or Housebreaking. If there be a plain Fact, that one could not do, we say positively
Page 41 there was a Partner: And tho' no one can say, but that Partner might be a Devil; for an Evil Spirit can unlock a Door, or help a Thief in at a high Window, and would be as ready to help a Thief as a Juggler: Yet for all that, we should despise such an Answer, and think our selves much in the right, in concluding, that his Partner was of Flesh and Blood, and not a Familiar. I think the same, when I hear of strange Stories of Jugglers and Conjurers, or People that are said to be bewitched. If they are such as a Confederate Partner can do, I take it for granted, that the Familiar is one of his own bad Companions, that shares with him in the Profit, or joins with him in the Humour. Adv. There is no doubt, but this, that you say, is generally true, and ought to be in the Minds of those who have to do with these Cases. But for all that, you know very well, that there are Facts, that no Fleshly Familiar can be the Author of; and therefore, if you think you have said enough of these Kinds of natural Solutions, let us come to the Case of Spirits. You Clergymen do not use to be backward in that Point: For you teach us from your Pulpits to believe the Being of Spirits, both Good and Bad, and their Presence and Ministration in the World. Clerg. We do so, the Divine Writings teaching us the same Doctrine that we teach others: And the soundest Philosophy and soberest Reason give great Confirmation to it. For is it not Irrational to imagine, that we poor Worms of
Page 42 the Earth should be the Head of the Creation? Can we once think, that the Almighty Spirit should have no Creatures more Excellent than we are, to admire his Works, and know and Worship him? When we see our own changeable, infected, disordered Region full of Creatures with Life, Sense and Reason, can we believe that the Immense, and Pure, and Celestial Places above, are without any? It is no ways to be imagined; but on the contrary, that there are Superior Beings intermediate, betwixt the Divine Nature and ours. But when we have said this, we must add, that both Philosophers and Christians that have ventured to define their Natures, or Works, have been very various in their Notions of them; and for the Holy Scriptures that are our only sure Rule, tho' they give us many Instances of the Employment both of the Good and Evil Spirits, they teach us none such as we commonly meet with in the Modern Relations of Witchcraft. For the vulgar Opinion is, that the Devil is something like a Man, but with Tail, and Claws, and Horns, and a Cloven-Foot. The Narratives tell us, that he makes Compacts with the Witches, and lies with them, and sucks their Blood: And that at their bidding, he kills Children and Cattle, and sinks Ships by Sea, and carries them to foreign Meetings, where they revel with other Witches, and drink up the Wine in Princes Cellars: Now the Holy Scriptures tell us no such Tales as these, nor any thing like them. And howsoever some take Pains to join the Scripture Relations and these,
Page 43 as close as they can together; in my Opinion, they do Religion no Service by it. They are very different Things, and upon the Credit of very different Witnesses; and I think we should let each of them stand upon their own Foundations. The Scripture Facts soberly interpreted, agree with the Notions we have of God and Providence, and the Laws of Nature; whereas these confound the Laws of Nature, and destroy the Testimony of our Senses, in some Cases, as much as Transubstantiation. The Scripture Relations are witnessed by Prophets and Apostles, that are venerable for a Divine Goodness and Virtue: The gross Part of our Stories of the Devil, are grounded upon the Confessions of Brainsick People, after Superstition or ill Usage had made them Mad. And therefore, I am in no fear but the Scripture Relations will approve themselves to the Consciences of Wise and Good Men for ever; whereas with respect to the latter, I doubt not but the Time will come, when we shall be satisfied, that even in Cases of Blood we have been much too credulous. That you may judge the better, whether I have any Reason to speak after this manner, I will lay before you several of the most remarkable Facts and Tryals that we have had; and we will argue upon such of them as seem best to deserve Consideration: That is the fairest way, I think, and most likely to lead us right. For Rational Arguments without Facts, can never decide this Case. A Man may as well compose a true System of Natural Philosophy, without
Page 44 Experiments, as state the Case of Witchcraft, without a careful Enquiry into those Appearances of it, that have made so many wise Men believe it. I have here a Chronological Table, which I have formerly drawn up, of Things, either of this Nature, or a kin to it; and tho' I pretend not that it is perfect, yet it is pretty large, and if you please I will read it to you. Adv. That must be in it self entertaining, as well as serviceable for the Decision of the Point before us; and therefore pray let us have it. Clerg. I will give it you as it is, Title and all. CHAP. II. A CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE of the Executions, or Tryals of supposed Witches and Conjurers: As also of Impostors, Poysoners, Counterfeit Possessions: Together with the Rebellions, Treasons, and great Mischiefs occasioned by Fortune-Tellers, Conjurers, and c. As also the Laws and Canons, that have been made against such Persons:
Page 45 And lastly, what Learned Men have suffered great Loss and Trouble by the Slanders and Calumnies of this sort. The Years of the World near which these Things happened. A. M.  ZOroastres was a King, and Astrologer, and a Learned Man, and is usually said to be the first Author of Diabolical Magick: But Naudæus, in his Apology for Learned Men, that have been unjustly accused of Magick, says, he was only a Learned Astronomer.  The ancient Inhabitants of Canaan were much addicted to Divination, Necromancy, Soothsaying, and c. The Chaldæi in Assyria; the Brachmans in India; the Magi in Persia; the Druids in Britain, were the Priests and Philosophers of those Times, and Places, and mingled much Divination with their Religion and Learning.  Jannes and Jambres oppose their Art to the Divine Miracles of Moses.  The Divine Law forbad all Use of these Arts.  Saul either destroy'd or banished the Practisers of them; yet in a great Fear and Dejection of Mind, he himself afterwards enquired of one of these People at Endor.
Page 46  Numa Pompilius pretended Commerce with the Goddess Egeria, and founded the Rites and Religion of the Romans; and by many Writings concerning Witchcraft, is counted among the famous Magicians. See Gabr. Naud. c. 11.  Manasses, an Idolater, and Consulter with Diviners, and c.  Josias put away such People.  Pythagoras, a learned Philosopher, is commonly, but falsely said to have used Magick. Gabr. Naud.  The Laws of the Twelve Tables at Rome; amongst which this, Qui fruges excantassit. Neve alionam segetem Pollexeris; That no one should use Charms to draw their Neighbour's Corn into their Fields. About this Time, a Woman gave her Sweetheart a Love-Cup; and contrary to her Expectation, it kill'd him. Being in danger of being punished, she appealed to the famous Court of Areopagus; and they set her free without Punishment, because she did not design him any Harm. Arist. [Greek omitted] About this same time, or sooner, the Lemnii took, and carried away many Grecian Women, and had Children by them. But afterward being estranged from them, the Women poysoned both Men and Children. Suidas.  Theoris, put to Death by the People of Athens, as a Witch. She was accused by her Maid, who shewed them her Medicaments and Charms. Demosthenes having
Page 47 Occasion to speak of her, calls her that Lemnian Woman, that [Greek omitted]; and in speaking of her, he uses both the Terms of Witchery and Imposture, [Greek omitted]. But he concludes with a Jest upon her and her Partner, for pretending to heal others of the Falling Sickness, when they themselves were sick of all kinds of Vices. Demost. Orat. 1. adv. Aristog. The Jest of Demosthenes upon the Oracle at Delphi, is famous. He said Apollo did [Greek omitted], lean towards King Philip, more than towards them; whence he is usually quoted, as one that did not think that the Oracles spake by Spirits, but by Men that would take Money.  The Lex Cornelia against Poyson, and Mala Sacrificia, was made when Cornelia, and 170 Roman Women, of the better Quality, were put to Death for poisoning those they had a Mind to remove. Liv. Dec. 1. l.8. The Jews pretended to work Wonders by the Tetragrammaton and Cabala. The Ephesia Grammata were thought to work Wonders amongst the Greeks. If they were to wrestle, or run, or plead a Cause in Law, they would carry these to help themselves, and hinder their Adversaries. Furius Cresinus was accused of Magic, because he had better Crops of Corn than his Neighbours. For his Defence he brought before them his heavy Plows, and Spades, and Sun-burnt Daughters, and said, they were the Charms that he made Use of. Plin. Nat. Hist.
Page 48 The Years since our blessed Saviour. [A . 14.] Tiberius put many honourable Citizens to Death, pretending that they had consulted with Chaldæans. D. Loier p. 140.  Germanicus, Nephew of Tiberius, died. There were found in Corners of his Lodgings, Charms, Curses; his Name upon Leaden Tables, Pieces of Man's Flesh, and Ashes, and other Things used in Witchcraft; but he was killed by real Poyson. Tac. Ann. l. 2. Pontius Pilate destroyed many of the most virtuous Jews, besides our Blessed Saviour. I find several quote the Talmud, to prove, that he executed many Witches. Simon was a Magician, and most of the first Hereticks took their Rise from him. Elymas, a Magician, opposed St. Paul.  Claudius condemned a poor Knight to die, because he had carried about him an Egg of a Serpent, in hopes it would make a Law-suit go of his Side. Tacit.  Nero went through all the Rights and Preparations for Magick, with the most famous Magicians he could procure, but found nothing real, excepting what they did by Herbs and Drugs in the way of Nature. Plin. Nat. Hist. 1. 30. c. 11. Menander, Basilides, and many other of the first Hereticks are said to have used Magick.  Pliny tells of an Orchard canned cross the High-way in his Time, but does not say
Page 49 by Charms, tho' that Matter is often quoted for the Proof of Magick. L. 17. c. 25.  Tacitus, concerning Conjurers, who were then called Mathematici, saith, They are a faithless, fallacious Sort of Men, that were always forbidden in Rome, and yet would always be retained. Lib. 1. Hist. About this Time lived Apollonius Tyanæus. His life was written by Philostratus, in a Rhetorical Style, for the Reading of the Empress Julia, above a Hundred Years after his Death. Philostratus tells so many Wonders of him, that many Christians, who believe the Story, say he was a powerful Magician, but both the Nature and Circumstances of the Facts, and the Testimony of many ancient Authors, shew plainly, that his Book hath much in it that is fabulous, and was written with Design to obscure the true Miracles of our Blessed Saviour, Gab. Naud. Ch. 12.  About this Time, Apuleius the Philosopher was accused before Claudius Maximus, for drawing the Love of Pudentilla, a rich Widow, by Magick. His Defence is still extant, wherein he shews, that a Widow's Affection might be engaged without bad Arts. D. Loier.  Anton. Caracalla condemned those that carried Writings about their Necks to cure Agues. D. Loier quotes Spartian.  Constantine forbad Charms to do Hurt; but allowed them for preserving the Fruits of the Earth. Lamb. Danæus. c. 6.
Page 50  Julian, the Apostate, is said to have used, but in vain, many magical and Idolatrous Rites, cutting up the Bodies of Boys and Virgins, in hope to raise the Dead, to tell him the Success of his Expedition against the Persians. The Inhabitants about the Rhine proved the Legitimacy of any Children which they suspected to be Bastards, by trying whether they would sink or swim in the Waters of that River. Hence that of Claudian, Et quos nascentes explorat gurgite Rhenus. And St. Gregory Nazianzen, [Greek omitted]. See Colliers Dictionary.  The Emperor Leo forbad all Kinds of Charms, whether to do Good or Harm; but calls all their Pretences, Fallaciam and Imposturam, Cheat and Imposture. Lambert. Dan. c. 6.  About that Time, Merlin, our English Magician, was said to be begot by an Incubus. Molitor, and other Popish Writers say, the Devil did lie with his Mother; but they say he stole a Child somewhere else, and put that into the Midwife's Hands, at the Time of Delivery.  Uter Pendragon fell in Love with Ingren, Wife of Garlois, Duke of Cornwall. Merlin is said to have transformed him into the Likeness of the Duke, and that in that Form he begat the famous King Arthur. I
Page 51 mention these two last, because many of the Defenders of vulgar Witchcraft quote them with great Confidence as true History: But amongst sober Historians Geoffry of Monmouth hath had the Nick-name of Arthur us for these and other foolish Tales that he told of King Arthur, and Merlin. See Gab. Naud. c. 16. Polyd. Virg. l. 14.  Duffus the 78th King of Scotland, pined away by a Sweating Sickness. A Maid was examined by Torture, and discovered, that her Mother, and some others, roasted the King's Picture by a soft Fire, and upon their Punishment, the King recovered. Buehanan adds;. "These things, I deliver as I received them from our Ancestors. What to think of this sort of Witchcraft, I leave to the Judgment of the Reader, only minding him, that this Story is found amongst our ancient Archives and Records." Buch. p. 183.  Pope Sylvester the 2d, was Tutor to Robert the Good, King of France; and afterward to Otho the 3d, Emperor of the West: and by their Interest was made Pope, and maintained in the Chair, against the Will of the Cardinals. He being a Learned Mathematician in an ignorant Age, his Enemies imputed his Favour with those Princes, and his curious Works, to Magic; and they added a Multitude of foolish Fables concerning him; in particular this, That his Bones shake in his Sepulchre, and by their rattling portend the Death of their Popes. Cardinal Beune, and other Papists were
Page 52 the Authors of these Tales. See Gabr. Naud. c. 19.  Balsamon, in his Comment upon the 83d Canon of St. Basil, says, he was an Eye-Witness, when the Wife of Alexius Comnenus, Emperor of the East, being sick, some Gypsies pretended she was bewitched, and that they could cure her. They secretly hid waxen Images in Corners, and then pretended to foretell where they should find them, and who made them. They caused many innocent Men and Women to be punished, and being able to make no Cure, ran away.  Hubert Earl of Kent was accused, upon pretense that he stole out of the King's Jewel-house, a Stone that would make a Man invisible, and gave it to Lewellyn the King's Enemy. Also that he had drawn the King's Favour to himself, above others,. by Sorceries. Speed.  Robert Grosted, Bishop of Lincoln, a. Person of great Learning and Virtue, falsly said to have been a Magician. G. Naud. c. 18.  About that Time Roger Bacon was accused for Conjurations. He was twice cited at Rome, where he received great Applause for his curious Learning. G. Naud. c. 17. In that Age Sir John Malborn wrote a Book in the Saxon Tongue, detecting the Deceits of Conjurers. Scot. 1. 15. c. 51.
Page 53  Albertus Magnus, a learned and pious Bishop. The People said he had a Brazen Head that gave him Answers to all Questions. He is one of the great Men, in Defence of whom Naudæus wrote his Apology. Ch. 18.  Arnold de Villa nova, a learned Physician and Philosopher, condemned by the Inquisitors to be burnt at Padua, as a Magician, in the 80th Year of his Age. G. Naud. ch. 14.  Peter Apon of Padua. Many learned Works of his remain, and being written before he was 24 Years old, it was said, he was taught the Seven Liberal Arts by Seven Spirits which he kept in a Crystal. He was condemned by the Inquisitors for a Magician, and dying before Execution, he was burnt in Effigy. See Naud. and Hist. Dict.  The Pyed Piper, at Hamelen in Lower Saxony, is said to have lead all their Rats and Mice into the River, where they were drowned; but being denied his Pay, he piped again, and led all the Children of the Town into a Mountain, which first opened, and then closed again, and shut them in. Some say they date their Writings from this Time. See Dr. More's Antidote against Atheism, 1. 3. c. 7. At Bury we may as well believe the Story of the Wolf and St. Edmund's Head, because to this Day that is the Crest of the Town-Arms.
Page 54  Piercy and Mortimer rebelled, being encouraged by a Prophecy of Merlins. Speed quotes Walsingham.  Queen Joan, committed upon Suspicion of seeking the King's Death by Sorcery. Fryar Randolf, D. D. was said to be her Agent.  Joan of Arc, or Joan of Lorain, a Shepherdess, call'd by the French, The Holy Maid of God, was a great Means to raise the Siege of Orleans, and drive our English Forces out of France. The Earl of Bedford afterward having taken her Prisoner, burn her for a Witch. Dr. Heylin doubts not to say, That she was neither Witch nor Prophetess, but was managed by the Earl of Dunois, to revive the drooping Spirits of the beaten French. Heyl. Geogr. of Lorain.  The Duke of Glocester, Uncle to King Henry VI. preferred Articles against his great Uncle the Cardinal. The Cardinal found nothing to return upon him in requital, but accused his Duchess for seeking the King's Death by Sorcery. I do not find any real Harm that the King is pretended to have suffered; but the Duchess was sentenced to do Penance. Margery Gurdeman, of Eye, in Suffolk, her Agent, was burnt for a Witch in Smithfield. Roger Bullingbrook was hanged, but declared that the Duchess had only desired to know of him how long the King would live. Thomas Southwell dyed the Night before his Execution: And Roger Only was hanged, but
Page 55 wrote a Book of his own Innocency, and against the Opinions of the Vulgar. See Baker's Chron. p. 187, and 201. Five Years after, the Duke himself was murdered by his Enemies. Speed quotes Baker. In the Ages before these, we meet with a Multitude of Miracles, but not many Witches. About this Time, or a little before, they began to increase; insomuch that the University of Paris, Anno 1398. in the Preface to their Rules for judging Witches, say, that Crime was, Plus solito in illâ ætate, more common in that Age than it had been before. See Bodin, p. 25.  Several burnt for Witches in Savoy. Hen. Instit. p. 161.  Richard the Third, commonly called Crook-back, when he had murthered the Kinsmen of the Queen-Dowager, and imprisoned his Nephews that were Heirs to the Crown, pretended in the Privy-Council, that the Queen, and Jane Shore, had made his Aim wither and consume by Sorcery, and he stripp'd his Arm that they might see it; but it was known, that his Arm had for a long Tine been so. Speed.  The same Year, King Richard being of the House of York, attainted for Sorcery several that supported the Line of Lancaster. As, the Countess of Richmond, Mother of Henry the 7th; Dr. Morton, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury; Dr. Lewis, William Knevit, and Thomas Nandyck of Cambridge, called Conjurer: Nandyck was taken,
Page 56 and condemned, but saved by the Parliament. See the Life of Richard the Third by Geo. Buck, Esq; p. 102, 126.  At this Time the Belief of Witches, and their Power had got such Root, that Pope Innocent the 8th directed a very superstitious Bull to the Inquisitors of Almain, empowering them to discover and burn them. The Substance of the Bull is this, -- Pervenit ad auditum nostrum, and c. "It is come to our Ears, that great Numbers of both Sexes are not afraid to abuse their own Bodies with Devils that serve to both Sexes. And with their Enchantments, Charms and Sorceries, to vex and afflict Man and Beast with inward and outward Pains and Tortures; they render Men and Women impotent for Generation; they destroy the Births of Women, and the Increase of Cattle; they blast the Corn of the Ground, the Grapes of the Vines, the Fruit of the Trees, and the Grass and Herbs of the Fields, and c. Therefore, with the Authority Apostolic, we give Power to the Inquisitors, and c. to convict, imprison and punish." See Bath. de Spina, c. 3. From the Time of this superstitious Bull, observe how the Number of Executions increase, but chiefly in the Places where the Waldenses and Protestants were most numerous. The Jesuit Delrio makes the same Observation, and gives several Reasons, why Protestants come to be so very much in the Power of the Devil. See the Preface to his Book of Magic.
Page 57  Cumanus burnt Forty one poor Women for Witches in the Country of Burlia in one Year. He caused them to be shaven first, that they might be searched for Marks: He continued the Prosecutions in the Years following, and many fled out of the Country. H. Instit. 105, 161. Bodin. About this Time Alciat, a famous Lawyer, in his Parerga, says, One Inquisitor burnt a Hundred in Piedmont, and preceded daily to burn more, till the People rose against the Inquisitor, and chased him out of the Country. Wier. c. 22.  A violent Tempest of Thunder and Lightning in Constance destroyed the Corn for Four Leagues round. The People accused one Anne Mindelen, and one Agnes, for being the Cause of it. They confessed, and were burnt. See Bodin. l. 2. c. 8. About this time, H. Institor, says, One of the Inquisitors came to a certain Town that was almost desolate by Plague and Famine. The Report went, that a certain Woman, buried not long before, was eating up her Winding Sheet, and that the Plague would not cease till she had made an End of it. This Matter being taken into Consideration, Scultetus, with the chief Magistrate of the City, opened the Grave, and found that she had indeed swallowed and devoured one half of her Winding Sheet. Scultetus, moved with Horror at the thing, drew out his Sword, and cut off her Head, and threw it into a Ditch, and immediately the Plague ceased; and
Page 58 the Inquisition sitting upon the Case, it was found, that she had long been reputed a Witch. See H. Institor, part 1. Qu. 15. There are many Instances of their digging up Graves about that time in foreign Nations. About this time, George Ripley, who wrote several Books in Mathematicks, and William Blackney, D. D. were counted Necromancers. See Baker's Chron.  John Trithemius, Abbot of Spanheim, a learned Person, aspersed and slandered as a Conjurer. See Gab. Naud. About this time, five Hundred were executed at Geneva in three Months. I quote this out of the Preface of the Jesuit Delrio, and as I have no Authority to change his Words, I let them stand: For I suppose there were a considerable Number executed, and very likely many poor Waldenses were added to them, for they counted them alike, and call'd them Protestant Witches and Wizards.  Forty eight were burnt about this time at Ravensburg in five Years. See Malleus Malef. p. 2. Quest. 1. ch. 4.  Luther began about this time to discover the Ignorance and Errors of Popery. The Papists said, that he, and many other of the Reformers, had Dealings with the Devil. Some Reformers have said as much of the Popes, and particularly, that Fifteen one after another, that is, all from Sylvester II. to Gregory VII. were Magicians: But it must be said on their Behalf, that it was Cardinal Benno,
Page 59 and other Popish Authors, that misled them. That they are called Magicians, See Prideaux Introd. to Hist. p. 111.  About this Time, the great Seditions by the Anabaptists in Germany. A Hundred Thousand took up Arms, and near Fifty Thousand were killed. Sleid l. 4. and 6. About this Time, Multitudes were burnt in France. Lamb. Danæus, in the First Part of his Dialogue concerning Witches, expresses it, Infinitum pene Veneficorum Numerum. Remigius p. 126. says, One Triscala told Charles IX. that there were many Thousands in his Kingdom.  This Year the Duke of Buckingham was beheaded. His Death was imputed much to the Malice of Cardinal Wolsey; but he had been guilty of some imprudent Actions, encouraged by the Predictions of Fryar Hopkins. Hopkins died of Grief. Ld Herb. Hist. of Hen. VIII.  Pope Adrian VI. enforced his Predecessor's Bull by a new one, with Power to excommunicate all that opposed them. Barth. de Spina. de Strigibus, c. 3.  About this Time, a Thousand burnt in one Year in the Diocese of Como; and a Hundred per Ann. for several Years together. Barth. de Spina. cap. 12.  Elizabeth Barton, the Maid of Kent, fell into strange Trances, and spake so much above her usual Discourses, that many thought her Fits were supernatural: But
Page 60 speaking against the King's Marriage, she was apprehended, and confessed her self a Counterfeit, and was hanged with seven Men that had managed her Fits to the Disturbance of the State. See chap. 15. First Impostor.  Forty Veneficæ are said to have renewed a Plague at Cassalis, at Salassia in Italy, by besmearing the Posts of the Doors with an Ointment and Powder. [Scot.] l. 6. c. 4.  The Lord Hungerford beheaded for procuring certain Persons to conjure, that they might know how long Henry VIII. would live. Lord Herb.  The same Year were enacted two Acts of Parliament, One against False Prophecies; the other against Conjuration, Witchcraft, Sorcery, and pulling down Crosses.  In a Visitation of Archbishop Cranmer's, Joanna Meriweather of St. Mildred's Parish, was presented, for that she made a Fire upon the Dung of Elizabeth Colsey, and dropp'd a holy Candle upon it, and told her Neighbours, it would make the Cule of the Maid divide in two 'Parts. Memoirs of Archbishop Cranmer, p. 102.  In this first Year of Edward VI. the late mention'd Statute against Witchcraft was abrogated by the Reformers.  In Devonshire, Yorkshire and Norfolk, great Numbers of the People took Arms against the Government. In Norfolk
Page 61 they had one Ket for their Leader, and were encouraged by this Prophecy: Hob, Dic, and Hic, with Clubs and clouted Shoon, Shall fill up Duffin-Dale with slaughtered Bodies soon. See Cotta of Witchcraft, p. 72.  In Archbishop Cranmer's Articles of Visitation. "Item, You shall enquire, whether you know of any that use Charms, Sorcery, Enchantments, Witchcraft, Soothsaying, or any like Craft, invented by the Devil." See Sparr. Coll. of Art. 3.  Guillaume de Line, a celebrated Preacher, condemned at Poictiers for Sorcery. Bodin's Preface.  The famous Imposture of the Spirit in the Wall, that spoke many seditious things in London; but was found out to be acted by one Eliz. Crofts, a Girl, who from a private Hole in the Wall, with the Help of a Whistle, had uttered those Words. One Drake was her Confederate. Hist. of Reformation.  In the Second Year of Queen Elizabeth was renewed the same Article of Enquiry for Sorcerers, that was mention'd before, with this Addition, Especially in the Time of Women's Travail. Sparr. Coll. p. 180.
Page 62  This Year, Hugh Draper of Bristol, Merchant; Leonard Bilson of Winchester, Clerk; Robert Man of London, Ironmonger; Ralf Poynte of Fekenham in Worcestershire, Miller; Francis Cocks of London, Yeoman; John Cocks of Winchecter, Clerk; Fabian Withers of Clerkenwell in Middlesex, Salter, and John Bright of Winchester, Goldsmith, were taken up for Conjuration and Sorcery, and being committed to the Fleet, were tried at Westmincter, and confessed their wicked Actions, and in open Court bound themselves by this solemn Oath following, to abstain from the like Acts for the future. The Form of the Oath. "YE shall swear, that from henceforth ye shall not use, practise, devise, or put in ure, or exercise, or cause, procure, counsel, agree, assist, or consent to be used, devised, practis'd, put in ure or exercis'd, any Invocations, or Conjurations of Spirits, Witchcrafts, Inchantments, or Sorceries, or any thing whatsoever touching, or in any wise concerning the same, or any of them, to the intent to get, or find any Money or Treasure, or to waste, consume, or destroy any Person in his Members, Body or Goods, or to provoke any to unlawful Love, or to know, tell or declare where Goods lost or stolen be come, or for any other Purpose, End or Interest whatsoever. So Help you God, and the holy Contents of this Book." After which they were
Page 63 led through Westminster Hall, and by the special Command of the Queen and her Council, were set in the Pillory before the Queen's Palace below the same Hall. See the Lord Chief Justice Coke's Eutries, p. 1.  This Year, being the Fifth of Queen Elizabeth, the Countess of Lenox, and four others were condemned for Treason: They had consulted with some pretended cheating Wizards, to know how long the Queen should live. Cambd, Elizabeth.  This same Year a new Statute against Witchcraft was enacted, but more favourable than ours is now, punishing the first Conviction of Witchcraft with only Pillory. See the Stat.  The King of Sweden carried four Witches with him in his Wars against the Danes. Scot. l. 3. c. 15.   Four burnt at Poictiers. Bodin. p. 6. Nostradamus, a French Physician, the Author of a large Book of Prophecies.  Jane Harvillier, burnt in France, as her Mother had been some Years before. Bodin's Dæmon. p. 3.  A blind Conjurer that was hang'd at Paris, accused above an Hundred and Fifty. He had been a Teacher of the White Magic, that pretends to deal only with Good Angels. Bodin. l. 2. c. 1. Bodin, l. 2. c. 1. mentions a certain great Prince that he knew, who paid two Hundred Pound per Ann. Wages to a Neapolitan Sorcerer, to be
Page 64 his Conservator. He wore a Golden Image of Jupiter, prepared by the Theurgic Art, in hopes it would make him the greatest Prince in Christendom. When he died it was found about his Neck.  Agnes Bridges and Rachel Pindar, of Eleven or Twelve Years old, had counterfeited to be possess'd by the Devil, and vomited Pins and Clouts; but were detected, and stood before the Preacher at St. Paul's Cross, and acknowledged their hypocritical Counterfeiting. Stow.  Mildred Nerrington of Westwel in Kent, was thought to have been possess'd, and accused one Old Alice for sending the Devil into her. Roger Newman, Vicar of Westwell, and John Brainford, Vicar of Kenington, tried to dispossess the Spirit by Fasting and Prayer; and were so far of Opinion, that they had done it, that they printed the Relation, with the Attestation of Six others. But Mildred being examined before Mr. Thomas Wotton and Mr. George Darrel, Two Justices of the Peace, she confessed, and shewed her Feats and Trances before them, See c. 15. Second Imposter. Dr. Harsenet confirms this. The Windsor Witches executed at Abington. The Relation was printed by Richard Gallis. In that he said, he came to the God Speed, and with his Sword and Buckler killed the Devil; or at least wounded him so sore, that he made him
Page 65 stink of Brimstone. Scot. lib. 2. c. 3. Again, 2d Part, l. 1. ch. 33. Advocate. I am loth to interrupt you, and yet desire Leave to put in one Word before we go forward. In this last Case, and some others that you named, you only single out one ridiculous Passage; and, I dare say, pass over many other strong Circumstances delivered upon Oath: And doth that carry an even Hand? Will that be allowed as a fair Way of quoting Authors. Clergyman. This is all that is in this last Case that Mr. Scot quoted, and therefore it is all that I could cite from him: But as I my self for Brevity do the same sometimes; in Defence both of my self and him, I would ask you, Whether you ever read the Fable of the Politick Ass, that having a Mind to pass for a Beast of Worship, covered himself with a Lyon's Skin? Adv. I have read and remember it well. Clerg. Then you remember that one poor Ear sticking out, discover'd the dull Creature to be an Ass, though that ear excepted, he seem'd to be a Lyon all over. Now I would not anticipate our Argument too much, because I propos'd that that should follow when we had all the Facts before us; but at present I may say, that I take those ridiculous Circumstances to be like the Ass's Ear. A true Lyon, let him be young or old, or lame or blind, yet he hath not an Ass's Ear; nor hath a natural true Action any thing about it that is unnatural and false. And as I take this to be true Reason, and have
Page 66 grounded my self upon it in some Cases, I will take leave in this Place to read Two Facts to you of that kind, tho' it be out of the Order of Time.  There were two hanged at Lincoln upon an Indictment of bewitching the Earl of Rutland's Children. One old Woman confes'd, that she rub'd one of the Lady Catharine's Handkerchiefs upon her Cat Rutterkin, and bade her fly and go. Whereupon the Cat whin'd and cried Mew; by which she understood that Rutterkin had no Power over that young Lady. Now this one Circumstance to me looks like the Ass's Ear. For what should a Cat say but Mew? And how could the poor Woman have been suffered to have interpreted that to her own Destruction, if she had not been in the Hands of Fools? And therefore tho' many odd things were sworn by Country People; and tho' two were hang'd, and tho' there stands now in Bottesworth Church Marble Statues of those Children, with an Inscription, importing, That the Children died in their Infancy by wicked Practices and Sorcery: I do not believe a Word of it. For this the Author of the Kingdom of Darkness quotes Discovery of Witchcraft again.  William Barton and his Wife were both executed in Scotland. He confess'd that he lay with the Devil in the Shape of a Gentlewoman, and had Fifteen Pounds of him in good Money; but he denied it again before his Execution. His Wife confess'd, that
Page 67 the Devil went before them to a Dancing in the Shape of a Dog, playing upon a pair of Pipes; and coming down the Hill back again, he carried the Candle in his Bottom under his Tail, which play'd, Ey wig wag, wig wag. That she said was almost all the Pleasure she ever had. She was burnt with her Husband. This Mr. Sinclare tells us in his Book call'd, Satan's Invisible World, p. 163. But whether more than one Ear doth not prick out in this Story, I leave to the Judgment of the Reader, and resume again my Chronological Table where I left it.  About this time, Seventeen or Eighteen were condemned at St. Osith in Essex. An Account of them was written by Brian Darcy, with the Names and Colours of their Spirits. See Scott, 2d Part, lib. I. ch. 32.  At the Tryal of Rowland Jenkes, at Oxford, for Words against the Queen, a Pestilent Stink infected the Court, that within Forty Days, the Judge, and many others, in all Three Hundred died. Cambden's Eliz.  A Man taken at Islington with three waxen Images, designed for the killing Queen Elizabeth, and two of her Counsellors: They were buried in a Dunghil, with their Names upon them, in hopes the Parties would pine away as the Pictures wasted. See Bodin. lib. 2. ch. 8. Ben. Johnson mentions it in his Masque of Queens. And Dr. Fulk, in his Notes upon 2 Thess. 2. S. 15. reckons Conjuring amongst the Popish Practices against the Queen.
Page 68  A Pamphlet of the Acts and hanging of Four Witches. One was Mother Style, that was supposed to have killed one Saddock, for not giving her a Cloak to make her a Safeguard. Scot. l. 3. c. 7. Two hanged at Cambridge, a Mother and a Daughter. The Mother said the Devil had been true to her Threescore Years, and she would not renounce him. The Daughter died penitent. Dr. More's Antidote against Atheisin, l. 3. c. 2.  Elizabeth Orton, of Orton Madock in Flintshire, of about Thirteen or Fourteen Years old, counterfeited Trances; in which she pretended, that she saw our Blessed Saviour and the Virgin Mary, and suffered the Pains of Purgatory, and seemed to the Bystanders to be in mighty Agonies. Some Roman Catholicks printed a Relation of her Visions, with the Attestation of Twelve Witnesses. On the 4th of March 1582, she made publick Confession of her Counterfeiting in the Cathedral Church at Chester. See the Printed Relation.  A young Man in France threw a Charm into the Bosom of his Sweetheart. Soon after she was sick to the Danger of her Life. The young Man was accused, and the Judge gave Sentence against him, that he should be taken into Custody. The young Man appealed to the Parliament at Paris. The Cause was heard before them, and they confirmed the Sentence. See the Speeches of the Advocates on both sides in D. Loier. p. 139.
Page 69  In Fifteen Years, from 1580 to 1595, Remigins burnt Nine Hundred in Lorrain. As many more sled out of the Country to save their Lives; and Fifteen laid violent Hands upon themselves, rather than endure the Tortures that they put them to; and whole Towns were ready to leave their Habitations for fear of Witches. See his own Book De Dæmonolatria Sagarum. Mr. Perkins speaks of great Numbers in Spain about this time. In Germany they tortured and burnt them daily. They poured hot Oil upon their Legs, and put Candles to their Arm-holes to extort Confessions. See Wierus, Ady and Antidote against Atheisin.  Florus the Inquisitor burnt Eighteen at Avignon. See the Discourse of Spirits by SebastianMichaelis, Assessor with Florus.  T. E. condemned for a Conjurer, but reprieved by Means of my Lord of Leicester. He confessed, that he had studied and used those wicked Arts many Years; and many Practisers of them had come to him, and he had sought to many of them, in hope to have seen something real in their Science; but he said he had never found one Sparkle of Truth, but all of it mere Cozening and Illusions. See Scot's Discov. l. 15. c. 5.  Strange News out of Somersetshire, termed, A Dreadful Discourse of the Dispossessing of one Margaret Cowper,
Page 70 at Ditchet, from a Devil in the Likeness of a headless Bear, Scot says it was a Cheat.  Mr. Babington's Man, and Five other counterfeit Demoniacs, were said to be dispossess'd by Edmunds, alias Weston, a Jesuit, and other Secular Priests. See Part of the Examinations and Confessions of the Parties themselves, in the compassionate Address to Papists, printed from a large Account of them, publish'd at that time by Authority. And also in a Sixth Letter by the same Author.  Agnes Symson in Scotland, called the wise Wife of Keith, a Matron-like Woman, confess'd herself a Witch before King James. To cure Diseases, she pretended to remove them first to herself, and then transfer them to a Third Person. See more of her in that Part of this Discourse, which is concerning the Reasons of our Statute. At the same Time, and of the same Company, John Fien confessed, that he raised Storms. Joannes Clark was accused for giving and taking away Power from Men's Genital Members. They were executed in Scotland. See Sadd's Triumph, and Mr. Sinclar's 3d Relat.  Archbishop Spotswood, p. 382, says, that most of this Winter was spent in Examination of Witches and Sorcerers. Bothwel the Conspirator had consulted with Agnes Symson. William Hacket, Yeoman, Edmund Copinger and Henry Arthington Gentlemen, three Enthusiasts, had their Heads
Page 71 full of Miracles, and extraordinary Calls and Prophecies, and Imprecations upon themselves in way of Sign, and casting out Devils, and the Attempts of Witches against them, till they fancied themselves to be possessed with Angelical Spirits. Copinger and Arthington in Cheapside, proclaimed Hacket King of Europe, and the Messias, and for a Sign bad the People go to Broken-Wharf, where he was, and try if they could kill him. Hacket was hang'd blaspheming, Copinger starv'd himself with eight Days fasting, and Arthington sued for Mercy, See Hacket's Life by Dra Cosins. Dr. Fudd reputed a Magician.  The three Witches of Warbois executed at Huntington. See an Account of them, chap. 7.  Ferdinand Earl of Derby died suddenly. There was found in his Chamber a Waxen Image, with Hair in its Belly; but there were all the Symptoms of a strong Poyson: For his Vomit stained the Silver Andirons, and the Master of his Horse fled. See Baker's Chronicle.  Jane Bosdean confess'd before the Chamber of Justice at Bordeaux, that having been debauch'd in her Youth by an Italian, he carried her at Midnight on the Eve of St. John into a Field, where after he had made a Circle, and read out of a Black Book, there appeared a great Black Goat with a Candle between his Horns, and two Women and a Man habited like a Priest. She gave the Goat a Lock
Page 72 of her Hair, and made the Sign of the Cross in her Left Hand, in Token of her being his. He had carnal Knowledge of her, which was with great Pain. After this every Wednesday and Friday she met a Rendesvouz of above Sixty Witches at Puy de dome. The black Goat carried a lighted Candle in his Fundament, and all the Witches had Candles which they lighted at his, and danced in a Circle Back to Back. They had a Mock Sacrament, and the Goat pissed in a Hole in the Ground, and they were sprinkled with that for Holy Water. They kiss'd his Backside, and pray'd that he would help them. She confess'd all this and many other particulars freely without Torture, and continued constant in it in the midst of the Flames in which she was burnt. See Florimond de Remond Counsellor of the Parliament of Bourdeaux, in his 7th Chap. of his Book of Antichrist, p. 112. 3d Edition. He added, That the Crime of Witchcraft was grown so common at that miserable Time, that the Parliament Jayls would not hold the Prisoners, nor had they Judges enough to hear their Causes. Their Seats of Justice were daily stain'd with their Blood, and they hardly ever went Home to their Houses otherwise than astonished at the hideous and frightful things which the Witches confess'd. This Author last quoted I have not; but the Reader will not need to doubt the Truth of it, when he knows, that what I have written is only a short Account of what was taken verbatim out of the Author by Monsieur
Page 73 la Roche, a Name in so much deserved Honour amongst the Learned.  Dr. Dee, a Learned, but Enthusiastical Mathematician, and Edward Kelly a Chymist and pretended Conjurer, being in close League with one another, undertook to discover all kind of Secrets, and find out the Philosophers Stone by the Direction of Spirits, which appeared to Edward Kelly in a Shew-Stone, which, they said, they received from Angels. When Dr. Dee was prosecuted here as a Conjurer, and Edward Kelly as a Coiner of Money, they fled into Foreign Parts with John à Lasko, a Polander, and for a time they were very famous and liv'd great; but soon after Kelly in Germany, endeavouring to make his Escape from the Emperor Rodolf, broke his Leg by leaping out of a Window, and died; and Dr. Dee returned poor and beggarly to his House at Mortlack. See Dr. Dee's Transactions, and c. put out by M. Casaubon.  Alice Goodridge condemn'd at Derby, for sending a Spirit into Thomas Darling, commonly called the Boy of Burton. The Judge continued her in Prison, where she died. See Dr. Harsnet's Discovery, and Mr. Darrel's Defence.  Edmund Hartly hang'd at Lancasier, upon an Indictment for bewitching seven Persons of the Family of one Mr. Starky. Mr. Starky, being a weak superstitious Man, first sought to Hartly to cure them, and kept him in his House several Years, allowing
Page 74 him Forty Shillings a Year; but afterwards he prosecuted and hang'd him. In that Tryal there was Spectral Evidence made use of against him, and the Experiment of saying the Lord's Prayer; but that which touch'd his Life was Mr. Starky's Deposition, that he had made a Circle for Conjuration, which was Felony by the Statute then in Force. See the Discourse concerning the Dispossession of the Seven Persons in Mr. Starky's Family, written by George More.  Mr. Fohn Darrel, who was thought to have cast Devils out of Eleven Persons, and had caused several Persons to be imprison'd for Witches, was condemn'd for a Counterfeit by the full Agreement of the High Commission. See a larger Account of his Case in the Book that was written upon that Subject by Dr. Harsnet, afterwards Archbishop of Rork; and also in the 15th Chapter of this Book. Impost. the Third.  Martha Brossier a Counterfeit Dæmoniac at Paris, gave great Trouble to Henry the 4th by pretended Fits, and Foaming, and Interruptions of her Pulse, and Insensibility when pricked with Needles. Her Managers gave out, that she had hang'd in the Air four Foot higher than the Heads of six Men, who had try'd in vain to keep her down. See her Detection by Thuan, in the 123d Book of his History.  This Year, being the First of King Fames, both Parliament and Convocation met, and sate.
Page 75 The Parliament repealed the Queen's Statute against Witchcraft, and enacted a more severe one, which is now in Force. See some Conjectures at the Reason of it, in the Eleventh Chapter of this Discourse. The Convocation that same Year, having seen the great Mischief and Scandal from forward Men pretending to understand Dæmoniacs, and venturing to attempt their Dispossession, made this excellent Canon: That no Minister or Ministers, without License and Direction of the Bishop, under his Hand and Seal obtained, attempt, upon any Pretence whatsoever, either of Possession or Obsession, by Fasting and Prayer, to cast out any Devil or Devils, under Pain of the Imputation of Imposture, or Cozenage, and Deposition from the Ministry. Vide Canon 72.  A License granted by the Bishop and Chancellor of Chester, and two Commissioners for Causes Ecclesiastical, to seven Persons to have private Fasting and Prayer, if they thought fit, for Thomas Harrison, commonly called, the Boy of Northwich, who was thought by many to be a Dæmoniac, but not esteem'd so by the Bishop and Commissioners, who had seen his Fits. See Chap. 15. 4th Detection.  Lewis Gaufredy, a Priest, was accused for Debauching two young Girls: They said he used Magick to seduce them, and that he had made them Witches. He
Page 76 confessed, then retracted, then was tortured again, and after that burnt at Aix. About the same time, a blind Woman was accused and burnt. See the History of a Magician by Sebastian Michaelis. It was translated into English, on purpose to let our People understand the soul Practices of the Romish Church, in those Matters.  Fifteen indicted, and Twelve condemn'd at Lancaster. See Cowper, p. 15. And Dalton's Country Fustice, ch. 118.  Grace Sowerbuts, by the Instigation of one Thompson, a Popish Priest, accused Fannet Bicrly her Grandmother, Ellen Bierly her Aunt, and Jane Southworth. They were tried in Lancaster before Sir Edward Bromly, ond the young Woman confessed that all were Lies and Counterfeit.  Mary Smith hang'd at Lynn. She died very pious and believ'd her self a Witch. The Narrative was written by Alexander Roberts; but he was one who had such an easy Faith in these Matters, that he believ'd King Ericus could make the Wind stand in what Point he pleased, by setting his Hat that way.  The Boy of Bilson, a famous Counterfeit, detected. See the Account at large in the 15th Chapter of this Book. Imposture the Sixth. The Author of Cautio Criminalis, printed 1619, saith, that about that time, the German Princes finding no Cure, but Increase by Executions
Page 77 of Witches, began to stay their Hands, and fear'd they had been wrong.  Edward Fairfax of Fuyston in the Forest of Knarsborough, Elq; at Rork Assizes, prosecuted Six of his Neighbours for suppos'd Witchcraft upon his Children. The common facts of Imps, and Fits, and Apparition of the suppos'd Witches were depos'd, and the Grand Jury found the Bills, and the Judge heard what the Witnesses had to say; but having a Certificate of the sober Behaviour of the accused Persons, he directed the Jury so well, that they clear'd them. I quote this from a large Manuscript which Mr. Fairfax, Father of the afflicted Children, drew up as a Vindication of his own Proceeding. The Perusal of that Manuscript I must acknowledge to the Civility of the Reverend Mr. Wasse, Fellow of Queen's College in Cambridge.  Philibert Learneau, Curate of Brase, condemned to be burnt by the Parliament of Dijon, for conjuring to find Treasure, that he fancied had been hid from the Time that the English had possess'd France. Monsieur Perieaud, p. 189.  Fohn Fox, said to be dispossess'd of an Evil Spirit by Mr. Rothnell, but continued dumb three Years after. See Clark's Life of Mr. Rothnell.  Mr. Clark in his First Volume of Examples, p. 510, reports, that an Evil Spirit appear'd to one Mr. Earl, in the Shape of Mr. Lyddal; and at another time, in
Page 78 the Shape of Mr. Rogers, the famous Preacher in his time, at Dedham in Essex.  Centeni a Cardinal's Nephew, with a Fryar his Associate, executed for trying to kill Pope Urban the 8th by a waxen Image stuck with Pins and Needles. See Pope Urban's Life in Collier's Dictionary.  The Nuns of Loudun were thought to be possess'd by Evil Spirits. They seemed to suffer violent Tortures, and speak strange Languages, and reveal Secrets, and to have the Names of the Saints that help'd them, miraculously written upon their Hands. When they were under the Power of the Exorcisms, they said the Spirits were sent into them by the Witchcraft of Urbain Grandier. He was a very learned and eminent Clergyman; but was a Favorer of the Reformation, and was hated by them upon other Accounts; and amongst those, one was his writing a Satyr against Cardinal Richlieu. He was apprehended, stripp'd naked, search'd for insensible Marks, and put to cruel Pains, while they try'd with an artificial Knife, which Parts of him were sensible and which not. He was adjur'd to clear himself by shedding Tears, if he was innocent. After that he was tortur'd till he swooned upon the Rack; and maintaining his Innocence, he was at last inhumanly burnt, without being suffered either to unbosom his Mind to his Confessor, or speak to the People. See the Ways of their Wickedness fully proved in Histoire de Diables de Loudun.
Page 79  About that Time, Seventeen Pendle-Forest Witches were condemned in Lancashire, by the Contrivance of a Boy and his Father. See their Vindication in the latter Part of this Book, Ch. 15. Imposture 5.  Dr. Lamb was killed by the Mob, being thought a Conjurer. See Mr. Baxter's Certainty of the World of Spirits, p. 155.  Mother Jackson condemned in London. Sixteen executed at Yarmouth, discovered  by Hopkins the famous Witchfinder of that Time. See Collection of Modern Relations, p. 48.  Fifteen condemn'd at Chelmsford in Essex, and hang'd, some at Chelmsford and some at Maningtree. Another died in Goal. Another died as going to Execution. They were condemned at a Sessions by the Earl of Warwick, and some Justices of the Peace. See the Printed Relation printed by Authority.  One hang'd at Cambridge. She kept a tame Frog, and it was sworn to be her Imp. See Mr. Ady, p. 135.   Many hang'd at Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk; I have been told near Forty at the several Times of Executions, and as many more in the County as made up Threescore. See the Notes upon Hudibras, 2d Part, 3d Canto. Mr. Ady, in his Book of Witchcraft speaks of more.
Page 80  Many hanged at Huntington, two whereof were Elizabeth Weed and John Winnick. See Kingdom of Darkness.  One tried at Worcester. Collection of Modern Relations.  One at Gloucester convicted for having suck'd a Sow in the Form of a little black Creature. Collection of Modern Relations, 51. Great Numbers burnt in Scotland in those unsettled Times. Mr. Ady saith many Thousands. 1652 Catherine Huxly hanged at Worcester.  About this Year the Royal Society, for improving the Knowledge of Nature and Art, had its Beginning at Oxford, in the Chambers of the Learned Bishop Wilkins. See the History of the Royal Society, by Dr. Sprat, Bishop of Rochester. And in 1658 it was remov'd to Gresham College.  Anne Bodenham, Dr. Lamb's Maid, executed at Salisbury, declaring her Innocence. See Dr. Moor's Antidote against Atheism. About this Time Jane Lakeland was either hanged or burnt at Ipswich.  Two Borams, (Mother and Daughter) hanged about this Time at Bury St. Edmunds.  Jane Brooks hanged at Chard, for bewitching Richard Jones of Shepton-Mallet in Somersetshire. Sadd. Triumph.
