King James VI of Scotland

(King James I of England)


Divided into three books


Bodleian Library, Oxford

Originally printed Edinburgh 1597 



to the Reader.



The fearefull aboundinge at this time in this countrie, of these detestable slaves of the Devill, the Witches or enchanters, hath moved me (beloved reader) to dispatch in post, this following treatise of mine, not in any way (as I protest) to serve for a shew of my learning and ingine, but onely (mooved of conscience) to preasse thereby, so farre as I can, to resolve the doubting harts of many; both that such assaultes of Sathan are most certainly practized, and that the instrumentes thereof, merits most severely to be punished: against the damnable opinions of two principally in our age, whereof the one called SCOT an Englishman, is not ashamed in publike print to deny, that ther can be such a thing as Witch-craft: and so mainteines the old error of the Sadducees, in denying of spirits. The other called WIERUS, a German Phisition, sets out a publick apologie for all these crafts-folks, wherby, procuring for their impunitie, he plainely bewrayes himselfe to have bene one of that profession. And for to make this treatise the more pleasant and facill, I have put it in forme of dialogue, which I have divided into three bookes: The first speaking of Magie in general, and Necromancie in special. The second of Sorcerie and Witch-craft: and the thirde, conteines a discourse of all these kindes of spirits, and Spectres that appeares and trobles persones: together with a conclusion of the whol work. My intention in this labour, is only to prove two things, as I have already said: the one, that such divelish artes have bene and are. The other, what exact triale and severe punishment they merite: and therefore reason , what kinde of things are possible to be performed in these arts, and by what naturall causes they may be, not that I touch every particular thing of the Devil's power, for that wer infinite: but onelie, to speak scholasticklie, (since this can not bee spoken in our language) I reason upon kind (genius) leaving appearance (species), and differences (differentia) to be comprehended therein. As for example, speaking of the power of Magiciens, in the first book and sixt Chapter: I say, that they can suddenly be brought unto them, al kindes of daintie disshes, by their familiar spirit: Since as a thiefe he delightes to steale and as a spirite, he can subtilie and suddenlie inough transport the same. Now under this kind (genus), may be comprehended al particulars, depending thereupon. Such as the bringing Wine out of the Wall, (as we have heard oft to have bene practised) and such others; which particulars, are sufficientlie proved by the reasons of the general. And such like in the second booke of Witch-craft in speciall, and fift Chap. I say and prove by diverse arguments, that Witches can, by the power of their Master, cur or cast on disseases: Now by these same reasones, that proves their power by the Devil of disseases in generall, is aswell proved their power in speciall: as of weakening the nature of some men, to make them unable for women: and making it to abound in others, more then the ordinary course of nature would permit. And such like in all other particular sicknesses; But one thing I wil pray thee to observe in all these places, where I reason upon the devils power, which is the different ends and scopes, that God as the first cause, and the Devill as his instrument and second cause shootes at in all these actiones of the Devil, (as Gods hang-man:) For where the devilles intention in them is ever to perish, either the soule or the body, or both of them, that he is so permitted to deale with: God by the contraries, drawes ever out of the eville glory to hmselfe, either by the wracke of the wicked in his justice, or by the tryall of the patient and amendment of the faithfull, being wakened up with that rod of correction. Having thus declared unto thee then, my full intention in this Treatise, thou wilt easelie excuse, I doubt not, as well my pretermitting, to declare the whole particular rites and secrets of these unlawfull artes: as also their infinite and wounderfull practices, as being neither of them pertinent to my purpose: the reason whereof, is given in the hinder ende of the first Chapter of the thirde booke: and who likes to be curious in these thinges, he may reade, if he will here of their practices, BODINUS Daemonomanie, collected with greater diligence, then written with judgement, together with their confessions, that have bene at this time apprehened. If he would know what hath bene the opinion of the Auncientes, concerning their power: he shall see it wel descrybed by HYPERIUS, and HEMMINGIUE, two late Germain writers: Besides innumerable other neoterick Theologues, that writes largelie upon that subject: And if he woulde knowe what are the particuler rites, and curiousities of these black arts (which is both unnecessaries and perilous,) he will finde it in the fourth book of CORNELIUS Agrippa, and in VIERUS, whomof I spak. And so wishing my pains in this Treatise (beloved Reader) to be effectual, in arming al them that reades the same, against thes above mentioned erroures, and recommending my good will to thy friendly acceptation, I bid thee hartely fare-well.


The exord of the whole. The description of Magie in special.
Proven by the Scripture, that these unlawfull artes of this sort (in
genere), have bene and may be put in practise.



I am surely verie glad to have mette with you this daye, for I am of opinion, that ye can better resolve me of some thing, whereof I stand in great doubt, nor anie other whom with I could have mette.