Page 81 About this Time Widow Oliver was hanged at Norwich. Some hanged in Cornwall about this Time. See Dr. Burthog's Essay on the Nature of Spirits.  About this Time two hanged at Lancaster, but died protesting their Innocency. Webst. p. 80. A Trumpeter, and his Wife and Daughter, were beheaded in Holland confessing Witchcraft. The Daughter might have been saved, and would not; for she said, the Devil was committing Uncleanness with her at that Time. Learn from this, that these Uncleanness with the Devil are false and involuntary Imaginations in their own Brains; for if it had been a real Action of hers, the Company must have seen some Sign of it. They believed her Confession rather than their own Eyes. See the Collection of Modern Relations, p. 59.  This Year King Charles the 2d incorporated the Royal Society, and was its Head and Patron, and the principal Nobility were Members of it. And in 1664 they began to publish their Philosophical Transactions, which spread useful Knowledge through the Nation.  Bessie Fowler burnt at Musselburgh in Scotland.  Florence Newton of Youghall tried. See Sadduc. Tri. Relat. 7.  Antonietta Bourignon founded and governed a Cloister, with 50 poor Girls,
Page 82 at Life in Flanders. Being, as I conceive, very enthusiastical, with her Head full of Spirits, one Day as she came into the School, she thought she saw a great Number of little black Children with Wings, flying about her Scholars Heads. She told them of it, and bid them beware. In a little time almost all the Children confessed themselves Witches, and said they had been so before they came thither, their Parents being Witches, and having given them to the Devil as soon as they were born. They said, they were carried to Witches Meetings two or three times a Week, where they met vast Multitudes of other Witches; for most People, they said, were such, there being few like Madam Bourignon. They said the Devil lay with them, gave them all kinds of Pleasures, and played with them: But if Madam Bourignon did but lift up the Latch of the Door to come in, or speak, or cough, they would fly away like Lightning. One Day they would confess, and the next Day denied all; and being taken from her, and examined before the Magistrates, all save one, went off from their Confessions That one had a great Love to her Mistress, and desired to die. She was shut up in Prison, and the Author of this Narrative saith, it was never known what became of her. See Collect. of Modern Relat. p. 21.  One Greensmith and her Husband executed in New England. She confess'd; he denied. See the Essay upon Providence, by Increase Mather.
Page 83 Two were put to the Water Ordeal, and swam, and made fly the Country of New-England. See the same Essay.  Julian Cox hanged at Taunton in Somersetshire. She died declaring her Innocence. Sadducism. Triumph.  Alice Huson and Doll Dilby tried at York. Alice Huson said, she received Money, Ten Shillings at a time, from the Devil. See Collection of Modern Relations.  Amy Duny and Rose Cullender, try'd before the Lord Chief Baron Hale, at Bury St: Edmunds in Suffolk, and were hanged, maintaining their Innocence. See the Account of this Case in the 8th Chapter of this Discourse. About this Time, Mary Johnson was tried at Hartfordshire in New-England, and hang'd. She said the Devil appeared to her, lay with her, and clear'd her Hearth of Ashes, and hunted Hogs out of the Corn. She could not forbear laughing, she said, to see how he feazed them about. See Cotton Mather's remarkable Providences, p. 62.  Twelve accused in Somersetshire, before Mr. Hunt Justice of the Peace. Several of them confess'd; but his Searches and Discoveries were opposed and check'd by a higher Authority, by which means the poor People were saved, and the Consequence was, that the Country had quiet. See Sadducismus Triumph. p. 102.
Page 84  The Academy of Sciences was begun in France.  Major Wier and his Sister executed in Scotland. See Mr. Sinclare's Postseript.  At Mohra in Swedeland, Seventy were condemn'd, and most of them executed. Also Fifteen Children were executed, and 36 ran the Gantlet, and 20 were whipp'd on the Hands. See this answered in Chap. 6. The following Entry I had the Honour to receive from the Right Honourable the Lord High Chancellor Parker, out of Dictionnaire des Arréts, and c. par Brillon. And as there are but few that can be suppos'd to have so scarce a Book, I have put down the Quotation both in French and English. See the Article of Sorcery in that Book. En 1672, le Parlement de Ro en ayant fait arr ter un tres grand nombre de Bergers and autres gens accusçe d'etre Sorciers, à qui on faisoit le proces avec beaucoup de diligence and de severité, le Roy averti de ceta, donna un Arrèt dans sou Confeit d'Etat par lequel il fut enjoint au Parlament de Roüen de relacher tous ces pauvres gens. Cet Arrét eut le pouvoit de faire taire le Demon. Depuis ce temps là, Pon n'a plus entenda parler de Sorciers en Normandie. (i.e.) the Parliament of Roüen having taken up a very great Number of Shepherds and other People accus'd of Witchcraft, against whom the Prosecution had been carried on with great Eagerness and Severity; the King being
Page 85 inform'd of it, gave out an Arret from his Council of State, which requir'd that Parliament of Roüen to release all those poor People. This Arrèt had that Power in it that it made the Devil silent. From that time we have heard no more of Witches in Normandy.  Six executed in Scotland upon an Indictment for bewitching Sir George Maxwell. Four confessed, and two denied. One who was the first that confessed, was pardoned, and used for a Witness against the others. They were discovered by the help of one Jannet Douglas, a Dumb Girl, who made Signs that there was a Picture of Wax in one of their Houses, and went with them, and pulled it out of a Hole in the Chimney. The accused Persons said, the dumb Girl herself had put it there; and it seems very probable, for she was whipp'd afterward through Edinburgh, and after that was whipp'd again, and banish'd for several Crimes. See Sadducism. Triumph. and Mr. Sinclare, p. 18, 206.  About that Time, one condemn'd at Ely, but reprieved by King Charles II. and afterward the Fellow that pretended to have been bewitched, was hanged at Chelmsford in Essex, and confess'd that he had counterfeited his Fits and Vomitings, as I have been informed.  Susan Edwards, Mary Trembles and Temperance Lloyd, hanged at Exeter, confess'd themselves Witches, but died with good Prayers in their Mouths. I suppose
Page 86 these are the last three that have been hanged in England.  There was an Act of Faith, as it is call'd, this Year at Lisbon in Portugal, and in the List of the Prisoners their Crimes and Punishments were these that follow. Manael Joan, a Barber and Labourer of the City of St. Luis, to be whipp'd and three Years in the Gallies for the Faults of Witchcraft, and for Presumption of his having made a Covenant with the Devil. Joseph Francisco, a Shepherd, for Witchcraft and for having made a Covenant with the Devil, perpetual Prison, and five Years in the Gallies, and to be whipp'd. Anna Roiz for having feigned Visions, and for Presumption of her having made a Covenant with the Devil, three Years to Craslo Marim. Catharina Baretta of Villa Franca, for the Faults of Witchcraft, to be whipp'd, and four Years in Brazil. Vrsula Maria and Maria Pinheira for the same Fault, Five Years in Brazil.  See the History of the Inquisition. In Imitation of our Royal Society and the French Academy of Sciences, the famous Society at Leipsic in Saxony was begun this Year for the Improvement of the same Knowledge of Art and Nature.  Richard Dugdale of Surrey in Lancashire, was said to be dispossessed by some Dissenting Ministers, who kept Days of Fasting and Prayer for near a Year.
Page 87 this Case answered in the 9th Chapter of this Book.  One Glover, an Irish Papist, hanged at Boston in New-England for supposed Witchcraft. See Cotton Mather's Remarkable Providences.  Elizabeth Carrier, Margery Coombs and Anne Moor, committed for supposed Witchcraft upon Mary Hill of Beckinton, by Frome, in Somersetshire. One of them died in Goal; the other two were tried before the Right Honourable the Lord Chief Justice Holt, and were acquitted. And the Maid that was thought to have been bewitch'd, in a little time did well, and was fit for Service. See Mr. Baxter's Certainty of the World of Spirits, p. 74. Several tried by swimming, in Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, and some drown'd in the Tryal.  Nineteen hanged at Salem in New-England. One press'd to Death. Eight more condemn'd. Fifty confess'd themselves Witches, and were pardon'd. One Hundred and Fifty were in Prison, above 200 accused, and many fled the Country to save their Lives. See Calef. p. 41.  Widow Chambers of Upaston in Suffolk, a diligent industrious poor Woman, committed to Beccles Goal upon an Accusation of Witchcraft, and died in Prison before her Tryal. After she had been walk'd betwixt two, she confessed a great many things of her
Page 88 self, and in particular she said, she had kill'd her Husband, and the Lady Blois; though the near Relations of that good Lady were satisfied that she died a fair Death, without any Hurt from that poor Woman; and some for Experiment sake ask'd her, if she had not kill'd such and such; and she confess'd she had, though the Persons were then living.  Mother Munnings of Hartis in Suffolk, was tried before the Lord Chief Justice Holt, at Bury St. Edmunds. Many things were deposed concerning her spoiling of Wort, and hurting Cattle, and that several Persons upon their Death-beds had complained that she killed them. It was sworn, that Thomas Pannel, her Landlord, not knowing how to get her out of his House, took away the Door, and left her without one. Sometime after, he happening to pass by, she said to him, Go thy way, thy Nose shall lie upward in the Church Yard before Saturday next. On Monday following her Landlord sickened, and died on Tuesday, and was buried within the Week, according to her Word. To confirm this, it was added by another Witness, that a Doctor whom they had consulted about an afflicted Person, when this Mother Munnings was mentioned, said, she was a dangerous Woman, she could touch the Line of Life. In her Indictment, she was charged to have an Imp like a Pole-Cat; and one Witness swore, that coming from the Alehouse about Nine at Night, he looked in at her Window, and saw
Page 89 her take out of her Basket two Imps, a black and a white. It was also deposed, that one Sarah Wager, after a Quarrel with this Woman was taken dumb and lame, and was in that Condition at Home at the Time of her Tryal. Many other things were sworn, but the Jury were so well directed, that they brought her in Not Guilty; and upon particular Inquiry of several in or near the Town, I find most are satisfied that it was a very right Judgment. She lived about two Years after, without doing any known Harm to any Body, and died declaring her Innocence. Her Landlord was a consumptive spent Man, and the Words not exactly as they swore them, and the whole Thing 17 Years before. For by a Certificate from the Register, I find he was buried June 20, 1677. The white Imp is believed to have been a Lock of Wool, taken out of her Basket to spin; and its Shadow it is supposed was the black one.  Margaret Elnore was tried at Ipswich before the Lord Chief Justice Holt. She was committed upon the Account of one Mrs. Rudge, who was three Years in a languishing Condition, as was thought, by the Witchcraft of the Prisoner then at the Bar, because Mr. Rudge, Husband of the afflicted Person had refused letting her a House. Some Witnesses said, that Mrs. Rudge was better upon the Confinement of the Woman, and worse again when her Chains were off. Other Witnesses gave Account, that her Grandmother, and her Aunt had formerly been hanged for Witches, and that her
Page 90 Grandmother had said, she had eight or nine Imps, and that she had given two or three Imps a-piece to her Children. Others gave an Account of a Tet in her secret Parts. A Midwife who had search'd her Grandmother who had been hanged, said, this Woman had plainer Marks than she. Others made Oath of their being covered with Lice after Quarrels with her. But notwithstanding these Depositions, the Jury brought her in Not Guilty; and though I have made particular Inquiry, I do not hear of any ill Consequence, but all probable Appearance of the poor Woman's Innocence. For after the Tryal, when she was at Liberty, Mrs. Rudge continued in a reasonable good Health, and several Years after Margaret's Death, she fell again into the same Kind of Pains (supposed from the Salt Humour) and died of the same Distemper.  Mary Guy, tried before the Lord Chief Justice Holt at Launceston in Cornwall, for supposed Witchcraft upon 'Philadelphia Row. It was deposed, that the Appearance of the said Mary Guy was often seen by that Girl, and that she vomited Pins, Straws and Feathers. But notwithstanding such Depositions, the Prisoner was acquitted.  Elizabeth Horner was tried before the Lord Chief Justice Holt at Exeter. Three Children of William Bovet were thought to have been bewitched by her, whereof one was dead. It was deposed, that another had her Legs twisted, and yet from her Hands and
Page 91 Knees she would spring five Foot high. The Children vomited Pins, and were bitten (if the Depositions were true) and pricked, and pinched, the Marks appearing. The Children said, Bess Horner's Head would come off from her Body, and go into their Bellies. The Mother of the Children deposed, that one of them walked up a smooth plaistered Wall, till her Feet were nine Foot high, her Head standing off from it. This, she said, she did five or six times, and laughed and said, Bess Horner held her up. This poor Woman had something like a Nipple on her Shoulder, which the Children said was sucked by a Toad. Many other odd things were deposed, but the Jury brought her in Not Guilty, and no Inconvenience hath followed from her Acquittal. The Account of these four last Tryals, I must acknowledge to the great Favour of my Lord Chief Justice Holt, who gave leave to Sir James Montague to lend me the Notes which he took of the Depositions that were made at the Time of those Tryals.  About eight and twenty were accused by Mrs. Christian Shaw, a Girl of about Eleven Years old. One Man died in Prison, maintaining his Innocency; another was found hanged in Goal. Two Boys and a Girl, and two more, five in all, saved themselves by confessing; and upon their Testimony, seven were executed, denying their Guilt. The Girl outlived all, and was well, for all the supposed Sorcery and Witchcraft of Eight and Twenty.
Page 92 This was in the County of Renfrew, the West of Scotland. The Narrative of their Case, with the Speeches of the Advocates, was written and printed in London, with the Title of Sadducismus Debellatus, and had a Second Edition long since, and is now most of it reprinted in The Compleat History of Witchcraft. In the following Book, I have mention'd some of the false Rules and Signs that seem to have misled them.  About this time two old Women were burnt for Witchcraft in the Jurisdiction of Holstein Ploen. This I am informed by an Eye-Witness.  Sarah Fowles of Hammersmith, was tried at the Sessions in the Old Baily in London, and set in the Pillory, for pretending to be possess'd, when she was not, and making ill use of it. Several others in other Places, about Eleven in all, have been tried for Witches before my Lord Chief Justice Holt, and have all been acquitted.  The last of them was Sarah Morduck, accused by Richard Hathaway, and tried at Guilford Assize, Anno 1701, where the said Sarah Morduck was cleared, and Hathaway was indicted for an Impostor, and afterward was set in the Pillory. See a larger Account of it in the Fifteenth Chapter of this Book. Impostor the Seventh.  Francisco Lopez de Sylva, a Shoemaker, to be whipp'd, and to be Ten
Page 93 Years in the Gallies, for having used a Purse to render himself invulnerable, and on Presumption for having made a Compact with the Devil, and Sodomy, and for having tamper'd with Witnesses in the Affair of the Inquisition. Four burnt for Hereticks. See the History of the Inquisition in Portugal. C H A P. III. OBSERVATIONS upon the Matters of FACT. Clerg. THIS Collection, Mr. Advocate, is as full as I have been able to make out of those Authors that I have met with: And as I said before, that my Notions of Philosophy and Christianity were much against the vulgar Doctrines of Witchcraft, this View of these Facts confirms me in the bad Opinion I have of most of them. Advo. As is the Man, such is the Judgment he makes in any Case. My Conclusion is, That since there have been so very many Condemnations by lawful Judges and Magistrates, though they do seem to have been mistaken in many, yet there must be many also in which the Facts were real. For I pray consider, you have quoted Time and Place, and cited Authors for the Executions of many Thousands, besides general Testimonies
Page 94 of great Numbers more. You have reckon'd up about 146 that have suffered in England since the Reformation, by Protestant Judges and Juries. In New-England, One and Twenty so very lately as the Year 1692. and since those Seven in Scotland in the Year 1697. Now the Conclusion I must make is, That they must be right in many Cases; though I doubt they were often mistaken. Clerg. If they were mistaken but in one half of those Tryals, it makes a very sad Case: And better that they had all been committed to the Righteous Judge, who doth not neglect the other Causes that are too hard for Man's Judgment. But if I guess right, the Mistakes have been many more. I will give you my Reasons for my Opinion; and then take it, or leave it, as you think sit. 1. I observe, That where the Times have not been so violent and superstitious, but that Ingenious Men might venture to speak freely, and the Government hath put the Parties into their Hands, that they might make full Tryal; they have usually discover'd Cheat and Imposture. Here are a Matter of Fifteen famous Detections of Frauds, many of them after Judges and Juries, and a Multitude of Eye-Witnesses had been deceiv'd. These give me a strong Suspicion that if the rest had undergone as strict an Enquiry, most of them would have been discover'd as well as these. 2. I am the more of this Mind, because I observe, that though the Relations are written
Page 95 by those that believ'd the Facts, and told the Stories with as much Advantage as they could well; yet, as I have in part observed already, so I now add, that there are few of them without some very great Absurdity or Folly, that looks like an Ass's Ear out of a Lion's Skin. If any one shall think it worth his while, I believe he may collect out of the Books of Witchcraft, as many incredible Tales, very near, as there are in the Golden Legend. Now when Papists had swell'd their lying Miracles into such a Multitude, our Reformers ventur'd to reject both the Stories, and the Doctrines that they proved by them, without troubling themselves to account for every particular Relation. And as we have reap'd a very lasting and happy Benefit from their sound Judgment, I do not see but we may, in part, apply their Example to the Case before us. I observe, 3. An unpardonable Partiality and perfect Humour in judging what are Acts of Sorcery, and what are not. Though the Statute against Witchcraft forbids all Acts of Sorcery whatever, and all Charms for employing Spirits; yet for discovering a suppos'd Witch, they allow any that call themselves Accusers, to use barbarous and unnatural Charms, which must have their Force, if they have any at all, from the same Diabolical Power, because they are no natural Causes of such Effects. They allow them, for Instance, to draw Blood by scratching: To set the Bottle and Urine upon the Fire, well cork'd and tied down; and to burn Cakes made of the Party's Water. All these are seeking
Page 96 to, and consulting with the Devil, and employing of him, and using the Vinculum Pacti, and are within the Reach of the Statute against Witchcraft; and yet all these they confess of themselves, and practise unpunish'd, and think it no harm. But this is the utmost Partiality, or rather mere Wantonness in Judging: For whether such Compacts are real, or only imaginary, they ought to be punished equally on both sides, without Respect of Persons. See more of this in the 8th Chapter, or Examination of the Tryal before the Lord Chief Baron Hales. 4. I observe farther, That the Numbers of Witches, and the suppos'd Dealings of Spirits with them, increase or decrease, according to the Laws, and Notions, and Principles of the several Times, Places, and Princes. In the Times of the Roman Empire, some of the Casars condemn'd Witches, others would not. In Lorrain, where Remigius, by his Principles, could find Eighteen Hundred in Fifteen Years, I do not understand, that there are more now than in other Places. In Savoy, Spain and Germany, since Philosophy and Learning have prevail'd, they have but few, though great Multitudes before. Formerly France was as much vex'd with Accusations of suppos'd Witches; but since they have discourag'd Prosecutions, they have been in much more Ease and Freedom from them. In this Collection that I have made, it is observable, that in 103 Years, from the Statute
Page 97 against Witchcraft in the 33d of Henry VIII. till 1644, when we were in the midst of our Civil Wars, I find but about Fifteen executed. But in the sixteen Years following, while the Government was in other Hands, there were an Hundred and nine, if not more, condemn'd and hang'd. In the five Years following, before the late Notions were well considered, I find five Witches condemn'd, and three of them, if not all five, executed; and three after at Exeter, 1682. Since then, that is, in thirty six Years last past, I have not yet met with one Witch hang'd in England. In Scotland, indeed, and New-England, several have suffered; but in England not one, that I know of. Then by this View that I have laid before you, it appears, that in a little more than one Century, from the Year 1484, when Pope Innocent put forth his superstitious Bull, there were more Executions of suppos'd Witches, than had been, I believe, from the beginning of the World till then. What the particular Principles of that Age were, are well known, and I will consider more particularly by and by. At present I only say, that it is from these Observations that I ground my Rule, that Witchcraft follows Principles. The Number of Witches increases or decreases, according as these Principles prevail or are exploded: And therefore, it seems to me, that if not altogether, yet for the greatest Part, they are made by the Imaginations of Men. I make no great doubt, but that we have as many Devils now amongst us, as they had in
Page 98 other Ages; for we have as many Temptations, and Lies, and Thefts, and Adulteries, and Murders, that are the Devil's Works: But our Witches, for the present, are gone after the Poet's Gods, and Modern Fairies. But I must add, that they are not so far from us, but that, if we should have a Prince, and Judges, and Juries, and Witch finders, of the same Principles, that found out so many before; in two Years time, in all Probability, they would find out as many now. Adv. Do not run from your Point. Your Observation was, that Witchcraft follow'd Principles. I allow you, that the Discovery of Witches doth follow Principles; for if Men believe none, it is not likely they should find any: But then, it may be, it is their Unbelief and wrong Principles that are the Reason why they are neither found out, nor look'd for. If therefore you will bring this Point to a certain Issue, give me one Catalogue of such Principles and Notions as have prevailed where many Witches were found, or supposed to be found; and another of such as have prevailed where Men have found out Few; that we may judge whether kind of Principles are more sound and rational. For if the Principles upon which Men went when such great Numbers were convicted, be true and right, the Question will still stick by you; for they could not be mistaken in Matter of Fact, in so very many Cases. Clerg. You put me upon a very difficult Task, when you desire me to reduce these two sorts of
Page 99 Principles into Order for a View. For both the Subject itself is difficult, and the Opinions of those that defend the vulgar Notions, are so confus'd and contradictory, that it is impossible to bring them into any certain Rules. As some Ages have had the Appearance of many Witches, and others of few; so in some Ages, Witches and their Works, and Confessions, are quite different from others. A Hebrew Witch, a Pagan Witch, a Lapland Witch, an Indian Witch, a Protestant Witch, and a Popish Witch, are different from one another; some in Honour, and some in Disgrace. Then for the Degrees of the Persons Guilt in those Cases, where there are the greatest Proofs of supernatural Actions, I meet with that which makes the Case very entangled; for there is, as the Books upon this Subject tell us, the Cursing Witch, and the Blessing; the Witch by Art, and the Witch by Compact. And lastly, the Active Witch, and the Passive. By the Witch that is only Passive, I suppose must be meant, one that does not desire this Familiarity with Spirits; but the Spirits obsess, haunt and dog them, and take Occasion, without bidding, to fulfil their passionate Words, and do odd Tricks in Places where these Persons have been, and shew them Peoples Fortunes whether they will or no; as some of the Second-sighted Men in Scotland are said to count it an Affliction to them; but yet they cannot avoid it. Now if Spirits without any Compact will do such Things as these, then many strange Facts may be really true; and
Page 100 yet the Person accus'd may only have been an obsess'd, tempted Person, or a Dæmoniac, or perhaps a very Religious Person, pursued out of Spite by the Devil, because she is better than her Neighbours. I do not say it is so; but who knows his Devices? And this I will say, That those preternatural Signs of Witchcraft, very often fall against such, as in all Appearance, are very virtuous Persons, though usually poor; and those afflicted Persons that have been the Accusers, have often had great Appearance of being Dæmoniacs. We have been apt to wonder why the Devil had forsaken our Age, that we had no Possessions amongst us, when in ancient Times they had so many: But if they that have been thought to have been bewitch'd, have really been Dæmoniacs, and the Devil by their Mouths hath carried on his great Work of false accusing, and murdering innocent People; then we must own, he hath done by Craft, what he could not do by direct Temptation, and hath made those very Men his Tools to carry on his Plots, who verily believ'd they had been destroying his Works. As I am only shewing the great Difficulty of these Cases, I do not assert this; but I will say, there are some Appearances that look that way; and I wish those that think themselves most assured in those Questions, may very well consider it. That we might judge when the Confessions of Witches proceed from a found Mind, and when from Imagination and Vapours, it would be necessary we should have some fix'd Bounds
Page 101 of the Power of Spirits, that we might know when they had pass'd the Degrees of Possibility. But here the wisest of Men have not been able to lay down any certain Rule. Some say, the Devil cannot really controul the Laws of Nature: Others say, Nature is a mere Jest with him. Some think, they may safely say, he cannot really transform a Man or a Woman into a Cat; and that therefore when old Women confess such Things, they are to be thought mad; but Dr. More believed he could transform them, and tells the way how he doth it. Antidote against Atheism, 3d. Book, 11th. Chapter. Concerning the Nature, and Will, and Designs of Spirits, though we are very sure of their Being; yet we are by no means able to lay down safe Rules, by which we may judge of their Actions and Intentions. Some think, and have written, that there are harmless Spirits, that are in a kind of middle State betwixt Angels and Devils: And if so, one would think, it should be no capital Offence to have Communion with them. H. Institor tells us of the Generosity (Nobilitas) of some Devils; and what Rule can we lay down to distinguish these generous Devils from good Angels? Dr. More tells us of other Spirits, that are very great Fools; that there are as great Fools in the other World as there are in this. And if this be true, they may act incoherently, and contrary to their own Interests: and we can never know what Judgment to make of their Actions. Others tell us of Judicrous, frolicksome Devils; and if
Page 102 there be such, How do we know but some of them may do odd Things, on purpose to make Sport even with Courts of Justice, if they happen to be too credulous, and lay too much Weight upon the Evidence of their Facts. All that we can hope to preserve us from going wrong in these dark Ways, is the good Providence of God Almighty. But who dare venture to determine what God will suffer, and what he will not? His way is in the Sea, and his paths in the deep waters. His judgments are unsearchable, and his ways past finding out. Who knows whether he may not permit such things, on purpose to prove Judges and Juries, how wise and valiant they will be in defending the Lives of the Poor and Innocent? And when either they, or Kings are ignorant, wicked, or superstitious, How many Thousand innocent Lives doth he suffer to fall by their Hands in all Ages? Since God hath warned us sufficiently of Satan's Devices, Who can say to what Degree God may permit him to use his natural Craft and Subtilty, on purpose to try how watchful we will be against him? And since all the old Heathen Idolatries and Popish Superstitions were established by their giving heed to seducing Spirits; and since it is under Prophecy, that the World, in the latter Times, will be deceived by evil Spirits again; What Madness is it to let these Spirits, and their Works, have any Credit with us in Tryals where the Lives and Reputations of our Christian Brethren are under Question?
Page 103 These things being every way so dark and doubtful; as Atheistical Men deny all, wise Men have thought it necessary to be wonderfully cautious in Penal Laws; and tho' at other times they will discourse these Points with Freedom, and incline to that which is most probable; yet where their Neighbour's Blood or Reputation is at Stake, they think they are bound to keep to some few, safe, negative Rules; and as far as I can judge, they have been such as these: 1. Do not intrude into Things that you have not seen, Col. 2. 18. 2. Even good Spirits are no legal Evidence in our Courts. What Credit then can we give to the Devils Words or Actions; or to the Words or Actions of those that are acted by him? 3. We must not make our Neighbour suffer for such Harms as the Devil does. As the Serpent will bite without bidding, so the Devil will do Mischief without our Leave; and perhaps father his Actions upon those that have no Concern in them. 4. We can no more convict a Witch upon the Tricks of Swimming, Scratching, Touching, or any other such Experiments, than we may convict a Thief upon the Tryal of the Sieve and Shears. As such childish Tricks are thrown with Scorn out of all other Tryals, they ought not to be regarded in these of Witchcraft. 5. Witches Confessions have so often been extorted, so often the Effect of Distraction, proceeding
Page 104 from long Watching and Tortures, or Distempers, and have so often been found contrary to plain Truth, that they are not to be believed against the Probability of Things, and the natural Circumstances of Actions. 6. Things odd and unaccountable are to be respited till we understand them. 7. Where there is no known Rule to decide by, make no Judgment. 8. It becomes us to shew our Faith in God, by leaving doubtful Cases to his Providence, which is powerfully present and active in the World. These, or such like, I take to be the sober Principles of those Times and Places that have been troubled with few Witches. These that follow are a Catalogue of the Principles of those Times, and Men, that have been troubled with and have hang'd great Numbers. 1. That the Devil cannot make a Person in Fits think he should see the Shape or Apparition of another, unless that Person hath made a Compact. See King James's Daæmon. 2. That therefore the Spectral Evidence, (i.e.) the afflicted Parties thinking they see the Persons that torment them, may be given in Evidence. See the Practice of most Tryals, and Dalton's Country Justice. 3. That it is lawful to try the supposed Witch, by observing how the afflicted Party is affected
Page 105 at the Touch of her. See the Tryal before Judge Hale, and Sadd. Debell. p. 48. 4. That it is lawful to use the Lord's Prayer for a Test to discover them. Sadd. Debell. p. 54. 5. That swimming is a fair Tryal of a Witch King James's Dæm. and Scrivonius. 6. That want of Tears is another Mark. Sadd Debell. p. 54. 7. That insensible Parts and Teats are Signs of Witchcraft. Dalton's Country Justice. 8. That the Devil's Mark may be like a Fleabite. Dalton's Country Justice. 9. That the Devil can do more when he hath a Witch's Commission, than he can do without it. Mr. Baxter's Certainty of the World of Spirits. 10. That Personæ inhabiles in other Cases, even infamous Persons, are lawful Evidence in the Case of Witchcraft. Sadd. Debell. p. 53. 11. That Tortures may be made use of to extort Confessions. See the Practice of Lorrain, Scotland, and most Nations. 12. That the Witches may be kept long from Sleep, and then be examined. It hath been said by the Witch-finders, in their own Justification, that because our English Law does not allow Tortures, the People have made use of this keeping them awake, and swimming, and walking of them betwixt two till they have not been able to stand for Weariness, which is both a great Torture, and exceedingly disorders the Understanding.
Page 106 "I meet with little mention of Imps in any Country but ours, where the Law makes the feeding, suckling, or rewarding of them to be Felony; but amongst our Witch finders it hath been a Rule." 13. That the suspected Witches may be watched till their Imps appear; and their Imps may come in the Shapes of Cats, Dogs, Rats, Mice, Spiders, Fleas, Nits, Birds, Flies, a Toad, a Frog, a hen, a crow, a Hornet, or a Mole. "This is a pernicious way of Tryal, because it would be strange if no Creature should happen near them. Besides, if we know any thing of Spirits, this is contradictory to the true Notion of them; for if they are, or can make themselves invisible, What signifies watching?" 14. When the Accused are upon their Tryal for bewitching any particular Person, it is lawful to give in Evidence Matters that are no ways relating to that Fact, and done many Years before; and which consequently they cannot be prepared to answer to. See most Tryals. 15. That ill Fame of their Ancestors is a reasonable Ground of Suspicion. 16. That Imps may be kept in Pots, or other Vessels; and that the Pots and Places where they are kept, stink detestably; and that therefore such stinking Places in their Houses are Signs that they have Imps. Dalton's Country Justice, c. 118. 17. That received Rules, that have been practised by Courts of Justice, are not to be examined by Reason. Sadd. Debell.
Page 107 18 That tho' these Arguments single, are not concluding, yet several of them together are sufficient, as Five little Candles give as much Light as one great one. Sadd. Debell. p. 51. Which, by the way, is a fallacious Comparison; for Forty bad Arguments prove no more than one, that is, nothing at all; but it can never be said so of lighted Candles in a Room. This is the Second View of Principles, and tho' I will consider them more particularly afterward, I think I may say at present, that they are unscriptural, superstitious, and false. And since it is true in Fact, that Nations and Ages have many Witches, or few Witches, according as they have allowed of more or fewer of these Principles; the great Number of Executions weighs very little with me. Though these Tragedies have been sad and many, I think it is God's Mercy there has been no more; for tho' Judges may have been otherwise great Men, and taken Care, that is nothing. False Principles will make false Conclusions. In Arithmetick, he that works by a false Rule will have a false Sum, and if he works by it a Hundred Times, and with never so great Care, it will give a Hundred wrong Instances as well as one.
Page 108 C H A P. IV. Of the Suffolk Witches. Adv. THERE is no doubt to be made but that the Case of Witchcraft is a very tender and difficult Point; but pray consider, This Argument of yours is Notion against Fact, and besides it is too general, and Dolus ver fat in generalibus. Let us examine some of the more famous Cases more particularly. Perhaps they have not proceeded by these Rules. And I will begin with those that were executed at Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, and the neighbouring Counties. You have reckoned up above Fourscore, and Mr. Ady saith, they were near a Hundred. You impute their Condemnation to the Principles of those Times: But Mr. Baxter gives us another Account of them; I will repeat it in his own Words. They are in his Certainty of the World of Spirits, p. 52. The hanging of a great Number of Witches in Suffolk and Essex, by the Discovery of one Hopkins in 1645 and 1646, is famously known. Mr. Calamy went along with the Judges in the Circuit, to hear their Confessions, and see that there were no Fraud or Wrong done them. I spake with many understanding, pious and credible Persons, that lived in
Page 109 the Countries, and some that went to them to the Prisons, and heard their sad Confessions. Amongst the rest, an old Reading Parson named Lowis, not far from Framlingham, was one that was hanged; who confessed, that he had two Imps, that one of them was always putting him on doing Mischief, and (he being near the Sea) as he saw a Ship under Sail, it moved him to send him to sink the Ship, and he consented, and saw the Ship sink before him. One penitent Woman confessed, that her Mother lying sick, and she looking to her, somewhat like a Mole ran into the Bed to her, which she being startled at, her Mother bad her not fear it, but gave it her, saying, Keep this in a Pot by the Fire, and c. and thou shalt never want. She did as she was bid; shortly after a poor Boy (seemingly) came in, and ask'd leave to sit and warm him at the Fire, and when he was gone, she found Money under the Stool; and afterwards oft did so again, and at last laid hold of her, and drew Blood of her, and she made no other Compact with the Devil, but that her Imps sucked her Blood; and as I heard she was delivered. Abundance of sad Confessions were made by them; by which some testified, that there are certain Punishments which they were to undergo, if they did not some hurt as was appointed them. ----- These are Mr. Baxter's Words, what have you to say against them?
Page 110 Clerg. I say, that by Mr. Baxter's Method of writing Histories, I see one of the ways how lying Legends come to get Belief in the World. In the Beginning there is something true for a Foundation. Forty or Fifty Years after, when the Parties concerned are dead, Men of too easy a Belief venture to publish hearsay Stories. None trouble themselves to confute them; or if they do, many Times the Confutation is seen but by a few, and may soon be lost, when the History may continue: As very likely Mr. Baxter's Book upon such an acceptable Subject, may have a Tenth Impression, when this obscure Dialogue will be forgotten. Thus fabulous Histories get Credit, and poison the Generations after them. You must know then, that in the Year 1644, 1645, and 1646, Matthew Hopkins, of Manningtree in Essex, and one John Stern, and a Woman along with them, went round from Town to Town, through many Parts of Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Huntingtonshire, to discover Witches. Several Clergymen preached, and spoke against them, as far as those Times would suffer, and particularly Mr. Gaul, of Stoughton in Huntingtonshire, opposed very heartily that Trade that these People drove. In the beginning of his Book he hath printed a Letter, that Hopkins wrote to one in his Town. I will put down the Letter just as Mr. Gaul printed it; because it shews us the Man, and the gainful Trade they made of it, and how any that opposed them were discouraged by the Committees.
Page 111 M. N. "MY Service to your Worship presented, I have this Day received a Letter, and c. to come to a Town called Great Stoughton, to search for evil disposed Persons, called Witches (though I heare your Minister is farre against us through Ignorance:) I intend to come (God willing) the sooner to heare his singular Judgement in the behalfe of such Parties; I have known a Minister in Suffolk preach as much against their Discovery in a Pulpit, and forced to recant it, (by the Committee) in the same Place. I much marvel such evil Members should have any, (much more any of the Clergy) who should dayly preach Terrour to convince such Offenders, stand up to take their Parts, against such as are Complainants for the King, and Sufferers themselves, with their Families and Estates. I intend to give your Town a visite suddenly. I am to come to Kimbolton this Week, and it shall be tenne to one, but I will come to your Town first, but I would certainly know afore, whether your Town affords many Sticklers for such Cattle, or willing to give and afford us good Welcome and Entertainment, as other where I have been, else I shall wave your Shire (not as yet beginning in any Part of it my self) and betake me to such Places, where I doe, and may persist without Controle, but with Thanks and Recompense. So I humbly take my leave, and rest" Your Servant to be Commanded Matthew Hopkins.
Page 112 In the 77th Page of his Book, after the mention of twelve very ridiculous Signs of Witchcraft, too much made use of at that Time, Mr. Gaul proceeds: "To all these, I cannot but add one at large, which I have lately learnt, partly from some Communication I had with one of the Witch finders (as they call them) partly from the Confession (which I heard) of a suspected, and a committed Witch, so handled, as she said, and partly as the Country People talk of it. Having taken the suspected Witch, she is placed in the middle of a Room, upon a Stool or Table, cross-legg'd, or in some other uneasy Posture, to which if she submits not, she is then bound with Cords; there is she watch'd and kept without Meat, or Sleep, for the Space of Four and Twenty Hours: (for they say, within that Time, they shall see her Imp come and suck.) A little Hole is likewise made in the Door for the Imps to come in at; and lest it should come in some less discernable Shape, they that watch, are taught to be ever and anon sweeping the Room, and if they see any Spiders, or Flies, to kill them. And if they cannot kill them, then they may be fure they are her Imps." It was very requisite that these Witch finders should take care to go to no Towns, but where they might do what they would, without being controlled by Sticklers; but if the Times had not been as they were, they would have found few Towns where they might be suffered to use the Trial of the Stool, that was as bad as most
Page 113 Tortures. Do but imagine a poor old Creature, under all the Weakness and Infirmitie of old Age, set like a Fool in the middle of a Room, with a Rabble of Ten Towns round about her House: Then her Legs tied cross, that all the Weight of her Body might rest upon her Seat. By that means, after some Hours, that the Circulation of the Blood would be much stopped, her sitting would be as painful as the wooden Horse. Then she must continue in her Pain Four and Twenty Hours, without either Sleep or Meat; and since this was their ungodly way of Trial, what wonder was it, if when they were weary of their Lives, they confessed any Tales that would please them, and many Times they knew not what? And the Truth of this doth not only rest upon Mr. Gaul's Testimony, but the Tradition of the Country confirms it. I can add one Case that happened near Hoxne in Suffolk, which I had from a Gentlewoman of very great Piety and Virtue, and which I have heard confirmed by many others. She said, when the Witch finders came into that Neighborhood, they had one Woman under Tryal, who, she verily believed was innocent; but being kept long fasting, and without Sleep, she confess'd and called her Imp Nan. This good Gentlewoman told me, that her Husband, (a very learned ingenious Gentleman) having Indignation at the Thing, he and she went to the House, and put the People out of Doors, and gave the poor Woman some Meat, and let her go to Bed, and when she had slept,
Page 114 and was come to her self, she knew not what she had confess'd, and had nothing she called Nau, but a Pullet that she sometimes called by that Name. If they could not extort a Confession by the Stool, they had other Trials. They walked them betwixt two, and when they were faint and weary, the two People held them from falling, and forced them to continue walking, if they would not confess. Then they searched every secret Part of their body for Teats and Marks. And if all these failed, then they were to be tried by Swimming, with their Thumbs and Toes tied cross one another. I have met with several that remember the Swimming of great Numbers: And there is one Pool, where they used to try them, not far from Halstein, which is called Witches-Pool to this Day. These Things gave such just Offence, that the Report of their ill Arts was carried to the Parliament. But it was to that Piece of a Parliament that remained in the Year 1645, when the King's Forces were beaten, and those that would have opposed such Proceedings, were driven out of the House: And therefore instead of Remedy, the Effect was, that they joined two of the leading Ministers of their Party in a Commission with the Judge of the Assize (Sergeant Godbold) and the Justices that were then in Authority. Mr. Fairclough of Ketton, was one of the two Ministers, (See his Life by Mr. Clark;) and before he sat upon the Bench he preached two Sermons to the Court in one of the Churches in
Page 115 Bury. What Notions he laid before them to proceed upon, we cannot now say; but the Effect was, that they went on to execute them in great Numbers: And therefore we may believe he recommended these Prosecutions as a Piece of Piety and Reformation, that shewed the Zeal of their Time, above our lukewarm Temper. But the Clergy of our Church opposed them as far as they had Power. And what the witty Men thought of it, we may see by the ingenious Author of Hudibras, who writ soon after that Time. Hath not this present Parliament A Ledger to the Devil sent, Fully empower'd to treat about Finding revolted Witches out? And has not he, within a Year, Hang'd Threescore of them in one Shire? Some only for not being drown'd: And some for sitting above Ground Whole Nights and Days upon their Breeches, And feeling Pain, were bang'd for Witches: And some for putting Knavish Tricks Upon green Geese and Turkey Chicks, Or Pigs that suddenly deceas'd Of Griefs unnatural, as he guess'd, Who after prov'd himself a Witch, And made a Rod for his own Breech. Hudib. 2d Part, Canto III. These two last Verses, I suppose, relate to that which I have often heard; That Hopkins went on searching, and swimming the poor Creatures,
Page 116 till some Gentlemen, out of Indignation at the Barbarity, took him, and tied his own Thumbs and Toes, as he used to tye others, and when he was put into the Water, he himself swam as they did. That clear'd the Country of him; and it was a great deal of Pity that they did not think of the Experiment sooner. Adv. You are angry because they hanged up Lowes, the Reading Parson. Clerg. In such a kind of a careless Contempt, I find, Mr. Baxter mentions Mr. Lowes, an ancient clergyman, near Fourscore Years old, whom they hanged up among the rest. But I cannot but wonder, what should make Mr. Baxter's Informer remember that Circumstance of his Life, that he was a Reading Parson, and why Mr. Baxter should print that Word in a different Character, that the Reader might take notice to speak it with an Emphasis: But he knew who he wrote for, and that would make them believe any Thing that was ill of him, upon a very slender Proof. Adv. There was no need of Proof, for Mr. Baxter says, he confess'd, "That he had two Imps, and that one of them was always putting him on doing Mischief; and (being near the Sea) as he saw a Ship under sail, it moved him to send him to sink the Ship, and he consented, and saw the Ship sink before him." Clerg. I am bound in Charity to think, that Mr. Baxter believed this Story, or otherwise that he would not have printed it: But I ask you, whether you believe it your self?
Page 117 Adv. What is the Reason why you do not? Clerg. Because it is a monstrous Tale, without any tolerable Proof to support it. For consider this Matter well. Here is a Ship, we are told, under sail: There must be many Souls in it about their lawful Occasions, and many Families at Land depending upon it for their Livelihood. As this Ship past by the Coast of Suffolk, there happened in Sight, a Man that had nothing else to do but observe this Ship. He could have no particular Malice, nor any Temptation of Gain; for he knew not whose the Ship was, nor was likely to get any Thing by the Loss of it; only an Imp that he had with him had a Mind to destroy it; and without any Notice or Acknowledgment of God, asks leave of this Man, as if Ships sailed by his Permission. To please his Imp, he gives his Consent for the Wreck, and the Imp sunk it before his Face. When wise Men believe wonderful Things, they take care that the Proof be as extraordinary to support it: But in this Case, we have no corroborating Circumstances of Time, or Place, or the Name of the Ship, or any Witnesses, in a Case that requires vast Numbers, that could depose, that at such a Time, that very Ship by Name, or at least a Ship particularly described, did sink miraculously, when it had a calm Sea and a fair Wind, without either Rock or Tempest. Instead of these kind of Probabilities, we have an Intimation of another Nature: He was a malignant Parson, that read Homilies, and some wandering scandalous People, that took up
Page 118 a Trade to get their Bread amongst the Rabble, by finding out Witches, swore, that when he was under their Tryals, he confessed such a Thing against himself. Adv. Did he not confess it then before the Commissioners, at the Time of his Tryal? Clerg. No, but maintained his Innocence stoutly, and challenged them to make Proof of such Things as they laid to his Charge. I had this from a Person of Credit, who was then in Court, and heard his Tryal. I may add, that tho' his Case is remembered better than any others that suffered, yet I never heard any one speak of him, but with great Compassion, because of his Age and Character, and their Belief of his Innocence. And when he came to his Execution, because he would have Christian Burial, he read the Office himself, and that way committed his own Body to the Ground, in sure and certain Hope of the Resurrection to eternal Life. In the Notes upon those Verses that I quoted out of Hudibras, it is said, that he had been a painful Preacher for many Years, I may add for Fifty, for so long he had been Vicar of Brandeston in the County of Suffolk, as appears by the Time of his Institution. That I might know the present Sense of the chief Inhabitants of that Place, I wrote to Mr. Wilson, the Incumbent of that Town, and by his Means received the following Letter from Mr. Rivett, a worthy Gentleman, who lived lately in the same Place, and whose Father lived there before him.
Page 119 S I R, "In Answer to your Request concerning Mr. Lowes, my Father was always of the Opinion, that Mr. Lowes suffered wrongfully, and hath often said, that he did believe he was no more a Wizard than he was. I have heard it from them that watched with him, that they kept him awake several Nights together, and run him back wards and forwards about the Room, until he was out of Breath: Then they rested him a little, and then ran him again: And thus they did for several Days and Nights together, till he was weary of his Life, and was scarce sensible of what he said or did. They swam him at Framlingham, but that was no true Rule to try him by; for they put in honest People at the same Time, and they swam as well as he." This walking and running them back ward and forward till out of Breath, is so barbarous and senseless, that I should have been apt to think that both Mr. Gaul and Mr. Rivet had taken their Reports from those that had strain'd Things, if I had not now before me, by the Favour of my Lord Chief Baron Bury, a Book put out by Hopkins himself in the Year 1647. In that he calls himself Witchfinder General, and owns, that he had Twenty Shillings a Town for going to them; that they had swam many; that they had watch'd them for four Nights together; and doth not deny but they had kept them standing
Page 120 or walking till their Feet were blister'd; and adds the Reason, which I will give you in his own Words, Page 5. The Reason, saith he, was, to prevent their couching down; for, indeed, when they be suffered so to Couch, immediately come their Familiars into the Room, and scareth the Watchers, and heartneth on the Witch, and c.' And yet these are the Witchcrafts that Mr. Baxter hath confirmed with the Credit of his Name, and transmitted as true to Posterity. What Wonder is it if our common People are mad, and swim and abuse the poor Creatures, when such an admired Author makes himself the Defender of those that used such Practices? And therefore I hope there are none but will think it a very necessary thing to fence against the Mischiefs that may be again, if such bloody Superstition and Madness should ever again get head. Adv. What have you to say to the old Woman's Case? Did she confess what Mr. Baxter was informed? Clerg. Something like it she did, as I have heard from others: But what signified Confessions after such Usage? Old Women are apt to take such Fancies of themselves; and when all the Country was full of such Stories, and she heard the Witchfinders tell how familiar the Devil had been with others, and what Imps they had, she might begin to think, that a Beggar-Boy had been a Spirit, and Mice upon her Mother's Bed had been her Imps; and, as I have heard, that she was very harmless and innocent, and desirous
Page 121 to die, she told the Story to any Body that desir'd it; and besides, as she was poor, and mightily pitied, she had usually Money given her when she told the Story. And for a farther Proof, that the extorted Confessions were mere Dreams or Inventions to free themselves from Torture, I will add some of the Particulars that they confess'd. Elizabeth Clark, an old Beggar, with only one Leg, they said had an Imp called Vinegar-Tom; another called Sack and Sugar; and another that she said, she would fight up to the Knees in Blood before she would lose it. She said the Devil came to her two or three Times a Week, and lay with her like a Man; and he was so very like a Man, that she was forc'd to rise and let him in when he knock'd at the Door, and she felt him warm. Ellen Clark fed her Imp. Goodw. Hagtree kept her Imp with Oatmeal a Year and half, and then lost it. * Mr. Gaul tells of one that kill'd her Imp for doing Mischief. Susan Cocks's Imp worry'd Sheep, and Joyce Boans's Imps killed Lambs. Anne West's Imps suck'd of one another; and I have been told by one that was present in Court, that one poor Fellow confess'd, that he had sent Imps to Prince Rupert. Now you believe that these might be real Imps, and I do not envy your Judgment. My Opinion is, that when the Witchfinders had kept the poor People without Meat or Sleep, till they -notes- * See the Kingdom of Darkness, and Antidote against Atheism.
Page 122 knew not well what they said; then, to ease themselves of their Tortures, they told them Tales of their Dogs, and Cats, and Kittens. Jurym. Mr. Advocate, I believe you had best leave these Suffolk Witches; for tho' Mr. Baxter, who trusted to Second hand Stories, had too great an Opinion of their Truth; they are but of ill Fame in these Parts; and I have heard that it was Time for Hopkins to leave the Country when he did, for the People grew very angry at his Discoveries. Clerg. For Mr. Advocate's farther Satisfaction, I will add two or three Passages more from another Hand. They were publish'd not long since from New-England, by Mr. Hales an Independent. Minister. They are in Mr. Cotton Mather's History of New-England, and I will add them, because they belong to this Suffolk Case; and shew us which way they solved Things, when they perceived how much they had been abused. See the Sixth Book of that History. "Says he, about the Year 1645, there was at Chelmsford an afflicted Person, that in her Fits cried out against a Woman, a Neighbour, which Mr. Clark, the Minister of the Gospel there, could not believe to be guilty of such a Crime. And it happened, while that Woman milked her Cow, the Cow struck her with one Horn upon the Fore-head, and fetched Blood; and while she was thus bleeding, a Spectre in her Likeness appeared to a Person afflicted, who pointing at the Spectre, one struck at the Place;"
Page 123 "and the Afflicted said, You have made her Forehead bleed. Hereupon, some went to the Woman, and found her Forehead bloody, and acquainted Mr. Clark with it; who forthwith went to the Woman, and asked how her Forehead became bloody? And the answered, by a Blow of the Cow's Horn, whereby he was satisfy'd, that it was a Design of Satan to render an innocent Person suspected. He adds-- Another Instance was at Cambridge, about Forty Years since. There was a Man believed that a Widow Woman sent Cats or Imps to bewitch him; and one Night, as he lay in Bed, he thought one Cat came into his Reach, and he struck her on the Back; and upon Enquiry, he heard this suspected Woman had a sore Back. But Mr. Day, the Widow's Surgeon, cleared the Matter, saying, This Widow came to him, and complained of a Sore in her Back, and desired his Help; and he found it to be a Boil, and ripen'd and heal'd it as he used to do other Boils; but while this was in Cure, the suppos'd Cat was wounded, as is already rehearsed. The Reader may give as little Credit as he thinks fit to these two last Relations; for I pawn not my own Faith for their Reality: But I thought it not amiss to add them, that those who by having their Heads full of the Devil and Spirits, shall ever bring themselves under the Misery of such Delusions, may have this more rational and less bloody Way of solving their Difficulties.
Page 124 C H A P. V. The Witchcrafts at Salem, Boston, and Andover in New-England. Adv. If you think fit, we will consider next the late Witchcrafts suppos'd to have been in New-England; they are fresh, and there are Witnesses now living. Mr. Cotton Mather, no longer since than 1690, published the Case of one Goodwin's Children; for the bewitching of whom, as was suppos'd, one Glover, an Irish Papist, was hang'd the Year before. The Book was sent hither to be printed amongst us, and Mr. Baxter recommended it to our People by a Preface, wherein he says, That Man must be a very obdurate Sadducee that will not believe it. The Year after, Mr. Baxter, perhaps encouraged by Mr. Mather's Book, publish'd his own Certainty of the World of Spirits, with another Testimony, That Mr. Mather's Book would silence any Incredulity that pretended to be Rational. And Mr. Mather dispersed Mr. Baxter's Book in New-England, with the Character of it, as a Book that was Vngainsayable. I see both of them have not satisfy'd you; Pray what have you to say against Mr. Mather's?
Page 125 Clerg. Upon the extraordinary Commendation that Mr. Baxter gave of it, I sent for it, with great Hope to have seen this Case of Witchcraft put beyond Question; but the Judgment I made of it was, that the poor old Woman being an Irish Papist, and not ready in the Signification of English Words, had entangled her self by a superstitious Belief, and doubtful Answers about Saints and Charms; and seeing what Advantages Mr. Mather made of it, I was afraid I saw part of the Reasons that carried the Cause against her. And, First, It is manifest, that Mr. Mather is magnify'd, as having great Power over the evil Spirits. A young Man in his Family is represented so holy, that the Place of his Devotions was a certain Cure of the young Virgin's Fits. Then his Grandfather's and Father's Books have gained a Testimony, that, upon occasion, may be improved, one knows not how far. For amongst the many Experiments that were made, Mr. Mather would bring to this young Maid the Bible, the Assemblies Catechism; his Grandfather Cotton's Milk for Babes; his Father's Remarkable Providences; and a Book to prove, that there were Witches; and when any of these were offered for her to read in, she would be struck dead, and fall into hideous Convulsions. These good Books, (he says) were mortal to her; and lest the World should be so dull, as not to take him right, he adds, p. 23. I hope I have not spoiled the Credit of the Books, by telling how much the Devil hated them.
Page 126 To make the Case more manifest both Ways he tried her with other Books; as Quakers Books, Popish Books; the Cambridge and Oxford Jests, a Prayer-Book, a Book written to prove that there were No Witches: And the Devil would let her read these as long as she would; and particularly she treated the Prayer-Book with great Respect; and, which was very strange, the Devil was so sure that nothing in that Book could do her good, that he would suffer her to read the very Scriptures in that: But when, for Experiment, Mr. Mather turned to the very same Texts in the Bible, she could as soon die as read them there. Adv. I did not doubt but this would make you merry; but since it is true in Fact, What have you to say against it? Clerg. Nothing at all but this, That tho' our Common-Prayer-Book be for ever confuted by this Witness, yet there must be a Mistake in placing the Popish Books in the same Black List with those that the Devil loves; for Mr. Baxter hath proved the Devil's Hatred of Popish Books by as substantial a Witness, as Mr. Mather can prove his Hatred of his Grandfather's Milk for Babes. See Mr. Baxter's Certainty of the World of Spirits, p. III. --"While Modestus, a Capuchin, was yet Fifty Paces from my Chamber, the Girl fell down as one deprived of Life, and c. The Mother seeing the Child fall, said, the Capuchins were coming. She had no sooner said this but they knocked at the Door. When they were come in, and had lighted the consecrated
Page 127 Taper, and the Exorcist had put on his Habit, as soon as ever he had read the first Words of the Exorcism, the Girl, which hitherto had lain more immoveable than any dead Corps, fell a shaking all over, that she could not be held by Six of us, and c. I begged the Exorcist, out of Compassion to her, to forbear his reading. He had scarce pronounced the last Syllable, when in an Instant, the lay as quiet as possible; and when they had quitted the House, she opened her Eyes, and stood up." --This Mr. Baxter quotes for Truth from Henricus ab Heer, Obs. 8. And I desire you, Mr. Advocate, to give me a good Reason why the Devils that are in Flanders, are tormented by the Popish Books; and in New-England are as fond of them, as of the Oxford Jests, or the Common-Prayer-Book, or even a Book to prove that there are no Witches? Adv. I know you think this Difference is owing to the Notions, or Faith, or Humours, or Tricks of the Parties, and the Management of the Exorcists: But such Fits may be Diabolical for all this; for tho' evil Spirits cannot be supposed in reality to be differently affected according to Popish, or Independent Notions; yet the very same Spirit may counterfeit a Torture, or a Delight, at the very same Book, according as he can better make use of it for a Snare to those that are about him. Clerg. That you may see I give you fait Play, I will suppose this: But then in requital, I hope you will allow me, that these Tortures
Page 128 of the Devil are no sufficient Trial to decide the Truth of Books and Doctrines. Adv. Mr. Mather himself tells you as much, p. 23. He owns it is a fanciful Business, and no Test for the Truth to be determined by. Clerg. I will not ask you how you reconcile this Clause with the many Experiments he made, and his printing and pressing the Argument in his Sermon afterward; for my Business is not to expose him, but to find out the true and false Rules for the Discovery of Witches: And therefore I ask you this Question, If the standing and falling of afflicted Persons be no safe Trial of the Goodness or Badness of Books; How comes it to be a better Test of the Guilt or Innocence of Persons? The Experiment answers Expectation in Persons, just as it does in Books. This Test hath been made use of in almost all the famous Trials that we have upon Record; and particularly in that before my Lord Chief Baron Hales: But since the Devil, upon your own Supposition, will pretend Torture when he feels none, and fall down when he needs not; What should make Men venture the Lives of their Christian Brethren upon a Trial, that must be as false and fallacious as the Devil can make it? I will observe one Thing more from Mr. Mather's Book. He took this young Woman home, that he might the better make his Observations. She often used to say, that the Witches brought her an Invisible Horse; and then she would skip into a Chair, and seat her self in a riding Posture; and after that, she would be moved as if Ambling,
Page 129 and Trotting, and Gallopping. She talked with invisible Company, that seemed to go with her, and listned for their Answers. After two or three Minutes, she would seem to think her self at a Rendezvous with Witches a great way off, and soon after return back upon her Imaginary Horse, and then come to her self; and once she told Mr. Mather of three that she said had been there, and what they had said. In many other Authors, there are Relations of Persons that have been seen to lie still in tranced at home, while they have said, they have been at these Witches Meetings; and from those, and this, I would observe these four Things: 1. Those that have made no Compact, and are not Witches, may fancy that they take these airy Journeys with Witches. For Mr. Mather does not suppose this young Woman was a Witch, but a Religious Person, afflicted by others, a Counterfeit, or perhaps a Dæmoniac. 2. Those Journies and Rendezvouses are not real, but fantastick Things, like Dreams. Mr. Mather, and a House full of Witnesses often stood by, and saw her at home in her Chair, all the Time that she thought her self at their Meetings. 3. Courts of Justice may as well hang People, upon their Confessions, for the Murders they think they commit in their Dreams, as for what they fancy they do in these Trances. What if this Girl, in this Extasy of Mind, when she had not the use of her Reason, had made a Compact, and thought she had set her Name to it, and
Page 130 joined with other Witches in Murders, and confessed them? What wise Man would have turned such a Confession to her Hurt? Physick for Madness would be proper for such a one; but a Stake or Gallows would be barbarous. 4. It would be harder yet to hang other People for what these Brainsick Persons fancy they fee them do. Adv. Have you any Thing else to observe from Mr. Mather's Book? Clerg. Yes; observe the Time of the Publication of that Book, and of Mr. Baxter's. Mr. Mather's came out 1690, and Mr. Baxter's the Year after; and Mr. Mather's Father's Remarkable Providences had been out before that: And in the Year 1692, the Frights and Fits of the afflicted, and the Imprisonment and Execution of Witches in New-England, made as sad a Calamity, as a Plague or War. I know Mr. Cotton Mather, in his late Folio, imputes it to the Indian Paw-waws fending their Spirits amongst them; but I attribute it to Mr. Baxter's Book, and his and his Father's, and the false Principles, and frightful Stories that filled the People Minds with great Fears and dangerous Notions. And here I will lay before you a brief State of the Facts of those New England Witchcraft. My Author, for the greatest Part of it, is Mr. Calef, a Merchant in that Plantation, and an Eye-Witness of much that he wrote. In his Book there are many Tryals at large, and many Circumstances that I have taken no notice of, and therefore I recommend to you the Book it
Page 131 self; and I take it to be as plain a Proof as any I have met with, of the Mistakes and Mischiefs of those Notions that I am arguing against. The Book was printed for Nath. Hillar, at the Prince's Arms in Leaden-Hall Street, London. In the latter End of February 1694, divers young Persons, belonging to the Family of Mr. Parris, Minister of Salem, and one or more of the Neighbourhood, began to act after a strange and unusual Manner. They crept into Holes, and under Chairs and Stools. They used antic Gestures, and spoke ridiculous Speeches, and fell into Fits. After some Time, and a Day of Prayer kept, the afflicted Persons named several that they said they saw in their Fits afflicting them, and in particular, an Indian Woman, that lived in Mr. 'Parris's House, and had tried a Trick with a Cake of Rye Meal, and the Children's Water laid in Ashes, to discover the Witches. She being beaten, and threatened, confessed her self to be the Witch, and said the Devil urged her to sign a Book. Others confessed their being urged to sign the Book. One said it was a red Book, of a considerable Thickness, and about a Cubit long. In a little Time, the Numbers of the afflicted increased to Ten, and the accused were many more. One Goodw. Cory was examined; the afflicted said, she bit, pinched, and strangled them. They said, they saw her Likeness bring a Book to them to sign. At the Time of her Tryal, they said, a black Man whispered in her Ear, and that she had a yellow Bird, that even
Page 132 then sucked between her Fingers. Orders were given to search the Place. The Girl that saw it, said it was now too late, she had removed a Pin, and put it on her Head; upon Search it was found, that a Pin was there sticking upright. A Child, of about Four or Five Years old, was accused, and apprehended. The Accusers said, this Child bit them, and would show the Marks of small Teeth upon their Arm. As many as the Child cast its Eye upon, would complain that they were in Torment. April 11. 1692. There was a publick Hearing before Six Magistrates, and several Ministers. The afflicted complained against many, with hideous Clamours and Screeching. One Goodw. Proctor was (according to the Phrase much used upon such Occasions) cried out of, and her Husband coming to attend, and assist her, the Accusers cried out of him also. About this Time, besides the experiment of the afflicted falling at the Sight, they put the accused upon saying the Lord's Prayer, and searched for Teats, and fancied they found one upon Goodw. Bishop. May 14 1692. Sir William Phips entred upon the Government, and put the Witches in Chains: Upon that, it was said, that the afflicted Persons were free from their Tortures. May 31. Capt. Aldin committed, and after Fifteen Weeks Imprisonment he was glad to make his Escape, and fly from a Tryal. June 10. Bridget Bishop was executed, protesting her Innocence.
Page 133 July 19. Five were executed. One of them was Sarah Good. Mr. Noyes urged her to confess, and said she knew she was a Witch. To which she replied, he was a Lyar. I am no more a Witch than you are a Wizard; and if you take away my Life, God will give you Blood to drink. Rebecca Nurse was another of those Five. At first the Jury brought her in, Not Guilty. Immediately all the Accusers in the Court, and suddenly after, all the afflicted out of Court, made a hideous Outcry, to the Amazement, not only of the Spectators, but of the Court. They were sent out again to consider better of one Expression of hers; and returning, they brought her in Guilty, and she was executed with the rest, all Five maintaining their Innocence to the last. Aug. 19. Five more were executed, denying and Guilt in that Matter of Witchcraft. One of them was Mr. Burroughs, a Minister. When he was upon the Ladder, he made a Speech for the clearing his Innocency, with such solemn and serious Expressions as were to the Admiration of all present, and drew Tears from many. The Accusers said the black Man dictated to him. John Willard was another of those Five. He had been employed in fetching in several that were accused; but at last declining to fetch in more, he was cried out of. He made his Escape Forty Miles from Salme; yet it is said, that the Accusers told the exact Time when he was apprehended, saying, Now Willard is taken.
Page 134 Sept. 16. Giles Cory pleaded Not Guilty, but having found that they cleared none that had been tried, he resolved to be pressed, that is, I suppose rather than be tried by such Juries. In pressing, his Tongue was forc'd out of his Mouth, but the Sheriff with his Cane thrust it in again when he was dying. Sept. 22. The same Year Eight more were executed. The Cart going to the Hill with them, was set for a Time. The afflicted said the Devil hindered it. In the beginning of October, Mr. Cotton Mather, at the desire of Sir William Phips the Governor, and with the Approbation of two of their Judges, publish'd seven of the Tryals of those that suffer'd. And as they grounded themselves chiefly upon our Law, and Precedents and Books from England, he put before them an Abridgment of the Tryals of the two Women that were condemned by my Lord Chief Baron Hales at Bury, 1664. As also an Abridgment of the Rules and Signs of Witches, that are in Perkins, Barnard, and Gaul, and from Mr. Baxter's Book he laid before them the Case of the Suffolk Witches, 1654. See his more Wonders of the invisible World. I take notice of this, because the more either they or others have been influenced by our Law, Tryals or Books, the more Reason there is that we should offer them something towards the clearing any Mistakes in them. ----- But to proceed in the Account.
Page 135 In this same Month of October, one of the afflicted complained of Mrs. Hale, whose Husband was the Minister of Beverly, and had been very active in these Prosecutions, but being fully satisfied of his Wife's Innocency, he altered his Judgment: For it was come to a stated Controversy amongst them, Whether the Devil could afflict in a good Man's Shape? This Accusation of Mrs. Hale, and some others, very sober People, brought them to believe, that he might, or at least that he could manage Matters so as the afflicted should think he did. This Reason afterwards prevailed with many, and had much Influence to the succeeding Change of Affairs; but it did not convince them so soon, but that there were many Imprisonments after this, and some condemned, tho' none executed. Mr. Philip English and his Wise sled the Country, and their Estate was seized to the Value of 1500 Pounds, and not above 300 Pounds found to be restored, when the Storm was over, that they durst return home. About this Time, one Joseph Ballard, of Andover, sent to Salem, for some of these Accusers, who pretended to have the spectral Sight, to tell him who afflicted his Wife. When these People came to any Place, they usually fell into a Fit; after which, they would name one that they saw sitting on the Head, and another on the Feet of the afflicted; and soon after their coming to Andover 50 Persons were complained of for afflicting their Neighbours. Here many accused themselves of riding upon Poles through
Page 136 the Air. Many Parents believed their Children to be Witches, and many Husbands their Wives: And others, besides those that were sent for, were thought to have the same spectral Sight. Mr. Dudley Bradstreet, a Justice of Peace, in Andover, having himself committed 30 or 40 to Prisons, for these supposed Witchcraft, himself and his Wife were both cried out of by these Accusers, and durst not stand a Tryal, but fled for their Lives. They said Mr. Bradstreet had killed nine; for they said they saw the Ghosts of murdered People hover over those that had killed them. A Dog being afflicted at Salem, those that had the spectral Sight, said, Mr. John Bradstreet, the Justice's Brother, afflicted the Dog, and then rid upon him. He made his Escape, and the Dog was put to Death, and was all of the afflicted that suffered. Another Dog was said to afflict others, and they fell into their Fits, when the Dog looked upon them. The Dog was put to Death. A worthy Gentleman of Boston, being accused by those at Andover, he sent a Writ to arrest the Accusers in a Thousand Pound Action, for Defamation. From that Time, the Accusations at Andover generally ceased. Jan. 3. 1692/3. Thirty Bills of Indictments were brought in Ignoramus. Six and Twenty were brought in Billa vera; and upon all those, only three were found guilty upon Tryal. Jan. 31. 1692/3. Seven that were under Condemnation were reprieved.
Page 137 April. 25. 1693. One was tried that confessed. But they were now so well taught what Weight to lay upon Confessions, that the Jury brought her in, Not Guilty, tho' she confessed she was. And now after a Storm of sixteen Months, nineteen Persons having been hanged, and one pressed to Death, and eight more condemned; above fifty having confessed themselves Witches, of which not one executed; above 150 in Prison, and above 200 more accused: And the Accusers, that began with an Indian Slave, being grown bold to cry out of the Justices that had prosecuted others, and the better Sort of People amongst them, it was thought Time to put a Stop to Prosecutions; and accordingly, about April 1693, the accused Persons in all Prisons were set at Liberty, and those that had fled the Country returned home. And those Towns having regained their Quiet; and this Case being of that Nature, that Facts and Experience are of more Weight than mere rational Arguments, it will be worth our while to observe some Passages that happened after this Storm, when they had Time to look back upon what had passed. And first it is observable, that as the supposed Witchcraft of Salem began in the House of Mr. Parris, Minister of that Town; and he had been a Witness, and zealous Prosecutor of the supposed Witches, many of his People withdrew from his Communion, and in April 1693, drew up Articles against him. They were so settled
Page 138 in their Aversion, that they continued their Prosecutions three or four Years, and July 21, 1697, they drew up a Remonstrance, and presented it to Arbitrators that the Matter was referred to. The latter Part of their Remonstrance is thus. "His believing the Devil's Accusations, and readily departing from all Charity to Persons, tho' of blameless Lives, upon such Suggestions; his promoting such Accusations, and c. That Mr. Parris's going to Mary Walut, or Abigail Williams, to know who afflicted the People in their Illness, we understand this to be a Dealing with them that have a familiar Spirit, and an implicit denying the Providence of God, which alone, as we believe, can send Afflictions, or cause Devils to afflict any. That Mr. Parris by these Practices and Principles, hath been the Beginner and Procurer of the forest Afflictions, not to this Village only, but to this whole Country, that did ever befall them." Mr. Parris did acknowledge his Mistakes, and profess he should be far from acting again upon the same Principles: But they thought that was not enough for such an Instrument of their Miseries, and therefore, by the Determination of the Arbitrators, he was dismissed. See Calef, p. 64. Dec. 17. 1696. There was a Proclamation for a Fast, and in the Proclamation this Clause.--- "That God would shew us what we know not, and help us, wherein we have done amiss, to
Page 139 do so no more; and especially that whatever Mistakes on either Hand, had been fallen into, either by the Body of this People, or any Orders of Men, referring to the late Tragedy, raised amongst us by Satan and his Instruments, through the awful Judgments of God, he would humble us therefore, and pardon all the Errors of his Servants, and c. Upon the Day of the Fast, one that had sat in Judicature in Salem, delivered in a Paper, and while it was reading, stood up. As it is reported by Memory, it was, "That he was apprehensive, that he might have fallen into some Errors in the Matters of Salem, and to pray, that the Guilt of such Miscarriages may not be imputed, either to the Country in general, or to him or his Family in particular, p. 144." Those that confessed went off from their Confessions, and several of them signed a Writing, of which this is part. "After Mr. Barnard had been at Prayer, we were blindfolded, and our Hands were laid upon the afflicted Persons, they being in their Fits, and falling into their Fits at our coming into their Presence (as they said,) and some led us, and laid our Hands upon them, and then, they said, they were well, and that we were guilty of afflicting them; whereupon we were seized, and sent Prisoners to Salem. And by Reason of that sudden Surprizal, we knowing our selves altogether innocent of that Crime, we were all exceedingly astonished, and amazed,
Page 140 and consternated and affrighted, even out of our Reason. And our nearest and dearest Relations seeing us in that dreadful Condition, and apprehending, that there was no other way to save our Lives, but by confessing our selves to be such and such Persons as the afflicted represented us to be; they out of tender Love and Pity perswaded us to confess what we did confess. And indeed that Confession, that it is said we made, was no other than what was suggested to us by some Gentlemen, they telling us we were Witches, and they knew it, and we knew it, and they knew that we knew it, which made us think that it was so; and our Understanding, our Reason, and our Faculties almost gone, we were not capable of judging our Condition, and c. And most of what we said was but a consenting to what they said. Some time after, when we had been better composed, they telling us what we had confessed, we did profess that we were innocent and ignorant of such Things. And we hearing that Samuel Wardwell had renounced his Confession, and quickly after had been condemned and executed: Some of us were told, that we were going after Wardwell". Signed by Mary Osgood, Mary Tiler, Deliv. Dane, Abigail Barker, Sarah Wilson, Hannah Tiler, p. 3.
Page 141 Some that have been of several Juries, have given forth a Paper signed with their own Hands, in these Words. "We whose Names are underwritten, being in the Year 1692, called to serve as Jurors in Court at Salem, on Tryal of many, who were by some suspected guilty of doing Acts of Witchcraft upon the Bodies of sundry Persons: We confess that we our selves were not capable to understand, nor able to withstand the mysterious Delusions of the Powers of Darkness, and Prince of the Air: But were for want of Knowledge in our selves, and better Information from others, prevailed with to take up such Evidence against the accused, as on farther Consideration, and better Information, we justly fear was insufficient for the touching the Lives of any, Deut. 17. 6. whereby we fear, we have been Instrumental with others, tho' ignorantly and unwittingly, to bring upon our selves, and this People of the Lord, the Guilt of innocent Blood, and c. We do therefore hereby signify to all in general (and to the surviving Sufferers in special) our deep Sense of, and Sorrow for our Errors, in acting on such Evidence, to the Condemnation of any Person. And we do hereby declare, that we justly fear, that we were sadly deluded and mistaken, for which we are much disquieted, and distressed"
Page 142 in our Minds; and do therefore humbly beg Forgiveness, first of God, for Christ's Sake, for this our Error; and pray, that God would not impute the Guilt of it to our selves, nor others: And we also pray, that we may be considered candidly, and aright, by the living Sufferers, as being then under the Power of a strong and general Delusion, utterly unacquainted with, and not experienced in Matters of that Nature. We do heartily ask Forgiveness of you all, whom we have justly offended, and do declare, according to our present Minds, we would none of us do such Things again on such Grounds, for the whole World; praying you to accept of this in way of Satisfaction for our Offence, and that you would bless the Inheritance of the Lord, that he may be in treated for the Land." Foreman. Thomas Fisk, William Fisk, John Bacheler, Tho. Fisk, jun. John Dane, Joseph Evelith, Thomas Perly, Sen. John Pebody, Thomas Perkins, Samuel Sayer, Andrew Elliot, Henry Herrick. Since I have drawn up this Account from Mr. Calef, and Mr. Mather's Books, I have met with a farther and later Relation of these Matters, published by Mr. Cotton Mather himself, at the 80th Page of his 6th Book of the History of New-England, printed 1702. The Account he
Page 143 publishes was written by Mr. John Hales, whose Wife, as I mentioned before, was at last accused amongst the others suspected for Witches, and she being a Woman of good Reputation, her danger began to open their Eyes. See § 6. --"But that which chiefly carried on this Matter to such a Height, was the increasing of Confessions, until they amounted to near upon fifty; and four or six of them upon their Tryals, owned their Guilt of this Crime, and were condemned for the same, but not executed. And many of the Confessors confirmed their Confessions with very strong Circumstances, as their exact Agreement with the Accusations of the afflicted; their punctual Agreement with the Accusations of their Fellow Confessors; their relating the Times when they covenanted with Satan, and the Reasons that moved them thereunto: Their Witch-Meetings, and that they had their mock Sacraments of Baptism, and the Supper, in some of them: Their signing the Devil's Book, and some shewed the Scars of the Wounds, which, they said, were made to fetch Blood with, to sign the Devil's Book; and some said, they had Imps to suck them, and shewed Sores raw, where they said they were sucked by them." §7. "The afflicted complained, that the Spectres which vexed them, urged them to set their Hands to a Book presented to them, (as to them it seemed) with Threatenings of great Torments if they signed not, and Promises
Page 144 of Ease if they obeyed. Among these D.H. as she said (which sundry others confessed afterward) being overcome by the Extremity of her Pains, did sign the Book presented, and had the promised Ease; and immediately upon it, a Specter in her Shape afflicted another Person, and said, I have signed the Book, and have Ease; now do you sign, and so shall you have Ease. And one Day this afflicted Person pointed at a certain Place in the Room, and said there is D. H.; upon which a Man with his Rapier struck at the Place, tho' he saw no Shape, and the afflicted called out, you have given her a small Prick about the Eye. Soon after this, the said D. H. confessed her self to be made a Witch, by signing the Devil's Books, and declared that she had afflicted the Maid that complained of her; and in doing of it, had received two Wounds by a Sword or Rapier; a small one about the Eye, which she shewed to the Magistrates, and a bigger on the Side, of which she was searched by a discreet Woman, who reported, that D. H. had on her Side the Sign of a Wound newly healed, and c." § 11. "By these Things, you may see, how this Matter was carried on, viz. chiefly by the Complaints and Accusations of the afflicted, and then by the Confessions of the accused, condemning themselves and others. Yet Experience shewed, that the more there were apprehended, the more were still afflicted by Satan; and the Number of the Confessors increasing
Page 145 did but increase the Number of the accused; and the executing of some, made way for the apprehending of others; for still the afflicted complained of being tormented by new Objects, as the former were removed: So that those that were concerned, grew amazed at the Number and Quality of the Persons accused; and feared that Satan, by his Wiles, had in wrapped innocent Persons under the Imputation of that Crime. And at last it was evidently seen, that there must be a Stop put, or the Generation of the Children of God would fall under that Condemnation. Hence-forth, therefore, the Juries generally acquitted such as were tried, fearing they had gone too far before. And Sir LLIUM Phis the Governor, reprieved all that were condemned, even the Confessors as well as others. And the Confessors generally fell off from their Confessions; some saying they remembred nothing of what they had said; and others said that they had belied themselves and others, and c." § 12. He adds these Reasons why he believed they went too far: "1. The Numbers greater than could be imagined to be really guilty. 2. The Quality. Religious Persons, that had taken great Pains to bring up their Children well. 3. All the nineteen that were executed, denying the Crime to Death. 4. Upon ceasing the Prosecution all was well and quiet."
Page 146 Adv. There is nothing in this whole Case that seems so strange to me, as what they say of evil Spirits appearing in the Shape of innocent Persons. Not but that it may possibly be true what is thought by some, That a Spirit, by his own natural Powers, can form either his own Substance or Vehicle, or borrowed Matter into the Shape of any Man whatever: But I can never believe but that Divine Providence would interpose, and lay their Natural Powers under a Divine Restraint, rather than suffer them to use them for such Mischief; for otherwise good Men have no Defense against him. He may lay the Blame of his own Actions upon whom he will, and bring them under Condemnation for what he does. Clerg. Yes, if they who are to judge them be so weak and credulous as to believe him; but if Magistrates do their Duty in true Judgment, and punish Offenders only for their own real Acts of Wickedness, not for Effects that Spirits work in other Mens Shapes without them, then his Appearances will hurt no Body. But if instead of this, contrary to the frequent Warnings in Scripture, they who are to judge those Cases, give evil Spirits that Advantage against them; Hath God any where promised, that by a particular Act of Power he will save credulous Men from being deceived; because, otherwise, the Blood of the innocent Men will be in danger? How much innocent Blood of Man is daily shed by the Superstition of Persecutors, or unjust Laws of Tyrants? How many righteous Abels fall every Day by Men that are as cruel and as ungodly
Page 147 as wicked Cain? And how do we know but that some may fall also by the Craft of evil Spirits, deluding Magistrates that take not due Care to prevent them? Providence can make such crooked Things strait in the other World, and therefore in this may permit them for Probation, and therefore instead of tempting God, Men must take heed to their own Actions, or else they may bring this high Guilt upon themselves, and Mischief upon others. And as this is a Point that deserves to be well remembred, tho' I have mention'd it once before, I will now add to it some Instances where evil Spirits have been said to have appeared in the Shapes of those that were not suspected to be otherwise than very innocent and virtuous Persons. Adv. I hope you will give us no Examples but such as you believe your self. Clerg. I cannot promise that, because I know not what is true, and what not, in this Matter. Many a Man hath verily believed he hath seen a Spirit externally before him, when it hath been only an internal Image dancing in his own Brain. By this Means Books are full of Stories of such like Facts, and no Man can tell which of them are by real Spirits, which by diabolical Illusion, either within or without the Brain; and which are only strong Imaginations, without any Spirit at all. And therefore I dare not assure you of my own Belief of the Instances I shall give; yet I will promise to bring none but from sober Authors, and such as are usually quoted and allowed of when they speak against accused Witches:
Page 148 And therefore it is but common Justice that they should have as much Credit when they deliver any thing that makes for them. Lavater of Walking Spirits, (for it is the English Translation that I have by me) Ist Part, 19th Chapter, speaks thus. "I heard a grave wise Man, which was a Magistrate in the Territory of Tigurie, who affirmed, That as he and his Servant went through the Pastures in the Summer very early, he spied one whom he knew very well, wickedly defiling himself with a Mare; wherewith being amazed, he returned back again, and knocked at his House whom he supposed he had seen, and and there understood for Certainty, that he went not one Foot out of his Chamber that Morning, and c. I rehearse (saith be) this History for this End, That Judges should be very circumspect in these Cases; for the Devil by these means doth often circumvent the Innocent." Mr. Clark, in his Ist Vol. of Examples, p. 150. reports how an evil Spirit appeared to Mr. Earl at one Time in the Form of Mr. Lyddal, and at another under the Form of the famous Mr. Rogers of Dedham. To be sure that evil Spirit appeared to Mr. Earl for some evil Purpose; and if instead of appearing to him, he had appeared to some melancholy Person that had been thought to be under the Power of Witchcraft, must those two good Men have come under the Suspicion of being Wizards?
Page 149 Papists have many Relations of this fort. I will give you one that was either true in Fact, or which from the Observation of such like Facts, was contrived to give the Readers needful Caution. It is in Barth. dé Spina, in his Quæstiones de Strigibus. --"There he tells us, that S. German lodging in an Inn in the Night-time, saw a Rendezvous of Witches seating and dancing; and calling up the People of the House, he asked them if they knew those Persons: They said, Yes, they were their Neighbors, that lived in the same Town; whereupon, to convince them of the Devil's Wiles, he commanded the Spirits to keep their Places; and sent the People to the Houses of those Neighbors that they saw, and they found them all in their Beds at home. Upon this St. German adjured the Devils, and they confessed, that they had taken those Shapes to impose upon credulous Men." Very likely that Legend was contrived by some Body or other who knew that bare Arguments of Reason would not be strong enough to cope with a rooted Error of that Nature; and therefore thought it would be no Sin, but a needful Service, to drive out one Superstition with another: And since it was only to teach People the Snares of the Devil, and save the Lives of innocent People, after so many bloody Executions as they had seen, it will be very necessary that we should receive the Doctrine, tho' we neglect the Tale. These good People in New-England have had, perhaps, as large Experience of these Matters
Page 150 as any; and in the midst of their Confusions, their Clergy had a Meeting at the Desire of their Magistrates, to give their Opinion in several Cases proposed to them: And the Question was, Whether Satan may not appear in the Shape of an innocent and pious, as well as of a innocent and wicked Person, to afflict such as suffer by Diabolical Molestation? And they returned it as their Opinion, That be might; and confirmed it not only by Examples of other Times and Places, but by what they had seen amongst themselves. And it is particularly observable, how in the latter Part of their Tragedy, Mr. Cotton Mather changed his Mind in this Point from what he had been of in the Beginning: For in the 27th page of his Memorable Prov. he advised the afflicted young Woman in his House, if she could not tell the Names of those that she saw at the Witches Meetings, to describe them by their Cloths. But in the Year 1693, when he visited another in a like Case, he saith, He and his Father gave her solemn Charges, that she should rather die than tell the Names of any whom she might imagine that she saw. See Mr. Mather's Letter in Mr. Calef, p. 20. I speak not this in way of Reproach; for we are not the Men that may upbraid one another for altering our Minds, when God teaches us Wisdom by his Providence; but when others see an Error, let not us continue in it. Since I have collected and drawn up these Things, I see the Author of The Complete History
Page 151 of Witchcraft, and c. hath printed the First Facts and Depositions that deceived these good People in New-England, and hath stop there, without giving any manner of Notice of the Mischief that followed, and the Sorrow they had for what they had done: And who can be able to give a rational Answer to such a Case, where the Fact is laid before him so partially? How certainly must our People fall into the same Follies, if their Minds are poisoned with such false History, and no one troubles himself to answer them, and let the Truth be seen. I hope therefore ingenious Men will not only justify me with respect to the Pains that I have taken in this Subject, but will take part in such Labors as are necessary to decry such ill Books, and prevent the Mischief they must necessarily do, if suffered to pass as true History, unanswered. C H A P. VI. The pretended Witchcraft at Mohra in SWEDEN. Adv. LET us leave this Case of New-England. You see they are sensible of their Error, and are much to be commended for their honest Confession of it. Few have had Virtue enough to do what they have done for preventing the ill Effect of their Example; and since we learn truth and Wisdom from their Mistake, we ought not to reproach them for it. But
Page 152 what do you think of the Witchcrafts at Mohra in Sweden? The Narrative of their Case is said to be taken out of the Records of the Court soon after the Time, and is since translated out of High Dutch by Dr. Horneck, and is printed at the End of Mr. Glanvil, and Dr. More's Relations of Witches and Spirits. There were condemned at that one Time of Judgment, no longer since than 1670, Fourscore and five Persons, fifteen of which were Children; and most, if not all of them, were burnt and executed. There were besides, fix and thirty Children that ran the Gentler, and twenty were whip on the Hands at the Church Door every Sunday for three Weeks together. Now what Judgment will you make of this? Was this a Flame kindled by credulous Men? Were there only some odd Diseases amongst the Children; and did superstitious Principles and Prosecutions blow it up into such a sad Calamity? In a word, Do you think, this Case was like that in New-England? Clerg. I make not the least Question but it was; and tho' it be a great Disadvantage to answer where one hath little or no Account of the Fact, except that short Pamphlet that was written on purpose to support its Belief, and therefore would leave out such Things as would help to detect it; yet it confutes it self; for I think it hath as broad Signs of a mistaken, but cruel Superstition, as any that is extant. And first, you know, the Foundation that I ground upon is, That these supposed Witchcraft are much owing to false Principles, and imprudent
Page 153 Prosecutions. And just so it was here; for this Power of carrying away Children, for which these poor People died, both began and ended with the Accusations. For observe, Page 8. these Witches confess that till of late, till that Year and the last, they had little or no Power of carrying them away. This shew, that their imaginary Power began with the Prosecution; for the King's Commissioners sat in August I. and the Accusation must have been carrying on that Piece of the Year before it, and some part of the last, before it would come so high as a Royal Visitation; and just so long, they say, they had had their great Power. And it ended also with it, for these Judges did not go on accusing and burning more; I have heard, for the same Reason for which they stopped in New-England, because it came to the Wealthy, and because they could see no End of Executions. And therefore they did stay their Hands; and five Years after, 1715, I find the very Bruit of these Witchcraft was over, and the Place was in Peace. See a Letter from Sweden to Bekker, in the Fourth Volume of his World bewitched, Ch. 29. S. II. Now from hence I argue, that as this mighty Power began and ended with the Prosecution, so it owed its very Being to it. They had had no such Flame, if their own Superstition had not kindled it. Then observe, 2. There were three hundred Children said to be carried away every Night out of one Town to Blockula. The Children said, they were sure they were there in Body;
Page 154 for the Devil fed them at the Door, while the Witches sat down with him at the Table. And yet there is not Mention of one single Witness to prove, that any one Child was ever wanting out of its Father's House or Bed; nay, one Clergyman sat up and watched, and shewed his Wife the Child in Bed all Night; only about Twelve a-Clock the Child groaned and shivered. Is it not plain then, that the People had frighten'd their Children with so many Tales, that they could not sleep without dreaming of the Devil; and then made the poor Women of the Town confess what the Children said of them. 3. Observe the monstrous Absurdity of these supposed Facts; for I think they make the coarsest Story that I ever met with. These Women and Children, they say, rode to Blockula upon Men; and those Men when they came there, were reared against the Wall asleep. Then again, they rode upon Posts, or upon Goats with Spits stuck into their Backsides. They flew through Chimneys and Windows, without breaking either Brick or Glass. When they were there, they lay with the Devil, and had Sons and Daughters; and those Children again were married, and brought forth Toads and Serpents. (Here are children and their Issue in a Night). Then they build Houses, and the Walls fall upon them, and make them black and blue. They are beaten and abused, and laughed at; and yet when they thought the Devil had been dead, they made great Lamentation. Now, Mr. Advocate, either these things are real, or else
Page 155 they are Dreams. If you would have me think there is any Reality, tell me why I must deny the Tales of the Golden Legend, and yet receive these? I love to have a Reason for what I do, and if you would not have me swallow all the Lies that are told me, give some Criterion or Mark of Distinction, whereby I may judge what is natural and probable, and what is not: But if you will give up these Facts, and own that they were mere Dreams or Representations, tell me what Reason you have for hanging and burning poor People, for dreaming they do that which you know they do not do. But that you may be sure that they were mere Dreams, or rather feigned, extorted Lies, which some told, and the rest assented to, pray read the last Leaf of that Narrative. It is said there, That at that very time, while they were in Court before the Commissioners, the Devil appeared to them very terrible, with Claws on his Hands and Feet, and with Horns on his Head, and a long Tail behind, and shewed to them a Pit burning, with a Hand put out; but the Devil did thrust the Person down again with an Iron Fork. Now the Question I would ask you is, Whether there was really then a fiery Pit, a Person burning, and thrust down with an Iron Fork? Or was it a feigned Thing, or a false Delusion? Adv. To be sure there was no burning Lake in the Place before them; and therefore it must be a false Delusion. Clerg. Why then, do you believe such a real Place as Blockula, any more than a real Fire
Page 156 before you? When you see them deceived, and deceiving, or else belying themselves before the Faces of their Judges; why should you not suppose in their Favor, that they are as much mistaken, when they charge themselves with flying through Walls, riding upon Men, denying God, contracting with the Devil, having Sons and Daughters by him, and building Houses, and the rest of that Stuff? And if their Compacts and Sacraments, and Feasts be mere Dreams, What have they to answer for that made fourscore Fires of human Bodies, because the poor Wretches dreamed they did what they did not do? Such Stories will not help us to triumph over Sadducees, but make more Sadducees than there are already. But there is one part of their Confession that I think is more extraordinary than these. They say they have two Spirits called Carriers; one like a Cat, the other like a Raven; and these fetch them home Butter, and Cheese, and Bacon, and all sorts of Seeds and Milk. Now, to pass by the rest, pray tell me, Mr. Advocate, how this Cat and Raven brought home Milk? A Cat or Raven could not well carry a Pale or Pitcher for their Milk, which way then could they bring it home? I can devise no way, unless they drank it first, and then spewed it up again for the Witches to drink after them. And I think the 15th Page intimates, that it was this way; for there it is said, That these Carriers sometimes fill themselves so full, that they spew by the way; which spewing is found in several
Page 157 Gardens where Colworts grow, and not far from the Houses of those Witches, and is called Butter of Witches. Now I would be glad if I could find a way of representing the Folly of this, without reflecting upon the Swedish Commissioners, or Dr. Horneck, who translated their Book; but I know no way of doing it; for it is as plain as the Day, that such Froth in Meadows and Gardens is not from Witches and Spirits spewing, but from Grashoppers, and other little Insects, that hatch their young ones sometimes in Cottons, and sometimes in Froths, and sometimes in bended Leaves, drawn over with a curious Covering as fine as Lawn; and when I see Swedish Judges, and Dr. Horneck after them, learn from the Rabble to call it Witches Butter, and hang and burn their Neighbors from such Evidence; I cannot but stand amazed, and am sorry so good a Man as Dr. Horneck was so far over-seen as to translate such a dangerous History for our People to learn from. I make no great Question but now they have his Authority, the next Time that they set upon finding Witches, they will add this Sign of Witches Butter, to the others that they have, of Scratching, and Watching, and Walking, and Weighing, and Swimming, and Searching; for they are much of a Piece, and fit to go together; but none of them proceed from the Preserver of Men; they come of Evil, and are Inventions of the Destroyer. Adv. They were not these Circumstances, but their own Confessions, which were the Ground of their Condemnation.