Epi. In what I can, that ye like to speir at me I will willinglie and freelie tell my opinion, and if I prove it not sufficiently, I am heartely content that a better reason carie it away then.

Phi. What thinke yee of these strange newes, which now onelie furnishes purpose to al men at their meeting: I meane of these Witches:

Epi. Surely they are wonderfulle: and I think so cleare and plaine confessions in that purpose, have never fallen out in anie age or countrey.

Phi. No question if they be true, but thereof the Doctours doubtes.

Epi. What part of it doubt ye of:

Phi. Even of all, for ought I can yet perceave: and namelie, that ther is such a thing as Witch-craft or Witches, and I would pray you to resolve me thereof if ye may: for I have reasoned with sundrie in that matter, and yet could never be satisfied therein.

Epi. I shall with good will doe the best I can: But I thinke it the difficulter, since ye denie the thing it selfe in generall: for as it is said in the logick schools, Do not try to prove a negative (Contra negantem principia non est disputandum). Alwaies for that part, that witchcraft, and Witches have bene, and are, the former part is clearelie proved by the Scriptures, and the last by dailie experience and confessions.

Phi. I know yee will alleadge me Saules Pythonisse: but that as appeares will not make much for you.

Epi. Not onlie that place, but divers others: But I marvel why that should not make much for me.

Phi. The reasones are these, first ye may consider, that Saul being troubled in spirit, and having fasted long before, as the text testifieth, and being (1) come to a woman that was bruted to have such knowledge, and that to inquire so important news, he having so guiltie a conscience for his hainous offences, and specially, for that same unlawful curiousitie, and horrible defection: and then the woman crying out upon the suddaine in great admiration, for the uncouth sight that she alledged to have sene discovering him to be the King, though diguysed, and denied by him before: it was no wounder I say, that his sense being thus distracted, he could not perceave hir faining of hir voice, hee being himselfe in an other chalmer, and seeing nothing. next what could be, or was raised? The spirit of Samuel? Prophane and against all Theologie: the Divell in his likenes? As unappeirant, that either God wold permit him to come in the shape of his Saintes (for then could never the Prophets in those daies have bene sure, what Spirit spake to them in their visiones) or then that he could fore-tell what was to come there after; for Prophecie proceedeth onelie of GOD: and the Devill hath no knowledge of things to come.

Epi. Yet if yee will marke the wordes of the text, ye will finde clearly, that Saul saw that apparition: for giving you that Saul was in an other Chalmer, at the making of the circles and conjurationes, needeful for that purpose (as none of that craft will permit any uthers to behold at that time) yet it is evident by the text, that how some that once that unclean spirit was fully risen, shee called in upon Saul. For it is saide in the text, that Saule knew him to be Samuel, which coulde not have bene, by the hearing tell onely of an olde man with an mantil, since there was many mo old men dead in Israel nor Samuel: And the common weid of that whole Cuntry was mantils. as to the next, that it was not the spirit of Samuel, I grant: In the proving whereof ye neede not to insist, since all Christians of whatso-ever Religion agrees upon that: and none but either mere ignorants, or Necromanciers or Witches doubtes thereof. And that the Divel is permitted at som-times to put himself in the likness of the Saintes, it is plaine in the Scriptures, where it is said, that (2) Sathan can trans-forme himselfe into an Angell of light. Neither could that bring any inconvenient with the visiones of the Prophets, since it is most certaine, that God will not permit him so to deceive his own: but only such as wilfully deceives them-selves, by running unto him, whome God then suffers to fall in their owne snares, and justlie permittes them to be illuded with great efficacy of deceit, because they would not beleeve the trueth (as Paul sayeth). And as to the divelles foretelling of things to come, it is true that he knowes not all things future, but yet that he knowes parte, the Tragicall event of this histories declares it, (which the wit of woman could never have fore-spoken) not that he hath any prescience, which is only proper to God: or yet knows anie thing by loking upon God, as in a mirrour (as the good Angels doe) he being for ever debarred from the favorable presence and countenance of his creator, but only by one of these two meanes, either as being worldlie wise, and taught by an continuall experience, ever since creation, judges by likelie-hood of thinges t come, according to the like that hath passed before, and the naturall causes, in respect of the vicissitude of all thinges worldly: Or else by Gods employing of him in turne, and so foreseene thereof: as appeares to have bin in this, whereof we finde the verie like in Micheas propheticque discourse to King Achab. But to proove this my first proposition, that there (3) can be such a thing as witch-craft, and witches, there are manie mo places in the Scriptures then this (as I said before). As first in the law of god, it is (4) plainely prohibited: But certaine it is, that the Law of God speakes nothing in vaine, nether doth it lay curses, or injoyne punishmentes upon shaddowes, condemning that to be il, which is not in essence or being as we call it. Secondlie it is plaine, where wicked Pharaohs wise-men imitated a number of Moses miracles, (5) to harden the tyrants heart there by. Thirdly, said not Samuell to Saull, that disobedience is as the sinne of Witch-craft? To compare to a thing that were not, it were too too absurd. Fourthlie, was not Simon Magus, a man of that craft. And fiftlie, what was she that had the spirit (6) of Python? beside innumerable other places that were irkesom to recite.