Page 158 Clerg. Confessio rei impossibilis non est Confession sanæ mentis. A Confession of any thing that is impossible or absurd, is not the Confession of a found Mind. That will always be an inviolable Rule with all wise Judges; but it was altogether forgotten in this Case before us. Then there was too much Art and Perswasion used to draw these miserable Creatures to confess. In Page 5. of the Narrative, it is said, The Commissioners examined the Witches, but could not bring them to any Confession, all continuing stedfast in their Denials. Bekker, who quotes from the High Dutch Narrative that Dr. Horneck translated, expresses it, Ils nioient presq; tout avec une grande opiniatrete, and non obstant qu' on les y Contraignist. That they all deny'd almost the whole thing with great Obstinacy, tho' they were hard press'd. Now some Men, if they had been Commissioners, would not have pressed them so hard, to confess such absurd Things, when they had assured them, that they neither did, nor could do them. Some Commissioners would have acquiesced, and pitied the poor Creatures, and have chidden their credulous Accusers; but these Commissioners had other Notions, and therefore urged them farther, and extorted Confessions. Now how can one chose but think, that these fourscore were just like the fifty Confessions in New-England? They confessed, because they were hard pressed, and could not be at rest: and, perhaps, because they hoped the Judges would have been more merciful than to burn so very
Page 159 many without good Cause. And if instead of burning, they had pardoned them in Sweden, as they did in New-England, these would have gone off from their Confessions as easily as those did. C H A P. VII. The Witches of Warbois. Adv. LET us return home again to Facts amongst our selves. The Witches of Warbois are well known; Three of them, Old Samuel and his Wife, and Agnes Samuel, their Daughter, were condemned at Huntington, by Mr. Justice Fenner, April the 4th 1593. for be-witching (as was suppos'd) five of Mr. Throgmorton's Children, seven Servants, the Lady Cromwell, and the Goaler's Man, and c. The Father and Daughter indeed maintained their Innocence to the last; but the old Woman confess'd, as appears by the Narrative printed the fame Year. That which makes this Execution more remarkable is, That Sir Samuel Cromwell, Husband of the aforesaid Lady Cromwell, having the Goods of these People, to the Value of Forty Pounds escheated to him as Lord of the Manor, gave the said Forty Pounds to the May or and Aldermen of Huntington, for a Rent-Charge of Forty Shillings Yearly, to be paid out of their Town-Lands, for an Annual Lecture upon the Subject of Witchcraft, to be preached at
Page 160 their Town every Lady-Day, by a Doctor or Batchelor of Divinity, of Queen's College in Cambridge. This Lecture is continued to this Day; and I desire to know what you have to say against that Fact. Clerg. I make no question but that Learned Body hath taken Care to have that Lecture preached by such grave, judicious Persons, as would teach the People safe Notions about Witchcraft, and discourage them from imitating any thing that was amiss in that Prosecution. And as for the Donation, there is no doubt but that Superstition makes as large Offerings as true Religion; and that many Gifts have been given to support the Credit of doubtful Actions: And therefore I will pass over the Lecture, and consider the Fact. And, I. It ought to observed, that this Prosecution was not grounded upon any previous Acts of Sorcery, that these People had been taken in; but upon Experiments and Charms, which the Prosecutors compelled them to use, and tried upon them. Then the beginning of it is such as makes the whole Thing very deservedly suspected. One of the Daughters had Fits, and was ill; but there were no Signs or Thoughts of Witchcraft, till this old Mother Samuel living near them, came in to see her, and sat in the Chimney-Corner with a black knit Cap on her Head; and when the Child in her Fit saw her, she said, she look'd like an old Witch, and from that Time took a Fancy that she had bewitch'd her. After that the other
Page 161 Children had the same Fears and Fancies, and Fits like hers; and nothing is more common than for Children to take such Frights from one another. After this, the Lady Cromwell, to whose Husband these Samuels were Tenants, came to Mr. Throgmorton's House. She sent for the old Woman, and call'd her Witch, and abused her, and pulled off her Kercher, and cut off some of her Hair, and gave it to Mrs. Throgmorton to burn for a Charm. At Night this Lady, as was very likely she would after such an ill Days Work, dreamt of Mother Samuel and a Cat, and fell into Fits; and about a Year and a quarter after died. And if her Death was really occasioned by the Fits that began then, I can only count it a just Consequence of her own Sin, and Folly, and Superstition. It is said in that Narrative, that there were nine Spirits that belong'd to these People, and called Mother Samuel their old Dame. Two of their Names I have forgot, but the other seven were, Pluck, Hardname, Catch, three Smac's that were Cousins, and Blew. The Children seemed to talk with these Spirits in their Fits. The Standers by neither saw any Shape, nor heard any Voice, but only understood what the Spirits said by the Children's Answers, and by what the Children told them afterward. I will give you a Specimen of one, which you may find in the Narrative, Page 64. The Dialogue was between one of the Smac's, and Mrs. Joan, the eldest Daughter of Mr. Throgmorton,
Page 162 about the Age of sixteen or seventeen Years; and, as the Thoughts of young Women about that Age, run upon Love and Courtship, she thought Smac was in Love with her, and sought to win her Favour, and taught her Charms, and fought for her, and promised to bring his Old Dame either to Confession or Confusion. But see the Dialogue it self, as it is printed in the Narrative. From whence come you, Mr. Smac, and what News do you bring? The Spirit answered, that he came from Fighting. From Fighting, said she, with whom I pray you? The Spirit answered, with Pluck. Where did you fight, I pray, said she? The Spirit answered, In his old Dame's Bakehouse, which is an old House standing in Mother Samuel's Yard, and they fought with great Cowlstaves this last Night. And who got the Mastery, I pray you, said she? He answered, That he broke Pluck's Head. Said she, I would that he had broke your Neck also. Saith the Spirit, Is that all the Thanks that I shall have for my Labour? Why, saith she, do you look for Thanks at my Hand? I would you were all hanged up one against another, and Dame and all, for you are all naught; but it is no matter, said she, I do not well to curse you, for God, I trust, will defend me from you all. So he departed, and bad her Farewell. Soon after she sees Pluck come in with his Head hanging down, and he told her again of
Page 163 the Battel, and how his Head was broke. When he was gone, Catch, she said, came in limping with a broken Leg. And after him Blew brought his Arm in a String; but they threatened, that when they should be well, they would join together, and be revenged of Smac. Next Time that Smac came, she told him of their Design; but he set them at light. He bragged, that he could beat two of them himself; and his Cousin Smac would be of his Side. See these latter Dialogues at large, Page 65, 66. And I think I may venture to say, that this is as ridiculous as any of the Popish Legends. But when Courts of Justice will give Ear to the Visions of sickly Girls, they must expect such Trash. Adv. But the old Woman confess'd. Clerg. She did so; but I pray take notice how her Confession was drawn from her. For about two Years after the first Accusation, she maintain'd her Innocence stoutly, and said, they were wanton Children. But by long ill usage, her Husband on one side swearing at and beating her, and on the other side Mr. Throgmorton, and the Children scratching, and trying unfair Tricks, and keeping her from her own Home, amongst his Children, (for contrary to all other Cases, her Presence was their Preservative) I reckon her Health was so impair'd, that one Night she was vapour'd to that degree, that they thought the Devil was in her. Then observe how very foully they drew her Confession from her, Page 44. The Children with Tears begg'd, that she would confess, They
Page 164 said they should be well, if she confessed, and they would forgive her from the Bottom of their Hearts; and besides that, they would in treat their Friends and their Parents, so much as in them lay, clearly to forgive and forget all that was past-----Still this would not do. She would not confess, she said, what was not true. But Mr. Throgmorton prevailed with her to charge the Spirit in the Name of God, that they might have no more Fits. She yielded to that, and then the Children would grow well. This surpriz'd the poor Woman, and, very likely, made her believe that all had really proceeded from her ill Tongue; and having been told so often, that if she would but confess, all would be well, and they forgive her, she cried and confessed; but in a Day or two she denied all again. Then Mr. Throgmorton was angry, and threatned to carry her before the Bishop to Bugden. And upon Condition that she might not be carried thither, she promised to confess again, provided it might be to Mr. Throgmorton alone; but he secretly placed People under the Window to hear what she said; and by this Threatening, Promise, and Contrivance, he gained a second Confession. About this Time, the Spirits, as they said, taught them, but, in Truth, their own Folly led them to use a Charm to try them by; and tho' it was a desperate Snare to their own Lives, Mr. Throgmorton had that Power, that they made the poor Woman say it a hundred Times over, I charge thee, thou Devil, as I love
Page 165 thee, and have Authority over thee, and am a Witch, and guilty of this Matter, that thou suffer this Child to be well at present. Upon the saying this, the Children would come out of their Fits; but this ought to have been of no Moment against the Persons; for the Writer of the Narrative owns, that the Children would come out of their Fits at many other silly Experiments; as carrying them abroad, or into the Church-yard, or even turning their Faces one way rather than another. In Probability they could either put themselves into their Fits, or come out when they would. And therefore it is observable, that, when any Times were set, that they should be free from their Fits till that Day, it was excepted, unless Strangers came. And if any Strangers did happen to come, then they never failed to have them. I think it appears sufficiently plain by that, both that the Children could manage their own Fits, and also took great Pleasure in making Strangers wonder. Then this Matter happened very unfortunately to be tried before a Judge that was not experienced in these Matters. See but this one Passage at the Tryal of the old Man. He had made no Confession, but declare his Innocence, and yet the Judge told him--"That if he would not speak the Words of the Charm, the Court would hold him guilty of the Crimes he was accus'd of; and so at length, with much ado, the said Samuel with a loud Voice said in the hearing of all present,--As I am a Witch, and did consent to the Death of the Lady
Page 166 Cromwell, so I charge thee, Devil, to suffer Mrs. Jane to come out of her Fits at this present.-----Upon this she came out of her Fit. Then the Judge said, You see all, she is now well, but not by the Musick of David's Harp, and c." Upon these and such like Evidences they were all three condemned. The old Woman, in hope to prevent Execution, pleaded, that she was with Child. At that the Court burst into a Laughter, for she was near Fourscore; and the ridiculous old Woman laugh as fast as they, so careless was she grown of her Life. The Daughter seems to have been a young Woman of more than usual Virtue. The greatest Matter that they could say against her, that, I remember, was, that when they first came to apprehend her, she hid her self: And it was no wonder that she was unwilling to come into their Hands, when she knew by what Ways they had inveigled her Mother to Confession. But they pulled her out of her hiding Place, and made her say the same Charms as her Mother had said before; but notwithstanding the Children's coming out of their Fits at her saying of it, she stoutly maintained her Innocence from first to last; and at the Time of her Tryal she shew'd a Piece of Virtue and Courage that many others would not; for some that stood by her, pitying her hard Case, perswaded her to plead that she was with Child: But she said, No, she never would do it; for it should never be said she was both a Witch and a Whore. The old
Page 167 Woman also clear'd her, and said what she could to have saved her, but they could neglect that Part of her Evidence as the Words of a lying, brainsick old Woman. And it seems to me, that from the Time that they in tangled her with their Charms, and made her believe the Spirits obeyed her Words, she was not of a sound Mind; and one Night, about that Time, she was overcome with Vapors and frightful Dreams, that it was thought that she had as much of the Devil in her as the Children: And which was a manifest Sign of Vapors, her Belly was hussed up as big as a little Loaf. The Author of the Narrative indeed supposes, that it was then that the Devil got her with Child: But I think it is beyond Question, both that he was a weak credulous Man for supposing such a Thing, and that she was really oppressed with Vapors; for the swelling and moving of the Belly is one of the most constant Signs of them. And therefore, I do not doubt, but I may close this Case with the Judgment of Dr. Harsnet, afterwards Archbishop of York, who enquired narrowly into Cases of this Nature, and wrote while the Thing was fresh, and he calls the Narrative of these Witches of Warbois, a ridiculous Book, and the Witchcraft only supposed. See the 93d Page of his Detection of the fraudulent Practices of Mr. Darrel. Speaking in that of Somers the famous Counterfeit, that Mr. Darrel was thought to have dispossess'd, he saith, "Moreover he had heard and read some Part of a very ridiculous Book, concerning
Page 168 one Mr. Throgmorton's Children, (supposed to have been bewitched by a Woman of Warbois,) whereby he saith, that he, i. e. Somers, confessed, that he learned some new Points, and was not ignorant, as fit Occasion served, to ascribe what he list to Witches." And the narrative of this Case also is reprinted at large in the fore-mentioned complete History of Witchcraft, and c. And as our common People are of themselves too forward in receiving such superstitious Notions, tho' they tend directly to the shedding Blood, I hope all good Men will agree with me, in thinking, that the more Infection is scattered abroad amongst the People by ill Authors, and covetous Booksellers, the more need is there of proper Assistances to help weak Minds, in judging of such dark, yet strong and bloody Delusions. C H A P. VIII. The Tryal before my Lord Chief Baron HALE. Jur. PRAY let me put one Case more to you, it is that of Amy Duny and Rose Cullender, try'd and condemned by our late excellent Lord Chief Baron Hale. That one Case weighs more with me than all the rest. If you can give a fair Answer to that, it will make me wonderfully cautious in this Matter.
Page 169 Clerg. I have as true an Honour and Reverence for that great and good Man as you have; but we must not so far forget the common Frailty of our humane Nature, as to think it strange for a great Man to be once mistaken. And since an Account of the Tryal of those two poor Women was printed in his Lordship's Life-time, for an Appeal to the World, I will take the Liberty to make some Remarks upon it. In the first Place, it seems to me, that there are several Signs of a great Zeal and Eagerness in the Prosecutors. They laid thirteen several Indictments against them. By that means they gave in Evidence of Things that had been said and done long before, at distant Times and Places; and when they were laid together they supported one another, and made a greater Appearance of Guilt than they had at the several Times when they were done. Notwithstanding this, consider how very few Things they could prove that were real Facts of the supposed Witch's doing. One single Witness, Dorothy Durent, confessed of her self that which was a more criminal Act of Sorcery than all that they could prove against the accused Parties. For of Facts, of their doing, I see little besides giving a Child an empty Breast seven Years before to quiet it, and giving another a little Water, which is usually done in Vapors; and by a Construction that seems very unaccountable, they would make those innocent Actions to be employing of Spirits, and working by the Devil; but the said Dorothy Durent, having
Page 170 been with a Witch-Doctor, acknowledges upon Oath, that by his Advice she hang'd up her Child's Blanket in the Chimney, found a Toad in it at Night, had put it into the Fire, and held it there tho' it made a great and horrible Noise, and flash'd like Gunpowder, and went off like a Pistol, and then became invisible, and that by this the Prisoner was scorched and burned lamentably. Now, I own I do not believe this Witness; for she must be a silly loose Woman, or she would not have gone to the Witch-Doctor. Then her Testimony is not rational: She saith, she believed her a Witch, and yet left her Child to be tended by her. She makes the Prisoner's giving the Child her empty Breast, to be both an usual Way to quiet a Child, and yet to be also an Act of Witchcraft. She saith the Prisoner was very much scorched and burnt with Fire; and yet no Scars or Signs of burning were shewn, tho' Fire Scars, where real, do not soon wear out; and therefore I believe she was a lying old Woman. But suppose it literally true as she saith, and what follows? Why the only sure Conclusion is, that she charged her self with real Sorcery in all its several Steps and Gradations. She first departed from God by forsaking his Way of Prayer and natural Means, and leaving the Event to his Providence. She employed the Devil by the Use of a Charm, which she knew could have no Effect without the Devil's Help. After she found a Toad in the Child's Blanket, which could not get into it in the Chimney but by the same
Page 171 Power, as Witches use to roast the Representation of the Party to be afflicted, so she burnt the Toad, and if there be any Truth in her Words, afflicted this Rose Cullender the Prisoner by that Act of hers. And what Judgment can be made of this Matter? Why first, take it in the hardest Sense against the Prisoner, and imagine, that by some prior Acts of Sorcery she had made her self subject to this Power of the Devil, yet both are guilty within the Statute, and are but two Witches trying to persecute one another. Olaus Magnus, and the Jesuit Delrio, and Shefferius, and others that are deep in the Belief of these dark Notions, give us Relations of eminent Magicians that had great Contests with one another, and used Charm against Charm, and Spirit against Spirit, till the less potent Conjurer was subdued or killed by the more powerful. And therefore, if we suppose Sorcery in this Case before us, we have but Witch against Witch, both employing Spirits, and therefore both to be punish'd; for the Law is not partial, but punishes all equal Facts where-ever it finds them. Our Statute forbids all Manner of Use and Exercise of any Sorcery or Charm for employing Spirits, and punishes the guilty Person with Death if they do Harm to Man or Beast, and with Imprisonment and Pillory, tho' their Charms have no effect. And therefore as upon this first Supposition they both stand Guilty, they are both in Danger, according as they shall meet with Judges and Juries that will be partial or impartial in the Execution of that Statute.
Page 172 But this is the hardest Sense that can be put upon the Prisoner's Case, and the true State of it is much better on her Side. For here are Charms and Sorcery on one hand, and nothing on the other. For this Rose Cullender, at the Time when this Sorcery was used against her, was unconvicted, unaccused, under the Protection of the Law, and, I doubt not, was an innocent Woman: For her being afflicted by this Witness's Sorcery, was no Proof of her Guilt, even tho' the Fact was true; for we have a Thousand Stories which teach us, that innocent Persons may be afflicted, even sucking Children in their Mother's Arms. Jur. If your way of arguing be right, our common Practice hath been sadly wrong and partial; for a great many People make such like Things their usual Trade; and I believe there are few Discoveries without it. But do you think your Argument will abide the Test: For this Witness did not hang up the Blanket in the Chimney with design to make her self a Witch, but only to discover one that she suspected. Clerg. But how, and by whom, and by what did she try to make the Discovery? She tried to discover by a Charm and Sorcery; for the Blanket in the Chimney was not a common Act, but designed for a Spell or Call to a Spirit: And therefore she tried to discover the Witch, by employing the Devil to afflict another, and by that to let her know whether that other was a Witch. And is not this a hopeful Evidence, and fit to be laid before a Christian Court of Justice? Had
Page 173 this wife Witness another Charm to cure the Devil of his double Dealings, and hold him so fast by the Ears, that he should only have Power to burn Rose Cullender, but not to deceive her self by any juggling Delusion? This doth not appear very evident. But as it is plain, that she used a Charm and Sorcery, and tried to employ a Spirit; it is as plain, that at least she should have been set in the Pillory, as part of the Punishment that the Act of Parliament appoints for those evil Practices. If this just Construction of the Statute had been turned upon this first Witness, I doubt not but it would have made the rest more careful in their following Testimonies; but as the Tryal went forward, I shall take Leave to proceed in its Examination. Mr. Pacy, the next Witness, depos'd, That Amy Duny; and Edmund Durent depos'd, That Rose Cullender came to their Houses to have bought Herrings; and being denied, they went away discontented and murmuring. And had they not very just Reason to find fault, when they whose Employment it was to sell such Things, denied them Meat for their Money? For if others should be so distrustful of God, and unjust, and superstitious, they must of Necessity have perished for want of Food. And if it be really true, that the Devil gets an Advantage at such a Time to do Mischief to their Children or Cattle, I ask you, or any Man to tell me, how that proves Witchcraft in the Person suspected? It hath a great Appearance of a Divine
Page 174 Providence and Permission, justly punishing ill Usage of the Poor, and Superstition; but it is no Proof that the poor Women were Witches; for all that they did was, complaining, where they had the highest Reason in the World to find fault. And I may add farther, that if we do allow such a Case to be a sufficient Proof of Witchcraft, unless God interposes by Miracle to prevent it, we give the Devil Opportunity of making any of us suffer as Witches or Wizards, whenever we fall out with our Neighbours; for if he, by the easy Use of his natural Skill, doth an Ill-turn at such a Time, we must be thought guilty of employing him to do it. Adv. Against Amy Duny it is sworn, That she said once, That the Devil would not let her rest till she were revenged on Cornelius Sandwell's Wife. Clerg. This I reckon a Saying misunderstood, and perverted. For what had she done, or what did she ever do against that Woman? She had told her, That if she did not fetch home her Geese, they would be destroyed; and in a few Days it proved so. Then being a Tenant to her Husband, she told him, (as this Woman saith) That if he did not take Care of such a Chimney in her House, it would fall; and he took no Care, and it did fall, though a new one. And they went seven or eight Years backward for such trifling Stories, that were nothing but good Advice, of which they would make very wicked Use. Then this same zealous Woman
Page 175 added, That a Brother of hers had sent her a Firkin of Fish for a Present; but when she went to fetch it, the Seamen told her, That they believed the Devil was in it; for it leap'd into the Sea, and was gone. This I count to be only a Banter of the Seamen; and since none of the Seamen that had seen it, were there to give it upon Oath, but only this silly Woman swore that they told her so; I doubt not but they had eaten her Fish, and then laughed at her for being contented with such an Answer. Carriers would have a fine Time, if others would be satisfied as easily; but in Testimonies against Witches there is nothing too trifling. Then pray observe John Soam's Evidence, and learn by that, whether I have spoken this last Word without Reason. He deposed, That he had three Carts to carry Corn. One of them wrenched Amy Duny's House, upon which she came out in a Rage, and threatened. He doth not tell what terrible Words she used; and therefore we may believe, he called Scolding Threatning; and being she had a real Damage, Scolding could be no mighty Fault in her. But he says, that Cart was overturned twice or thrice that Day. And I ask, Is it not likely there was either a jadish Horse, or a silly Driver that belong'd to that Cart? For before the poor Woman had spoken to them, that Cart could not keep the Road, but ran against her House. And without any Witchcraft, might not the same jadish Horse or bad Driver make it go wrong afterward as well as before? But this Witness
Page 176 adds, that Cart was set fast in a Gate-head, though it did not touch the Posts, that they could perceive. But if it did not touch the Posts, What made them cut the Post down? Will cutting down a Post that is not touch'd, dissolve a Charm? But they make themselves ridiculous, that they might lay Blame upon the poor Woman. Then farther, this same Witness swears, That at the last Load at Night, the Men were weary, and could not unload that Cart. But in a Case of Blood, would this bold Man venture to take his Oath, That after the Harvest Labor of a long Summer's Day, Men could not be weary without Witchcraft? Or, might they not say they were more weary than they were, because they had a mind to leave off, perhaps, for some other Reason that he knew not of? And if a Man's Nose bleed in the Harvest, might not Heat and Labour cause that without a Devil? And that this Cart was not bewitched, they might more rationally have concluded from this, That the next Morning, when the Men had a Mind to it, that Cart was unloaded as easily as the other. Adv. Is it not plain, that Amy Duny foretold the Children's Fits, with that odd Circumstance, that their Mouths should be so clos'd, that they should take their Breath through Taps? Could she have foreseen the very Circumstance of Taps, if the Devil had not been her Informer? Clerg. By that one Particular, you may see so much wrong and imprudent Management of
Page 177 the Children, as may justly incline you to give the less Credit to all the rest. And, first, Hear the Words of this poor Woman. She was set in the Stocks by Mr. Pacy, though the Stocks is not the legal Punishment for Witchcraft. There the People came about her, and ask her the Reason of the Children Illness, and charge her with it. She reply'd, Mr. Pacy keeps a great Stir about his Child; but let him stay until he hath done as much by his Children, as I have done by mine. Now take this without wresting her Words, and the Meaning must needs be: Why should Mr. Pacy make such a Wonder at his Child having Fits? My own Child hath been a great deal worse, and yet no Body thought mine bewitched, much less that I bewitched it. Then they asked, How her Child had been? And she answered, That she had been fain to open her Child's Mouth with a Tap to give it Victuals. And the natural Consequence is, That if Mr. Pacy's should be as ill, he would have no more Reason to think it bewitched, than she had to think that hers was. Consider, Mr. Advocate, Whether any other Sense can fairly be put upon her Words, that were perverted into a Threatening. Adv. But in two Days one of the Children had such a Fit, that a Tap was actually put into the Mouth, that they might give her Breath to preserve Life; and soon after the other also. Clerg. But who put those Taps into their Mouths? Did any invisible Agents, in a supernatural Way? Did Amy Duny's Imp stick them
Page 178 in, when no Body else touch'd them? No, the People themselves put them in; and did it when they had no manner of need. For if their Mouths had been as fast closed as they would have us imagine, Breath through their Nostrils would have kept them from any harm. Or if they would needs have them breathe through their Mouths, Why did they do it by Taps, rather than by any thing else? Why not by a Quill, a Pipe, or any thing else that would have given Breath enough in a Fit, when, perhaps, very little Breath is wanted. Had the Devil laid all Things out of the way save Taps? If not, what made them voluntarily chose to lay the Children in such a ridiculous Posture, with Taps sticking out of their Mouths, when they might either have put in any thing else, or have left them without any thing as safely? It seems very plain to me, That as before they had perverted the poor Woman's Words, they did this to make an Appearance of fulfilling them. And when silly People saw two sick Children lie with Taps in their Mouths, they thought that was such a Miracle as plainly proved the Witchcraft, tho' the Taps were only put into the Children's Mouths by their own selves, when there was no Occasion for doing it. Adv. They might the more easily give Credit to Things that were sworn out of Court, because they saw so much in Court before them. For in open Court my Lord Chief Baron had one of Mr. Pacy's Daughters hood-winked, and tried by one of the supposed Witches, and the Child
Page 179 slew into a Rage at the Touch, tho' her Face was covered. Clerg. I would answer this with all due Respect and Submission; but I think I have fully proved, that this is not a lawful Tryal; for if there be a Devil in the Case, it is a giving him Opportunity to perform his known Work of false Accusation; or at least, it is a making use of his Testimony. But at this Time the Experiment sell out so as to clear the Prisoners; for when my Lord Chief Baron desired the Lord Cornwallis, Sir Edmund Bacon, and Mr. Serjeant Keeling, to try that Experiment in another Place, the Girl flew into the same Rage at the Touch of another Person: And therefore those Gentlemen came in and declar'd, that they believ'd it a mere Imposture. One would have thought that should have put an effectual Stop to any farther Proceeding upon such dark Probabilities: And it did for a good while; but at length Mr. Pacy, who should only have been Witness, turn'd Advocate; and said in more Words, but to this Purpose: That it was possible that the Afflicted might be deceiv'd, if they tried them with a wrong Person; for he had observ'd, that they had their Understanding. And of all Things, I wonder how this happen'd to satisfy the Court; for it certainly makes against the Supposition of Witchcraft: For if they had their Understanding in their Fits, it was the more likely, that what they did was their own Act, and proceeded not from the Devil, who would not have been imposed upon by a false Person,
Page 180 but from their own Fears, and Fancies, or Designs. Adv. Sir Thomas Brown of Norwich, the famous Physician of his Time, was in Court, and was desired by my Lord Chief Baron to give his Judgment in the Case: And he declared, That he was clearly of Opinion, that the Fits were natural, but heigten'd by the Devil, cooperating with the Malice of the Witches, at whose Instance he did the Villanies. And he added, That in Denmark there had been lately a great Discovery of Witches, who used the very same way of afflicting Persons, by conveying Pins into them. Cler. This Declaration of Sir Thomas Brown's, could not but much influence the Jury; and I count it turned back the Scale, that was otherwise inclining to the Favour of the accused Persons. And with Submission, I think it should not have been said: For this was a Case of Blood, and surely the King's Subjects ought not to lose their Lives upon the Credit of Books from Denmark. Besides, this was an Indictment upon a Crime, concerning which it is a very hard Question, Whether ever any one single Person was guilty of it, as it stood there charg'd. There were as many probable Signs of it in this Case, as had ever been in any; the Witnesses, the afflicted Parties, the suppos'd Witches, and very much of the Fact, were all before them. The Eyes of all curious Persons were upon this famous Court, in hope of a Decision that might have put the Matter beyond Controversy; but
Page 181 instead of this, we meet with a vehement Prosecution, and a perplexed Case. Some declare their Opinions one way, and some another. The Judge puts it off from himself as much as he can, and desires Sir Thomas Brown's Opinion; which very Request supposes much Difficulty and Uncertainty. Sir Thomas decides the Case, not with the Addition of any Argument, but with the Authority of some Books from Denmark. Now this leaves us as far from Satisfaction as we were; for those Books from Denmark cannot be a sufficient Warrant for so great a Judgment. Perhaps these Tryals in Denmark were in a superstitious Time, and before a Judge that had not been used to those Cases. Perhaps afterward, when they had Time to consider what they had done, they might be as much concerned as they were for such Mistakes in New-England. And if those Danish Witches were the Four that were burnt at Koge two Years before that Time, I must add, that the Case hath been answered since by Bekker; and tho' all the Notions in his Books are far from being right, yet as far as I can judge by his Abridgment of that Case, it seems to have been a very rash Prosecution, and an injudicious Sentence. Adv. But what did my Lord Chief Baron add beside his desire to Sir Thomas Brown to give his Judgment? And how came he to be satisfy'd so far as to condemn them? Clerg. There was the Spectre Evidence, and Pins, and Nails; and if the Witnesses spake
Page 182 Truth, there was a Diabolical Interposition in some of the Facts; and this makes such an Appearance of fixing the Guilt upon the Persons accus'd, as few have seen thorough it, till they have had much Experience of its Mischief; and seldom till they have found those kind of Proofs used against their own Relations, or Persons of the better Rank, whom they knew to be Innocent. This made that great and good Man doubtful; but he was in such Fears, and proceeded with such Caution, that he would not so much as sum up the Evidence, but left it to the Jury, with Prayers, That the great God of Heaven would direct their Hearts in that weighty Matter. But Country People are wonderfully bent to make the most of all Stories of Witchcraft; and having Sir Thomas Brown's Declaration about Denmark for their Encouragement, in half an Hour they brought them in Guilty upon all the Thirteen several Indictments. After this my Lord Chief Baron gave the Law its Course, and they were condemn'd, and died, declaring their Innocence. And for my part, I cannot but believe their dying Words, and the strong Arguments of their Side, rather than the Presumptions and conjectural Proofs that there were against them. I am much of the same Mind with the Gentlemen and Serjeant Keeling, who was afterward Lord Chief Justice, and whose Judgment I cannot count inferior to Sir Thomas Brown's; and with the Alteration of a Word or two, I will conclude this Case with his Opinion,
Page 183 which he declared plainly in open Court. Said he, Admitting that the Children were in Truth bewitch'd, (I would rather say, Admitting that there was an Interposition of invisible Agents) Yet it could never be applied to the Prisoners, upon the Imagination only of the Parties afflicted: For if that might be allow'd, no Person what soever could be in Safety; for, perhaps, they might fancy another Person, who might be altogether innocent in such Matters. Adv. After this Answer to the Depositions, upon which she was convicted, perhaps you will think it hard that I should add any following Arguments; for if the foregoing do not justify the Verdict, Facts which came after may be thought less proper; but immediately after the accused Parties were found guilty, the three Children of Mr. Pacy were perfectly well of their Fits, and were restored to their Speech; and Dorothy Durent, who had gone three Years upon Crutches, was restored to the Use of her Limbs, laid her Crutches aside, and went home without them; and as at that Time this satisfy'd many that both Proceedings and Verdict had been just, Why may we not now make the same Conclusion? Clerg. In Reply to this, I ask you, if it be really true that the Judgment of Law and Authority hath this supernatural Effect in this Case above all others, what was the Reason why the Effect was partial, and cured only some of the Afflicted, but not others? Why did Susan Chandler
Page 184 still look very thin and wan, and feel a Pricking like Pins in her Stomach? I ask you besides, Whether this Recovery of Persons after the Witches Conviction, shall be laid down as a Test that hath such Constancy in it, that you will abide by it in other Cases? I shall be glad to find one Maxim that you will keep to; for I intimated before, That one great Objection which I had against the common Scheme of vulgar Witchcraft, was, because I could meet with no Rules of Probation that were scriptural, or rational, or natural, and steady; but I found all Things incoherent, confused, and in different Places, and under different Religions and Laws, perfectly contrary, and contradicting one another: But if you will lay this down as a surer and truer Test; I ask you, Whether you will abide by it; and if I allow you, that the afflicted Person's Recovery after Condemnation shall be taken for a fair Proof of the Guilt of the accused; Will you on the other hand allow, that their continuing to be afflicted shall be taken as a Proof of their Innocence? Will you clear, as well as condemn by this Maxim? Adv. No; I doubt the Effects are not so regular and constant as to allow of that. Clerg. And will you call that a fair Test, which will only hang when it hits, and not save when it misses? That is as hard upon the poor Creatures; as Cross, I win; Pyle, you lose: And yet that is the Measure that they have met to them. In this Tryal, Amy Duny and Rose Cullender were hanged, because some of
Page 185 the Persons recover'd. Jane Wenham's Prosecutors in Hertfordshire would have had her hang'd, because both the afflicted Parties continued in a miserable Case, and even after Condemnation of the supposed Witch, were pursued by Cats with Faces in her Likeness. At Mohra in Sweden, the more Witches they hang'd, the more they had; and the Case was the same here in Suffolk in the Year 1644, 1645. In New-England the Afflicted would seem cured at the very Moment that the Magistrates had commanded the suppos'd Witches to be put in Chains; and yet their Pains and Fits never failed to return as often as they wanted them to carry on the Process, or accuse new Persons. When a Jury at Salem, upon the 30th of June 1692, brought in their Verdict, That Rebecca Nurse was not Guilty, immediately all the Accusers made a hideous Outcry, as if they were undone, and Wrong done to them: And yet when that poor Woman was hang'd, by reason of the Juries regarding their Outcry, and changing their Verdict, those afflicted Accusers continued to have their Fits, and caused above twenty more to be condemn'd after this Rebecca Nurse. See the Case in New-England, in Mr. Calef. And here at Bury, if the Accusers had any more Work to do, I doubt not but their Fits would have been with them whenever their own Minds and Imaginations thought them wanted. Not Pins and Nails it may be; those Symptoms never happen'd in Court, or in Bury, but in other private Corners in the Country; but Fits and
Page 186 Crutches would have returned, if they had been needful. But in this strange Place, so far from home, they had no more old Women to accuse, or be afraid of: Besides, they had found their victory very hard to be gain'd, and knew many worthy Gentlemen even then declar'd, that they believ'd them Impostors: And therefore they had had enough; and as their seeming to be well, prevented all farther Experiments, and secur'd their Victory, they turn'd their Minds, and exerted their Powers that way; and Dorothy Durent made shift to lay aside her Crutches, and walk without them: And I doubt not but she could have laid them aside sooner if she had thought fit; for as she was a loose Woman, and began this Tragedy, by her pretending to go to the Devil to cure her Child, she was the leading Witness in it; and I have a strong Suspicion, that by this and her Crutches, she liv'd at Ease, and found Maintenance and Favour. If I am mistaken in this Conjecture; and if it be true, that these People did not slander the Devil, but that the whole Tragedy was a Plot of his acting, it doth not make the Judgment against the Prisoners more sure to be right; for his afflicting, or not afflicting, must be Tests as deceitful as the Father of Lies can make them. See Mr. Mather's Experiments betwixt our Common-Prayer-Book and his Grandfather's Milk for Babes, in the Case of New-England, Chap. 5.
Page 187 C H A P. IX. RICHARD DUGDALE: Or, The Im- postor at Surrey in Lancashire. Adv. WHAT do you say to the Surrey Dæmoniac, which the Author of The Complete History of Witchcraft hath printed the last in his Second Volume, with above twenty Depositions, before two Justices of Peace, taken in the Year 1695? Clerg. Why take this Case as this scandalous Author leaves it, with telling only one side, yet there is enough to shew the Wisdom of our Canon, and make us have a Care of being too forward in trying to cast out Devils. But this Case was well answered by Mr. Zach. Taylor, Minister of Wigan; and if this Author had been honest, and added the Discoveries that Mr. Taylor made, the Knavery of the Dæmoniac would have been plain. And as this Piece of History hath been famous with Narrative, and Answer, and Reply, and Rejoinder and Refutation; I will lay it briefly before you. And we may consider it first in that View, which, tho' tried to be hid, yet is visible, even in this Author. Here is a young Man, about twenty Years old, is said to have given his Soul to the Devil, that he might be the best Dancer in Lancashire; but instead of dancing in the way he hop'd to
Page 188 have done, he seems to be possess'd. He stands upon his Head, dances upon his Knees, an runs on all Four like a Dog, and barks. he seems sometimes extreme heavy, and at other Times light; hath a Swelling run from the Calf of his Leg up to his Neck; he talks Shreds of Latin, ran into the Water, and told Things at a Distance, and was thought to be possess'd with a merry, ludicrous Spirit. His Father finding that the Clergy of our Church were not forward to believe him possessed, or to meddle in the Case, applied himself to the Presbyterians; and their Ministers, with some Reproaches of ours, for being like the uncharitable Priest and Levite in the Gospel, would act the Part of the good Samaritan, and appointed Days of Fasting and Prayer for the young Man's Help, and continued them Weekly for a Year. Five or fix of their Ministers were there at a Time, and all the Country flock'd in to see and hear them. At first they admired them; but after some Time, they began to make themselves merry with them, and both the Parents and young Man assronted them, and told them they did him no Good. The Ministers fell off by degrees, till there was but one that would come; and at last, at the end of the Year, that one lest off also. And as they could not forbear making some Excuse to cover the Shame of their Disappointment, they made the most disingenuous and silly one that could be. They gave it out, That they believed the Family of these Dugdale's to be Witches, and in Contract
Page 189 with the Devil; and that that had been the Cause why they had not been able to help them. They procur'd some of them to be search'd, that they might see if they had not Teats, or the Devil's Marks, and they tried them by the Experiment of saying the Lord's Prayer. And if their Insinuations would have done it, they had set the Rabble upon them, and made them undergo the rest of their barbarous Tryals. And let any one now consider what these Dugdales got by going to these Nonconformists for their Assistance? They applied themselves to them out of Respect, believing them to be powerful in such Cases; and after the failing of the Experiment, they are slandered themselves as Witches, and search'd, and put under ungodly Tryals. And who after this will either believe that this was a true Possession, or that Presbyterians are fitter than others to be sought to for their Help in such Cases. Adv. But if this was the Conclusion of their Meetings, How come the Dissenters now to claim the Honour of the Cure? For these Depositions, which the Author of The Compleat History of Witchcraft, and c. hath reprinted, are to prove both the Reality of the Possession, and the Success of their Prayers. But how could they pretend to that, if their public Meetings ended as you say? Clerg. Why that is a Difficulty that would have been hard to have been got over by us; but it seems it did not prove hard to them; for the Case as it followed, as I find by their other Books, was thus.
Page 190 The pretended Dæmoniac had some few Fits of his Distemper after they left him. Of his Prophesying, or telling Things at a Distance, and c. I find nothing; but Fits he had; and some honest Gentlemen of the Church of England gave him some Money in Charity, that he might go to some sober Physician, and he went to one Dr. Chew, and never had a Fit after his Physick, tho' he had a severe one the Day before. But besides this, the Dissenters say, That privately they had continued to fast and pray for him; and five Years after, they gathered up the Depositions that this Author hath now reprinted, and pretend that their private Prayers cured the Man. And if they have Confidence to defend this in Print, and their Admirers will believe them, who can hinder their Folly? This lies visible to be seen from the Story, even as the Dissenters themselves printed, and this unfair Author reprinted it: But Mr. Taylor, in his Surrey Imposture, and Defences of it, shews plainly the Dæmoniac's Knavery, and their Unfairness in gathering their Depositions. He shews by other Depositions, that the Boy was given to such Tricks when he was at School. He discover'd, that his Sister whispered to him at a Hole in the Barn, where he used to pretend that he talked with a Spirit. And what more likely? For if the Spirit was within him, What occasion had he to go so often to that Hole to whisper? Besides he discovered plainly, that some Popish Priests had the secret Management of him; and that the Dæmoniac, in his Fits, nam'd
Page 191 three that would be likely to cure him. Insomuch that the Nonconformists themselves are forced to come off with this poor Pretence, "That the Devil had more mind to have let the Popish Priests have had the Credit of casting him out, because his Ends would be better serv'd by Popery than by them." To make their Folly sufficiently evident to sensible Men, I will give you one Sample of the Dialogue these Dissenters held with the supposed Spirit. See Surrey Dæmoniac, Page 33. "What Satan! Is this the Dancing that Richard gave himself to thee for, and c.? Can'st thou Dance no better, and c.? Ransack the old Records of all past Times and Places in thy Memory: Can'st thou not there find out some better way of Trampling? Pump thine Invention dry; Cannot that universal Seed plot of subtile Wiles and Stratagems, spring up one new Method of Cutting Capers? Is this the top of Skill and Pride, to shuffle Feet, and brandish Knees thus, and to trip like a Doe, and skip like a Squirrel? And wherein differs thy Leaping from the Hopping of a Frog, or Bouncing of a Goat, or Frisking of a Dog, or Gesticulations of a Monkey? And cannot a Palsy shake such a loose Leg as that? Dost thou not twirl like a Calf that hath the Turn, and twitch up thy Houghs just like a Springhault Tit?" What wonder was it that the Members of our Church laughed at them, and threatened to prosecute them, and that they grew weary, and left
Page 192 off? But then to gather up incoherent Depositions from credulous People five Years after, and impute the Cure to their Prayers in private, is too gross an Imposition to pass upon any but their own deluded Followers. And to all this I must add, That this Richard Dugdale, the supposed Dæmoniac, upon Examination, declar'd, That he believed he never had any evil Spirit in him. This Author therefore of The Compleat History, and c. pass'd over these Things, tho'they lay plain before him; but what he deserves for poisoning the Minds of Men with false Facts in such a high and tender Point, I leave to the Reader to make a Judgment. C H A P. X. The Case of Jane Wenham in HERT- FOR DSHIRE. Adv. YOU needed not to have been so severe upon the Dissenters in your last Case; for in the famous Tryal of Jane Wenham, of Walkern, in the Year 1712, some of your own Clergy were as deep in these Notions, even as Hopkins himself, that hang'd Witches by Dozens. Clerg. I am sorry I cannot say that the Case is otherwise; but since it is as it is, I hope it will make us learn from it, That it is not the Orthodoxy and Excellency of our Church in general,
Page 193 that will keep the Salt from losing its Savour in Particulars, but Wisdom and good Learning. Papists may trust to Authority, Promises of Infallibility, Succession of Orders without Breach or Interruption; and as they glory in being Catholic Priests, they may fancy they have nothing to do but to take Care to inform themselves rightly how such Doctrines stand at Rome; but in England, if we would keep our selves free from such Superstitions, and have our Lips preserve Knowledge, we must take care to furnish our Minds with sound Knowledge of all sorts, that may help us in making a true Judgment of all Cases that may fall in our way: And as that is a thing of such Variety and Difficulty, as to require a long Life's Labour, I hope such an Accident as this that befell some few Clergymen, that are otherwise Men of Reputation, will encrease our Diligence in our Studies of all Kinds. Adv. I shall forbear their Names, as you did ours; but they either did themselves, or suffered others that were about them, to scratch and tear her Face, and run Pins into her Flesh. They set the Bottle and Urine, and turn'd the Lord's-Prayer into a Charm. Notwithstanding the Experience of New-England, they trusted to the Spectre Evidence. They drave her to such Distraction, that by leading Questions, they drew from her what they call'd a Confession. They had her to Goal: The Witnesses swore to Vomiting Pins, and c. The Jury found her Guilty, the Judge condemn'd her, and those Clergymen wrote a Narrative of the Tryal, which was receiv'd
Page 194 and read with such Pleasure, that in a Month's Time it had a Fourth Edition. Clerg. And yet the Tryal being before a Judge of Learning and Experience, he valu'd not those Tricks and Tryals; and tho' he was forc'd to condemn her, because a silly Jury would find her Guilty, he sav'd her Life. And that she might not afterward be torn to Pieces by an ignorant Town, a sensible Gentleman, who will for ever be in Honour for what he did, Colonel Plummer of Gilston in the same County, took her into his Protection, plac'd her in a little House near his own, where she now lives soberly and inoffensively, and keeps her Church; and the whole Country is now fully convinc'd that she was innocent. I will take leave to add, That as I have had the Curiosity to see the good Woman her self, I have very great Assurance that she is a pious sober Woman. She is so far from being unable to say the Lord's-Prayer, that she would make me hear her say both Lord's-Prayer and Creed, and other very good Prayers besides; and she spake them with an undissembled Devotion, tho' with such little Errors of Expression, as those that cannot read are subject to. I verily believe, that there is no one that reads this, but may think in their own Minds, that such a Storm as she met with, might have fallen upon them, if it had been their Misfortune to have been poor, and to have met with such Accidents as she did, in such a barbarous Parish as she lived in.
Page 195 If any of the Prosecutors think that I express this Case with too much Severity; before they find fault, I desire them to answer these Queries. I put them particularly to those of the Clergy who bore their Part in the Prosecution, and are still living; for the most vehement Writer, who press'd her most severely with his Pen, is gone into the other World before her. 1. What single Fact of Sorcery did this Jane Wenham do? What Charm did she use, or what Act of Witchcraft could you prove upon her? Laws are against evil Actions, that can be prov'd to be of the Person's doing; What single Fact that was against the Statute could you fix upon her? I ask, 2. Did she so much as speak an imprudent Word, or do an immoral Action, that you could put into the Narrative of her Case? When she was denied a few Turnips, she laid them down very submissively. When she was call'd Witch and Bitch, she only took the proper Means for the Vindication of her good Name. When she saw this Storm coming upon her, she lock'd her self in her own House, and tried to keep her self out of your cruel Hands. When her Door was broken open, and you gave way to that barbarous Usage that she met with, she protested her Innocence, fell upon her Knees, and begg'd she might not go to Goal; and in her innocent Simplicity, would have let you swim her; and at her Tryal, she declar'd her self a clear Woman. This was her Behaviour, and what could any of us have done better, excepting
Page 196 in that Case where she comply'd with you too much, and offered to let you swim her. 3. When you used the meanest of Paganish and Popish Superstitions; when you scratched and mangled, and ran Pins into her Flesh, and used that ridiculous Tryal of the Bottle and Urine; Who did you consult? And from whom did you expect your Answers? Who was your Father, and into whose Hands did you put your selves? And if the true Sense of the Statute had been turn'd upon you, Which way would you have defended your selves? 4. Durst you have used her in this manner, if she had been rich; and doth not her Poverty increase, rather than lessen your Guilt in what you did? And therefore, instead of closing your Book with a Liberavimus Animas Nostras, and reflecting upon the Court, I ask you, 5. Whether you have not more Reason to give God Thanks that you met with a wise Judge, and a sensible Gentleman, who kept you from shedding innocent Blood, and reviving the meanest and cruellest of all Superstitions amongst us? That you may see what ill Effect such Notions would have, and what Disgrace they would bring upon our Nation, if they were again to prevail, I will give you an Instance of the Opinion which the Poor Indians in America had of the Independent English in New-England, upon account of their Notions in this Respect. It seems in Saco-Font, the French came after the English; and Captain Hill gave the following
Page 197 Account of what he had heard there. See a Certificate of it in the 25th Page of Mr. Calef's More Wonders of the Invisible World. An Indian told him, That the French Ministers were better than the English; for before the French came among them, there were a great many Witches among the Indians, but now there were none; And there were much Witches among the English Ministers, as Burroughs who was hang'd for it. This Honour and Benefit which the French Nation found so far off as India, I doubt not, was owing to that wife Edict which I mentioned in my Chronological Table 1672, which the French King put out in that Year for regulating their Tryals about Witchcraft, after he had pardoned all the Persons condemned, and ordered a general Goal-Delivery. But that this honest Indian's Judgment, which was occasioned only by the Mis-conduct of New-England, may not reflect upon our Nation in general, I will take leave to add, That I believe our Nation was one of the first that purg'd it self from these deep Superstitions. For as it is always observ'd, that these Notions fly away at the Appearance of Learning and Knowledge; and as our Nation was perhaps the very first in modern Improvements of natural and Experimental Philosophy, so I believe it was one of the first in gaining and spreading true Judgment in this Matter before us. And here I will take leave to repeat some few of my Chronological Facts, by making a little Table of these by themselves.
Page 198 About the Year 1652, the Royal Society for improving the Knowledge of Nature and Art, had its Beginnings at Oxford, in the Chambers of the learned Bishop Wilkins; and in 1658, removed to Gresham-College. In the auspicious Year 1660, when our Religion and Government were happily restor'd, the Royal Society was incorporated, and King Charles II. did it the Honour to be its Head and Patron, and the Principal Nobility were Members of it. 1664. They began to publish their Transactions, which spread useful Knowledge through the Nation. 1665. There was an Execution of Witches, but I count it the last but one that we have had in England. 1666. The French began their Academy of Sciences. 1672. As soon as their Academy, and other Helps of Knowledge, had spread Learning amongst them, the French King's Edict above-mention'd, cleared their Nation. 1682. The famous Society at Leipsic in Saxony was founded for promoting the same Knowledge of Nature; and I doubt not but it hath had as useful an Influence there. And as I take this not only to be a Justification of our Nation from what Dishonour might be fix'd upon us from that Certificate, which I have honestly mention'd, I could wish it might animate all generous Spirits in our Nation, to look upon our Royal Society as one of the Noblest Foundations in Europe, and very salutary to our Country.
Page 199 Since that hath been founded, not only our Witchcraft have been banish'd, but all Arts and Sciences have been greatly improv'd. Our Buildings are much more beautiful and commodious, and yet more cheaply built, and easier kept in Repair. Our Gardens and Orchards are stock'd with new and nobler Fruits, and Fields and Woods with useful Trees. Many of our Lands that were almost useless, are loaded with new kinds of Grass and Roots, by better understanding the Improvement of the Soil. Our Money is more beautiful, and less liable to being impair'd. Physick and Surgery are new moulded and improv'd, for the lengthening out of Life in Ease. The smallest Parts of Bodies are made visible by Glasses, and the farthest Planets are brought near, and their Motions wonderfully accounted for. Navigation is much improved, and Communications of Knowledge settled with the farthest Parts. All Arts are improv'd, God is seen and admir'd in his Works, and the Honour of Religion no ways lessen'd; and yet because Rome is not built in a Day, and every Weekly Meeting doth not produce new Discoveries that make their Hair stand an end with Wonder, ignorant Men, that know not the Difficulty and slow Progress of Knowledge, are ready to make Sport with, and banter away the Improvements of their own Life. But this pleasing Subject is wandering out of my way; and therefore, with good Wishes to the Labors of those generous Persons who apply some part of their spare Hours this way, I
Page 200 this Chapter of Jane Wenham, with only adding, That if any one desires to see more Particulars of her Case, he may read the ingenious Answer which Mr. Stebbing gave to the Books written against her, and there he will find both the Knavery and Folly of Witnesses and Prosecutors, detected to his Satisfaction. C H A P. XI. Concerning Teats, Marks, Charms, Want of Tears, and Swimming Witches. Jurym. LET us pass, I beg of you, to another Point; for there are some Principles and Cases that are the Foundation of the common Prosecutions, and yet have not been particularly spoken to as yet. One of them is the Water Ordeal; and I would be glad to hear what your Thoughts are about that. May we not try a Witch by Swimming. Clerg. You may as well swim all the Books that have been written for or against the Belief of them, and try the Truth of their Doctrines that way; for there is as much Reason and Scripture for that, as there is for the other? Adv. Tho' you make a Jest of it, King James, in his Dæmonology, approved and allowed it; and gives this Reason for it, That as such Persons
Page 201 have renounced their Baptism by Water, so the Water refuses to receive them. Clerg. If you compare the Dates and Order of King James's Works, you will easily find, that he wrote that Book when he was very young; and since even in his Youth, being a Person otherwise of Parts and Learning, he could find no better Foundation for it than that, you may conclude, that it is an unwarrantable Action, for which no Colour of Reason can be pretended; for this which he assigns, is such as needs no Confutation. Jury. How came such a Practice into the World; for it is an odd Thing? Clerg. The first Footsteps that I find of it, are amongst those where we may find the real Beginning of most of our Superstitions, and they are the old Heathen Idolaters. Pliny, in his Seventh Book, and Second Chapter, speaking of the Thibii, saith, Non posse mergi, That they could not be drown'd. And when Nations did become Christian, it was a great while before they could change all their superstitious, idolatrous Customs. We find in our Nation, so late as the Norman Conquest, that they tried their Robberies, Murders, Adulteries, and often their Claims to Land, by Combat, or the Decretory Morsel, or by carrying hot Iron, or passing thorough hot Plow-shares, or putting their Hands into hot Water, or swimming of them in cold. And when a Prisoner in our Courts is ask'd, How he will be tried? I suppose it is a Continuance of the Question put to them in
Page 202 Times, when they had the Choice of being tried by a Jury, or by one of those Ways. But the Use of them is a great Temptation of God; they expose themselves to the Delusions of evil Spirits, and they give crafty Men an Opportunity of escaping unpunished; for any of those Tryals may be pass'd thorough by Trick, if either the Governors favour it, or the People be ignorant. And where there seem'd least sign of Tricking, the Experiments were found to fall out so often contrary to the plain Evidence of the Fact, that not only Christian, but all Civilized Nations, have rejected them. Jurym. But pray, when our Country People do try old Women this way, and they swim, doth it not shew a supernatural Power either of God, or the Devil? Clerg. If it be allowed in some Cases to be so, as there are strange Stories told, it would not follow that we might therefore use it: For we may not tempt God; and we must not trust the Devil. But I take it to be usually owing to the Manner of the Tryal, in which a Rope being tied about the suppos'd Witch, one end is held by some Man on one Side the River, and the other by others on the other, whereby a little Pulling may keep her above Water: And sometimes it may be owing to the Lightness of their Bodies and their Cloths; and tying their Thumbs and Toes together, and then putting them into the Water, not with their Feet downwards, but lengthways; so as the Trunk of their Body that is light, may bear up those Parts that are more
Page 203 solid. And I do not know but half of the old Women in the Nation might swim, if they were try'd this Way in Woollen and Sweaty Petticoats. Jur. The tying their Thumbs and Toes satisfies me, that all in it, which is not Trick, is Nature. For if it was a fair Appeal to Providence, what need would there be of such ludicrous and indecent Actions? God, or the Devil either, could hold them up unty'd as well as ty'd: But in way either of Trick or Nature, their being ty'd is a material Circumstance; because then the Witch finders must put them in themselves, and may do it gently in their own Way. Clerg. It is visible, that the Bodies of all Creatures are near to an equal Poise with the Water. Their Swimming while Alive, and Floating some Time after their Death, are a constant Demonstration, that they are always near to an Æquilibrium. Then there must of Necessity be considerable Differences made by their Fatness or Leanness, Moisture or Driness, Windiness or Freedom from Wind and Vapours, by accidental Extensions of their Bodies, by the Motions of their Breath or Spirits, by the manner of their Managers holding the Rope, or by other secret Causes which may easily turn so nice a Scale, though we do not perceive the Reason: Now this makes, that of all Things this Tryal by Swimming is unfit for an Appeal to Providence; because without a Supernatural Power, some Experiments would fall one way, and some another: But of all that one can readily find out,
Page 204 it is the fittest for a fallacious Trick to make the Rabble wonder: And therefore this easy Ordeal hath been continued amongst them, when all the more dangerous ones have been long since rejected. Then there is another vulgar Mark of Witchcraft, which helps to explain the Fallacy of this; and that is, Want of Tears. It is manifest by that, that the poor old Creatures have little Moisture in their Bodies. Old Age, Sorrow, and want of Sleep under such Afflictions, dry it up, and fill them with Wind and Vapours, that both hinders them from shedding Tears, and makes them lie light upon the Water. Mr. Baxter in his Certainty of the World of Spirits, quotes from Wolfius, That a Melancholy tempted Woman threw her self into the Water, and lay upon it for three Hours together. And yet your Countryman, Mr. Advocate, who gives an Account of the seven that were hang'd in Scotland, in the Year 1697, insists upon want of Tears, as a reasonable Suspicion of Witchcraft. He is asham'd indeed of Swimming, and gives it up; but to shew the Niceness of his Judgment, he makes Want of Tears to be a fair Mark. See Sadducismus Debellatus. And as great Numbers of poor Creatures have been destroy'd, and the Justice of the Nation reproach'd for this Custom of Swimming, and yet our Country-People are still as fond of it, as they are of Baiting a Bear or Bull: I will take leave to publish in as solemn a Manner as I can; that at the Summer-Assizes held at Brentwood
Page 205 in Essex, in the Year 1712, our Excellent Lord Chief Justice of England, the Right Honourable the Lord Parker, by a just and righteous Piece of Judgment, hath given all Men Warning, That if any dare for the future to make use of that Experiment, and the Party lose her Life by it, all they that are the Cause of it are guilty of Wilful Murther. The Jury indeed would have found the Fact to be Manslaughter, but with how vain and comical a Judgment: For the putting into Water was voluntary, was unlawful, and without Provocation; and doth not every one know that Water will drown, and that Drowning is as much Murder as Stabbing: And therefore as a Noble Precedent is now given of a true Judgment, I wish I cou'd proclaim it so loud, that every Man in England might hear it; that if any Man hereafter uses that ungodly Tryal, and the Party tried be drown'd; neither King James's Book, nor any other past Precedents will save them from an Halter. Jur. What Judgment must we make of what they say about Teats and Magical Signs, as they call them; and insensible Parts that are found upon them? Clerg. I make no doubt but that some of them are Scurvy-Spots, or mortified or withered Parts, or hollow Spaces between the Muscles: Others are Piles, or Verrucæ Pensiles, hanging Warts, which in old Age may grow large and fistulous: Others may be Moles or Scars, or Marks in the Womb, from the Mother's Imagination. Or
Page 206 they may be Marks that are seen to be useful by God, and are thrown out by Nature for the Prevention of Murders of Children, and Changes of Heirs; for the distinguishing of dead Bodies, and for the Knowledge of Persons after long Absence: But to make use of any of them for Signs of Witchcraft, is such a Perversion of Justice, that I know not what Name to call it by. And here I will give you the Testimony of Episcopius, in his Theological Institutions, Book III. Chap. I. Res nota and experientiâ tristissimâ non semel comprobata in iis Fæminis quæ propter notas istas impressas damnatæ ad equuleum, and tormentorum seu Metu seu Vi ad confitendum crimen adactæ, ultimo Supplicio adfestæ suerunt, quas postea deprehensum fuit insontes atque innoxias prorsus suisse, saltem immunes ab omni scelere ac maleficio, and notas istas in Corporibus suis habuisse aut à Naturâ, aut àMorbo, aut à Casu per eos qui ejus Rei conscii atque indubitati testes erant, "It is a sad Thing, saith he, but it hath been many a Time found true, that Women, who by Reason of those imprest Marks, have been condemned to the Rack, either for Fear or Force of Torments, have confessed and been put to Death: And it hath afterward been attested by undeniable Witness, that those Women were innocent and harmless, or at least free from that Crime of Witchcraft: And that those Marks were either from Nature, or some Disease or Chance." Jur. What do you say concerning Charms?
Page 207 Clerg. It is both a great Sin and a great Folly to use them. Jur. But are there not many strange Cures or Wonders wrought by them? Clerg. Credulous, Superstitious People will out face you with foolish old Wives Tales. But I will tell you of two Instances that will do you more good than all of them. Webster in his 17th Chapter quotes them from Amatus Lusitanus, a sober and learned Physician. Saith he, "Two young Men were Travelling in the Road, and one of them spied a Viper at the Root of a Tree. He had a Charm for Vipers, of which he was so confident, that he ventured a Wager with his Fellow, that he would take it up without Harm: But the Viper bit him by the Finger, and he sucking it to take out the Venom, poisoned himself, and died in a few Days. Another who was his own Patient, had his Leg cut off; and by Accident in the Night Time, set the Stump on bleeding. One in the House would undertake to stop the Blood with a Charm that he had. He tried all Night without Effect; and in the Morning, when they called the Doctor's Servant, he stopp'd the Flux, but the Person had lost so much Blood, that he died the next Day." All rational Persons laugh at Charms, and how can we believe such Childish Fancies. Adv. I confess these Stories are to the Purpose, if they be true. But who was this Amatus Lusitanus that tells them?
Page 208 Clerg. If these Facts had been in a Book that had no Name before it, yet their own Reason would have given them Weight with all wise Men. But if you think such Relations want a more known Name, I will give you one out of Redi, the famous Italian, who hath taken particular Pains to enquire into Things of this Nature. See Experimenta Naturalia, page 23. "There was, saith he, in the Court of our Great Duke (the Duke of Tuscany) a Man that came out of the Mountainous Part of the Country, to live at Florence. He was a Man in Credit, and famous in his own Way, which was making Clocks. As he was talking once before the Duke, he happen'd to tell the Company, That in his Country there were many that had their Skins so hardened with Charms, and Herbs, and Stones, that they were Proof against a Bullet; and they need not doubt the Thing, for he had often seen the Experiment himself." The Company smiled upon one another, to see the good Man so foolish as to believe such Fancies. And he secretly vexed for being laughed at, for telling what he had seen with his own Eyes, muttered something against them for their Unbelief, and told them, It should not be long before the Jest was returned upon them. So what does the Man, but at his own Charge sends for one of those case-harden'd Men, and brought him to Court: And the bold Man told them, He was charmed in that Manner; and to give them Satisfaction, he opened his Breast, and bad any one
Page 209 of the Courtiers shoot at him, and spare not. Charles Costa, one of the Duke's Officers, was just going to make the Experiment, when the Duke, out of Pity to the poor Fellow, bad Costa shoot him only into the Buttocks: And so he did, that the Bullet went quite through, and the Fellow ran out ashamed and bleeding. This did put the Clock-maker out of Countenance: But these kind of Cases never want Evasions and Excuses: And some way or other he solved it to himself, that he stood in it still, that he was right. And in a Week or two after he came again with two Soldiers after him; one that was so charm'd, and the other that had charmed him: And the Soldier that was charm'd, stripp'd his Right Thigh, shewed them five blew Spots where Bullets had been shot without entering; called Witnesses that had seen the Thing, and they vouched the Truth of what he had said: And one offered a Wager of five and twenty Crowns, that the Experiment would hold then; for this Man also would venture the Tryal. So the Wager was laid, and immediately they shot that Fellow through the Buttocks as they had shot the other. While the Company was laughing, and the Fellow feeling his Back-side, the Charmer that had impudently carried on the Humor so far, was sliding out of the Company, but was laid hold on, and threatened to be severely punished, if he would not tell which way he had deceived the Soldier into that confident Belief of his Charms: And all the Secret lay in charging the Pistol, so as the greatest Part of the Powder
Page 210 should lie before the Bullet, and only a little behind it. By that means, the Report and Fire would be great; but the Bullet would come weak to the Place, and fall without hurting the Person. Redi adds several other Cases: Particularly a Detection that he made himself, of a famous Charm amongst the Turks: But I will add no more. Those that will not be satisfied with these may believe them still. C H A P. XII. What kind of Witchcrafts they are that are spoken of in the Holy Scriptures. Adv. I will urge you with no more of these Tryals. The rest do stand upon these kind of Proofs, even the last famous Tryals in our Part of Great-Britain, in the Year 1697, when seven were condemned and executed; and if these Proofs be not sufficient, the Persons have had the more Wrong done them. But if we suppose this, What must we say to those many Laws, both Divine and Human, that stand upon Record against them? And therefore we will pass now, if you think fit, from the Consideration of Facts to Laws; and of Laws to the Divine first. And what Account will you give us of them? Clerg. This is a Pinot of very great Difficulty amongst the Criticks, and I will not pretend to
Page 211 make my self Umpire: But I will offer some few Things, that, I think, are manifest, and may keep us from pressing them too hard against our Neighbour's Lives. 1. Whatever the Meaning of those Laws were, they are of that Part of the Law which is usually call'd Judicial; and therefore they are not binding to us, farther than we find them useful, and agreeable to our own Times. Our Government hath either increased or moderated the Punishment of Theft, Sabbath-breaking, Perjury, and Adultery, as they found needful; and they have the same Liberty with Respect to this of Sorcery, if they see good Reason. 2. The Laws of the Old Testament in this Point, are mostly grounded upon Names, without Definitions along with them; and therefore, tho' they might be sufficiently known then, they can hardly be determined now so certainly, as to be made the Rule by which we may take away our Neighbours Lives. Of all kinds of Words, it is hardest to translate common Names of Persons, because Length of Time fixes perfectly different Characters to the very same Words. You know what a bad Man we mean by a Villain; and yet anciently the very same Word signify'd only a Country-Man, that lived in a Village. A Knave, not many Years since, was the common Name of Servants. A Magician was one that was a wise Man and Philosopher; and you know how Daniel laboured to save the Lives of the Magicians in his Time. And three Magicians came out of the East to
Page 212 worship our Saviour. A Conjurer is a very literal Translation of Exorcist; and yet Time hath made one signify an Office that is allowed of in the Roman Church; and the other, an infamous Criminal, both in their Church and ours. In the Time of Tacitus, and long after, such ill People were call'd Mathematici; and If a bad Name be an Argument against them, such a good one should be as strong in their Favour. Sorcery is one of the most common Names in our Law-Books for Witchcraft, and is made Felony by our Statute: But to what little Purpose would they spend their Time, who should go about to define the Crime by the Name; for in Strictness, Sorcery signifies Lottery, and no more? It seems very likely, that there hath happened as great a Change to the Word Witch; for Witch, if Dr. More interprets it rightly, signifies a wise Woman; and one may be pretty sure, that the Law was not, Thou shalt not suffer a wise Woman to live. What the Hebrew Word for Witch doth signify, I find Interpreters much at a loss. In the Popish Bible, it is translated an Inchanter, and that doth not imply a Person in Covenant with the Devil, but one that thought to work Wonders, by singing powerful Verses. In the vulgar Latin it is Venefica a Poisoner. In the Septuagint, it is [Greek omitted] a Word that favours the same Sense. Junius and Tremellius translate it Præstigiatricem, a Juggler, and the French Churches a Sorcerer. The other Names in the 18th of Deuteronomy, are interpreted as variously. Dr. More, and they that give great
Page 213 Credit to the Power of Magick, translate them into English Names that imply a great Power; as Diviner, Inchanter, Charmer, Necromancer, Witch, Wizard, and Consulter with familiar Spirits, (though the Word that is translated Spirits be of doubtful Signification, and the Word Familiar is added, having no Epithet in the Hebrew that answers to it). They that think all Magick to be mere Juggle, without any real Power, translate them, Astrologers, Fortune-tellers, Sooth-sayers, Impostors, Observers of the flying of Birds, Conjecturers, Consulters with Oracles, Ventriloquists, Gnosticks, and Jugglers. The Translators of the Septuagint, Junius and Tremellius; the old Translation of our English Bible, with respect to some of the Words, and many very learned Men incline this way; and I do not see but they give as probable Reasons for these Names as are given for the other. But let them be taken which way they will, I do not see that we may venture to lay much Weight upon them. Names are sometimes taken by the Pretenders themselves to magnify their own Art; and sometimes are given by the Credulity of the People, or the Ill-will of Parties. Time changes them, and makes some better, and others worse than their Significations: And therefore I conceive, we cannot, without Danger, take upon us from the Names, to define either the Nature of their Works, or the Extent of their Power. We must remember it is a Case of Life or Death that is before us: And therefore our Judgment must
Page 214 be founded upon surer Grounds than doubtful Names. Adv. But tho' the bare Names will not perhaps bear so much Weight as some lay upon them, yet since their Names and Works together are often mentioned in the holy Scripture, I suppose from both we may learn what they were. And therefore pray tell us, what your Opinion is of the Scripture Witchcraft? Clerg. They were the Divinations and false Prophecies, by which the Idolaters of those Times took Men's Minds off from their Dependence upon the true God and his Providence, and made them look rather to the Stars, and Dæmons, and dead Men, and Charms and Omens, that supported the Worship of their false Gods. This is the Account that our ancient Law-Books give of Sorcery or Witchcraft. See The Mirror of Justice, Chap. I. Sect. 5. It was written about the. Time of Edwara I. or II. and under the Head of Heresy it ranks Sorcery, and defines it. Sorcery est un Art a Deviner. Diviner proprement sounc in Mal part, sicome Prophesie sounc in Bien parte. (i.e.) Sorcery is the Art of Divination; Divination is properly taken in a bad Sense, as Prophecy is taken in a good Sense. After that, he reckons up the several Ways of Prophesying or Divining by the Fire, Air, Water, Earth, Augury, or the Dead, as in the Case of Samuel and Saul.
Page 215 And the holy Scriptures teach us the same Doctrine, I Sam. 15. 22, 23. And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken, than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Over against the Word Witchcraft in the Margin of the Bible, is put Divination, which leads us to this easy Sense of Samuel's pious Reproof. What signifies it for a Man to chose the true God for his God, if he doth not regard him; for God accepts of no Man's Professions, without Obedience? If then you disobey or neglect the true God whom you believe, you may even as well forsake him, and practice the Divinations and Idolatries of the false Gods that are set up against him. We see under the Name of Witchcrafts, the Prophet expresses those Divinations, by the Credit of which the Heathens drew away the People from the true God to false ones. The other Prophets of God in the Ages after, speak of their Idolatries in the same way, and more expressly. Jer. 27. 9, 10. Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the King of Babylon: For they prophesies a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land. Isa. 2. 6. Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people; because they be replenished
Page 216 from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines. Isa. 47. 12, 13. Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast labored from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels: let now the astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly prognosticators stand up, and save thee from those things that shall come upon thee. Ezek. 21. 21, 22. For the king of Babylon stood at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination: he made his Arrows bright, be consulted with Images, he looked into the Liver. At his right hand was the divination for Jerusalem. These were Jezebel's Witchcrafts: She had four hundred false Prophets that were fed at her Table; and tho' Jehu called her Works Witchcrafts, her Admirers honoured her as a Prophetess, Rev. 2. 20. The Prophet Nahum describes the Idolatries of Nineveh in such like Terms. Nahum 3. 4. Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcraft, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcraft. To name but one Place more. Micah 5. 12. I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers. Thy graven Images will I cut off. By these Texts we learn, both that their Idolatries were their Witchcraft, and what kind of Men were deepest in that Guilt, and by what
Page 217 Means they were deluded. They were not Sadducees, who believ'd neither Angel nor Spirit; But they were [Greek omitted]. They were over credulous, and too fearful and superstitious about Dæmons, Spirits and dead Men, which they called Gods. They were not Atheists that denied Providence, but they were such Providential men, as pretended to understand the divine Mind and Meaning in all sudden Calamities, monstrous Births, Voices in the Air, strange Birds, Comets, Eclipses, and all the Omens and Ostenta of Nature. The Office of that part of their Priests who were called Augurs, lay wholly in studying and interpreting such like Things. Then again, they did not deny all Supernatural Inspiration, but sunk their Notions of it too low, believing even their Madness, Enthusiasms, Drunkenness, Falling-sickness, Vapours, to be full of Prophecy and Divine Instructions. They were not cold and careless in their Devotions; but made use of vehement, and as they thought powerful Invocations, which they boasted to be answered by present supernatural Changes in the Entrails of their Sacrifices. By these Means they pretended to open the Book of Fate, and read the dark Lines of Futurity. They undertook to prognosticate the Life or Death of sick Persons without seeing them. Ahaziah, we know, after his Fall, sent to the Temple of Baalzebub to enquire, whether he should recover his Sickness which followed that Accident. They boasted, that they could foretell the Success of Wars and Battles, and do much towards drawing the Victory
Page 218 towards that Side which sought to them for Help. And they had so many Relations of Facts that seem'd to verify the Predictions, that many Princes were fond of them, and grave Nations enquired of them; and even the Jews were wonderfully prone to forsake the Faith and Worship of the true God, and receive the more popular Religion of those Heathens. Perhaps when you hear me describe those ancient idolatrous false Prophets to be religious over-much, with their Heads too full of Spirits, and Miracles, and Inspirations; you will think I aim at Papists, and some of the Ringleaders of our own Sects, and seek to wound them through the Heathen's Sides: But it will be a juster Thought, if you take occasion to observe from it, how very steadily Nature, and even the Imitations of it, keep their Course; and how true the Observation in our Divine Writings is, that there is nothing new done under the Sun. For it is very certain, that for all the Lamentations that our Enthusiasts make over the Misery of those Idolaters, they come very near them, and differ but little more than in Name from them. For as human Nature is the same now as it was then, so are its Passions the same also. As our Bodily Diseases are the same; so are the Diseases of our Mind. As strange Accidents, Futurity, good and evil Angels, dead Men, Mortality, and the Difficulties and Dangers of Things, are the same round about us, to they make the same Impressions upon us; and weak Men in their Fear catch at the same imaginary
Page 219 Remedies. From hence it comes to pass, that as the Fear of God and true Religion stood then in the middle betwixt an Atheistical Sadducism on one hand, and a timorous Enthusiastical Credulity on the other; just so it stands now. And as their Idolaters and our Enthusiasts do both of them err on the same credulous, superstitious Side, so their Errors, tho' they seem different, are the same for Substance; both of them fancying, that they had and have, more Inspiration, greater Acquaintance with God and Spirits, higher Knowledge, greater Power, and more Prophecy than either they had or ours have. I think this appears manifest from those Instances I gave of the Idolatries of the false Prophets; and if I thought they were wanted, I might confirm it by as many more. Adv. But pray let me stay your Hand from that; For what you have said already upon that Point is a Digression from our Business: For our Enquiry is not, how near our modern Enthusiasts, whether Popish or Fanatick, come to the ancient Heathen Idolaters; but who were the Sorcerers and Wizzards of the Old Testament. And I find it is your Opinion, that they were the false Prophets, Heathen Priests, Diviners, and Augurs of those Times; and that their Witchcraft were their Divinations, Invocations, magical Sacrifices, Charms, Amulets, pretended Inspirations, and crafty Prophecies. But if these were the Sorcerers and Witchcraft of the Old Testament, who were the Sorcerers, and what were the Witchcrafts of the New?
Page 220 Clerg. The Sorcerers in the New-Testament, were the False Apostles and Seducers; and their Witchcraft and Sorceries were their pretended Inspirations, Miracles, and Visions, whereby they imitated and tried to out-do the true Apostles. In 2 Cor. 11. 13. For such are false Apostles, deceitful Workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ. The 2d of Rev. ver. 2. And thou hast tried them that say they are Apostles, and are not; and hast found them liars. Now I ask, By what Ways did they transform themselves into the Apostles of Christ? It was by pretending to do as the Apostles did, when they were Liars and deceitful Workers, who did nothing that was really like them. They had their feigned Visions, Revelations, and counterfeit Inspirations. That is the Reason that St. John, 1 Ep. 4. ver. 1. exhorts the Christians he wrote to, to try the Spirits whether they were of God, because many false Prophets are gone out into the World. Then they had their [Greek omitted], lying Wonders, which they compared with the Miracles of the Apostles. The Sons of Sceva ventured to make a Trial, whether they could not cast out a Devil; and though at that Time he would not be ejected, at another Time he might pretend to be overcome, that he might give Credit to one of his own Instruments. For these Reasons, those that opposed the Apostles are called Sorcerers and Magicians, in as plain Terms as Jannes and Jambres that opposed Moses. Elymas that resisted St. Paul, and fought to turn the Deputy
Page 221 from the Faith, is called the Sorcerer; and Simon is called, as if he had been really surnamed the Magician. And when he could not buy a Power of giving the Holy Ghost, he fell again to his old Trade of Sorcery: And his Sorcery was an Art by which he bewitched the People of Samaria to admire him, not as a wicked Conjurer, but as the great Power of God. Ecclesiastical History gives us a large Account of his Pretensions. And Eusebius, Lib. 2, and 3, tells us, That Menander and Cerinthus, and most of the first Hereticks, descended from him, and were much given to Sorceries. For these Reasons I reckon it to be, that St. Paul, when he speaks of Witchcraft, usually joins it with Idolatry and Heresy. St. John speaks of them three Times in the Revelation, and in the 18th Chapter, ver. 23. faith, By thy Sorceries were all Nations deceived. Consider that Expression duly, and then tell me, whether the Nations were misled in the Religion by obscure concealed Witches like ours, that could not be found out but by secret Teats: Or whether they were not deceived by crafty Seducers, that counterfeited Inspirations and Miracles, and by other popular Arts bewitched the People to admire them, as if they had been equal with the Apostles. Adv. This that you say is Truth; but not the whole Truth. I grant you, that the Heathen Idolatries, and Christian Heresies were built upon these Foundations, and that the Prophets and Apostles rightly taught the Jews and
Page 222 Christians to look upon their Works as mere Witchcraft, though their Followers took them for the very Power of Religion: But then you must consider, that those ancient Nations had other People at the same Time, which not only the Prophets and Apostles, but they themselves call'd Witches and execrable People. Now I would know what Kind of Persons these were. Clerg. They were loose People, that either out of Curiosity or Credulity, either to satisfy their Love or Revenge, or to get Money by satisfying others, pretended to do as much out of the Temples, as the Augurs, Soothsayers, and Diviners were thought to do in them. And having meaner and more credulous People to deal with, they made them believe they could perform whatever they ask'd for. They would undertake to cause Love, call up Spirits, make old Men young again, change Men into Beasts, nay call down the Moon, with their Charms and Incantations; and mingling dangerous Drugs with some of their Compositions, they often did very real Mischief. Adv. These are the People I enquired after: And now I want to hear what Judgment you make of these. Clerg. It is not easy to be thought, that the Imitators should really do more than their Masters that they learnt from: And therefore tho' they pretended more, and were esteem'd to be different from the Southsayers and Diviners, and had the more scandalous Names of Witches and Wizards, I put them together in the Judgment
Page 223 that I make of them. As the Holy Scriptures rank the false Prophets, and False Apostles with the Witches and Wizzards; so I rank the Witches and Wizzards with the false Prophets and Apostles, with this Difference, that one acted by Law, or Office, or Pretense of Religion; the others were loose, immoral People, that practiced by Stealth, and would undertake any Thing, Good or Evil, that their Customers came for. Adv. Well! we shall come to the main Point by Degrees, and therefore I ask you farther: Were not Evil Spirits the Authors of those Works that were wrought both by Heathen Priests and Augurs, false Prophets and Apostles, and the Witches and Wizards also? Clerg. As Tempters, no Question; and as Helpers as far as they could; for their Work went forward, when any of these prospered. And therefore whatsoever Names the Heathens gave their Gods, and whatever Pretensions others made, the Devil was their God and Leader in Reality, and all their Works were Sacrifices to him: For whosoever opposes and corrupts God's Truth, whosoever promotes Principles that give liberty to Sin; whosoever disturbs the Happiness of Mankind by breaking the Peace and good Order of Churches and States, to serve themselves and their own Pride and Pleasures, every such Man [Greek omitted] sacrifices to the Devil, and his Actions may very justly be call'd the Devil's Works. Adv. You know my Meaning, if you would answer me: The Question I ask is, Whether
Page 224 the Devil did not act such a Part in them, as made their Works Supernatural, above the Power of Man and Matter? Clerg. At some times, when God, for some special Purposes, permitted him, no doubt but he did; but not so often as many are apt to imagine. And therefore I will add some Texts and Authorities that incline one to think, that they were chiefly supported by Enthusiasm, Cheat, and Imposture. Interpreters generally refer the 31st Psalm, ver. 6. to this Kind of Arts; and in that David calls them Lying Vanities; I hate them that hold lying Vanities. Junius and Tremellius render it Vanitates Vanissimas. Our learned late Bishop of Ely paraphrases it. I never enquired of Diviners, Wizards, Soothsayers, or Fortune-Tellers; nor consulted with Necromancers, or any other of those Vanities where-with the Gentile World is cheated. The Prophet Jeremy, speaking of their Prophecies, ch. 14. V. 14. saith, They prophesy unto you a false Vision and Divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their Heart. In the tenth Chapter he speaks of their Casting Nativities, and telling Things to come, by the Stars and Signs of Heaven: And though they added to their Art many Magical, Idolatrous, Diabolical Rites, and invoked Spirits into their Images, that were erected under the proper Constellations; and therefore must be supposed to have all the Assistance the Devil could give his Agents; yet the Prophet derides them as vain Pretenders
Page 225 that could do nothing; Verse 2, and c. Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the Heathen, and be not dismayed at the Signs of Heaven; for the Heathen are dismayed at them. For the Customs of the People are vain: For one cutteth a Tree out the Forest (the work of the Hands of the Workman) with the Ax. They deck it with Silver and with Gold; they fasten it with Nails and with Hammers that it move not. They are upright as the Palm-tree, but speak not: They must needs be carried, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to as good. Jer. 14. 22. Are there any among the Vanities of the Gentiles that can cause Rain? Isa 41. 23, 24. Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods; yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together: Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought; an abomination is he that chuseth you. Though the History of Bel and the Dragon be not Canonical Scripture, it is very ancient, and shews us, That the Jews in those Times, thought the Miracles of the Heathen Gods were owing to the Trap Doors and Tricks of their Priests. To name but one Place more, and it is in Ecclesiasticus: Though the Author of it was not a Prophet, I believe he will be allowed to have been as wife a Man, as any in his Time: And he tells us, ch. 34. ver. 5. Divinations, and South-sayings, and Dreams are vain, and the Heart fancieth as a Woman's Heart in Travail
Page 226 Tully was one that pried as narrowly into Things as any Man in that learned Age he lived in; and he wrote two Books concerning their Divinations, and argued the Point of their Reality both ways, with such Appearance of Reason, that some quote him, as if he was one that believed the miraculous Pretenses and Predictions upon which they were founded: But that Part which answered and ridiculed those pretended Facts he placed last, and made himself (Cicero) the Speaker, and adds near the Conclusion: Ut vere loquamur, Superstitio susa per Gentes oppressit omnium fere animos, atque hominum imbecillitatem occupavit ; quod and in iis Libris dictum est, qui sunt de Naturâ Deorum, and hac disputatione id maximè egimus. Multum enim and nobisipsis and nostris profuturi videbamus, si am funditus sustulissemus. That I may speak, saith he, the very Truth, an universal Superstition through all Nations hath enslaved the Minds almost of all Men, and over-bore our human Frailty: As I have shew in those Books, which are concerning the Nature of the Gods, and which I have endeavored particularly to prove in this Disputation: For, saith he, I think I could do nothing better either for my self or Countrymen, than if I could pull up this Mischief by the Roots. But, saith he, I do carefully declare my self, that when I say Superstition should be rooted out, I do by no means intend, that Religion should be taken away with it.' And he adds what his Notion of Religion was, which considering that
Page 227 it came from a Heathen, must be allowed for a very noble one, as would appear if it was proper for me to launch into a new Subject. To this noble Sentence of Tully, if it was not for fear of being too long, I might add the Opinions of Horace, Virgil, Plutarch, Pliny, Seneca, and our English Chaucer, and many others: But our later Ages that have made greater Improvements in Philosophy, are more likely to judge right than they, and therefore do not much want their Authorities in this Matter. C H A P. XIII. That it is a vulgar Error to think, that the Laws of all Nations have been like ours. Adv HAVING considered the Laws of God, let us come to the Laws of Man, which we may very well call the Experience and Judgment of the World through all Ages; and I will put this Argument to you in the Words of the Lord Chief Baron Hale, which were part of his Direction to the Jury at the Tryal of those two that he condemned. Said he, The Wisdom of all Nations hath provided Laws against such Persons; which is an Argument of their Confidence of such a Crime. What have you to offer upon this Head?
Page 228 Clerg. I conceive, that to make this Argument come up to any Purpose to our Case, it should have been said, not only that they had Laws, but that they had such Laws as ours. For they may have Laws that are milder, and with less Penalties, and against other kinds of Facts, tho' with the same Names; and if so, this Argument doth not reach our Case. And as far as I can see, it is so far from being true, that all Nations have always had, and have now, such Laws as ours, that I have some Reason to doubt, whether any Nation in the World hath, unless it be Scotland, to which I conceive we owe our Statute. Now for the clearing this Case, I will lay before you such Accounts as I have met with in those Books that I have read upon the Subject: For to bring the Laws themselves from amongst the Statutes of all Nations, is what I must not pretend to. And first Lambertus Danæus, Chap. 6. tells us, what I believe is very true; that as long as the Nations were Idolaters, they used the Help of Magick and Sorcery without Scruple, and had those that were skilled in it in Honour; and that to this Day it is much in use amongst the barbarous Nations, both in the North and East, and among the Tartars, and (I may add) the West Indians. He proceeds, that in all the Empire of Persia the Study and Arts of these Men are in Esteem now, as it was amongst the Ægyptians formerly. When Joseph ask'd his Brethren, whether they
Page 229 thought such a Man as he could not divine, he speaks not of Divination as a Fault, but a necessary Qualification of a great Man. In the Magick of Kirani and Carpocration, In the Magick of Kirani and Carpocration, it is said that it was a necessary Accomplishment, required in the Kings of Persia. And Tully in his Books of Divination saith the same. Most of the ancient Philosophers, the Chaldæans, Magi, Druids, Brachmans, and Platonists allow'd and used it. And I do not in the least wonder, when I meet with these Accounts in the ancient Histories: For it is the most easy natural Thought that can be, that there are other reasonable Creatures in the World besides Men; but the same natural Reason could no ways guess, that those Spirits were fallen from their first Creation, or that they were Enemies to Mankind. Their first Thought would rather be, that all reasonable Creatures, tho' invisible, would be of a friendly Mind, and assisting to all with whom they had Communication, and either say nothing, or tell Truth to those that enquired of them. This the first Men would naturally hope; and, without Revelation, nothing but Experience of the Vanity and Mischief of such Converse could teach them, that either there was nothing but the Chance of Things that seemed to answer their Tryals, or else that those Spirits that dealt with them, were deceitful and malicious Beings, that took a wicked Pleasure in their Delusion and Destruction. But to come to the Laws concerning Men's
Page 230 Dealings with them, whether real or pretended. The Laws in the Holy Scripture are the first that we know of; and it must ever be accounted to the Honour of reveal'd Religion, that it was the first in forbidding such pretended and very dangerous Communications. The next that I meet with, and which is often quoted to prove the real Power of Magick, are those of the Twelve Tables. Qui fruges excantâssit--neve alienam Segetem pellexeris, i.e. "That they should not bewitch the Fruits of the Earth; nor use any Charms to draw their Neighbours Corn into their own Fields."-- But as this was a Roman Law, and receiv'd, when they were an unlearn'd, and ignorant, and little People; I must add to it the Interpretation that the Romans themselves in after-ages gave to it; which I find printed with those Laws in Justinian's Institutes. Rudis adhuc Antiquitas credebat, and attrahi imbres Cantibus, and repelli, quorum nihil posse fieri, tam palam est, ut hujus causâ, nullius 'Philosophi Schola introeunda sit: That is, "Our ignorant Ancestors thought that they could cause Showers with Charms; but we need go to the School of no Philosopher to teach us otherwise."-- These Words are Seneca's, and the Judgment of the great Lawyer Vlpian is added to the same Purpose. About a hundred and fifty Years after that, the Lex Cornelia, another Roman Law, was made, and is usually quoted as a Law against Sorcery. And it was indeed against Poisoning,
Page 231 and mala Sacrificia, and was made when 170 Roman Women of the better Quality, were condemned for real poisoning those that they had a mind to remove. See Livy, Dcc. 1. l. 8. The next Law, that I know of, was made by Constantine the first Christian Emperor. His Law requir'd, that they should be punish'd if they used Charms to do hurt; but it should be lawful to use them for restoring Health, or preserving the Fruits of the Earth. In Cod. Justianiano, lib. 9 tit. I8. l4 Eorum est Scientia punienda, severissimis meritó legibus vindicanda, qui Magicis accincti artibus, ant contra salutem Hominum moliti, aut pudicus animos ad libidinem deflexiffe deteguntur. Nullis vero criminationibus implicanda sunt Remedia humanis que sita corporibus, ant in agresibus lacis innocenter adhibita Suffragia ne maturis Vindemiis metuerentur imbres, aut ventis, grandinisque lapidatione quaterentur, quibus non cujusquam salus aut estimatio laederetur, sed quorum proficerent actus, ne divina munera laborers hominum sternerentur. Datum Io Calend. Jun. Aquileire, Crispo Constantino Coff.. That is, "Their Skill is to be condemned, and very deservedly punish'd in the severest manner, who being furnish'd with Knowledge of the Magick Arts, shall be discovered to have acted any thing, either for the impairing of Man's Health, or drawing chaste Minds to unlawful Love. But no vexatious Actions are to be brought against Remedies that are sought for the Bodies of Men; or against Charms that are innocently
Page 232 used in Countrey Places, for fear lest Storms, or Winds, or Hail, should hurt the forward Vineyards; or against any thing whereby no Man's Health or Credit was lost, but the Gifts of God and Works of Men were preserved from Damage." Dated at Aquileia the 10th of the Calends of June, Crispus and Constantine being Consuls. About a hundred Years after that, the Emperor Leo the First abrogated this Law of Constantine's, and forbad all use of them: Totumque hoc Sortiariorum ministerium, Imposturam and Fallaciam appellat. He called this whole Trade of Sorcery, Imposture and Deceit. See Lambert Danæus, Capite sexto. Mr. Tyrrel, in his History of England, Vol. I. B. 5. pag. 340. saith, The 6th Law of King Athelstan was against Witchcraft, Enchantments, and such like Deeds, that procure Death; that if any one of them be made away, and the thing cannot be denied, such Practisers shall be put to Death: But if they endeavor to purge themselves, and be cast by the Threefold Ordeal, they shall lie in Prison a hundred and twenty Days; which ended, their Kindred may redeem them, by the Payment of 120 Shillings to the King: And farther pay to the Kindred of the Slain the full Valuation of the Party's Head; and then the Criminals shall also procure Sureties for their good Behaviour for the time to come. The Saxon Word for these Inchantments is Liblacum, which Mr. Tyrrel saith, signifies that sort of Fascination that is done by Ligatures, Fasciæ, or Bands.
Page 233 The Law that is in force in many Parts of the Empire, and in Holland, is the Constitutio Carolina, the Regulation that Charles the Fifth made of those Matters. I have not been able to procure a particular Account of it at large, but by the Mention of it that I have met with in Cautio Criminalis, and other Authors, I find it was designed to moderate, and did actually slacken the vehement Prosecutions of the Inquisitors, by allowing the accused Person Council, and mitigating their Torture, and taking away the Profit that the Prosecutors had out of the forfeited Goods of condemn'd Persons. In France these Cases are tried by an Edict that the late King of France put out in the Year 1672; since which I have been frequently told, that most Parts of the Nation have been free from Prosecutions of this sort. And Mr. Calef, in his forementioned Book concerning the Witchcrafts in New England, inserts a Deposition of one that had heard some Indians say, that they liked the French better than the English; for where the French were, they had no Witches. See this Case more at large in the 10th Chapter of this Book. From the Laws of Nations, let us pass to the Canons of the Church. The Council of Ancyra, in the Year 314, appointed five Years Penance to pretended 'Prophets and Inchanters, and Fortune-Tellers: And as long a Time of Penance to those that took them into their Houses to cure their Diseases. This is the Substance of the four and twentieth,
Page 234 Canon of that Council. But besides this, there is found in ancient Copies, (and printed by Gratian, Caranza, and Lancelot, as the Declaration of this Council) that many wicked Women, deluded by the Illusions of the Devil, think they ride through the Air with Diana and Herodias, and a Multitude of Witches; and see sometimes sad, and sometimes joyful Sights: But all Priests ought to teach the People of God, that these were Dreams and false Illusions of the Devil: For who (continues this Council) can be so sottish, as to believe, that they are really done in the Body, and not only in the Spirit. The Council of Laodicea in the Year 364, in the 36th Canon, excommunicates any Clergymen that should be Magicians, Enchanters, Mathematici or Astrologers. The 6th General Council in Trullo, in the Year 692, made two Canons, the sixty and sixty first, against such as counterfeited Possession by the Devil, and Fortune-Tellers, and those that carry'd about Bears and other Creatures, and Calculators of Nativities, and Inchanters, and Charmers. These Canons teach us, that such Wizzards deserve Punishment, as it is most certain they do: But by joining them with those known Cheats, I think, they intimate to us, that they thought them very like one another. There are some other Canons that censure them without defining their Art. But that which I reckon to have set this Point of Witchcraft upon the Foot that it stands on now, was something
Page 235 less than either Law or Canon. It was that Bull that I mention'd before of Pope Innocent the VIIIth, in the Year 1484, a little before the Reformation, when the Ignorance and Superstition of Popery were at the height. It was directed to the Inquisitors of Almain, and c. and empower'd them to discover and have them burnt pro Strigiatus Hæresi, for the Heresy of Witchcraft. See the Bull it self before the Malleus Maleficarum. Innocentius Episcopus Servus Servorum Dei, ad futuram rei meomoriam, and c. Sanè nuper ad nostrum non sine ingenti molestiâ pervenit auditum, quòd in nonnullis partibus Alemannæ Superioris, necnon in Moguntin. Colon. Treveron. Saltzburg. and Bremen. Provinciis, Civitatibus, Terris, Locis, and Dioecesibus, complures utringsque Sexûs Personæ, à fide Catholicâ deviantes, cum Dævonibus, Incubis and Succubis abuti, ac suis Incantationibus, Carminibus, and Conjurationibus, aliisque Nephandis Superstitionibus, and Sortilegiis, excessibus, criminibus, and delictis, mulierum partus, animalium Foetus, Terræ Fruges, Vinearum uvas, and Arborum Fructus, necnon homines, mulieres, pecora, pecudes, and alia dever sorum generum animalia, vineas, quoque pomaria, prata, pascua, blada, frumenta, and alia terræ legumina perire, suffocari, and extingui, facere and procurare, ipsofoque homines, mulieres, jumenta, pecora, Pecudes, and animalia diris tam intrincesis quám extrinsecis doloribus and tormentis afficere and excruciare,
Page 236 excruciare, ac eosdem homines ne gignere, and mulieres ne concipere, virosque ne uxoribus, and mulieres ne viris actus conjugales reddere valeant impediere. Fidem praecterea ipsam, and c. abnegare. "Innocent, Bishop, a Servant of the Servants of God, in perpetual Memory of the Thing, and c. It is come to our Ears, that great Numbers of both Sexes, careless of their own Salvation, and falling from the Catholick Faith, are not afraid to abuse their own Bodies, with Devils that serve to both Sexes: And with their Inchantments, Charms, and Sorceries, they vex and afflict Man and Beast, both with inward and outward Pains and Tortures: They render Men and Women impotent for Generation: They destroy the Births of Women, and the Increase of Cattel: They blast the Corn of the Ground, the Grapes of the Vines, the Fruit of Trees, and the Grass and Herbs of the Fields, and c". Nos igitur, and c. Opportunis Remediis, prout nostro incumbit officio, providere volentes, and c. Autoritate Apostolicâ tenore præsentium statuimus, and c. Quemlibet eorum, and c. Hujusmodi inquisitionis officium exequi, ipsasque personas quas in præmissis culpabiles repererint, juxta earum demerita, corrigere incarcerare punire, and mulctare, and c. He adds, That although Henr. Institor. and Jacob. Sprenger were deputed Inquisitors for this Matter by his Apostolical Authority, Tamen nonnulli Clerici and Laici illarum partium, quarentes plura
Page 237 sapere quám oporteat, and c. Ad personarum earundem punitionem admitti non debere, pertinaciter asserere non erubescunt, and c. Per Apostolica scripta mandamus, and c. Molestatores and impedientes and contradictores quoslibet and rebelles cujuscunque dignitatis, statûs, gradûs, præeminentiae, nobilitatis, and excellentiæ, aut conditionis, fuerint ; per excommunicationis, suspensionis, ac alias etiam formidabiliores sententias , censuras , pænas, and c. aggravare and reaggravare authoritate nostrâ procures; invocato ad hoc, siopus fuerit, Auxilio Brachii Sæcularis, and c. Datum Romæ, and c. 1484. "We therefore, according to our Duty, being desirous to apply fit Remedies to so great an Evil, do by our Apostolical Authority appoint by these Presents, and c. that the Persons aforesaid shall execute the Office of Inquisition, and correct, imprison, punish, and fine, and c. all Persons that shall be found guilty of the Crimes aforesaid, and c. An whereas many, both of the Clergy and Laity, seeking to be wise above what is fit, did not blush to assert, that the Persons were not to be prosecuted in those Parts, and c. We command all Opposes, Contradictors, or Hinderers of those Prosecutions, of whatsoever State, Dignity, Excellence, or Pre-eminence they may be, to be excommunicated, or suspended, as Occasion shall require, or punish'd with greater or more formidable Punishments; and if there be need, that the secular Arm be call'd in to help. Given at Rome, in the Year of the Incarnation of our Lord 1484."
Page 238 From this time the Notions of Witchcraft were very gross, and the Prosecutions bloody, and many poor Protestants (called then Albigenses and Waldenses) were involv'd in the Trouble. For two or three Ages they were continually accusing, condemning, and burning them in one Place or another. To the great lessening Mens Faith in God's Providence, they charged their Frosts, Tempests, Plagues, and Diseases, upon their Witches; and dug many out of their Graves, that by burning their Bodies, they might dissolve their Charms. Whole Towns were ready to leave their Habitations for fear of Witches; but some Towns were so wise as to chase the Inquisitors from amongst them. But new Bulls from Rome, and Notions of Heresy, and the Difficulties in the Case, and the Superstitions of the People, gave them new Footing, that the Calamity continued long, and they had greater Number of Executions under Pretence of that Crime than had been in any Age before them. I venture to make that Observation with the more Assurance, not only because I have put down their Numbers, Names and Places, in the Chronological Table, in the second Chapter of this Book; but also, because I find the Writers of that Age study for Causes which might be the Reason why they had so many Witches above former Times. The Reason they assign is: That their Age was a Time of great Illumination, and therefore God permitted the Devil the more Power, that their Temptations might be proportionable to their Talents: But the Reason I must give is, That it
Page 239 was an Age of Superstition and Ignorance; and their own Credulity and Folly, and joining Witchcraft with Heresy, made them appear so many, when there were in reality no more that at another time. And as that Century is the Time from which the Defenders of the vulgar Notions do at this time fetch their greatest Authorities, I will add some Observations concerning the State of that Age, and the particular Arguments with which they maintain'd their Opinions. 1. The Authority of these Inquisitors was not grounded in this Matter upon any Canon of a Council, but upon a Pope's Epistle, or Bull in that Age, which we count the thickest Darkness of Popery. It was about thirty Years before the Beginning of the Reformation. 2. Their Heads were full of Romances, and Legends, and Spirits, and superstitious melancholy Notions. Gerson, a learned Chancellor of the University of Paris, says, one might see thousands martyrizing their own Bodies, by tearing the Flesh, and their Blood running. I quote this out of Casaubon of Credulity and Incredulity, p. 13. 3. In their Books upon this Subject, Thomas Aquinas, or the Pope's Bull, or a Story out of the Golden Legend, is a sufficient Solution of a Difficulty, and the usual End of an Argument. As for Instance, I find they were much entangled about the Case of Transformation. The Council of Aquileia had determined, that the Devil could not really change a Man or Woman into any other Creature: But the Confessions of
Page 240 the Witches (which was the chief Evidence upon which they convicted them) contradicted this. They affirmed, that they were changed into Cats, and went into Houses through the same little Holes that Cats went thro'. G1 If they were changed into Asses, they carried Burdens like other Asses; if into Wolves, they were seen like Wolves, they ran into the Woods and worried Sheep, and some of them were killed by Dogs. When a Cloister of Nuns were transformed into Squirrels, they said they ran up the Trees, and hung upon the Ends of the small Boughs. Now, how can all this be, and their Confessions of them be allowed good, and yet they be in their own Shape all this while unaltered? This is a Difficulty to us Protestants, but not so great to Papists, because in Transubstantiation as much as this is done. They see and eat the Sacramental Bread like a Wafer, and yet it is a Man. And I see several of them close this Case of Transformations with the Legend of St. Macarius. There was a Man, they say, whose Wise was bewitched, and changed into a Mare. Her Husband and some others brought her to that Saint, and he saw her a true Woman, at the same time that they saw her a Mare; and he sprinkled her with Holy Water, and then they saw the same. To give one Instance more. Many Witches of those Times did certainly confess, that they were carried through the Air into Foreign Parts, and revell's in the best Wine in the Prince's Cellars; then they strook the Hogsheads with their -notes- G1 Remigius, l. 2. c. 1.
Page 241 Rods, and immediately they were full again. At other Times, they said, they danced in a green Meadow, and killed a fat Ox; and when they had eaten him, they put his Bones into his Hide, and tied the four Corners, then strook it with their Wands, and the Ox would rise up, and go to his Fellows. Now to us this is a puzzling strange Case; but they solve it easily by the Legend of St. Germain, who did just the same by a poor Man's Calf, when he and his Friends had eaten him up; only they say, St. Germain did it in Reality, and the Devil only in Appearance. And Barth. de Spina, in the seventh Chapter of Quæst. de Strigibus, tells us five several Ways whereby the Devil may make both the Witches and the Owner of the Ox believe the Thing. One of the five Ways is, that the Devil himself may enter into the Hide, and walk about in it like an Ox for some Days, and then pretend to be sick and die, and the Owner cannot know but that the Ox died his fair Death. 4. When the Absurdity and Impossibility of such Things was objected, they frequently quoted the Fictions of the Heathen Poets for Examples. The Soldiers of Ulysses, they said, were changed by Circe into Hogs, and Diomedes into Birds; Iphigenia, they say, was changed into a Doe; and Lycaon was transformed by Jupiter into a Wolf. And Orpheus and Amphion are quoted as really drawing the Stones and Trees by their Music and Verses. Adv. I wish you do not mistake their Romances for their Histories. Pray, who are your Authors?
Page 242 Clerg. Not very good ones, if you will take my Opinion of them; but they are such as must not be rejected by those that defend the Witchcraft of those Times; for they were the Inquisitors and Judges that condemn'd them; and I do not see but they defend their Opinions with the same Subtilty that other Men defend theirs: But the Age was unlearned, and the Religion superstitious, and their Legends and false Principles led them wrong. 5. The casting Evidence in most Tryals was, the Confession of the Parties, and the Confessions were drawn from them by cruel Tortures. Wierus says, he saw them pour hot Oil upon the Legs of some; others were burnt with Candles under their Arm-holes. Some endured the Torture three Times over, before they would confess: And Remigius, who had condemned and executed nine hundred, brings it as an Argument why Tortures should be used; that scarce any one was known to be brought to Repentance and Confession but by those Means, and therefore he said, their Pains were their Blessings. The ingenious Author of Cautio Criminalis, who was an Eye-witness of most of the Facts that he mentions, imputes the great Numbers of their German Witches to this; and ventures to say, that if they invented a new Crime, never committed by Man, and examined People by the same Tortures that were used to discover Witches, he would be burnt himself, if they had not as many Confessions of that.
Page 243 6. Their Skill in Criticism was about the same rate with their Philosophy and History. I will give you but two or three Instances for Samples. One of them giving the Reason how it came to pass, that there were so many Women that were Witches, more than Men that were Wizzards, fetches an Argument from the Derivation of the Word F minn. For, he saith, it comes from Fe and Minus. Fe is the same, he saith, as Fi, and Fi stands for Fides; and thence comes the Word F mina quia Minorem Fidem habent. The same Author gives us the Derivation of Diabolus; and he lays two before us to chose of. One is Diabolus quasi Defluens, because he fell. In the other he considered, that it being a Greek Word, it would be better to derive it from the Greek; and therefore he fetches from Dia duo, and Bolos Morsellus, because he destroys both Body and Soul like two Morsels. That they may make the more Mention of Devils in the Old Testament, they interpret the Philistines to be Spirits. Dabo te in manus Palæstinorum, id est, Dæmonum. Jurym. I went long enough to School to know better than this comes to. Either you banter us, or else these must be mean obscure Authors. Clerg. My Author for these Criticisms is Hen. Institor. Part 1. Quest. 4. and Quest. 6. and he and Sprenger are the two Judges in the Inquisition, to whom Pope Innocent directed his famous Bull, which you find two or three Leaves before. And which is more than this, he is the first Author in the first Tome of the Malleus.
Page 244 Maleficarum, which is one of the Books that Mr. Baxter, in his Preface to Mr. Mather's Memorable Providences, sends us to, with the Declaration of his Opinion, That if Sadducees were not mad with Incredulity, those Books must convince them; whereas I think there is no doubt, but that it is the great Folly of such like Books that makes so many Sadducees as there are. A Man can hardly be a Sadducee, but he must be an Atheist also; but when Religion is clogged with such bloody and silly Superstitions, it tempts Men to be both. And therefore, without adding more Observations upon those Popish Inquisitors, I must conclude, That in my Opinion it still holds true, that the great Numbers of suppos'd Witches that were burnt in that Age, were owing to the Ignorance, and false Principles, and Superstitions of that Time. Learned Roman Catholicks cannot reasonably be offended, that for the preserving our own People from the like miserable Superstitions, we lay before them the plain Matter of Fact as it was in that Age, while an unlearn'd Night of Ignorance lay upon both their Church and ours. Many of their own Writers have spoken of it with as much Freedom, and in particular Fran. Belle forest, a learned French Historian, being griev'd to see many innocent Men and Women daily hang'd, drown'd, and tormented, as if they had caused a Disease upon Cattle through all Europe: He ends his Additions upon Nicolas Gilles with this Sentence, Tanta jam Stultitia Gilles oppressit miserum Mundum, ut nunc sic absurdé
Page 245 Res credantur á Christianis, quales nunquam antea ad credendum poterat quisquam suadere Paganis.(i.e.) "That so great Folly did then oppress the miserable World, that Christians believed greater Absurdities than could ever be imposed upon the Heathens." I quote this out of another learned Papist, Gabriel Naude, in the 7th Chapter of his Apology for great Men, who had been falsely accused of Magick. And I reckon it was the mighty Credulity of the World in these and such like Cases, that Cervantes and Rabelais exposed in the comical Histories of Don Quixot and Pantagruel: And perhaps that way of dealing with them was more proper than grave Arguments. C H A P. XIV. Some Remarks concerning the Occasion of our present Statute. Adv. WELL, I care not much if I grant you, that these Foreign Laws and Popish Authorities shall stand for nothing; for tho' I mention'd them, because Mr. Baxter, and most other Writers upon this Subject, lay much Weight upon them; yet I must own, that in a Case where the Lives of the King's Subjects and our own Fellow-Christians are concern'd, it is dangerous to sharpen the Prosecutions by the Opinions and Practices of those ignorant and
Page 246 bloody Times. But what will you say to our own Act of Parliament, that carries this Point one Step farther than the Pope's Bull, and supposes that the Witches feed and reward, that is, I suppose, give suck to evil Spirits. And take notice, that your own Chronological Table shews us, that a Statute against Witchcraft hath passed our Parliament three several Times; in the 33d of Henry VIII. in 5th of Queen Elizbeth, and in the Ift of King James I. which is the Law that is now in Force in your Part of the Nation. Clerg. And yet I am persuaded, you will not be able to shew, that they had one Witch, either before them, or in any part of the Nation, at any of those Times; but the Law was passed upon other Occasions. In the 33d. of Henry VIII. I do not meet with any Tryal or Execution of any one Witch; but many had a cheating way of getting Money, by pretending to tell Fortunes, by comparing Gentlemen's Coats of Arms with the Letters of their Names: And the Lord Hungerford had been so weak as to go to one of them, to know how long the King should live: And he lost his Head for it in this very 33d Year of that King's Reign. Now in the latter part of that Year, and therefore in Probability, upon the Occasion of it, the Parliament passed two Laws against such People. The Statute that you mentioned against Conjuration and Witchcraft, and another against false Prophecies upon Occasion of Arms, Fields, or Names.
Page 247 Then we must consider, that this happen'd in that part of the King's Life when he was severe against the Protestants, on purpose to convince the Papists, that tho' he had cast off the Pope's Supremacy, he was a Papist still, and would have Laws in England that should do the same Things that the Pope's Bull did in Popish Countries. For that Reason, but two Years before he had made that cruel Law of the Six Articles, and Bonner had at that Time burnt several. And that this Law against Witchcraft was brought in by the Popish Party for a Side Blow to the Protestants, seems plain to me, because the Preamble to that Statute saith, That the Persons that had done these Things had dug up, and pulled down an infinite Number of Crosses. And in the Body of the Statute it is said, or, for despite of Christ, or for lucre of Money, dig or pull down any Cross or Crosses. Now who were they that pulled down the Crosses in those Times? Were they the Witches or Fortune tellers, or were they not Protestants, that thought that it was the only effectual Way of curing the gross Superstitions of those Times? To make short of this Argument.--The Papists in other Nations had given the Papists of ours a cruel Example of this Way of extirpating Heresy. For it was an Opinion advanced amongst them, that most Hereticks and Protestants had evil Spirits in them. They called Luther, Wierus, Berengarius, Wickliff, Huss, and many others, Wizzards and Conjurers. Our English Priests propagated amongst their People the fame Opinion.
Page 248 The Jesuit Delrio saith, that from the Time of our Reformation, we were over-run with Witches. For he saith, that Witchcraft goes along with our Heresy, as Madness with a Fever. See the Preface to his Disquisitions Magicæ. Pope Adrian VI. in his Decretal Epistle concerning Witchcraft, calls it Hæresis Strigiatus, and describes many of those Witches that he meant, as a Sect deviating from the Catholick Faith, and c. denying their Baptism, and shewing Contempt of the Ecclesiastical Sacraments, and especially of that of the Eucharist, treading Crosses under their Feet, and taking the Devil for their Lord, destroyed the Fruits of the Earth by their Enchantments, Sorceries, and Superstitions See Barthol, de Spina. Ch. 3. This was a Trap that would catch a Protestant as well as a Wizzard, and take him off without ever letting the World know what he dyed for. Scot saith, They melted away many Protestants by this Means. And this Statute of Henry VIII. being made at that Time when the Papists prevailed; and expressly joining that dangerous Clause of their pulling down Crosses, with their Acts of Witchcraft; I cannot but think, that one Reason of its being made, was, that it might be a Hank upon the Reformers. Adv. I believe you cannot name one Protestant, that died by that Law. Clerg. Nor can you, I believe, name one Witch. I am apt to think it was a Law never executed; but I count it a Snare ready laid. And I am the more of this Mind, because the Reformers abrogated
Page 249 this amongst the other severe Laws that had been made against them, the very first Year that they had Power, (i.e.) in the first of Edward VI. Then you may observe farther, that in that part of the Statute that points at Witchcraft and Conjurations, tho' there is one Expression that supposes real Mischief done, there are three that plainly express much Vanity and Cheat in their magical Pretensions. First it is, said, they pretended to understand and find hid Treasure. Then after the mention of Witchcrafts, and Enchantments, and Sorceries, it is added, for the Execution of their said false Devices and Practices, and a little after---Giving Faith and Credit to such fantastical Practices. And therefore I think that Act of Parliament doth no ways prove, that the Makers of it believed much Reality in their Art, but very great Wickedness, and many bad Consequences. The next time that a Statute against Witchcraft passed our Parliament, was the 5th of Queen Elizabeth. In that Year, or near that Time, I do not meet with so much as one Witch either executed, or tried; but Cambden tells us, that the Countess of Lenox, and the Earl her Husband, and Anthony Pool, and his Brother, and Anthony Fortescue were condemned for Treason, and freely confess'd the Conspiracy; but said, it was not intended to take Place in the Queen's Life; but they had learn'd from some conjuring Wizards, that the Queen would not live out that Year, and they had prepared their Matters to take Place at her Death. This Year
Page 250 (and therefore I suppose upon this Occasion) the Parliament renewed the Law against fantastick Prophesies upon Arms, and Fields and Badges. And the same Day they passed an Act against Conjurations, Witchcraft, and Sorcery. And in the same Session they made a Law to banish Gypsies that pretended to tell Fortunes by Palmistry. And some time after this they made another Law against those that should calculate the Queen's Nativity. When we hear of so many Laws of this Sort in so wise a Reign as Queen Elizabeth's was; we must consider, that the Reformation had been made but a few Years before; and therefore the Nation was not got clear from the Influence of Popery and Ignorance. Tho's the Laws about Religion were changed, the Inhabitants of the Country were the same, and the Monks and Nuns, being turn'd loose amongst the People, infected their Minds with Superstitious Tales: And tho' those Follies are usually Matter of Jest, while they keep among the vulgar, yet when they happen to find Faith amongst the Great Ones, and the Kindred of the Crown, they often draw them to the attempting great Changes. For the high Stations of the great do not secure either them or their Children, sounder Judgments than their Neighbours, nor free them from the Superstitions and Credulity of the meanest: And when their high Spirits and great Interests are acted by vain Hopes and Tales, they soon burst the Bonds that preserve a Nation's Peace. Now the Government in that Age having been vexed
Page 251 with continual Plots and bold Attempts, that sprang out of those Causes, they found it necessary to shut every Door against them. But I conceive we cannot from those Laws make any certain Determination, how much reality they thought there was in their Sorcery more than their Palmistry; nor whether their Invocations of Spirits and Circles for Conjuration was not as mere a Cheat as their calculating Nativities. And besides, I do not find, that these Points underwent any severe Examination of learned Men in that Age, but rather passed the Two Houses without much discussion, as sometimes some Laws happen to do. I have consulted the Journal of the Two Houses of Parliament in that Reign, as it was published out of the Manuscripts of Sir Symonds D'Ewes, and the largest Note that I find is this; Thursday the 11th of February Three Bills, of no great Moment, had each one Reading; of which the last being the Bill for Servants robbing their Masters, Buggery, Invocation of Evil Spirits, Enchantments, and c. to be Felony, was read the third Time, and passed the House. Then it may be observed farther, That as this Law had nothing of feeding and rewarding Spirits, as ours hath now; so it was much more merciful than our present Statute. For if there were some Acts of Sorcery or Witchcraft proved; yet if they had not killed any Person, the Penalty for the first Conviction was only a Year's Imprisonment, and Pillory four Times in that Year. That Statute which is in Force now, was made
Page 252 in the 1st Year of King James the First. The Parliament, that Year, repealed the Queen's more merciful Law, and made this new one, as the Preamble expresses it, for the more severe punishing of it: But in this Juncture I do not find any one Witch, either before them, or in any part of the Nation; nor doth the Preamble make mention of any Increase of such Persons amongst us. It is true, that about nine Years before, the Witches of Warbois had been hanged, and some others before them; and Hartly, in the Year 1597. But for two or three Years last, the Magistrates had been rather engag'd in discovering Frauds and Impostures, and had punished several such: And the Convocation, this same session, made our prudent Canon, that suspends any Clergyman, that should pretend to cast out Devils without Licence under Seal: But the Parliament, that same Year, enacted our present Statute. And if I may be permitted to offer my Conjecture at the Reason for changing the Law we had before for this, the best Guess I can make is this; King James the First was a Prince of good natural Parts, and as many Great 'Persons have, so did he, take as much Pleasure in the Studies of Learning, as in any of the Advantages of his station: But he had the Misfortune to be engag'd in dark and difficult Subjects in his younger Years. Before he was twenty, he ventur'd to interpret the Revelation. In the twenty third Year of his Age, he had the Examination of Agnes Sympson, commonly call'd, The Wise
Page 253 Wife of Keith, and of several others, who confess'd themselves guilty of Witchcraft. The King had the Honor of being acknowledged, a Man of God, that their Spirits had no Power over: And Archbishop Spot swood saith in his History, That in Scotland, that Winter was spent in the Examination of Witches. Two or three Years after that, King James publish'd his Dæmonologia; that is, (as appears by the Name and Book together) The Doctrine of Devils and Witchcraft: And coming to our Crown some few Years after, every one would be forward to read and admire the King's Book upon so curious a Subject: And our Statute being made in the very first Parliament that he held in England, I cannot forbear thinking that it was the King's Book and Judgment, more than any encrease of Witches, that influenced the Parliament to the changing their old Law. I am the more confirm'd in this Opinion, because the very Body of our Statute agrees with the Confession of the Scotch Witch that he examin'd. For, as we find it in Mr. Glanvil's Collection, Agnes Symson told him, She had been at Church at Eleven of the Clock at Night, with above a hundred other Witches. They had black Candles, she said, set round the Pulpit; and the Devil in a black Gown and Hat, preach'd to them, that they should keep his Commandment, of doing all the Ill they could. Then they open'd three Graves, and took the Fingers, and Toes, and Noses of the dead People: and she had a Winding-Sheet, and
Page 254 two Joints for her Share. After that they kissed the Devil's Back-side, and went home. Now whether the old Woman had been at some Burying, and dreamed of the Funeral, I know not: But our Statute seems plainly to be taken from this; for the Words are, If any shall take up any dead Man, Woman, or Child, out of his, or her, or their Grave, or any other Place, where the dead Body resteth, or the Skin, Bone, or any other part of any dead Person, to be employed or used in any manner of Witchcraft, Enchantment, Charm, or Sorcery, and c. Now comparing these Things together, I cannot but think, that if King James himself was not the first Mover and Director in this Change of the Statute, yet there might probably be a De sign of making Court to the King by it. And I must add, that the Translation of our Bible being made soon after, by King James's particular Desire, hath received some Phrases that favor the vulgar Notions more than the old Translation did. At that unhappy Time was brought in that gross Notion of a Familiar Spirit, tho' the Hebrew Word hath no Epithet at all, and should rather have been translated into some of those Words that signify a cheating Ventriloquist. Some other Changes were made besides that; and, considering its Excellence in general, I cannot but impute its Disadvantage in this Respect, to the great Reverence they had to the King's Judgment, and the Testimony he gave them of Facts from Scotland. Jurym. I am the apter to believe this Account,
Page 255 because I have often heard, that our Law did come from thence. Clerg. And whether it did or no, it is not greatly material. We are free for all that to use our own Reason in judging, which Notion of Witchcraft agrees best with the Nature of Things, as we see them before our Faces: And if the more cautious Notions be the more probable and safe, we are free to take them, tho' our Statute be grounded upon Supposition of the Vulgar. I have heard, that King James himself came off very much from these Notions in his elder Years; but when Laws and Translations are fix'd, it is a difficult Thing to change them. Jurym. There is one Question which you have partly answer'd already; and yet I desire leave to put it more particularly. If these Notions that you have defended were to prevail, they would make the Prosecutions of Witches very difficult; and would not the Number of such People encrease upon us to our great Danger? Clerg. Through the Wisdom of our Government, we have had a pretty large Experience of this way of dealing with them; and let Mr. Advocate be judge, whether we are not as free from Witches here in England, as they are is Scotland, where, till of late, they have been more zealous in their Prosecutions? Are not our good Women delivered with as much Ease and Safety now, as they were in 1559, when it was put into the Articles of Visitations, that they should enquire, Whether any Sorcerers hurt the Women in the Time of Travel? Do
Page 256 not our Frosts, and Distempers, and Diseases upon Cattle, pass off as kindly, and as soon, as they did in Germany, when they dug Witches out of their Graves to dissolve their Charms? And therefore I am not in fear of any Damage on that side. Not that I would have our cheating Fortune-tellers, Jugglers, pretended Conjurers, Witch-Doctors, Gypsies, Calculators of Nativities, or any that are guilty of cruel Curses and Threatnings, or any real outward Acts of Sorcery, to be suffered unpunished. I am so far from that, that I heartily wish the Grand Juries would present such Misdemeanors, and have them punished more severely than they are: But then I am so far from wishing to see eager Prosecutions of old Women upon the vulgar Notions, and by the common Tryals, that I rather wish there was a Bar put, that they might not break out upon us in any unsettled Time. These Doctrines have often been made Party-Causes both in our own and other Nations. One side lays hold of them as Arguments of greater Faith and Orthodoxy, and closer Adherence to Scripture, and calls the other Atheists, Sadducees and Infidels. The People easily fall in with such popular Pretences; and not only those that stand in the Prosecutor's Way, and a few suspected Persons are facrific'd, but sometimes Governments are shaken, if they oppose their Notions. Our present Freedom from these Evils are no Security that such a Time may not turn up in one Revolution or another; and it may be worth our Consideration, whether in such a Juncture, the Lives of
Page 257 Men would not be better secur'd under the Fence of a wise and well-consider'd Law, rather than under a superstitious, tho' well-meant Statute. But this is more proper for those to whose care such Works belong; and to their Judgment I leave it, asking Pardon for what I have said, if this Suggestion be thought too much. C H A P. XV. Being a Collection of some notorious Impostures Detected. Jurym. I Begin to think that you have gone through all Points that need clearing in this Matter. You have consider'd the Case of natural Causes, and shown how much farther they reach than is generally thought. You have traced it historically, and shewn the first Rise, Increase and Declension of those Notions. You have examin'd and confuted the Principles that they were grounded upon. You have clear'd the Texts of Scripture that relate to this Matter; and given Account how we came to have such an Act of Parliament; and yet let me tell you, That the Word Witch in Scripture, with two or three odd Accidents, and a frightful Story, shall weigh down all your Arguments with our Country People; and I am afraid there is no way to prevent it. Clerg. No way of Reasoning and Argument, for that never comes before many of them; and
Page 258 if it did, it is too long and difficult for them to judge of: But there is a shorter, and yet a just Way, that would do it effectually, if Magistrates and wise Men will use it. Adv. What Way may that be? For these Notions, and the cruel Executions that follow them, are not such honorable or desirable Things; but that even in Scotland, we should be glad to be free from them, if we can be so, without losing our Faith and Virtue. Clerg. The Way that I mean will neither lose nor lessen either. It is only that which I have several Times hinted already, even a fair and impartial Execution of the Law, without respect of Persons. Let forward and superstitious People feel a little of the effect of their own Notions. As our excellent Lord Chief Justice hath let them know, that wilful Drowning is wilful Murder; let them find it so effectually in two or three Instances. As it is not only my Judgment, but the Opinion of all that I have consulted, That Scratching to draw Blood; Setting the Bottle and Urine; Burning of Cakes; Hanging of Blankets, and c. are Acts of Sorcery, and Charms to employ Spirits; and, according to some Notions, are implicit Compacts, and certainly within the Statute, and yet commonly practis'd by the Accusers; though the Severity of the Law may be too hard to be let loose upon them, let the gentlest part of it, that of the Pillory, be put in Execution.
Page 259 As they bring a very sad Calamity, worse than natural Death to the poor Creatures whose good Name they take away; let but the same Remedy be used that was at Boston in New-England; clap but an Action of Defamation upon the Backs of those that call Witch, and cannot prove their Words, and these will clear their Understandings, and make them take care to go upon sober and accountable Grounds in Accusations. But as the Success of this must be left to Time, and as my Neighbour rightly takes Notice, That with the generality of Mankind, a frightful Story weighs more than the clearest Reason; for their present Help, I will take that Course, which is the likeliest Way that I know of; and that is, to set Story against Story. And therefore, beside the Cases which I have consider'd, and, I hope, confuted already, I will give you some famous Relations of Impostures and Delusions that have been detected beyond Doubt or Question. Adv. And then I suppose you will make your Inference; that because there are a Multitude of Bristol Stones, there are no true Diamonds in Nature. Jurym. I pray, Mr. Advocate, dare not you say the Sea is salt, because you have not tasted of all the Water? If there be an Error in this Case of Witchcraft, are you resolv'd to keep it till you have a particular Confutation of every Tale that was ever told? You are in a bad Way, if that be your Resolution; and therefore, I
Page 260 beg of you, good Sir, to give us Account of those Detections you mention'd. Clerg. I will do it very willingly; for I think they are the proper close and finishing Stroke of the Probation foregoing: And as our Forefathers took great Care to print and fix them for a Testimony of what they had seen in their Days; I think they ought to be preserv'd with Diligence. When Truth is found out in any difficult Case, it ought to be preserv'd with as much Care, as Ground gain'd from an Enemy: And as there is no Sect or Side, but which, in their Turns, have had their Share in these Mistakes or Faults, I shall put them down near the Order of Time, as they have come to my Knowledge; and as I have not past over those, where even our own Clergy have been concern'd, others will have more Reason to bear with Patience those Relations that are needful for their future Caution. The First RELATION, Shall be of the Maid of Kent, in the Reign of Henry the VIIIth. taken out of the late Bishop of Salisbury's History of the Reformation. Part I. ELizabeth Barton of Kent, in the Parish of Aldington, being sick, and distemper'd in her Brain, fell in some Trances, (it seems by the Symptoms they were Hysterical Fits) and spoke many Words, that made great Impressions on
Page 261 some about her, who thought her inspired of God; and Richard Master, Parson of the Parish, hoping to draw great Advantages from this, went to Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, and gave him a large Account of her Speeches; who ordered him to attend her carefully, and bring him a farther Report of any new Trances she might afterward fall into. But she had forgot all she said in her Fits; yet the crafty Priest would not let it go so, but persuaded her, that what she said, was by the Inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and that she ought to own that it was so. Upon which he taught her to counterfeit such Trances, and to utter such Speeches as she had done before; so that after a while's Practice, she became very ready at it. The Thing was much noised abroad, and many came to see her; but the Priest having a mind to raise the Reputation of an Image of the Blessed Virgin, which was in a Chapel within his Parish, that so Pilgrimages being made to it, he might draw those Advantages from it that others made from their famed Images; he chose for his Associate one Doctor Bocking, a Canon of Christ-Church in Canterbury. Upon which they instructed her to say in her counterfeited Trances, that the Blessed Virgin had appeared to her, and told her she could never recover, till she went and visited her Image in that Chapel. They had also taught her in her Fits, to make strange Motions with her Body, by which she was much disfigured, and to speak many godly Words against Sin, and the new Doctrines, which were called Heresies,
Page 262 as also against the King's Suit of Divorce. It was also noised abroad, on what Day she intended to go and visit the Image of the Virgin; so that about two Thousand People were gathered together, and she being brought to the Chapel, fell into her Fits, and made many strange Grimaces, and Alterations of her Body, and spoke many Words of great Piety, saying, That by the Inspiration of God, she was called to be a religious Woman, and that Bocking was to be her Ghostly Father. And within a little while she seemed, by the Intercession of our Lady, to be perfectly recovered of her former Distempers, and she afterwards professed a religious Life: There were also violent Suspicions of her Incontinency, and that Bocking was a Carnal as well as a Spiritual Father. She fell in many Raptures, and pretended she saw strange Visions, heard heavenly Melody, and had the Revelation of many Things that were to come; so that great Credit was given to what she said, and People generally looked on her as a Prophetess, and among those, the late Archbishop of Canterbury was led away with the rest. A Book was writ of her Revelations and Prophecies, by one Deering, another Monk, who was taken into the Conspiracy, with many others. It was also given out, That Mary Magdalen gave her a Letter that was writ in Heaven, which was shewed to many, being all writ in Golden Letters. She pretended, when the King was last at Calais, that he being at Mass, an Angel brought away the Sacrament and gave it to her, being then
Page 263 invisibly present, and that she was presently brought over the Sea to her Monastery again. But the Design of all these Trances was to alienate the People from their Duty to the King; for the Maid gave it out, that God revealed to her, That if the King went on in the Divorce, and marry'd another Wife, he should not be King a Month longer, and in the Reputation of Almighty God, not one Hour longer, but should die a Villain's Death. This she said was revealed to her, in answer to the Prayers she had put up to God, to know whether he approved of the King's Proceedings or not. In November 1533, Henry the VIIIth being King at that time, ordered, that the Maid and her Complices, Richard Master, Doctor Bocking, Richard Deering, Henry Gold, a Parson in London, Hugh Rich an observant Fryar, Richard Risby, Thomas Gold and Edward Twaites, Gentlemen, and Thomas Laurence, should be brought into the Star-Chamber, where there was a great Appearance of many Lords. They were examined upon the Premises, and did all, without any Rack or Torture, confess the whole Conspiracy, and were adjudged to stand in St. Paul's at the Sermon-time; and after Sermon, the King's Officers were to give every one of them his Bill of Confession, to be openly read before the People, which was done next Sunday, the Bishop of Bangor preaching, they being all set in a Scaffold before him. This public manner was thought upon good grounds to be the best way to satisfied the People of the
Page 264 Imposture of the whole Matter; and it did very much convince them, that the Cause must needs be bad, where such Methods were used to support it. Soon after that, on the 20th of April, 1534, the Nun and Bocking, Master, Deering, Risby and Gold, were brought to Tyburn; the Nun spoke these Words, "Hither I am come to die, and I have not been only the Cause of my own Death, which most justly I have deserved, but also I am the Cause of the Death of all these Persons, which at this Time here suffer. And yet to say the Truth, I am not so much to be blamed, considering that it was well known to these learned Men, that I was a poor Wench without Learning, and therefore they might easily have perceived, that the Things that were done by me, could not proceed in such sort; but their Capacities and Learning could right well judge from whence they proceeded, and that they were altogether feigned: But because the Thing which I feigned was profitable to them, therefore they much praised me, and bore me in Hand, that it was the Holy Ghost, and not I, that did them; and then I being puffed up with their Praises, fell into a certain Pride and foolish Fantasy with my self, and thought I might feign what I would, which Thing hath brought me to this Case; and for which I now cry God and the King's Highness most heartily Mercy; and desire you all good People, to pray to God to have Mercy
Page 265 upon me, and on all them that here suffer with me." The Second RELATION. This following Detection is taken out of the Discovery of Witchcraft by Reginald Scot, Esq; lib. 7. c. 1, 2. and is confirmed by Dr. Harsnet, in his Discovery of the fraudulent Practices of Mr. Darrel. Here first follows the Narrative as printed by the Actors, October 13, Anno Domini, 1574. MIldred, the base Daughter of Alice Norrington, and now Servant to William spooler of Westwell, in the County of Kent, being of the Age of Seventeen Years, was possessed with Satan. On the 13th of October, 1574, about Two of the Clock in the Afternoon of the same Day, there came to the same Spooner's House, Roger Newman, Minister of West-well, John Brainford, Minister of Kenington, with others, whose Names are under-written, who made their Prayers unto God, to assist them in that needful Case; and then commanded Satan, in the Name of the eternal God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, to speak with such a Voice as they might understand, and to declare from
Page 266 whence he came, but he would not speak, but roared and cryed mightily: And tho' we did command him many times, in the Name of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, and in his mighty Power to speak, yet he would not, until he had gone through all his Delays, as roaring, crying, striving, and gnashing of Teeth, and otherwise, with mowing, and other terrible Countenances, and was so strong in the Maid, that four Men could scarce hold her down. And this continued by the Space of almost Two Hours: So sometimes we charged him carnestly to speak, and again praying unto God that he would assist us: At the last he spoke but very strangely, and that was thus; He comes, he comes: And that oftentimes he repeated; and he goes, he goes: And then we charged him to tell us who sent him; and he said, I lay in her Way like a Log, and I made her run like Fire; but I could not hurt her: And why so? said we; Because God kept her, said he. We then camest thou to her? said we; To Night in her Bed; said he. Then we charged him as before, to tell what he was, and who sent him, and what his Name was? At first he said, the Devil, the Devil: Then we charged him as before; then he roared and cryed as before, and spoke terrible Words, I will kill her, I will kill her; I will tear her in pieces, I will tear her in pieces. We said, Thou shalt not hurt her: He said, I will kill you all: We said, Thou shalt hurt none of us all: Then we charged him as before: Then he said, You will
Page 267 give me no Rest: We said, Thou shalt have none here; for thou must have no Rest within the Servants of God: But tell us, in the Name of God, what thou art, and who sent thee? Then he said, He would tear her in pieces: We said, Thou shalt not hurt her: Then he said again, He would kill us all: We said again, Thou shalt hurt none of us all; for we are the Servants of God; and we charged him as before: And he said again, Will you give me no Rest? We said, Thou shalt have none here, neither shalt thou rest in her; for thou hast no right in her, since Jesus Christ hath redeemed her with his Blood, and she belongeth to him, and therefore tell us thy Name, and who sent thee? He said, His Name was Satan: We said, Who sent thee? He said Old Alice, Old Alice: Which Old Alice? said we; Old Alice, said he: Where dwelleth she? said we; In West well street, said he. We said, How long hast thou been with her? These twenty Years, said he. We asked, Where she did keep him? In Two Bottles, said he: Where be they? said we; In the Backside of her House, said he: In what Place? said we; Under the Wall, said he: Where is the other? In Kenington: In what Place? said we; In the Ground, said he: Then we ask'd him, What she did give him? he said, Her Will, her Will: What did she bid thee do? said we; he said, Kill her Maid: Wherefore did she bid thee kill her? said we; Because she did not love her. We said, How long is it ago, since she sent thee to her? More than a Year, said he: Where
Page 268 was that? said we; At her Mistress Brainford's at Kenington, said he: How oft wert thou there? said we; Many times, said he: Where first? said we; In the Garden, said he: Where the second time? In the Hall: Where the third time? In her Bed: Where the fourth time? In the Field: Where the fifth time? In the Court: Where the sixth time? In the Water, where I cast her into the Mote: Where the seventh time? In her Bed: We asked him again, Where else? he said, In Westwell: Where there? said we? In the Vicarage, said he: Where there? In the Loft: How camest thou to her? said we; In the Likeness of two Birds, said he: Who sent thee to that Place? said we; Old Alice, said he: What other Spirit was with thee there? said we; My Servant, said he: What is his Name? said we; he said, Little Devil: What is thy Name? said we; Satan, said he: What doth old Alice call thee? said we; Partner, said he: What doth she give thee? said we; Her Will, said he: How many hast thou killed for her? said we: Three, said he: Who are they? said we; A Man and his Child, said he: What were their Names? said we; The Child's Name was Edward, said he: What more than Edward? said we; Edward Ager, said he: What was the Man's Name? said we; Richard, said he: What more? said we; Richard Ager, said he: Where dwelt the Man and the Child? said we; At Dig, at Dig, said he: This Richard Ager of Dig, was a Gentleman of forty Pounds Land
Page 269 by the Year; a very honest Man, but would often say he was bewitched, and languished long before he died. Whom else hast thou killed for her? said we; Wolton's Wife, said he: Where did she dwell? In Westwell, said he: What else hast thou done for her? said we; What she would have me, said he: What is that? said we; To fetch her Meat, Drink, and Corn, said he: Where hadst thou it? said we; In every House, said he: Name the Houses? said we; At Potman's, at Farm's, at Millen's, at Fuller's, and at every House: After this, we commanded Satan, in the Name of Jesus Christ, to depart from her, and never to trouble her any more, nor any Man else; then he said, He would go; he would go; but he went not: Then we commanded him as before, with some more Words; then he said, I go, I go; and so he departed: Then said the Maid, He is gone, Lord have Mercy upon me; for he would have killed me; and then we kneeled down, and gave God Thanks with the Maiden; praying that God would keep her from Satan's Power, and assist her with his Grace. And noting this in a piece of Paper, we departed. Satan's Voice did differ much from the Maid's Voice; and all that he spake was in his own Name. Subscribed thus. Witnesses to this, that heard and saw this whole Matter, as followeth; Roger Newman, Vicar of Westwell. John Brainford, Vicar of Kenington.
Page 270 Thomas Taylor. Henry Taylor's Wife. John Taylor. Thomas Frenchborn's Wife. William Spooner. John Frenchborn, and his Wife. After this Account at large of her Case, Mr. Scot proceeds: Upon the Bruit of her Divinity, and miraculous Trances, she was converted before Mr. Thomas Wotton of Bocton Malberb, a Man of great Worship and Wisdom, and, for deciding and ordering of Matters, of rare and singular Dexterity; through whose discreet handling of the Matter, with the Assistance and Aid of George Darrel, Esq; being also a right, good, and discreet Justice of the same limit, the Fraud was found, and the Cozenage confessed, and the received condign Punishment: Neither was her Confession won, according to the Form of the Spanish Inquisition, through Extremity of Tortures, nor yet by Guile, or Flattery, nor by Presumptions, but through wise and perfect Trial of every Circumstance, the Illusion was manifestly disclosed. After her due Tryal, she shewed her Feats, Illusions, and Trances, with the Residue of all her miraculous Works, in the Presence of divers Gentlemen of great Worship and Credit, at Bocton Malherb, in the House of the said Mr. Wotton. Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, Book VII. First and Second Chapters.
Page 271 The Third RELATION. Of the IMPOSTURE of William Somers of Nottingham, pretended to be dispossess'd by Mr. John Darrel. IN this following Relation I must crave the Reader's Patience, tho' I be particular and large: For it is a Case that hath been famous, and often disputed. Our Seventy-second Canon was made immediately after it, and very much upon the account of that, and some Popish Impostures, printed in the Compassionate Address to Papists. And the Author of the Complete History of Witchcraft, and c. hath now, after so many Years, reprinted the Depositions of seventeen Witnesses, to confirm the Truth of the Fact, without ever taking notice of those plain Detections that you will find after them: And as, I believe, it will both raise your Indignation at this Author, and let you see the Necessity there is, that it should be answered, I beg leave to take my Account from the beginning of Mr. Darrel's Practice and foul Dealings in this Matter. Mr. John Darrel, the chief Actor in what follows, was first enter'd into the Study of the Common Law. He spent one Year in it; but in the 30th Page of his Detection, he saith, God withdrew him from it, by laying a strange and extraordinary Sluggishness upon him in that Study.
Page 272 It is hard to guess, by what Rules of Scripture or sound Reason, he could conclude, that an extraordinary Sluggishness was an Indication, that Providence designed him for a Divine: It seems rather a Touch of that rash Enthusiastic Judgment, that troubled the World so much afterward. But however, the Notion was strong with him, that we find him soon after a Preacher amongst those, that, in that Age, were called Puritans; and his Behavior in the Ministry was suitable to the Reason of his Entrance; for one of the first Works he undertook, was, a casting out of Devils. For when he lived at Mansfield, of the Age of four and twenty, one Katherine Wright, a Girl of seventeen, happened to have her Belly swell, and not like one with Child, but as having some hysteric Distemper, and a Motion sometimes in it; and going to a Well for Water, she fancied she saw a Child without Feet: After that she had Fits, and thought she saw Shapes and Apparitions: and she confessed afterwards, that finding that this made a severe Father-in-Law more kind, she made her Fits more, and worse than they were. This young Woman was brought to Mansfield, to young Mr. Darrel, who, some way or other, even then, had made himself known for a Man of Hope, as they express'd it, for the relieving those that were distressed in that sort. Now a wise Man would have thought, a young Woman, of that Age, swelled in that manner, had had the Green Sickness, and that the Child without Legs, might be her own Image
Page 273 in the Water: For when any see themselves in a Well, the Legs are out of Sight. But Mr. Darrel's Notions led him the other way; for he gave his Opinion, that her Trouble was from the Devil: and he, and his Wife, with three or four of the Family, kept a Day of Prayer for her; and beginning at four of the Clock in the Morning, by Noon she was thought to be dispossess'd. And to pass over many Follies that shew'd both great Ignorance and Presumption; one was, that upon the Suggestion of that Maid, he accus'd one Margaret Roper, for sending the Spirit into her by Witchcraft, and carrying her before one Mr. Fouliamb, a Justice of Peace; Mr. Fouliamb perceiving how Matters had been carry'd, discharg'd the poor Woman, and threatned to send him to Jail, if he demean'd himself no better. Such a just Reproof, from a sober Magistrate, might have curd a young Man of such Enthusiastical ill-grounded Notions: And very likely it did for some time; for we find no more Actions of this sort till ten Years after. Then, being in a new Place, and Mr. Fouliamb being dead, he got a fresh Credit from the Boy of Burton; and the same Year he was thought to have dispossess'd seven in one Mr. Starky's Family in Lancashire: and by them gave the Common-Prayer Book a great Foil: for they found by Experience, that stinted Prayers, read out of a Book, had little Effect upon the Spirits: but at conceived Prayers, the Parties were
Page 274 much troubled. But I will pass over these Facts, and come to his two last; for if the first and last be found Counterfeits, I will trust it to the Reader's Judgment to think, whether the middle was much better: and besides, the last contains more Variety; for the Dæmoniack being a Fidler's Boy, that was strong and nimble, and a crafty Mimick, the Devil was thought to shew himself more plainly in him; for in our modern Possessions, such as the Dæmoniack is, such is the Dæmon. To come then to the Case of William Somers, and his Sister-in Law, Mary Cowper; and that I may not mingle any thing that may be thought doubtful, I will pass over some Depositions of Somers, in which he charges Mr. Darrel to have fore-instructed, and taught him, before ever he began to counterfeit. Not but there are considerable Probabilities even of that; but as that rests, as it must needs, upon the Boy's own Testimony, and because one cannot be sure but that to extenuate his own Fault, he might make Mr. Darrel worse than he was; therefore I will let that Part pass, and come to those things, where the Boy's Testimony was confirm'd by Notoriety of the Fact, and other Witnesses, and Mr. Darrel's own Examination, and Books. This Case of William Somers happen'd towards the latter end of Queen Elizabeth's Reign; he was a Servant to one Mr. Brakenbury, near Asbby-de-la-zouch, the Place where Mr. Darrel, about that time, lived. He had
Page 275 some odd kind of Fits there, which Mr. Darrel afterward believed was a Possession. He was turned out of his Place for them, and having no Exorcist, was well of himself for several Years: From Mr. Brakenbury's, he came to Nottingham, to one Robert Cowper, his Father-in-Law; and his Mother bound him Apprentice to one Thomas Porter, one of the Town-Musick. After some time, he ran away from him, and came back; ran away again, but returned to him again, designing to serve out his Time; but understanding that his Master would make him stay till he had made up the Time he lost; to make his Master glad to be rid of him, he pretended himself sick; and having really got cold in the Water, he huffed up his Belly, and made it move, and practiced the same Tricks he had done at Mr. Brakenbury's. Some that came to see him, said he was possess'd, and brought with them a Book, Of the Witches of Warbois, and Mr. Throgmorton's Children; and by that he learned several things, and said, he was bewitched by an old Woman that he had met with, because he would not give her a Hatband that he had found. Mr. Darrel had a Sister lived then in Nottingham, and she said her Brother had cured nine such Persons; and upon that, Somers, in his Fits, called for Darrel, Darrel. If it was a Devil, he had a great mind to be cast out. He liked Mr. Darrel's way: For it appeared afterward, that he had known Mr. Darrel before, at Asbby-de-la-zouch, and he would not rest
Page 276 now till Mr. Darrel was sent for. Whereupon, not the Mayor and Aldermen of Nottingham, as this new Author boldly affirms, but a Sister of Mr. Darrel's, that lived in Nottingham, and Mr. Aldridge, Vicar of St. Mary's, wrote to Mr. Darrel to come, and he came the fifth of November, 1597. Since the Gift of discerning Spirits is ceased in the Church, it is a Matter of very great difficulty to distinguish betwixt Possession, and some Efforts of our own Souls in some Diseases. Wise Men therefore, in Cases of that Nature, are slow in determining: But Mr. Darrel, before he came thither, at a Friend's House, where he called, declared his Belief of the Possession, his purpose for a Fast; and that he did not doubt the Boy's Deliverance. When he came to Nottingham, before ever he saw him, he told the Boy's Friends that he was possess'd. When he had seen him, the very first Night, he declared the same, and added, that the Boy was senseless in his Fits; and that what he spoke, was not from himself, but the Devil. When he asked Somers, How he did? and he said, Well: Mr. Darrel answered, that it was not he, but the Devil that said so. Again, he told in Somers's hearing, how he was like the Boy of Burton, and Catherine Wright, and the seven in Lancashire; that he would be much worse than he was yet; would lie in a Trance, when the Devil went out: and how all the rest had seen the Devil go out in the Likeness of some Creatures. The Shapes that the other Spirits were said to go
Page 277 out in, were these, a Mouse, a Man with a Hunch-back higher than his Head, an ugly Man with a white Beard, a Crow's Head round, a great Breath, ugly like a Toad, an Urchin, and c He told also, in Somers's hearing, many other things that the other possess'd Persons had done; as casting themselves into the Fire and Water, gnashing with their Teeth, writhing their Necks, as if their Faces stood backward, drawing their Mouths awry, foaming; and that Satan used by Gestures to shew the particular Sins that reigned in the Places where they dwelt. Mr. Darrel complains greatly for being charged with teaching his Patients to counterfeit: But this is teaching, speaking such things before them is sufficient teaching. It doth not appear, that any of the Popish Priests, who were detected about the same time, desired any of their Patients, in plain Words, to counterfeit; but only they managed them, and told Stories before them, and foretold how it would be with them; and all that Mr. Darrel did, before many Witnesses, besides many private Conferences, in which the Parties say they learned of him more plainly. The Day after, that is, the sixth of November, being Sunday, Mr. Darrel was again with Somers, and he had his Fits. Mr. Darrel persuaded all People to beware of Sin; for Somers, he said, was afflicted for the Sins of Nottingham: And God had made even the Devil a Preacher to deter them from them. At this time, as he had done the Night before, Somers acted by
Page 278 Signs all the Sins of Nottingham, and Mr. Darrel explained them to the People, as Somers acted them. Mr. Aldridge, Minister of the Parish, used the Argument afterward in his Sermon in Church: and a Ballad was made upon the same Subject. Part of it was thus; But when that Mr. Darrel came, The Devil was vexed with the same. His Limbs he rack'd, he rent, he tore, Far worser than he did before: He play'd the Antick there in Scorns, And flouted Men, in making Horns: And after that, he did betray, How Men at Cards and Dice do play. He shewed the manner of our Fardingales, Our Busks, and Perriwigs, Masks, and Vales; And by clapping of his Hands, He shew'd the starching of our Bands. When Mr. Darrel, by these Explications, and much talk of his dispossessing others, had raised the Expectation of the People, he appointed a Fast to be kept the next Day, being the seventh of November, and desired all the People to refrain from the Company of their Wives that Night, and the next Day they would see strange things; and that, if it stood with the Glory of God, they would see both the Signs of Possession, and Dispossession; and intimated how unwilling the Boy would be to come to the House appointed.
Page 279 On the Morning, Somers made as much Resistance as Mr. Darrel had said he would, but was brought struggling upon seven Mens Shoulders, and laid upon a Bed prepar'd before them, with some about to hold him. There were two Sermons preached; the first by one Mr. Aldred; the second by Mr. Darrel. At Mr. Aldred's Sermon Somers lay still, excepting a little Struggle now and then: But when Mr. Darrel began, he roused up himself, and Mr. Darrel declaring fourteen Signs of Possession, leisurely, one after another; Somers shew'd all the fourteen as Mr. Darrel spoke them: He tore; he foamed; he wallowed; his Face was drawn a-wry; his Eyes would stare, and his Tongue hang out; he had a swelling would seem to run from his Fore-head, down by his Ear and Throat, and through his Belly and Thighs, to the Calf of his Legs; he would speak with his Mouth scarce moving; and when they looked, his Tongue would seem drawn down his Throat; he would try to cast himself into the Fire and Water; he would seem heavy, that they could not lift him, and his Joints stiff, that they could not bend them. After this, Mr. Darrel told them, That as they perceived by these, that he was really possess'd; so now, if it stood with the Glory of God, they should see the Signs of his Deliverance. The three Signs of that were, Crying, Rending, and Lying as dead; and Mr. Darrel speaking concerning these leisurely; when he discoursed concerning Crying; then Somers cryed;
Page 280 when of Rending; he tore his Doublet: and when of lying as if dead; he lay as if he was dead for half a quarter of an Hour. Upon this there was suddenly a great Noise amongst the People, Crying, and Praying, and Astonished. Mr. Darrel stood with his Hands lift up to Heaven; and two that were there confessed their Sins before the Company, being about one hundred and fifty; and when Somers came to himself, he was thought to be well: But Mr. Darrel put them in mind, in Somers's hearing, how the Devil, very likely, would appear to him in several Shapes, and make great Promises, and seek to repossess him; and therefore he must be watchful. About a Week after, Mr. Darrel was chose Preacher of St. Mary's in Nottingham, and People flocked to hear him, where he entertained them with Sermons of Devils, and Possessions, and Somers's Case, till the Maids were afraid to fetch Beer out of the Cellars, without Company with them. In this same Week, Mr. Darrel bought out Somers's Time from his Master, and placed him with his Father-in-Law, Robert Cowper, and made a Collection for the Cloathing of the Boy, and his Board at Cowper's, for he promised he should be no loser. About three or four Days after his Dispossession, as Mr. Darrel had been often talking of his Repossession; so the Boy began to start, and talk of a black Dog that offered him Gold and Ginger. He said the Devil came with six more
Page 281 in Shapes like a Cock, a Crane, a Snake, an Angel, a Toad, a Newt, a Set of Viols and Dancers. So that he had now his Fits again; and once lying under a Coverlet, and making some accidental Motion, as they thought him senseless, Mr. Darrel said it was the Devil made that Motion. The Boy hearing that, made other Motions with his Hands and Knees, and Noises with his Toes, and the Company said they were Spirits, like Whelps and Kitlings. They played these Tricks a Fortnight; and if any caught hold of his Knee, they said the Devil would mingle such Things, to make them think that all was counterfeit. Another Fortinight they spent in discovering Witches; for Mr. Darrel having said before Somers, that Possess'd Persons used to discover Witches, he named many that he had heard reputed bad, and threw himself into Fits at their coming; and thirteen were sent to Jail. But some that always thought he counterfeited, brought in one of the supposed Witches privately, under a Cloak, and then he never stirred. Three or four such Tricks were put upon him, but they had always their Excuses ready, That the Devil would put in some such Appearances of Counterfeiting, to save the Witches, and make God's Works be disbelieved. This William Somers had a Sister that was often with him, and Mr. Darrel bid her be very careful of her self; for the Devil used to possess more than one in a Family. A little before Christmas she had a Child died, the Death of
Page 282 which made her ill at ease, and some Women told her, she was worse than she thought. Some Disorder that she had, made her Belly swell, that she thought she was with Child. Mr. Darrel said, It was no Child, but such a Child as God bless every good Body from. Upon this, as she deposed afterward in her Confession, guessing that Mr. Darrel had a mind that the should do as her Brother did, she began to tumble, and toss, and talk idly, and laugh; and Mr. Darrel said, Certainly that laughing was from the Devil. Once she had a Company of Women about her, in Expectation that she should be delivered of some monstrous Thing; and she said, she could not forbear laughing to see how busy they were; and, said she, my laughing they termed my Fit, and cried, Lord bless her, Lord save her, she is in a fore Fit; and when she was weary, and lay still, then they said, she was in a Trance. But as Accusations of Witches are usually soon discovered when they come to the better Sort, so was it here; for this Mary Cowper accused one Alice Freeman, who though poor and old, yet was Sister to one of the Aldermen, but was committed to Jail, and in great Danger. Soon after her Confinement, her Brother having Intimation of Somers's Counterfeiting, prevailed with the Mayor, and some other Aldermen, to remove him to the Work House, where he might be out of Mr. Darrel's Hands, and be observed better. When he was there, he had his Fits: But one Nicholas Shepherd told him, if he would
Page 283 not leave and rise up, he would set such a Pair of Knip-knaps upon him, as should make him rue it: And the Boy, being loath to venture him, lest he should be as good as his Word, rose up before them, and being weary of Mr. Darrel's Practices, he confessed his Dissimulation: And they promising to speak for him to the Mayor, that he might not be punished, he voluntarily acted over all his Tricks before them. They gave the Mayor an Account of what had passed; and he confessed the same before him, and some of the Aldermen: And shewed them the several Ways how he had swallowed his Tongue, and foamed, and made the Swelling, and acted all before them: And as once before he had been taken with black Lead in his Mouth, in the Time of his Fits, he confessed that he used it to help him to foam the more easily. One would have thought such Demonstrations as these should have put an end to a bad Practice; for one can hardly think what plainer Proof could be made of an Imposture: But Mr. Darrel hath convinced us, that Evasions and Cavils are endless; for he found out Answers, and both in the Pulpit, and out of the Pulpit, maintain'd the Possession, whether the Boy would or no. He said, the Devil was more in him now than before. He said, he Possess'd his Soul; that it was a new Compact betwixt the Devil and him, to obscure the Work of God: For this Dispossession, he said, had been a most glorious Work; the like to it had not been since the Reformation; it strengthened our Hands against
Page 284 the Papists, who upbraided us for want of such Works; it gave Proof to the Gospel, the Word that they Preached; and therefore the Devil helped the Boy to Counterfeit, on purpose that God might lose the Glory. Upon this Bottom he plied Somers with Threats and Persuasions to make him revoke his Confession; and, in hopes to free himself from farther Trouble, the Boy wrote to Mr. Darrel this Letter following. "Mr. Darrel, my hearty Commendations unto you. This is to desire you, that you would let me be at quiet: For whereas you said that I was possessed, I was not; and for those Tricks that I did before you came, was through Folks Speeches that came to me: And those that I did since, was through your Speeches, and others. For as you said I could not hear, I did hear all Things that were done in the House, and all Things that I did were Counterfeit: And I pray you to let it pass; for the more you meddle in it, the more discredit it will be for you: And I pray God, and you, and all the World to forgive me." Mr. Darrel, in his Examination owned, that he received this Letter; and that, notwithstanding that, he persuaded the Boy to revoke his Confession; and defended what he had done with that Assurance, that the Archbishop of York granted a Commission of Gentlemen and Clergymen, to enquire into the Truth of what had past. The Commission was appointed to sit on
Page 285 the 21st of March. The Boy resolved to stand to the Truth of what he had Confessed, and agreed to fall into his Fits before the Commissioners, and come out of them at Mr. Mayor's Word; who had notice, that he might call when he thought most proper: And on the other side, Mr. Darrel's Friends were not wanting to do far more than was just and fair; for two of the Commissioners, Sir John Byrom for one, riding by the Work-House a Day or two before, called for the Boy, and told him, That if he was found to have Counterfeited, he deserved to be hanged. Many others threatened him as much. At the Day appointed the Commission fat. The Boy, according to Agreement, fell into his Fits, as strange as ever he had had before. He was pricked with Pins, and did not stir; Mr. Darrel saith, he did not bleed. Somers listened when the Mayor should call; but the Company being persuaded of the reality of his Fits, expressed themselves with such Violence and Anger at those that had believed otherwise, that the Mayor would not meddle, and did not call him. The Boy being at a loss what to do, because the Mayor had failed him, and hearing People talk as they did, and remembering Sir John Byrom's Words, and others Threatenings; and finding, to his Wonder, that even his Confession could not be believed, he resolved to dissemble again, since they liked that better, and accordingly when he rose up, he said his Possession was true, and he was no Counterfeit. Seventeen of Mr. Darrel's Witnesses were examined,
Page 286 and describing his Fits, according as their Fear and Zeal had fancied; their Depositions made a strange Appearance, and are those that the Author of the Compleat History hath printed, without taking notice of the following Detections, which convinced even those very Witnesses of his Falsehood. But in the mean Time their Depositions, and Somers's new Behaviour, made such a face of Things, that the Commissioners declared in Mr. Darrel's Favour, and for the Truth of the Possession; and ordered Somers to a House, where Mr. Darrel desired he might be. And now William is possessed again: And tho' while he was at the Work-House, he said he was not possessed, and confirmed his Words by keeping from his Fits for a Month together, excepting when he acted them at their desire; yet now he is a Dæmoniack again, and had his Fits afresh; and Mr. Darrel and his Friends, to establish him in his present Way, promised, that as soon as the Assizes were over, which were then at hand, he should have another Fast for his Dispossession, and then should have a Place to wait upon a Gentleman in Mr. Byram's Family. In this Posture Things stood for ten Days, and no longer; for then the Assizes were at Nottingham, and Sir Edmund Anderson, then Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, being in that Circuit, and having had two supposed Witches tried before him, and many more accused, and the Country in such a ferment, that the People were ready to quarrel in the Streets about these Witchcraft and Possessions; he and
Page 287 the Mayor, and those Aldermen that had heard Somers's Confession before, and seen his Fits, had him again before them, and encouraging him to speak the Truth without Fear, he confessed himself a Counterfeit again, and shewed all his Tricks before them; and when my Lord Chief Justice bad him, immediately he started out of them, and stood up well: And which is more than all, from that Time, without Mr. Darrel's Fast, he continued well, without any more Fits, excepting when he threw himself into them to confirm his Confession. And that he did often; once before Mr. Darrel himself. When he had shewn two or three of his Tricks, Mr. Darrel had him foam; and in a little while, by working the Spittle in his Mouth, he foamed till the Froth ran to his Chin: He offered to show the rest, but Mr. Darrel would not stay. He said he had seven Devils in him now, and therefore he did not doubt but he might do them again by the same Power that he did before. This obstinate Sophistry of Mr. Darrel's keeping his Admirers in the belief of the Dispossession: And the Lord Chief Justice giving Account to the Archbishop, what ill Consequence it had in the Country; it was thought necessary to have the Matter examined by the High Commission; and accordingly Mr. Darrel and Somers were both called to London; and after Depositions were taken, and matters prepared, they were tried before the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, (Dr. Whitgift) the Bishop of London
Page 288 (Dr. Bancroft) the two Lord Chief Justices, Dr. Cæsar, Master of Requests, Dr. Bing, Dean of the Arches, and Dr. Stanhope. Somers stood firm to his Confession, and gave rational Accounts of whatever was ask'd. These Things that I have mentioned, and many more besides them, were deposed; four and forty Witnesses were examined, four and thirty of which had been Mr. Darrel's Friends. Mr. Aldridge, the Vicar of St. Mary's, who at first was so fully persuaded of the Possession, that he was one that sent for Mr. Darrel to Nottingham, declared now, that he was satisfied he had been mistaken. Mr. Aldred, that preached the first of the two Sermons upon their Fast, declared, that he did now believe in his Conscience, that Somers had dissembled. Robert Cowper, one of the two that had confessed his Sins before the Company, and who was the Boy's Father-in-Law, and who had been Witness of the Boy and his Sister's Behavior, both in private and public, and in whose House Mr. Darrel himself had placed him, deposed in these Words; "I do verily think and believe in my Conscience, that William Somers did counterfeit all he did, that he was never possessed, dispossessed, nor repossessed; and that Mr. Darrel dealt very unjustly in all his Course, and c." Several of the same Witnesses that were examined before the first Commissioners, explained themselves: As to instance in one or two, Richard Mee had deposed, "That he had seen William Somers turn his Face directly backward, not
Page 289 moving his Body; and that his Eyes were as great as Beasts Eyes; and that his Tongue would be thrust out of his Head to the bigness of a Calve's Tongue." In his Re-examination, he saith, "My Meaning was, that he turned his Face a good way towards his Shoulder, and that his Eyes were something Gogling; and by reason that it was Candlelight when I saw his Tongue thrust out, and by reason of my Conceit of the strangers of Somers's Troubles, it seemed somewhat bigger than, if Somers had been well, I should have thought it to have been." A great matter had been made at the Time of the said Commission, of a Black Dog that had frequently appeared to Somers, and persuaded him to say he had dissembled; and at that Time betwixt his Fits, when they ask'd him why he had said he counterfeited? He said, A Dog, a Dog. And, as odd Things will fall in with such Stories, it happened that there was a Black Dog in the Chamber, that belong'd to one Clark a Spurrier. Some of the Commissioners spying him, thought they saw the Devil. One thought his Eyes glared like Fire; and much Speech was afterward made of it. But those that had had those Fancies, being shown the Spurrier's Dog afterward; they confess'd, upon their Oaths, that they believ'd it was that Spaniel that they had seen. But to pass by very many material Things; the Bishop of London ask'd Mr. Darrel, if Somers was then repossessed, as he maintained
Page 290 why had he no Fits now, but went to Chapel, and behaved himself orderly, and had been well for a Year together? Mr. Darrel wanted not an Answer: Said he, When the strong Man is in quiet Possession, his House is in Peace; now the Devil lurks and lies close, like an old Fox as he is. See Detect. p. 101. Several deposed, That they always thought that he counterfeited, and added by what Signs they perceived his Craft, when he pretended to be Senseless: That Mr. Darrel was told of this the first Night he came to Nottingham; that Mr. Aldridge, and several of the Aldermen, were offended, and reproved him for troubling the Congregation with so many Sermons about Devils and Possessions. To this I find his Answer in his Detection; "It is true, indeed, saith he, some two or three of the chief Friends of counterfeiting natural Men, not favouring the Spirit, shewed some dislike to my Preaching, and advised me to preach of Love and Charity, saying they were in Charity till I came there, and c. and so he goes on blaming them for pretending to direct their Teacher." But to add no more of the Depositions or his Answers, the Issue was, that by the full Agreement of the whole Court he was condemned for a Counterfeit, and deposed from the Ministry, and committed to close Prison, there to remain till order was taken for his farther Punishment. And though nothing could cure his Tongue, or make him confess himself wrong, yet I never find that he attempted to dispossess
Page 291 any more: And though before this, he thought he had cured ten in the compass of two Years; yet after it, though I have three Books of his upon this Subject, I do not find that he ever meddled any more in those Matters. And as that Prosecution taught him Wisdom, though he would not own it, I think his Example ought to be kept in Memory, for a Warning to all rash Persons, that are apt to run into the same Mistakes. And what the Author of the Compleat History deserves, for Printing the First Part of this History, and leaving out all that followed, that I leave to the Reader's Judgment. The Fourth RELATION. The Boy of Nor-wich. I Have not much that is material concerning this Boy; but I give him a Place amongst these Relations; because his Case hath been made famous, by having a Bishop's Licence, to empower certain Persons to deal with him. And I believe it is the only Licence of this Nature, that ever pass'd a Seal: For soon after the Conviction of Mr. Darrel, and those Popish Priests before mentioned, the Convocation, in the Year 1603, for prevention of the like Mischiefs, thought it necessary to make the seventy-second Canon, which requires that no Ministers, without particular Licence from the Bishop, under Seal, should attempt the casting out of Devils, under Pain of
Page 292 the Imputation of Imposture and Cozenage. Now the very next Year after, if not in the same, this Thomas Harrison, a Boy of twelve Years old, was thought by many to be possessed. Mr. Clark puts him amongst his Examples of possessed Persons, and if one might depend upon his Authority, one could not but incline to think him a real Dæmoniack; for he represents his Actions in high Terms: And in his Life of Mr. Bruin, he puts down the Licence that the Bishop of Chester granted. But meeting with this Licence in Mr. Darrel's Survey of the Dialogical Disc. Part II. page 21. I was surprized to find, that Mr. Clark had left out a very material Part of it, wherein the Bishop, and those that signed it, tell the Persons that were concerned, that, tho' some believed such a Thing, they thought there was no great probability that the Boy was possessed. I will add the Licence at large, as it is in Mr. Darrel; both that those who have the Curiosity may see it; and that others may learn, not to lay too much Weight upon Mr. Clark's Examples. "First we think it fit, and do G1 require the Parents of the said Child, that they suffer not any to repair to their House to visit him, saving such as are in Authority, and other Persons of special Regard, and known Discretion; and to have special Care, that the Number always be very small. Further-----Having seen the Bodily Affliction -notes- G1 These First Lines omitted by Mr. Clark.
Page 293 of the said Child, and observed in sundry Fits, very strange Effects and Operations, either proceeding of natural unknown Causes, or some Diabolical Practice; we think it convenient and sit, for the Ease and Deliverance of the said Child from his grievous Afflictions, that Prayer be made for him publicly, by the Minister of the Parish, -- G1 or any other Preacher repairing thither, before the Congregation, so often as the same assembleth.--And that certain Preachers, namely, Mr. Garrard, Mr. Massey, G2 Mr. Coller, Mr. Harvey, Mr. Eaton, Mr. Pierson, and Mr. Brownhill, these only, and none other, to repair unto the said Child, by turns, as their Leisure will serve, and to use their Discretions for Private Prayer and Fasting, for the Ease and Comfort of the Afflicted--Withal G3 requiring them to abstain from all solemn Meetings, because the Calamity is particular, and the Authority of allowing and prescribing such Meetings resteth neither in them, nor us, but in our Superiors, whose Pleasure it is fit we should expect. Moreover, because it is by some held, that the Child is really possessed of an unclean Spirit; for that there appeareth to us no certainty, nor yet any great probability thereof, we think it also convenient, and require the Preachers fore said, to for bear all Forms of -notes- G1 These Words omitted. G2 Four Names omitted. G3 All that follows omitted.
Page 294 Exorcisms, which always imply and presuppose a real and actual Possession. Rich. Cestriensis. David Yate, Chancellor. Griff. Vaughan. Hugh Burghes. The Fifth RELATION. The Witches of Pendle-Forest, in Lancashire, as Mr. Webster gives Account of them, Page 277, 346, 347. The Examination of Edmund Robinson, Son of Edmund Robinson of Pendle, eleven Years of Age, taken at Padham, before Richard Shuttleworth and John Starkey, Esquires, two of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace, within the County of Lancaster, the tenth of February, 1633. WHO upon Oath informeth, being examined concerning the great Meeting of the Witches of Pendle, saith, That upon All Saints Day last past, he, this Informer, being with one Henry Parker, a near Door Neighbor to him, in Wheatley-lane, desired the said Parker to give him leave to gather some Bullees, which he did; in gathering whereof he saw two Grey-hounds, viz. a black, and a brown; one came running over the next Field towards
Page 295 him, he verily thinking one of them to be Mr. Nutter's, and the other to be Mr. Robinson's, the said Gentlemen then having such like: And saith, the said Grey-hounds came to him, and fawned on him, they having about their Necks either of them a Collar, unto each of which was tied a String: which Collars (as this Informer affirmeth) did shine like Gold. And he thinking that some either of Mr. Nutter's, or Mr. Robinson's Family should have followed them; yet seeing no body to follow them, he took the same Grey-hounds, thinking to course with them. And presently a Hare did rise very near before him; at the Sight whereof he cried, Loo, Loo, Loo; but the Dogs would not run. Whereupon he being very angry, took them, and with the Strings that were about their Collars, tied them to a little Bush, at the next Hedge, and with a Switch that he had in his Hand, he beat them. And instead of the black Grey-hound, one Dickinson's Wife stood up, a Neighbour whom this Informer knoweth. And instead of the brown one, a little Boy, whom this Informer knoweth not. At which Sight this Informer being afraid, endeavored to run away; but being staid by the Woman, viz by Dickinson's Wife, she put her Hand into her Pocket, and pulled forth a piece of Silver, much like to a fair Shilling, and offered to give him it to hold his Tongue, and not to tell; which he refused, saying, Nay, thou art a Witch. Whereupon she put her Hand into her Pocket again, and pulled out a thing like unto a Bridle, that
Page 296 gingled, which she put on the little Boy's Head: Which said Boy stood up in the Likeness of a white Horse, and in the brown Grey-hound's stead. Then immediately Dickinson's Wife took this Informer before her upon the said Horse, and carried him to a new House called Hoarslone's, being about a quarter of a Mile off. Whither when they were come, there were divers Persons about the Door, and he saw divers others riding on Horses of several Colours towards the said House. Which Persons went into the said House to the Number of threescore or thereabouts, as this Informer thinketh, where they had a Fire and Meat roasting in the said House, whereof a young Woman (whom this Informer knoweth not) gave him Flesh and Bread upon a Trencher, and Drink in a Glass, which after the first Taste he refused, and would have no more; but said, It was naught. And presently after, seeing divers of the Company going into a Barn near adjoining, he followed after them, and there he saw six of them, kneeling and pulling, all six of them, six several Ropes, which were fastened or tied to the top of the Barn; presently after which pulling, there came into this Informer's sight Flesh smoking, Butter in lumps, and Milk as it were flying from the said Ropes. All which fell into Basons, which were placed under the said Ropes. And after that these six had done, there came other six, which did so likewise. And during all the time of their several pulling, they made such ugly Faces, as scared this Informer, so that
Page 297 he was glad to run out, and steal homewards; who immediately finding they wanted one that was in their Company, some of them ran after him, near to a Place in a High-way called Boggard-hole, where he this Informer met two Horsemen, at the sight whereof the said Persons lest following him. But the foremost of those Persons that followed him, he knew to be one Loind's Wife; which said Wife, together with one Dickinson's Wife, and one Jannet Davies, he hath seen since, at several times, in a Croft or Close adjoining to his Father's House, which put him in great fear. And farther, this Informer saith, upon Thursday, after New-Year's-Day last past, he saw the said Loind's Wife sitting upon a cross piece of Wood, being within the Chimney of his Father's dwelling House: and he calling to her, said, Come down thou Loind's Wife; and immediately the said Loind's Wife went up out of his sight. And further, this Informer saith, That after he was come from the Company aforesaid to his Father's House, being towards Evening, his Father bad him go and fetch home two Kine to seal; and in the way in a Field, called the Ellers, he chanced to hap upon a Boy, who began to quarrel with him; and they fought together, till the Informer had his Ears and Face bloody by fighting, and looking down, he saw the Boy had a cloven Foot: At which sight he being greatly affrighted, came away from him to seek the Kine; and in the way he saw a Light like to a Lanthorn, towards which he made haste, supposing it to
Page 298 be carried by some of Mr. Robinson's People; but when he came to the Place, he only found a Woman standing on a Bridge, whom, when he saw, he knew to be Loind's Wife; and knowing her, he turned back again; and immediately he met with the foresaid Boy, from whom he offered to run, which Boy gave him a Blow that made him to cry. And further, this Informer saith, That when he was in the Barn he saw three Women take six Pictures from off the Beam, in which Pictures were many Thorns, or such like things sticked: And that Loind's Wife took one of the Pictures down; but the other two Women that took down the rest, he knoweth not. And being further asked, What Persons were at the foresaid Meeting? He nominated these Persons following, viz. Dickinson's Wife, and c. and eighteen that he knew; and one more, as he believed. Edmund Robinson of Pendle, Father of the aforesaid Edmund Robinson, Mason, informeth; That upon All Saints Day last, he sent his Son, the aforesaid Informer, to fetch home two Kine to seal; and saith, That his Son staying longer than he thought he should have done, he went to seek him; and in seeking of him, heard him cry pitifully, and found him so affrighted and distracted, that he neither knew his Father, nor did know where he was, and so continued very near a quarter of an Hour before he came to himself. And he told this Informer
Page 299 his Father, all the particular Passages that are before declared in the said Robinson his Son's Information. Richard Shuttleworth, John Starkey. These supposed Witches were committed or bound over to the next Assizes. The Boy and his Father being poor, and finding themselves believed, made a Practice to go from Church to Church, that the Boy might reveal and discover Witches, pretending, that there were a great Number at the Witches Meeting, whose Faces he could know, and by that means they got a Living. At that time Mr. Webster, who was afterward the Author of the Book about Witchcraft, was Curate at Kildwick; and in the Afternoon, as he was preaching, the Boy was brought into the Church, and set upon a Stool, to see round about, whether he could know any there. After Service Mr. Webster went to the House where they were, and desired to have examined the Boy in private, but two Men that were with him refused it. Then he asked the Boy to tell him truly, Whether some body did not teach him to say such things of himself; but the two Men plucked the Boy from him, and said, he had been examined before two Justices of Peace, and they had never asked him such a Question. At the Assizes following at Lancaster, there were seventeen found guilty by the Jury, but the Judge not being satisfied with the Evidence,
Page 300 they were reprieved; and his Majesty and his Council being informed of the Matter by the Judge, the Bishop of Chester was appointed to examine them, and to certify what he thought, which he did; and four of them, viz. Margaret Johnson, Frances Dicconson, Mary Spencer, and Hargrave's Wife, were sent for up to London, and committed to the Fleet. Great Sums of Money were gotten there by shewing of them, and publick Plays were acted thereupon. They were viewed and examined by his Majesty's Physicians and Surgeons; and after, by his Majesty, and the Council: and no Cause of Guilt appearing, but great Presumptions of the Boy's being suborned to accuse them falsely; it was resolved to separate the Boy from his Father, and put them in several Prisons. Soon after this, the Boy confessed, that he was taught, and encouraged to feign those things by his Father, and some others, whom Envy, Revenge, and hope of Gain had prompted. Besides the Notoriety of such a public Fact, Mr. Webster adds, that he himself had had the whole Story from Edmund Robinson's own Mouth, more than once. The Sixth RELATION. William Perry: Or, The Boy of Bilson. BEfore I give Account of the Imposture, I will put down a short Abridgment of that Narrative, which Mr. Wheeler, one of the Popish
Page 301 Priests, published of this Matter. The Title of it is, A Faithful Relation of the Proceedings of the Catholic Gentlemen with the Boy of Bilson, and c. In the second Page of their Relation -- "First then, to shew how the Child grew thus to be tormented, as I have understood it of his Parents, and have heard the Child confirm it himself. The Boy returning homeward from School to Bilson in Staffordshire, where he dwelt, an old Woman unknown met him, and taxed him, in that he did not give her good time of the Day, saying, That he was a foul thing; and that it had been better for him if he had saluted her. At which Words the Boy felt a thing to prick him to the very Heart. In fine, the Boy came home, languish'd some Days, and at length grew into extream Fits, that two or three (though he was a Child of twelve Years of Age) could hardly hold him. The Parents seeing the Extremity, sought help of Catholics, and with Cap and Knee did solicit a zealous Gentleman, who, overcome by their Suit, did use some Prayers and Exorcisms, allow'd by the Catholic Church: with whose Prayers the Force of the spiritual Enemy abated. The Gentleman insisting to know how many was in him; to his thinking, he said, three. The Relation proceeds -- This Gentleman was call'd away by his Occasions; and after that another. At last the Author of this Relation
Page 302 was engaged, and gives Account of his own Actions, to this purpose. I was very unwilling, yet being overcome by In treaties, I dispos'd of my Businesses; that I came thither on Thursday before Corpus Christi Day, where I did find the Gentleman that requested me to come; and finding that they had used Sorceries of Witches, which made the Child offer Violence to himself, we would not meddle with him till they had burn'd those Sorceries apply'd to him, which they forthwith did fulfil. Whereupon we using the Litany, and c. the Child would be so tormented, that three or four could hardly hold him, and c. We were call'd away, but left Holy Water and Holy Oil: The first having that Power, that it would make him speak, tho' Dumb, and his Tongue turn'd into his Throat: And the second, that being apply'd in a little Quantity unto his Legs and Arms, most grievously contracted, they would be stretched forth as they were wont. He in treated them in our Absence to use the Holy Waters and Oil in his Extremities, and c. on Saturday, Sunday, and Munday, with extream Fits and Heavings, he brought up Pins, Wool, knotted Thread, Thrums, Rosemary, Walnut-Leaves, Feathers, and c. On Thursday, being Corpus Christi Day, I came again, found the Child in great Extremities. In this time he had brought up eleven Pins, and a knitting Needle folded up in
Page 303 divers Folds, and c. He said, the Spirit bad him not to hearken to me in any Case; that the Witch said she should make an end of him, and c. I wished him to pray for the Witch, which he did: Then the Child did declare, that now he was perfectly himself, and desired that his Books, Pens, Ink, Cloaths, might be blessed, wishing his Parents, Sisters, and Brothers to bless themselves, and become Catholics; out of which Faith, by God's Grace, he said, he would never live, or die. On Sunday I exorcised him, and learned of him, that while Puritans were in Place, he saw the Devil assault him in form of a black Bird. After two or three Leaves more, he concludes, the Substance of all this I have here written, at my coming away, I declared before three Protestants, and the Child's Parents, desiring them, that if I did not say Truth in all things, that they would challenge me therein. Then the Child being in a sounding Fit, anointing him with holy Oil, I did bring him unto himself, insomuch, that with a Staff he walked up and down; and since he did eat and drink, sleep and walk, having only short Fits, as I am faithfully informed, yea, till shortly after they entertained many Witches and Sorcerers: Notwithstanding whose help, sought in vain, he is more grievously tormented than ever before, and c. July 1. 1620. Yours in Charity, Love, or in any good Office, H.W."
Page 304 To this is added by the Protestant Publishes: "This Relation was published by the Priests themselves, and delivered by one of them, called Mr. Wheeler, into the Hands of Mr. Thomas Nechils, Gent. a Recusant, dwelling near Bilson, as appears by his own Confession upon Oath, taken before the Lord Bishop of Coventry and Litchfield, and added to the end of this Book." About the time that those Priests had gone so far, Joan Cock, the Woman he complained of, was carried before the Bishop's Chancellor at Litchfield, and the Boy was had to confront her. At her coming into the Room, tho' he had his Back towards her, he fell into a bitter Agony, crying out, Now she comes, now my Tormenter comes; wreathing, and tearing, and twisting himself into such Shapes, as bred at once Amazement and Pity in the Spectators. This, with some other Probabilities, caused the Chancellor to send the Woman to Stafford Jail. At the Assizes following at Stafford, August 10. 1620. a Month after the Date of Mr. Wheeler's Relation, the supposed Witch was brought to her Tryal, before the Right Worshipful Sir Peter Warburton, and Sir John Davyes, Knights, his Majesty's Justices of Assize for that County, before whom appeared some slender Circumstances, which were vulgarly esteemed strong Proofs of Witchcraft: but after some Speech, manifesting the Idleness of such fantastical Delusions, the Woman was freed by the Inquest; and the Judges were pleased to commit
Page 305 the Care of the Boy unto Dr. Morton, the Lord Bishop of Coventry and Litchfield, then and there present. The Bishop carried him home with him to Eccleshal-Castle, whither his Fits followed him with great Violence; for being put out of his Road, and People being hinder'd from coming to admire him, he grew sullen, and would not eat, sometimes in two or three Days together; so that his Belly was almost clung to his Back. He lay in his Bed sometimes as it were senseless; sometimes staring with his Eyes, and foaming with his Mouth. The Bishop often visited him, sometimes striving to soften him with Gentleness; at other times handled him roughly with Chidings and Threatnings; but his evil Spirit would be mollified by neither. The Father of the Boy, an honest Husbandman, innocent and ignorant of any Practice in his Child, came to see him, and earnestly asked, What might be thought of his Son's Case? and, Whether he was possess'd or not? Whereto it was purposely answered, That nothing seemed so marvelous, as that at the hearing of those Words of the holy Gospel, (In the beginning was the Word, and c.) he fell into Fits. Then presently, in the hearing of the Father, those Words were repeated; and upon the Repetition, the Boy fell into his Fit. The Bishop calling for a Greek Testament, said, Boy, it is either thou or the Devil that abhorrent those Words of the Gospel; and if it be the Devil, he (being so ancient a Scholar, as of almost six thousand Years standing)
Page 306 knows, and understands all Languages; so that he cannot but know when I recite the same Sentence out of the Greek Text: But if it be thy self, then art thou an execrable Wretch, who plays the Devil's part; wherefore look to thy self, for now thou art to be put to Trial, and mark diligently, whether it be that same Scripture which shall be read. Then was read in Greek the twelfth Verse of that Chapter, which he supposing to be the first, fell into his Trance as he was wont. This Fit being quickly pass'd over, there was read in Greek the first Verse: But he supposing it was not the same Text, was not moved by it. By this means his Fraud was discovered, that he seemed to be greatly confounded. Notwithstanding, staring with his Eyes, and casting his Head on both sides the Bed, he told the Company, that he was troubled at the Sight of two Mice. By this the Bishop was confirmed, that he was a pertinacious Impostor; and finding Words and Menaces make no Impression on him, he fell to Blows: for taking him out of his Bed, and having one to help him, the Bishop gave him six smart Lashes with a Rod, at which the Boy was no more concerned than an insensible Stock. They also thrust Needles into his Toes and Fingers; but with all their Persecutions he neither winched, nor stirred. In this Condition, growing almost desperate, he would make Signs for Knives to do himself Mischief, and continued in this manner almost a quarter of a Year. At last
Page 307 his Urine grew so black, that the Physicians were of Opinion, that Nature had left her usual Operations. That struck the good Bishop very near, that he resolved if his Water continued so, he would make no farther Trial: But to find out the Truth of this, he set a trusty Servant to watch him through a hole that looked into the Chamber upon the Bed. The Bishop and his Family going that Morning to Church, all things were still in the House, and the Boy finding all quiet, lifts up himself, and stares, and listens, and at length gets out of his Bed, and in the Straw or Mat under it, takes out an Inkhorn, and makes Water in the Chamber-Pot, through a piece of the Cotton in his Hand, and another little piece he put into his Præputium, covering it with the Skin, which was for a reserve, if he should be forced to make Water before Company; then he hid his Inkhorn, and returned to Bed. The Man that was appointed to watch him, seeing all this, discovered it to the Bishop at his coming home, who came to him, and ask'd him, How he did? The Boy, according to his usual manner, pointed to his Water, looking ghastly on it, and muttered out his old howling Tone. The Bishop resolved now to deal roundly with him, said, Sirrah, you have Ink in your Bed-Straw: Your Knavery is found out; and calling in his Man, he took out the Inkhorn where the Boy had hid it, and justified that he saw him make Water through the Cotton. This struck the Boy into such a Terror, that he rose from the Bed, and fell upon his Knees, and besought the Bishop
Page 308 to pardon him, and he would tell him the whole Truth. Accordingly he did, and afterward he was examined again by the Bishop, the 13th of October, 1620, and the Questions and Answers were taken and attested, and printed by Richard Baddely, a Publick Notary. The Substance of his several Confessions is, That an old Man, called Thomas, with grey Hair, and a Cradle of Glasses, met him, not far from his Father's House, and asked him where he dwelled? and if he went to School? and promised him, if he would do as he taught him, he should not need to go to School: For, said he, I can teach thee such Tricks, that the People that see thee shall believe that thou art bewitched, and so shall lament and pity thee. Upon this, he said, he taught him, at six several times, to groan, and mourn, and roll, and cast up his Eyes, and c. and bad him accuse some body or other that was accounted a Witch. This was in Lent, and about Easter following he practised his Tricks; and some Papists persuaded him to seek for help of some Catholic Priests. He said three had tried to cure him; and though he had not seen the Priest's Narrative before, yet his Confession agrees with it. The Bishop ask'd him, Whether he did not design to have yielded to their Exorcisms? He said, he did; but he continued his counterfeiting so long, because much People resorted to him, and brought him good things, and because he was not willing to go to School again. He
Page 309 stay'd with the Bishop till he had recovered his Strength; and the next Summer Assizes, held at Stafford, July 26. 1621, before Sir Peter Warburton, and Sir Humphrey Winch, his Majesty's Justices of Assize, the Boy craved Pardon first of God Almighty, and then desired the Woman there present to forgive him; and lastly, requested the whole Country, whom he had scandalized, to admit of that his hearty Confession for their Satisfaction. The Book is concluded with an Examination of Mr. Thomas Nechils, a Recusant, to whom Mr. Wheeler gave a written Copy of that Narrative, which is abridged in the beginning of this Relation. The Seventh RELATION. Richard Hathaway's Case, taken out of his Tryal, as it was printed, by the Appointment of the Right Honourable the Lord Chief Justice Holt. Richard Hathaway, Apprentice to Thomas Wellyn, a Blacksmith in Southwark, had either real Convulsions, or counterfeit Fits, at the time when he was bound first to his Master. When he had served about three Years, he was thought to be so ill, that he was put into the the Hospital, and was judged to be a very miserable Spectacle, lying in strange Fits, and going
Page 310 double; and after seven Weeks was turned out as incurable. In September 1690, he said he was bewitched, and vomited great Numbers of Pins, and seemed to be dumb and blind, and was thought to live without Meat for ten Weeks together, tho' he was put with Keepers into an empty House, a great part of the Time, and had a Bed bought on purpose, and was watched Day and Night by Persons that were Strangers to him. One of his Watchers deposed, That a Lump of Hair, loose Pins, a Stump of a Nail, half a Nutshel, and two or three Pieces of Stone came from him by Stool. A second Witness confirmed this, and added, That he stood over him at the Time with a drawn Sword in his Hand. His Face would be drawn on one side. He foamed at the Mouth, and crooked Pins were found in the Foam. His Head was bent to the Reins of his Back; and he went sometimes almost upon his Ankles. He would lie as if he was dead, and once was brought to himself by Cupping Glasses. Screaming and other Noises were heard in the Bed, and about the House; and Charms were applied to him and were said to do him good. It was also deposed, That he barked like a Dog, and in his Fits burnt like a Flame of Fire. The Person that he accused of the Witchcraft, was one Sarah Morduck, of the same Parish. He intimated by Signs, that if he might scratch her he should be well. He did scratch her, and then he eat and drank, and had his Sight, and was well for six Weeks together.
Page 311 After that he seem'd to be ill again, and signified that she had bewitched him again, and he must scratch her again. Upon this the aforesaid Sarah Morduck was assaulted in her own House, and grievously abused; her Hair and Face torn; she was kicked, thrown to the Ground, stamped on, and threatened to be put into a Horse-Pond, to be tried by Swimming, and very hardly escaped with her Life. In hopes to avoid these Dangers, she removed out of Southwark, and lodged in London; but still she was not suffered to be in Safety, but was followed in the Streets, and often thought her self in danger of being pulled in Pieces. About Easter 1701, she was carried before Sir Thomas Lane, and was stript and searched by his Order, and Hathaway scratched her before him, and then he eat and drank, and was thought to be well. Sir Thomas committed her, and Hathaway continued free from his Fits. Near the Time of Tryal, the Prayers of several Churches were desired, and Money was gathered for him; between six and seven Pounds at one Collection; and other Sums at other Times, to bear his Charges to the Assizes. In the latter end of July, at Guilford Assizes, this Sarah Morduck was tried before the Right Honorable the Lord Chief Justice Holt, and was acquitted, and Richard himself was committed as a Cheat and Impostor: But both Judge and Jury, and Witnesses were slandered, as if they had not done fairly.
Page 312 For several Days after his Commitment to the Marshalsea, he eat, and drank, and slept; but some time after, he was again as if under the power of Witchcraft, dumb and fasting. That it might be certain whether he did really live without Meat or not, my Lord Chief Justice put him into the House of Mr. Kensy, a Surgeon, in November following, that he might make Tryal of him. March 25, 1702, this Hathaway was tried before the Right Honorable the Lord Chief Justice Holt, and Mr. Baron Hatsell, in Southwark, the Place in which the Fact was best known, and where any Witnesses might appear without Charge. On Hathaway's Side, these Things were sworn that I have mentioned already. To convict him of Imposture, it was deposed, That on purpose for an Experiment, Dr. Martin, Minister of the Parish, had contrived, that he scratch'd another Woman, when he thought he had scratch'd this Sarah Morduck; and upon that he opened his Eyes; but being told he had scratch'd the wrong Woman, he pretended to be blind and dumb again: And the manner of his doing it was such, as shewed him a crafty Fellow, taking care of himself; for he felt her Arm four Times over before he would scratch her. To prove that his vomiting Pins was by a Trick, it was deposed, That immediately after he had vomited great Numbers, in appearance, upon the Ground, and was going to vomit more,
Page 313 care being taken that he should vomit into a Chamber-Pot, and his Hands being kept down below it, there was not a Pin in the Pot, but a great many crooked ones in his Pockets, in readiness to have play'd his Tricks with. Some of the Noises that were said to be made in the Bed, were shewed to be made by his own Feet scratching the Bed-Post. Besides what he got by Gifts and Collections, it was proved that he had tried to make a Gain, by printing a Narrative of his own Case. With respect to his Fasting, it was said by one of his own Witnesses, that there came from him five Times more than he took. After he was at Mr. Kensy's House, it was proved that he made Water, and tried to conceal it, by hiding it over the Bed's-Tester: And after two Days fasting, and refusing to take any Thing from Mr. Kensy, for fear lest he should really starve himself, rather than own his Knavery, Mr. Kensy contrived to let him have Meat in a private Way, by this Device; He pretended to fall out with his Maid in Hathaway's hearing, and said she gave him Meat; and therefore he gave her Warning to be gone. She carried on the Design, and told him she was as ready to be gone as he was to have her go; and after this feigned Quarrel she spoke kindly to Richard, and bad him take nothing from her Master, for while she stay'd she would take Care of him. After this he took Meat from her; but a Child being in the Room, he pointed, that might not see him. He eat and drank any Thing that she gave him,
Page 314 Ale, Brandy, Fish, Pudding, Mutton, and c. Once he was drunk, and spew'd, and covered his Vomit with Ashes: But if either Mr. Kensy, or any one else offered him any, he refused to take it; and when he had eaten heartily, he would shew them his Belly clung up to his Back, as though there had been nothing in it. The Maid saw this openly, Mr. Kensy saw it through a private Hole; and once he had four Neighbors with him that saw it as well as he. He eat in this manner for eleven Days together, and yet pretended to continue his Fast. If they asked him how many Weeks he had fasted before he came to Mr. WAKENS's House, he counted ten upon his Fingers? If they asked him how many Weeks he had fasted since his coming thither? he counted two, tho' they had seen him eat eleven Days of the two Weeks. When they had Proof enough, Mr. Kensy told him he was discover'd, and said his Friends were in Custody, and had confess'd the whole Matter. Upon that he cry'd passionately, and said he would tell the Lord Chief Justice the whole Truth, and asked, If his Mother was safe? But my Lord not being at his Chamber, he, in about an Hour after, recanted, and said again that he was bewitched. These Things were deposed at large by many and substantial Witnesses; insomuch, that the Jury, without going from the Bar, returned him in Guilty. Some Mouths after, my Lord Chief Justice Holt past Sentence upon him, That he should suffer Imprisonment a Year, and stand in the Pillory three Times.
Page 315 C H A P. XVI. A Conclusion of the DIALOGUE. Jurym. I Will not give you the Trouble of any farther Examples of this fort. I think I may now venture to say as a merry Gentleman I have heard of, That that Judge that hangs a Witch, will never be thought a Conjurer: But, however, let me put one Word farther; When Jane Wenham's Case had turned Mens Thoughts that Way, and several Pamphlets were written upon that Subject, one came out with this Title, The Impossibility of Witchcraft; plainly proving from Scripture and Reason, That there never was a Witch: And that it is both irrational and impious to believe there ever was. I do not remember, that in any part of our Dialogue you have ventur'd so far: And therefore some will think that in several Parts you have been too cautious, and left Things too doubtful. Clerg. I had rather err on that Hand than the other. We none of us know the farthest Side of God's Works or Permissions. There is something doubtful in all Subjects; and as proving Negatives, especially undesin'd Negatives, must be very difficult, I have designedly kept off from peremptory Definitions of the utmost Bounds of bad Mens Guilt, or the Punishments they deserve for it: But for all that, I hope I have both asserted and prov'd as much as we need to know
Page 316 and that which will be of use, and which I doubt not, but Time and Experience will confirm farther. And here I think I may venture to say, That I have fully prov'd, That the Principles that the Witch-finders have proceeded upon, are unnatural, contradictory, and absurd; and if the Premisses be prov'd false, who but a Mad-man will believe the Conclusion? I have shewn by many Examples, That the Spectral Evidence is so far from being legal Proof, that it is of no Weight, nor ought to be to any one's Prejudice. I have prov'd by Historical Examples, That Confessions of old Women, in these Cases, are not to regarded; that some are extorted, some ridiculous; and that when they confess Impossibilities, Nature is to be our Rule of Judging; and the poor Creatures are to be thought, in that Particular, under a Degree of Madness. I have shewn, That filling Peoples Heads with Stories of Devils, and Spirits, and Witches, corrupts the Mind, and brings them under those Frights and Afflictions that are usually thought, and may, for ought I know, sometimes be Diabolical. I have shewn plainly, That accusing, and prosecuting, and hanging in that Case, doth not cure but increase the Evil; and that when a Nation or People are in such a State, they are under a very great Calamity. And tho' it be hard to prove Negatives, yet I doubt not but I may add, That the whole Notion
Page 317 of Suckling Imps is Nonsense: That a plain Compact with the Devil was never prov'd; and that an implicit Compact is a mere Imagination: And I may add, That through the whole Scripture there is no. Character of any such Witch as we mean, who can send Devils and Diseases to her Neighbors. And I hope I have pointed out an easy Way of clearing our Nation of these disgraceful and mischievous Superstitions; and that no Way is harder than executing our Statute with Impartiality. These Things are as much as I desire to know: And that what I have said while I have been proving of them, may not be made an ill Use of, by those who are too apt to take Things wrong, tho' I have all along guarded against Misunderstandings as much as I could, I will add two Sermons for Prevention of Mistakes, one concerning the Truth of Christianity; and the other containing the Doctrine of good and evil Angels; with practical Inferences drawn from them: And as all real Truths are, and ever must be uniform, and of a Piece with one another, I doubt not but these will give Support to the Notions of this Book. Whereas conniving at Lies and popular Errors, tho' it may seem to help, it does in reality give the greatest of Prejudices to wise and understanding Persons. Dum per Mendacium tenditur ut fides doceatur, id demum agitur ut nulli habetur Fides. When a Lye is made use of to support the Faith, the Effect of it is, that no Body can be believed; but the Faith it self is thought a Fiction. St. Aug. ad Conseutium, c. 4.
Page 318 SERMONI. The Christian Religion Demonstrated. JOHN XV. 24. If I had not done amongst them the Works which none other Man did, they had not had Sin: But now have they both seen, and hated, both me and my Father. BEFORE I enter upon the Explication of these Words, we may take Notice, That this Age, in which God hath been pleas'd to give us our Lot of Life, is very inquisitive about the Truth of Religion, and very prying into its Foundations. The Enquiries that are made so frequently, and sometimes too irreverently, I am willing to hope, do not proceed from any Aversion to Religion, that is greater in our Age than in former; but rather from its encrease of Learning, that dives and searches after the bottom of all Things; and since some venture to call for out Proof even of Christianity it self, tho' it hath been so often
Page 319 and wonderfully attested both by Miracles, and God's Providence, and by a long Experience of its great Usefulness to the World; and since the Apostle St. Paul requires us to be ready to render a Reason of our Belief even of that, I have chosen these Words, with design to lay before you a short View of our Proof of it. And in order to this, the first Point to be cleared, is, Why our Savior rests the Proof of his Doctrines so much upon his Miracles? Why doth he say, That if he had not done amongst them such Works as no Deceiver ever had done, they had had no Sin? For if he had done no miraculous Work at all, would not People however have been bound to have heard him teaching of them Repentance and Virtue? St. John Baptist did not Miracle; and yet would it not have been a very great Sin, if the People of that Age had not both heard and obey'd, when he taught them with such Demonstration as he taught? Many other Prophets wrought no Miracles that we know of, but only sowed the Seed of Truth amongst them; and yet, were they not bound to repent and be good? Yes, verily: And to this Day Men are bound at their Peril to hear and observe the meanest of us Ministers, that call upon them to be good in the Sight of God. Nature teaches this through all Parts of the Creation. God's Works teach this in such a Voice, as even the Fowls of Heaven, in some degree, understand and observe. The Heavens declare the Glory of God, and the Firmament shews his Handy-work. Day unto Day utters
Page 320 Speech, and Night unto Night shews this Divine Knowledge. Whenever God's Laws of Truth and Justice are publish'd from his Altars, by the least valu'd of his Ministers, all Nature resounds, repeats and enforces the Voice in such Language, as leaves every Sinner obnoxious to God's Judgments, both here and hereafter, for every Transgression. Upon what Ground then doth our Savior say, That if he had not done amongst them such Works as no other Man ever had done, they had not had Sin? To which of his Doctrines might they have suspended their Faith, and yet not have been under the guilt of sinful Unbelief? And to this I answer, not only to the high and mysterious Points of our Religion, but even to these plain ones, that he was the Messias and Son of God, and the appointed Judge of Quick and Dead. They might have delay'd the Entrance of themselves into his Church, and have respited their Belief of all those Parts of Christianity, which we now call Reveal'd Religion, in Distinction from the Natural. No piercing Eye could read those Doctrines in the Face of the Sky. Tho' the Contemplations of God and his Government may teach us, That the Children of such a Father have a Birth-Right and Title to hope for Good; and such a Title and Ground of Hope, as none but a Fool, or profane Person, like Esau, wou'd despise or sell by an unworthy Life, which made him incapable of the Good of it: Yet, that Christ shou'd be the Firstborn of that Inheritance, and the Saviour of
Page 321 those that believ'd and follow'd him in the way of true Virtue; neither Sun nor Moon cou'd teach us that Point; nor were Men bound to believe it, till they saw it confirm'd by such Miracles, as cou'd be wrought by no Deceiver, nor by any but by God himself, or those that acted by his Power. That we, in our Day, may have our Faith strong, not only in the great Points of Truth, Justice, and Moral Virtue, but in the additional Reveal'd Truths, which add an irresistible Life and Power to all those Laws, which tho' Right are but Weak without them; I will lay before you a short View of the Natural History of our Saviour's Life, which was not only adorn'd with some few Divine Miracles, scatter'd here and there to recommend it; but was rather one continu'd miraculous Work from one end of it to the other. And to take this Matter from the beginning, we must first take notice, That there were upon Record in the common Bible of the Jewish Church, many known and ancient Prophecies of a great Person or Prince, commonly known by the Name of the Messias, that should be born of David's Line, in the Town of Bethlehem, the old Seat of David's Family, and about that Age in which our Savior was born. Many remarkable Things were foretold of him, his Name, the Quality of his Virgin Mother, what great Works he should perform: And particularly, that he should set up a Church or Spiritual Kingdom, in which both Jew and Gentile
Page 322 shou'd be united in the right Way of worshipping the only Living and True God. These Prophecies were translated into other Languages, dispersed into many Hands, and are to be seen yet, not only in the Writings of Christians, but in the Books of the Jews and Heathens; and they had raised a general Expectation in that Age, that such a wonderful Person should appear in the World about that Time. Now these Prophecies agreeing so punctually with our Saviour's Character, and that great effect which his Preaching hath actually had in the World; to say the least that can be said, they must be a strong Inducement to the most cautious Person to consider and weigh the following Arguments with the more Regard; for Prophecies have actually been one of the most common Ways whereby Providence hath pointed out eminent Persons to the World, and given them such Honour and Authority as were needful to them, for the accomplishing those good Works of which God made them Instruments to their several Ages. But to advance a Step farther; Those Circumstances that attend the Conception of St. John Baptist, and our Blessed Saviour, and the remarkable Passages at their Birth, are such as prepare us farther for the Belief of great Things in their Life. And in the first Place, it was visible in the Face of the World, that St. John Baptist was born after his Mother was advanced far beyond the common Time of Bearing; that the whole
Page 323 Country perceiv'd that there was something more than ordinary in his very Birth. It was also manifest, that his Father, Zacharias, was struck dumb from before the Time of his Conception, and continu'd so from that Time to his Circumcision, almost a Year. This was a public known Thing, because Zacharias was a Person of Eminence, not less amongst them, than a Bishop amongst us; and his Dumbness began in the most public Manner that could be, in the Temple at Jerusalem, in the midst of his Ministration, before all the People: And though such a Dumbness might easily have been pretended, if it could have been foreseen that it should be of use; yet how could Man's Eye foresee any use of it before the Child was born? Could his Father, before he was born, design him for the Fore-runner of the Messias, or would it not be Madness for any Man to make such a Supposition? Then at our Savior's Birth, Shepherds, who could as little foresee any use of their Declaration, said, That they saw Angels, and heard their Voices; and three eminent Strangers came from a far Country, to enquire after a wonderful Child born at that Time in that Land: And their Journey was made not only the common News but Astonishment of the Nation, by a Circumstance that could no ways have been pretended, if false; and that was, Herod's Murder of all the Children in that same Village, which was fore-told to be the Birth-Place of the Messias, and was then the Birth-Place of our Savior.
Page 324 And this Cruelty of Herod is upon Record in other Histories, as well as ours, and are to be seen at this Day. Now let us pause a little upon these Accidents, before we advance to the main Points. These are but preparatory Matters, but they are of great Moment; for it would be strange for two Deceivers to contrive their Work, and engage Princes in it before they were born, and again, while in their Swaddling Bands. If any would fancy, that afterward they might lay their Plot, and contrive their Parts so, as one should be the Messias, and the other his Fore-runner; yet how came Things to fall out beforehand in their Infancy, so mightily to their Advantage? It is so plain, that it cannot be deny'd, that these were preparatory Works of Divine Providence, drawing the Eyes of the World towards them, and pointing them out from the beginning; for by their own Contrivance they could neither have made, that such Things shou'd really have been true, nor have made them be believ'd if they had not. From this we may proceed next to the Life and Death of St. John Baptist. The Account that we have of him, is, that as he was Sanctified from the Womb, so he dedicated himself to a Life of Fasting and Prayer, and Retirement from the World, and all the Instances of a severe Virtue. When he was about thirty Years old, that the Laws of the Jewish Church allow'd of it, he took upon him the Office of a publick Preacher; he boldly rebuked Vice in the greatest,
Page 325 where he ran most Hazard; he preach'd Repentance to a corrupt Age, with such a burning Zeal, and shining Light, that his pious Exhortations, join'd with what they knew of his extraordinary Birth, awaken'd the Nation, and made the very Rulers send to him to know, whether he was not then come, their long-look'd for Messias. But he did not assume to himself that Honor; he told them plainly, that he was not; but he added, that new State, which was the Heavenly Kingdom, Government, or Day of the Messias was at Hand; and pointing to our Blessed Savior, declar'd, that he was the very Person who was Lord of it: But as for himself, he freely own'd, that his Distance below him was so great, that he did not think himself worthy to stoop down and unloose his Shoe-Latchet. Now this Holy Man, this Martyr of God, who in the Jewish History as well as ours, hath the Character of a Person of great Virtue; he bearing this Testimony, at a Time when our Savior had not so much as one Disciple to follow him; and before it cou'd be known, save by the Inspiration of God, what strange Things wou'd follow after, this makes another great Addition to that strong Evidence which we have for our Holy Religion. I know commonness and carelessness can pass off any Thing; but if we consider this Witness of St. John fairly, the more we think of it, the more its Evidence must constrain us; for the real Author of any Change so great as our Savior
Page 326 made, cou'd not be foreseen before it was begun, by any Means, saving by that Light, whereby God foreshews Men his own Intentions. But these are far from being all our Evidence of our Holy Religion. Our Savior's own Life affords us more and greater Proofs than these; for the violent Death of St. John Baptist, did not discourage our Savior from proceeding in this Work. It wou'd have done it without Question, if it had been only by Agreement that St. John had given him his Testimony: But knowing himself to be truly sent from above, he went forward with his Work, tho' he saw what hard Usage St. John had met with, and knew how much greater Sufferings were prepar'd for him. And in considering these Arguments that arise from our Savior's Doctrines and Actions, we may first take Notice, That the Holy Religion which he taught, contains the noblest Truths, and the best Rules of Life that were ever taught or published to the World: Without mingling burdensome Superstitions, or unprofitable Questions, he instructed his Disciples in a right Sense of God, his present Providence, and future Judgment. By a sound Knowledge of these, he exalts the Soul of Man to a Divine Worship, and firm Hope in God, and lays the strongest Foundation that was ever laid for a great Sincerity, Probity and good Conscience towards Man. In all States, and to all Persons, he taught a perfect Way; and his moving cogent Arguments gave his Words such Spirit and Power, as made his Religion be
Page 327 as much above the Moralities of others, as a Living Man is above a Marble Statue. And to that strong and safe Evidence that arises from this, we must add those astonishing Works that he speaks of in the Text; twice he fed the Multitude with a few Loaves and Fishes; and all their Senses had such full Satisfaction of the Truth of the Miracle, that even the loose and careless Part of his Hearers follow'd him afterward for the Loaves. Now let the most wanton Wit sit down and consider which Way our Savior could deceive and impose, either upon his Apostles, or the People, in such a Case as that. But to proceed. No Distemper was ever found too hard, or too far gone for him to cure. He cur'd Blindness where the Eye was wanting; Lameness where the Hand was wither'd; and Impotence of eight and thirty Years. He drove the Fishes of the Sea into the Apostle's Nets in Multitudes. There could be no secret Plot with those unseen Creatures: And he wrought that Miracle several Times; and once commanded a Fish to carry a Piece of Money to St. Peter's Hook. The Holy Angels appeared to, ministered, and waited on him. Ten several Times are mentioned of their Ministration, and the evil Angels were subject to him. Our Savior loosed those that were afflicted or bound by them; and whether they were Lunatics or Dæmoniacs, he cur'd them all by a Word of Power. He walk'd upon the Waters, commanded the Winds, and even rais'd the Dead. Three several Times he
Page 328 gave that great Proof of his divine Power, in such manner, and with such Circumstances, as leave no room for Doubt or Suspicion. Jairus's Daughter was after the Minstrels had begun to lament her Death according to the Custom of those Times. The Widow's Son at Nain, was before the good People of the Town, who were carrying of him out upon his Bier to his Funeral. And his raising Lazarus, was before a great Company, after he had been no less than four Days dead and bury'd. Now do not such Miracles as these make a Proof sufficient? Can Atheistical Men confound these with the Wonders of Nature, or Feats of Devils? If there stood now a Bier with a dead Body in this Church, while I am preaching of the future State as made known to us by Jesus; and if in the midst of the Discourse, the dead Body should rise up in our Sight, would any Atheist or Sadducee pretend, that the future State was not sufficiently prov'd by such a Miracle. Men belie even the Hardness of their own Hearts, if they should pretend that they could think that such a Miracle would not be Evidence enough. But to proceed from this to the Consideration of his own Death: A voluntary Death or Martyrdom is the most convincing Proof that is in any Man's Power to give of his own Sincerity. We cannot name a greater: And this our blessed Savior added to all the others that I have spoken to already. For he came voluntarily up to Jerusalem, and he put himself into the midst of his Enemies, tho' he was told that they had past
Page 329 the peremptory Sentence, that they would take him off the first time that he came into their Hands. His Apostles were amaz'd when they perceiv'd him resolv'd upon that; and as he was speaking of it to them, that so it must be, St. Peter took upon him to dissuade him from it. And if he had been only like another righteous Person, or Prophet, it would have been very lawful and prudent for him to have retir'd after he had deliver'd his Message, as many holy Prophets had done before; and as his Apostles earnestly desir'd that he would. But if he had spar'd himself in that manner, our Sins had wanted their Sacrifice and Propitiation; all virtuous Persons, who should ever die in righteous Causes, had wanted their great Example and Comforter; and his Doctrines had wanted the Seal of his Blood and dying Witness: And therefore, tho' he had in his Sight the Death of St. John Baptist, beheaded but two Years before, he went voluntarily amongst the same sort of Men, who thirsted for his Blood, and who he knew wou'd draw it: And he endur'd his bitter Pains, and the base Reproaches they added to them, with such Resignation, Gravity, and Constancy of Mind, that the very manner of his Death, together with the divine Tokens that God shew'd for him at that time, made his Friends begin, from that very Day, to take heart and grow bold; and it made many, even of his Enemies, confess, that he was the Son of God, as he had said.
Page 330 Now this is the Testimony of the Blood: It is the Seal of Martyrdom, and the highest Witness on his part that could be given, of his being sincere in all that he had said or done. But neither is this the end of our Evidence: For miraculous Proofs of our Saviour's Truth, and God's Approbation, continu'd after his Death, as wonderful as they had been before. He rose out of his Grave on the third Day, as he had said he shou'd; and he appear'd to so many as may give undeniable Satisfaction to all that will submit to sufficient Evidence. And here we are to consider, that his Appearances after his Resurrection were not like Apparitions or Spirits, that on some great Occasions have appear'd to some Persons; tho' that would have been a material Point for Proof of a future State in general. That would have confuted, as all such Cases do confute, our modern Sadducees, that deny the Existence of separate Souls or Spirits: But his Appearance was far more, even substantially and bodily before them. He talk'd with them; he eat and drank with them, and let them feel and handle him: And this not to one only, or two, in the Night-time but in the Day, to ten, eleven, and at last five hundred. He shew'd himself thus, not once only, or twice, but ten several times, that are particularly taken notice of, besides others mention'd in a more general way. He instructed them in the things that they should teach and do. He breath'd on them, bless'd them, and at last went to Heaven in their sight, attended
Page 331 by holy Angels. They were sure that they were not deceiv'd in these things; and they knew they were not wrought for their sakes only, but for some wonderful End of Providence: And therefore they neither durst nor were able to keep them secret. They were so astonish'd at them, that they publish'd and preach'd, and wrote and declar'd to all Men, what they had seen and heard, and their Hands had handled. They soon found, that by spreading abroad those Truths, they should bring upon themselves the Power and Revenges of the same Men that had crucified their Master: But it was all one to them. That Assurance that they had of the Truth constrain'd them to run all hazards; and therefore they declar'd those things boldly, to those very Rulers themselves, that had had the greatest share in that wicked Action. To stop the Course of this new Doctrine, the Jews ston'd St. Stephen, and beheaded St. James, and gave out Commissions to apprehend any that should call upon that Name. That forc'd those few Christians, that then were, upon that hard part of leaving their Friends and Country; but still they maintain'd that same Truth, without so much as one Person discovering any Fraud either in our blessed Savior, or his Apostles after him. As indeed they were but Men, and subject to the same Passions that others were, they had Divisions and Disputes, and particularly about the Obligation of the Law of Moses: But, which is a mighty Confirmation of their Sincerity, in those too fierce Contentions that
Page 332 they had, neither side cou'd charge the other with any Fraud about their Testimony. Then they had Desertions in the time of Persecution, as it was no wonder that they had, considering how fierce their Persecutions were. They had many that, like Judas, apostatiz'd out of Fear and Covetousness; and if they had known any evil of them, they would have been glad to have publish'd it upon the House tops; because such Discoveries wou'd have justify'd their forsaking them: But, which is a wonderful Proof or Demonstration rather of their Sincerity, there is not one single Instance of such a Discovery. As Judas, who had been Witness of his Privacies, cou'd lay nothing to his Charge when he had betray'd him, others cou'd say as little. They were so far from making Discoveries, that their after-Behaviors are clear Proofs of his Truth. For, as Judas sunk under the Weight of his own guilty Conscience, others, generally when the Storms were over, begg'd to be restor'd to the Church with Tears and Penance. And to all these things, it is to be added, that these Facts were written in the very same Age, and from the very time that they were done. If they had not been both publish'd and fix'd unalterably by the sacred Records of the Churches, in the very Age of the Apostles, all these Arguments had left us subject to great Fears and Doubts. They might have been like the Legends of Apollonius, or Popish Saints. They wou'd not in that case have been worth a wise
Page 333 Man's reading: But when the Apostles preach'd his Miracles, they cou'd add, As ye your selves also know. And they wrote them at the same time, and numerous Churches were established in most of the great Cities in the World; for the Churches were actually settled with Elders over them, when the Epistles were written by St. Paul, and the other Apostles. That is visible from the Matter of the Epistles and their Directions: And the Gospels were written before them; for St. Luke wrote the Acts of the Apostles, soon after St. Paul had been at Rome: and he had written his Gospel before that. His Gospel was the former Treatise, that he spoke of in the first Verse of the Acts: And when he wrote that Gospel, he spoke of others that had written before him; for he begins, Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a Declaration of those things which are most surely believ'd amongst us, I also, and c. And some of those many that he spoke of were, St. Matthew, and St. Mark, whose Gospels are in our Hands to this Day. So that, in that Age, while the things were fresh, the divine Histories of those public Actions were written by several Persons that have shown a wonderful Impartiality in their way of writing. Sacraments and Holy-Days, and religious Rites, and a successive Order of Teachers have been continued from the very time of our Savior's own Institution of the Twelve and Seventy. These are the common Marks that distinguish true Histories from Fables: And I must
Page 334 add to all, that the Christians which made up those first Churches, were Men of the greatest Piety and Virtue that were ever found amongst Mankind, and great Numbers of them seal'd the Truth of these Facts with their Blood. Now let us judge of this Matter with all the Caution that we can use without Perverseness. Had not our Savior good reason to say, as in the Text, that he had done such things as no other Man had ever done before him? For did ever any Deceiver appear in the World with such Attestations from God as these were? Did ever any False-Christ or Impostor bring such Miracles, and such Proofs of them, with such convincing Circumstances from the very time? We shall find none such though we search from one end of Heaven to the other, and from the beginning of the World to this Day. And therefore, though Deceivers and their lying Wonders make a Blaze for a little time, and then vanish into Smoak, and come to nothing; the Gates of Hell have not, and never shall be able to prevail against these. But if these things were so; what cou'd be the reason why so small a part of his own Nation, and such a smaller still of the Rulers believ'd on him? For that is the great Objection that can be made against this Foundation of our holy Religion: That though many very considerable Jews did both believe and suffer for him; though none would have done so, if the things had not been well attested; and though his very Enemies cou'd not deny his Miracles;
Page 335 and the first Writers against Christianity, even Celsus and others, suppose them; yet the greater and the ruling part of his own Nation did not embrace his Religion; but rejected both him and that: And what might the reason of that be, if those Facts were, indeed, such as I have represented? And the reason of their rejecting him, was the same that they had for their stoning and killing most of the Prophets that God had sent before him; and that was, wrong Notions in some, and Wickedness of Heart in others. In some it was weakness of Virtue, and in others love of Life, and fear of Persecution. But more particularly; some puzzled themselves and obstructed their own Faith, by wrong Notions, as if Belzebub had assisted him to the Performance of his Miracles. They had magnified the Power of the Devil, and by believing Lies, had persuaded themselves that all his Works were by Magic: For a mere Conjurer, they said, could not only walk upon the Water, but sly through the Air; command the Winds; raise up Spirits, and dead Men; prepare Feasts; change himself into other Shapes, and kill or cure. Tho' Celsus, as Origen tells him, being a Philosopher, did not himself believe such Tales, yet because he found that to be the most puzzling Argument to obscure Christ's Miracles, he made use of that Objection, as the Pharisees did in our Saviour's own Life-time: For if they could make People believe that the Devil could do as much; it was the easiest way to make them think that he might do those.
Page 336 Others that believ'd that the Devil cou'd not open the Eyes of the Blind, yet were puzzled; because they knew not how to reconcile his Doctrines to the Law of Moses: They were sure God spake by Moses, and imagining that Christ's Religion was a Contradiction to his ancient Law, they knew not of a great while how to reconcile those Cases, and therefore suspended their Faith, or rather tried if they cou'd not practice both. But others had worse Reasons for the hindrance of their Faith. Amongst these, in some the Reason was Spite and Anger, because he had been a bold Reprover of their Hypocrisies and vicious Lives; and their Passions made them blind. In others love of Pleasure was the reason. Whatever became of his Miracles, it was a determin'd Point with them, That they could not bring themselves from a Life of Idleness and Mirth, to that grave, and diligent, and self-denying Life that he taught them. Love of the World was a Reason with others. They had something else to do, than to inquire after the Doctrines and Actions of a new Teacher; especially when one of the Doctrines that he taught to some, was, that they should sell all that they had and follow him. Some were so blinded with the fine things of Life, that they were offended because he was not Rich and Great. They thought God beheld Men in the same Glass that they did: And because they were us'd to despise the Poor, they could not believe that a poor Man could be of any Eminence any way. But in most
Page 337 the reason of not receiving our Savior's Religion, was fear of Reproach and Persecution: And as the Violence of his Enemies made Nicodemus come to him by Night, and made St. Peter openly deny him, and the other Apostles and Christians to leave their own Country, and wander about Strangers under all kind of Hardships; what wonder if it made others resolve, not to see what they saw, but keep quiet at home, and sleep in a whole Skin? Most Men do so now in such dangerous Cases; and we cannot wonder if they did so then. Considering Mens natural Fear of Death, and the certain Death that they saw before them, it was rather a wonder that so many confess'd and follow'd him as there did: And nothing but irresistible Evidence could have made so many wise and learned Men receive him under such Hardships. If it be objected then, that the greater part of his own Age and Nation did not openly receive his Religion: It is no wonder that they did not, considering the known Wickedness of that Age, and the great Persecution they must bear if they were of it. There is no wonder in the thing, if that be consider'd rightly; nor is there any difficulty in assigning the Reasons of their Unbelief. The Reasons were, a superstitious Belief of the Devil's Power in some; and ungodly Policy and Fear of the Romans in others; and love of their Places and Preferments in the Rulers: and in the People the Reasons were, Love of Pleasure, and Cares of the World,
Page 338 and Bigotry, and Superstition, and Carelessness, and want of virtuous Courage, and fear of Persecution. These Fears, and Frailties, and Vices, in all Ages and Nations, have over-born many a just Man, and many and many a righteous Cause; and, by the Permission of God, who had great Good to bring out of it, they prevail'd to the crucifying of our Savior, and the long and cruel Persecution of his Followers, that came after him. And, as the Nature of the Thing, and the Testimonies of all the first Histories of the Church, bear witness that these were the true Reasons, why that Age rejected our Savior, not withstanding he had exceeded both Moses and all the Prophets in his Miracles; God Almighty hath confirm'd this Judgment of their Case, by the fearful and amazing Destruction that he sent upon that People. And that is the true Answer to be given to the Unbelief of that Age. God himself hath given it the justest of all Answers. In that very Age God destroy'd those People, their City, and Temple, according as our blessed Savior, in the midst of his Sufferings, declar'd he would. For as the meek and patient Jesus was led out to his cruel Execution, stooping under his Cross, through the Streets of Jerusalem, and many devout Women follow'd, weeping and lamenting the sad Death that he was just a going to suffer, he turn'd to them, and without Dejection, or a broken Mind, but with the same Gravity and Piety that he always spoke with, said he;
Page 339 Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for your selves and for your Children: For the Days are coming in which they shall say, Blessed are the Barren, and Wombs that never bore, and the 'Paps that never gave suck. Before that he had foretold the same thing, and had added, that the Destruction of their then flourishing City and Temple should be such as would not leave one Stone upon another: And as God hath many a time, in other Cases, made the dying Words of righteous Men to be true Prophecies against their Oppressors, he made our Saviour's Words to be such, to the Astonishment of the Beholders. That same Generation that heard his Prophecy, saw and felt the Destruction: And it was with such speaking Circumstances, that there hath hardly been any thing like it since the World began. They found that as they had not made his Religion the Rock of their Salvation, it proved a Stone that ground them to Powder. And therefore let us establish our selves in our holy Faith, by the Consideration of these things, and rejoice to think, how true, how sincere and well grounded its hopes are. We see our Forefathers did not lightly take up an unprov'd thing, when to the Laws of Reason and Nature they receiv'd, and added, and established this for the National Religion of our country: And therefore, let us not only receive it in a formal way, as a thing in course, but as a divine Law from above, to which we must bow and bend the Mind and Conscience.
Page 340 For our Evidence for it is in some respects greater and stronger than all this that I have laid down before: For besides these Arguments, we have the Experience of our Saviour's Power, in making good his Promise of its Continuance. For he not only planted his Religion with great care, and water'd it with his Blood; but declar'd, that in spite of Man's Power it should continue till his coming again to Judgment. It should be corrupted indeed greatly; and yet even its own Corruption, tho' one would think it must, should not destroy it. We have seen both its Corruption grievous, and its Continuance for all that, and its Reformation to a happy degree of primitive Truth at least, if not of Virtue. Let us add its ancient Virtue, as well as its ancient Doctrine, and we shall have a farther Proof of its Truth, in some respects more convincing than any of those I have mention'd yet. To the external outward Evidence of Christianity, we shall have added an internal Experience and Pleasure in our own Bosoms. This will be like an Earnest to us of that divine Reward which is to follow after: And in the hope of that, we shall pass our Days with as much Cheerfulness and Pleasure as we shall want; and at Death shall commend our Souls to God without fear.
Page 341 SERMON II. Concerning ANGELS. PSALM cxlviii. 2. Praise ye him all his Angels: Praise ye him all his Hosts. IN this Psam, David, or whoever was the Author of it, calls upon all the Creatures and Works of God, in their several Ways, to praise God; and Angels being the highest in Order and Excellence, he gives them the first Place in his best Work, and calls upon them to praise him, both alone for their several Blessings, and in those sacred Bands or Hosts into which they were regularly divided. And as those plain Truths which the Holy Scriptures teach us concerning their first Creation and present State, afford us many useful Lessons concerning what we may hope or fear for our Nature, that came out from the same Hand, and
Page 342 is under the same Government; a Discourse upon that Subject cannot be grounded upon a fitter Text than this, which doth not only teach us the Certainty of their Existence, but places them highest amongst the Works of God. It is a Subject indeed, that, above most others, must be begun with a remembrance of our own imperfect Natures, which neither can nor ought to pry too nicely into it. When Manoah, Sampson's Father, in the 13th of Judges, would enquire the Name of the Angel that had appeared to him, that he might know who he was to give Thanks to, when the Things that he had told him should come to pass; saith that holy Spirit, in the eighteenth Verse, Wherefore enquires thou after my Name, seeing it is secret or wonderful? By that Answer it seems probable, either that it was not lawful for him to know it; or was so wonderful, that he could not understand it. The Author of the Book of Wisdom also gives Caution that is fit for us to keep in Mind when we discourse upon such Subjects; the 9th of Wisdom, 19th and 20th Verses, Hardly do we guess aright at Things that are upon Earth, and with Labour do we find the Things that are before us; but the Things that are in Heaven, who hath searched out? Such secret Things therefore belong to the Lord, and to him must be left; but those that are revealed belong to us and to our Children, that we may form and frame our Lives according as they make it to be needful for us: And concerning the Holy Angels, these Points are taught us.
Page 343 Their Existence, their Creation, many of their Qualities; the Innocence of some, and the Fall of others; the happy Ministration of the Good, for the Benefit of good Men; and the Temptations and Devices of the bad. 1. For the certain Existence of Spirits in general. I begin with this, because in our Saviour's Time there was a Sect of Sadducees, that belived neither Angel nor Spirit; and some in our own Ages are said to believe as little: And as it is the too easy Credulity of some that tempts these Sadducees to deny too much; and as credulous People lade themselves with dangerous Superstitions, that are dishonorable to Providence, and hurtful both to their Neighbors and themselves, I will first premise, in Way of Caution and Guard, That we are not to think, that where-ever we find the Word Angel or Devil in Scripture, we are immediately to think it speaks of a good or evil Spirit really acting in Person. The Word Angel, from [Greek omitted], in it self signifies only a Messenger, Apostle, Nuncio, or 'Preacher, and is used to denote, sometimes, some remarkable miraculous Token of God's Presence; sometimes some Prophet or Minister acting in his Name; and sometimes only dead Instruments, that he makes use of for the executing of his Will. The Pillar of Fire that went before the Israelites, is call'd God's Angel. As Christ is called the Angel of God's Covenant; so the Ministers or Bishops of the Seven Churches in the Revelations, are called the
Page 344 Angels of those Churches. And the Winds and Flames of Fire, when us'd by God as Voices to teach us, or Rods to punish us, are called God's Angels or Messengers to us. And with respect to the evil Spirits, in a large Sense, all Diseases were by the Jews attributed to the Devil as his Works; and in our Days, all Temptations to Sin are, and not unjustly, metaphorically at least, ascrib'd to him, tho' it be also a very great and undoubted Truth what St. James tells us, That every Man that is tempted, is drawn away of his own Heart's Lust. I may add farther, That where the Words Satan and Devil are actually made use of, they do not certainly assure us that it was a Devil, and not a bad Man that is intended in such Places. The Word Satan, in its first Signification, is only Enemy or Adversary; and in the Old Testament, it is always translated so, unless some strong Reason, and the Circumstances of the Place determine it to mean an evil Spirit, 1 Sam. 29. 4. The Lords of the Philistines would not suffer David to go with them, for fear, lest in the Battle, he should prove Satan, or an Enemy to them. In the Second Book of Samuel, David uses the same Word of his own Brethren; Ye Sons of Zerviah, Why are ye this Day become Satan or Adversaries to me. In the 109th Psalm, Ver. 6. Set thou an ungodly Man to be Ruler over him, and let Satan stand at his right Hand. But if the Word Satan be put in English, as the late learned Bishop Patrick puts it in his Paraphrase, it is then to be understood in
Page 345 this more natural Sense: Let the worst Man that can be found be appointed to hear his Cause, and let his most malicious Adversary plead against him. And that gives us an obvious Reason why our Savior call'd St. Peter by that Name, Mark 8. 33. Get thee behind me, Satan; or, get thee behind me, O my Enemy; for in this thou savourest not the Things that be of God, but the Things that be of Men. So the Word [Greek omitted] or Devil, in its proper Sense, signifies only Slanderer or false Accuser. 2 Tim. 4. 1, 2, 3. Know this, t hat in the last Days perilous Times shall come: For Men shall be Lovers of their own selves, covetous, without Affection, Truce-breakers, [Greek omitted] false Accusers. Again, Titus 2. 3. Speak thou the Things that become sound Doctrine; that the aged Women be in Behaviour as becomes Knowledge, not [Greek omitted] not false Accusers, nor given to much Wine, and c. And both Erasmus, and the French Protestant Translators, put the 4th of Ephesians, 27th Verse the same Way, and with much Reason: Neither give place to the Devil; that is, do not by the Sins before-named, or any other such like, give Occasion to the Slanderers to reproach our Religion. John 6. 7. Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a Devil; not a Devil literally, but a very wicked Traytor, as false as the Devil can make him. Speaking of the Character of a Clergyman to be ordained, after having cautioned Timothy against admitting them too young, he proceeds,
Page 346 Moreover he must have a good Report of them that are without, lest he fall into Reproach, and the Snare of the Devil, I Tim. 3. 7. It is very obvious why wanting a good Report should give Slanderers an Opportunity of obstructing their Ministry; but why the Devil, for that Reason, should have more Power over any virtuous Person, is not so obvious. And to name but one Place more; a Woman, who had been bowed down, was said to have been bound by Satan eighteen Years; but then it is visible our Savior only spoke in that large Sense, in which they attributed to the Devil all Diseases, even Death it self. But I will not add more Instances, tho' I might add many: For tho' they spoke in that way, according to the Customs of that Age, it would not be prudent for us to speak in the same, since ill Use hath been made of it. When the Expressions that St. Paul had used about Faith had been perverted, St. James, by the Wisdom given to him of God, taught us to speak with more guard for the Time afterward: And since a very pernicious and bloody Use hath been made of the Phrases and Mistakes about the Devil, they are surely the soundest Christians, and soberest Interpreters of Scripture, who are sparing in the Use of it; and never introduce any Spirit, but where they find a real Effect of an invisible intellectual Agent. But as I mention these Things only in way of Caution or Guard, I shall pass over many others of the same Nature, and proceed to the Particulars
Page 347 propos'd; the first of which is, The certain Existence of Spirits. And for this there is the Belief of all Nations, without excepting one: There are the numerous Facts that are done by Agents supernatural; and there is the Reason and Judgment of our own Minds: For who can believe or imagine, that our weak and sinful Race should be the Head of the Creation? Who can think that in the whole Scale of Beings, our human Nature should be the highest, and that God should have no better Creatures than we are, that know little or nothing either of him or his Works? Who can suppose that our infected, sickly, disturbed Region, should be full of Creatures with Life and Sense, and a high Degree of Reason; and all the pure, immense and celestial Regions above, should be without any: and that even the most sacred Place of God's highest Presence, should not have Creatures, as much more excellent than we are, as the Place it self is more glorious, and sitter for an exalted and happy Life. The natural Judgment of sober Men, and the Guesses that they make from the Analogy of the World, raise them up to so much Faith and Belief of Angels or invisible Spirits; and the sacred Scriptures put the Matter beyond Controversy to every Christian Man. And to name some few Texts out of these, Psalm 8. 5. For thou hast made him little lower than the Angels, to crown him with Glory and Honour. Psalm 68. 17. The Chariots of God are twenty Thousand, even Thousands
Page 348 of Angels; the Lord is amongst them, as in his Holy Place os Sinai. Matth. 25. 41. Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting Fire, prepared for the Devil and his Angels. Heb. 1. 13. But to which of the Angels said he at any Time, Sit on my right Hand till I make thy Enemies thy Footstool? Are they not all ministering Spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be Heirs of Salvation? Ver. 16. For verily he took not on him the Nature of Angels; but he took on him the Seed of Abraham. 2 Pet. 2. 4. For if God spared not the Angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell, and deliver'd them into Chains of Darkness, to be reserv'd unto Judgment. These Texts are so plain, that no Craft or Force can bend or strain them to another Sense; but all must confess, that they speak of both good Spirits and bad also. A Man must deny the Scriptures themselves, if he denies that these Places speak plainly of Angels. The second Point propos'd, is, their Creation, by the same God that gave us our Being: And for this the very first Verse of Genesis hath been always thought to belong plainly to this, In the Beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth. This the Fathers of the Nicene Council rightly interpreted, That God was the Maker of all Things, visible and invisible. And in this they have St. Paul going before them for their Justification; Col. 1. 16. For by him were all Things created that are in Heaven and in Earth, visible and invisible, whether
Page 349 they be Thrones, or Dominions, Principalities or Powers; all Things were created by him and for him. It is true indeed, that some Jewish Rabbins, as well as the first Hereticks, fancying that there were Worlds before this, even for ever; and that even common Matter was eternal, they must in Consequence suppose, that the Angelic Substances were eternal also; for if they allowed Eternity and necessary Existence to the meaner corporeal Kind of Substances, they could not but attribute the same Eternity to the nobler Intellectual, which they plainly saw to be of a Kind superiour. The Manichees therefore did not only advance their Fear and Notion of the Devil so high, as to make him strong and potent, and the first Spring of Evil; but to make his Existence natural, eternal, independent, and even divine, of as long Continuance, at least as the supreme Being. But how contrary to sound Reason as well as Scripture, is this Notion of the Heretics, or Free-Thinkers of that Age? How plain is it, that it is so far from being true, that any kind of Matter hath a necessary uncreated Existence, that it is plain that none hath? For to pass by that noble and well known Argument, that which is necessarily existent, must be equally necessary at all Times, and in all Places, which finite Matter is not; it is plain, that Matter which we see, must be not only created, but created with great Contrivance; because the Marks of
Page 350 the Creators Infinite Wisdom and Power are upon the first Principles of it, as plainly as upon the finish'd Works that are produc'd from it. For in the first Parts of Matter that we can take into Consideration, there are found, if I may be allow'd just to mention their Names, tho' not Scriptural, Variety of Substance, Motion, Gravitation, Elasticity, Attraction, Repulsion, Sympathy, Antipathy, Adhesion, and other Powers, Affections and Qualities, that are wonderful and unaccountable. By these dispos'd and laid in Order by the wise Creator, without much following Miracle, Matter becomes the constituent Parts, the Instrumental or Second Cause, under God, of all curious Works that we behold in the material Parts of the Universe. Now as we readily confess and adore the Creator's Power, in the finish'd Works of the Creation, do we not see it as evidently in the first Principles? Do we lose any Degree of that just Wonder we have of the Creator's Power, by going backward in our Examination, from perfected Productions, to the first Causes that produce them? So far from it, that the Argument gains Strength, and increases to the Creator's Honor. For as in a small Seed, a curious Observer sees more Wonder than in a grown Tree: So in the first Elements of that Seed, he is still more astonished to think what still more minute Parts there can be, that can correspond severally and distinctly to those proper Parts of the Seed, and force their Effects by regular and well proportioned Causes. All we can say is, That God's Power and Wisdom are infinite,
Page 351 and that it was his Work to produce the first Matter so curious, that in his Hand it might be powerful and effectual for all the following Operations. Unprepar'd and worthless Matter would only have produced a worthless Chaos of Confusion. And since it hath produced, not Confusion but such Flowers and Fruits, and Works as we see, we must acknowledge, That every Part of Matter, whether great or little, is just such as the Creator was pleas'd to make it. And now to bring this Digression to the Argument that is before us: If Matter, if dead and passive Matter, be yet of such Excellence and Perfection, as to shew the Creator's Power and Wisdom, how much more must the Angelic Natures, that are of a nobler Rank, having a near Resemblance or lively Image of the Divine Nature upon them? So far therefore we may behold the Truth of our holy Religion with great Pleasure. We see Reason as well Scripture teaches us, That as the Free-Thinkers of our Age fall into the same Tracks of reasoning with the Manichees or Free-Thinkers of that Time, so they are both erroneous; and that all kind of Matter, or Substance, or whatever you will call it, even the Angelick Substances, received their Beings from the great Creator. Unless God had pleased there never had been any Angels; for they took their Beginning from the free Gift of God as well as we, and are Fellow-Creatures with us. And the Day when they received their Beings, is by many thought to be the first Day of the Creation
Page 352 of our Earth; if at least that first Day, or that Phrase in the Beginning doth not take in a longer Space than a Day doth. To be sure they were made, either on that first Day of that great Week, or sooner; for with Songs of Praises they celebrated the Honour of God, as he made the other Parts of the Earth: Job 38. 6, 7. Whereupon are the Foundations of the Earth fasten'd? Or, who laid the Corner-Stone thereof? When the Morning-Stars sang together, and all the Sons of God shouted for Joy. With Astonishment those holy Beings beheld the Wonders of God's Wisdom, Power and Goodness, in our rising World; and with Shouts of Joy, as they might well, they extoll'd the Praises of its Almighty Maker. But as this not only shews them happy, but makes a noble Representation of their Life and Worship; the Fall of some of them is the next, or third Point that the Scripture teaches us for our Warning and earnest Admonition. How long they continued: By what Transgression they fell: What they could find that should make Beings of such Excellence and Wisdom, uneasy under the Government of so mild and kind a Creator: What made their fallen State deserve so little Pity, that even the merciful Jesus let them lie unpray'd for, without joining their Case with ours in his great Work of Redemption: These are Things that our prying Nature would be glad enough to know; but which the holy Writers have not been empowered to teach us.
Page 353 Peter Lombard, Father of the Schoolmen, and who is deservedly own'd to have been a great Man in his way, supposes that they continued but a few Moments of Time: Punctum Temporis, saith one of those Schoolmen. That very short Time doth not seem probable; because it gives not sufficient Room for Consideration, and Choice, and a free Election: And most certainly they had a very just Law and fair Probation, and their Transgression must have had some very great Aggravation, or their following State of Diminution had not been irreversible. But as a particular Knowledge of their State is not necessary to our Salvation, I shall only speak of it in the general Words of St. Jude, in the sixth Verse of his Epistle; But the Angels that kept not their first Estate, but left their own Habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting Chains under Darkness, unto the Judgment of the great Day. Whatever Loss they suffer'd in their second State, they seem to have greater coming upon them, both by this Text, and by their Question to our Savior, Art thou come to torment us before the Time? 3. The fourth Point propos'd to be considered, is, their Natures and Qualities. And as they bear a great Resemblance to the Soul of Man, the Consideration of our own Souls will lead us nearest to the true Notion of those Qualities in a low Degree, which they possess in a higher. And here we have, first, to consider, not only Life, and Sensation, and Self-Motion, and
Page 354 something very like Thought and Memory, which are in the Creatnres, but deeper Reasoning, Conscience of moral Good and Evil, Free Will, Contemplation of the Creator; such Knowledge and Schemes of the Universe, and the several Inhabitants of it, as made Solomon speak, as if the Soul of a wise Man cover'd the whole Earth. And as these surprising Qualities are of a quite different Nature from the highest that I named before of the Mechanick Powers, they lead us to the Thought of a nobler, active Substance, superiour to passive, insensible, dead Matter, and that we take to be the Substance of the Angelick Natures and the Souls of Men: And that therefore they have been permanent and lasting, and, with the divine Support, which the Goodness of God hath continued to all Things, they will be more abiding than the Rocks and Mountains. As they sang together with Shouts of Joy, when God laid the Foundation of the World; so when he shall come at the last to judge it, they will be with him; and having been Witnesses of his Justice and Goodness in all his Ways, they will give him Praise in Songs Eternal. The two first Qualities therefore that we believe of them, are, that they are Immaterial and Immortal; and the third may be, that great Swiftness, and those easy Motions that are taught in sundry Places. Dan. 9. 21. Yea, whilst I was speaking in Prayer, even the Man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the Vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched
Page 355 me about the Time of the Evening Oblation. From what sacred Place soever he had come no Difficulty of the Way had retarded his Motion. There is hardly any Quality that they have, that does more evidently shew their great Excellence above us, and make us more sensible of the heavy Load of our own mortal Bodies. For we labor, and are out of Breath, in walking slow a very short Stage: We are a Burden to the weary Beasts that carry us; and a few Miles distance makes us Strangers, like banished Men from our next Relations. We may want their Help and Advice in Danger; we may be sick and die; and our best Friends may neither know our Peril, nor be able to haste to us till our Fate is over--But we shall not always be such confin'd Creatures. When our Souls shall have put off the Burden of the Flesh, we doubt not but they will be in this respect, like the Angels of God. 4. The Holy Angels are represented to us as of great Force and Power, Psalm 103. 20. Ye that excel in Strength, ye Ministers of his that do his Pleasure. When God gave one of them Commission to destroy the First-born in Ægypt, before Morning there was not one left alive through the whole Land. And in one Night an Angel destroy'd the whole Host of the Assyrians. 5. They are doubtless of great Wisdom and Knowledge; 2 Sam. 14. 20. My Lord is wise according to the Wisdom of an Angel of God, to know all Things that are in the Earth.
Page 356 And this must almost necessarily follow from their easy Motion, and capacious Faculties, and long Duration: For the great Ignorance that is in Man, is not altogether to be charg'd upon his Incapacity; but Shortness of Life, and the Disadvantage with which we see Things. We live but a little while, and are so confin'd by our natural Weakness and imperfect Sight, that the greatest Wanderer sees but very little and knows but little of what he sees. We can neither judge of Things at a distance, nor are able to go near the greatest part of Things that we want to know. Our dull Eyes can neither bear a bright Object, nor see a little one, nor pierce through the thinnest Covers of those that lie with most Advantage before them. We can neither see God, nor Angels, nor our own Souls, nor the Starry Firmament, with Ability to judge of what we see, nor the heavenly Places. But now was it permitted to us, as it was to St. Paul, to be caught up and pass into the Third Heaven, and to see that, not for the length of a Fit of Vision, but as long as the Angels have in a compos'd Temper and perfect Life; the Soul of Man then, tho' with only the Faculties it hath now, would not be without Knowledge, and in Blindness, as it now is: And if Man's Soul, with those Advantages, would be great in Knowledge, as it would be most certainly, how great and sure and extensive must the Knowledge of Angels be, that have beheld God's Works so long with Angelick Powers? Their Wisdom indeed is not so great, but that God can charge them with Folly, and sees their Ignorance
Page 357 in many Points that are above their Reach; but compar'd with ours the Extent of their Knowledge is almost above Comparison, and its Certainty is like Sight and Vision. Those of them therefore that delight in Lies must be dangerous Enemies; and the good Spirits must be noble Instruments of God's Providence and Works, and easily able to turn Things into those Channels into which God shall direct them. Other Points that are taught concerning them, will fall in, while I speak to the good Uses that we are to make of this Subject: For every one will be apt to enquire, What Inferences can we draw? What Duties do we owe? And what Advantages can we make of this Knowledge? Have we not Reason to fear and tremble before the Bad? And should we not offer up our Worship and Prayers to the Good, to encourage them to the more Readiness in that Ministration that God has given them for us? And the chief Points we are to learn, I believe may be reduced under these four Heads. 1. We must never consider the Ministration either of the good Angels or evil, otherwise than as to increase our Faith in God and his Providence, and to draw us with less Fear and Doubting to put our Trust in him: For after all our boasted Knowledge, what do we know of them certainly, but that they are Instruments in the Hand of God. As the Sun and Stars, and Fire and Air, and Plagues, are dead Instruments; these are living Instruments, but still Instruments
Page 358 in the Hand of him, who is as near to us as they are, and could of himself act all without them, if he did not chose rather to give them that Ministration for Reasons that we know not. If then we think and speak of them, so as to magnify God, who is served by such noble Attendance. If we think of them so as to strengthen our Belief of God's particular Providence, that cannot be too busy to take care of any Person that deserves his Protection, since he hath appointed so many Eyes besides his own to be continually employed in his Service: If we make this Use of this Doctrine, we make the best use that can be, and shall have our Minds more full of Piety for the Thoughts we have of them: But if we let our Wonder and Esteem, and Love stay at them, and have God less frequently in our Minds, because our Meditations are upon Angels so much, we act then against the Order of Reason and Nature; and, in way of just Rebuke we may know, that God is able, of the very Stones, to raise up Angels and Arch-Angels, as well as Children unto Abraham. To prevent any Error in this Matter, (for it would be a very dangerous one) let the Vision of Jacob's Ladder be our Emblem to explain the thing. The Angels ascended and descended; but God was at the Head; and the Messages that they brought were from his Pleasure. Again, tho'Abraham's Servant, when he went to take a Wife for Isaac, had an Angel of God to go before him; he made his Prayer to God, and receiv'd Answer from him. For as God
Page 359 doth not make them the Ministers of his Power, with design to divide his Honour and Worship with them, so neither may we divide our Faith and Prayers, but let God be God, and they only his Instruments. But here the Pope and his Adherents accuse us of Injustice and want of Gratitude to those happy Spirits. They tell us of the great Honours that they do them in their Church, and blame ours as being negligent and defective in our Duty. And if we do deny them any Honour that is their due, we are much to be blamed; for we have no reason to think that they are ever slow or backward in any good Office they are employed in for our Assistance: They encamp about our Dwellings to do us good; they catch us from Dangers, prosper our Ways, rejoice at our Conversion; and when we die, they carry our Souls, if good, to the Place of Happiness: If we withhold from them therefore Esteem, and Love, and Imitation of their Virtues, we are too dull and slow in those Duties that become us; but we Protestants, as well as Papists, give them these kinds of Honor, and give Thanks to God, who is pleased to employ them so many ways for our Benefit. What is it then that we deny, and dare not give them? Why it is the Worship of God: It is Prayer: It is such Prostrations and Gestures as we use both to their supreme King and ours: And did ever any holy Angel desire this from us? Can any slanderous Tongue stand forth and
Page 360 give Evidence, that ever any good Spirit desir'd or suffer'd himself to be worshipped? The Devil indeed hath often; and offer'd our Savior all the Kingdoms of the World, if he would fall down before him: But did ever any good Spirit do any thing like it, or covet that Honor which God will not give to another? The Angel that appeared to Manoah, taught us another Lesson; Tho' thou detain me, I will not eat of thy Bread; and if thou wilt offer a Burnt-Offering, thou must offer it to the Lord. See the Angel again that appeared to St. John, in the 19th of Revel V. 10. And I fell at his Feet to worship him; and he said unto me, See thou do it not; I am thy Fellow-Servant, and of thy Brethren, which have the Testimony of Jesus; worship God. And may we after this be so bold with our Maker, as to divide our Worship betwixt him and them? May we leave that juste and better Reform'd Religion of a Protestant, in this Matter, and make Prayers to an Angel, that for ought we know may be far absent from us, and not know what we are doing? If we do, we may provoke God's Jealousy and Displeasure, and most surely transgress the Rule of his Apostle, Col. 2. 18. Let no Man beguile you of your Reward, in a voluntary Humility, and worshiping of Angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly Mind. But Papists that do make Prayers, and give Worship to Saints and Angels keep such Texts as those are in Latin, and read them in that
Page 361 Tongue to the People; or else these Scriptures would bring their People to the same right Behavior that both ours, and other Reformed Churches teach. Honor and good Will towards Angels, but no Prayers or Altars to them: Honor them, but worship God. 2. As we worship not the good Angels, so neither let us be in over great Dread or Terror for fear of the bad ones. The Prophet Isaiah teaches us, Chap. 8. 13. Sanctify God in your Hearts, and let him be your Fear, and let him be your Dread. And in Comparison of him, fear nothing else either in Life or Death. Fear is the strongest Passion of Man's Mind, and the strongest Spring of Action, that either captivates or holds one Being in the Power of another; and if we suffer either our own Follies, or any wrong Notions to fill our Minds with greater Fears of evil Spirits than we have of God, we make them as terrible, and our selves as miserable before them, as even the evil spirits can desire to see us. I add this as a Point to be well consider; because many receive Heathenish Stories, that the holy Scriptures never taught them. When the Sun goes down, and the Wild Beasts come out of their Dens, evil Spirits they think come out at the same time from their hidden Places, and roam about the Dark to fright those they meet with. Church-yards and desolate Houses they fancy are much haunted with Ghosts and evil Angels. The Tales they have heard, have made their Minds like Rooms painted with Devils,
Page 362 and whenever they are afraid in the Dark, their corrupted Imaginations bring those first into their Minds. As a poor Debtor thinks every Bush a Bailiff; these think every Bough a headless Beast. But are these the Scripture Doctrines concerning Devils? Have Prophets or Apostles ever taught us such Facts as these are? What the holy Prophets have taught us of them, is, that they are Executioners of some of the greater Acts of God's Justice. As all the Parts of the Creation; so they also, when he sees sit, are Instruments in his Hand to fulfil his Will; and if that be the Case, they are not afraid of the Light or Day. Nor will the Sun in his Brightness turn away their Faces. But they are not these Messengers of God's Pleasure that credulous Men have their Thoughts so full of, but imaginary Creatures of their own making: And if we let either those, or what is really true of the evil Spirits, get ground upon us, till they have a greater Share of our Fear than God hath; such Fears are an unfortunate Depravation of the Mind, a great Approach towards the worst part of the Heresy of the Manichees. They advanc'd their Doctrines of the Devil's Power to that degree, that tho' they supposed him less than the supreme good Being; yet they believed him (as I mentioned before) Eternal, and the Cause of all the Diseases and Evils of the Creation. Now tho' we abhor that Doctrine when it is mentioned under the Name of Manichæism, under which the Church condemn'd it as a Heresy; yet if by different Notions and
Page 363 fabulous Tales, we magnify his Power and Presence so far, that we fear him as much as those Manichees did. If virtuous Men let their Minds be so full of panic Frights and Terror, that even the Sense of God's Providence cannot keep their Minds as steady and free from fear of the Devil in the Dark as they are in the Light, they have a Spice of a very bad Heresy, and do not know it. And therefore what the Prophet Isaiah spoke to the Jews, with respect to God and their Enemies, that repeat I a second time with respect to all Fears whatever. Sanctify the Lord God in your Hearts, and let him be your Fear, and let him be your Dread. Live virtuously, and take care to fear him, and then fear nothing else beyond Reason, either Men or Devils. 3. There is a farther Lesson to be learnt from what the holy Writers teach us concerning good and evil Spirits, and that is, Unity under Government. Order and Government are so necessary to all reasonable Beings, that even the Wisdom and Virtue, even of good Angels, would be defective without it; nor doth the Perverseness, even of the evil Spirits, make either Superiors or Inferiors amongst them break the Bonds of Order that are needful to preserve their State. How inexcusable then must we be, if we let our Minds grow too stubborn to be in due Subjection, and how surely must Confusion and Misery be the Consequence? What Form of Government they have; and in what degree the inferior Spirits have their
Page 364 Time and Actions dispos'd of by the superior, I presume there is no Man will venture to determine: But what Laws they have, even the perverse Spirits, both superior and inferior, do so far observe, as not to be much divided; and if they did not, our Savior tells us, their Kingdom could not stand. How forcibly then, I say, doth this oblige us all to be governable, and make our private Interests easily yield to public Safety? Superiors may learn not to exceed their Power: Inferiors may learn to keep Order and Subjection; and both may learn the Necessity of Peace, Justice, and Unity. Divided Kingdoms and quarrelsome Men, have one degree of Perverseness above fallen Angels; and where-ever the Sin lies, whether in Superiors or Inferiors, the Guilt of it is great in the Sight of both God and Man. Lastly, From the Consideration of the Ministration of the good and evil Spirits about us, we may confirm our selves in the Belief of those great things our holy Religion teaches us concerning the Immortality and future State of our own Souls. The Immortality of Angels is a comfortable reviving Pattern to give us hope of our own eternal State: And their Care and Ministration about us, let us see that in both our future and present State, there are Matters of great Moment and Value belong to us. If our Business in the World was only to heap up Riches, and lade our selves with thick Clay; the good and evil Angels would not concern themselves to make one Man's heap bigger than
Page 365 another's; and since they do interest themselves in our Lives; since there is Joy amongst the holy Angels at the Conversion of a Sinner; and since the evil Spirits are as busy to seek our Fall, the reason must be, because they understand how mighty is the Consequence one way or the other. There would not be a War in Heaven about us, if all the Dispute was, whose Coffers should be fullest, and who should have most of their Will and Pleasure in this dying Life. Their Concern about our Souls shows the Value of them; and from their Concern about them, let us learn Judgment, and increase our own Care, and take heed so to order our Lives, that they may not be consigned to that State which God hath prepared for the greatest of those evil Spirits, and all his Instruments of Evil. I will conclude all with a little Variation, with the Collect of our Church, for the Feast of St. Michael and all Angels. O God, who hast ordain'd and constituted the Services of Angels and Men in a wonderful Order, mercifully grant, that as thy holy Angels always do thee Service in Heaven, so on Earth they may assist and further us in the Race of all Goodness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. FINIS.