What kynde of sin the practizers of these unlawfull artes committes. The division of these artes. And quhat are the meanes that allures any to practize them.

Phi. But I think it very strange, that God should permit anie man-kynde (since they beare his owne Image) to fall in so grosse and filthie a defection.

Epi. Although man in his Creation was made to the Image of the Creator, yet (7) through his fall having once lost it, it is but restored againe in part by grace onelie to the elect: So all the rest falling away from God, are given over in the handes of the Devill that enemie, to beare his Image: and being once so given over, the greatest and the grossest impietie, is the pleasantest, and most delytefull unto them.

Phi. But may it not suffice him to have indirectly the rule, and procure the perdition of so manie soules by alluring them to vices, and to the following of their own appetities, suppose he abuse not so many simple soules, in making them directlie acknowledge him for their maister.

Epi. No surelie, for hee uses everie man, whom of he hath the rule, according to their complexion and knowledge: And so whome he findes most simple, he plaineliest discovers himselfe unto them. for hee beeing the enemie of mans Salvation, uses al the meanes he can to entrappe them so farre in his snares, as it may be unable to them thereafter (suppose they would) to rid themselves out of the same.

Phi. Then this sinne is a sinne against the holie Ghost.

Epi. It is in some, but not in all.

Phi. How that? Are not all these that runnes directlie to the Devill in one Categorie.

Epi. God forbid, for the sin against the holie Ghost hath two branches: The one a falling backe from the whole service of GOD, and a refusall of all his preceptes. The other is the doing of the first with knowledge, knowing that they doe wrong against their own conscience, and the testimonie of the holie Spirit, having once had a tast of the sweetness of Gods mercies. Now in the (8) first of these two, all sortes of Necromancers, Enchanters or Witches, ar comprehended: but in the last, none but such as erres with this knowledge that I have spoken of.

Phi. Then it appeares that there are more sortes nor one, that are directlie professors of his service: and if so be, I pray you tell me how manie, and what are they?

Epi. There are principallie two sortes, whereunto all the parties of that unhappie arte are redacted; whereof the one is called Magie or Necromancie, the other Sorcerie or Witch-Craft.

Phi. What I pray you? and how manie are the names, whereby the Devill allures persones in anie of these snares?

Epi. Even by these three passiones that are within our selves: Curiousitie in great imagines: thrift of revenge, for some tortes deeply apprehended: or greedie appetitie of geare, caused through great poverty. As to the first of these, Curiousity, it is onelie the inticement of Magiciens, or Necromanciers: and the other two are the allureres of the Sorcerers, or Witches, for that olde and craftie Serpent, being a spirite, hee easilie payes our affections, and so conformes himselfe thereto, do deceave us to our wracke.


The significations and Etymologies of the words of Magie and Necromancie. The difference betwixt Necromancie and Witch-Craft: What are the entressis, and beginninges, that brings anie to the knowledge thereof.

Phi. I would gladlie first heare, what thing is it that ye call magie or Necromancie.

Epi. This worde Magie in the Persian toung, importes as much as to be ane contemplator or Interpretour of Divine and heavenlie sciences: which being first used amongs the Chaldees, through their ignorance of the true divinite, was esteemed and reputed amongst them, as a principall vertue: And therefore, was named unjustlie with an honorable stile, which name the Greekes imitated, generall importing all thes kindes of unlawfull artes. And this world Necromancie is a Greek word, compounded of (nekron) and (manteia), which is to say the Prophecie by the dead. This last name is given, to this black and unlawful science by the figure Synecdoche, because it is a principal part of that art, to serve them selves with dead carcages in their divinations.

Phi. What difference is there betwixt this arte, and Witch-craft.

Epi. Surelie, the difference vulgare put betwixt them, is verrie merrie, and in a maner true, for they say, that the Witches ar servantes onelie, and slaves to the Devil; but the Necromanciers are his maisters and commanders.

Phi. How can that be true? any men being specially adicted to this service, can be his comanders?

Epi. Yea, they may be: but it is onlie secondary (secundum quid): For it is not by anie power that they can have over him, but only as he grants it (ex pacto) allanerlie: whereby he obliges himself in some trifles to them, that he may on the other part obteine the fruition of their body and soule, which is the onlie thing he huntes for.

Phi. An verie in-aequitable contract forsooth: But I pray you discourse unto mee, what is the effect and secrets of that arte?

Epi. That is over large an fielde ye give mee: yet I shall doe good-will, the most summarlies that I can, to runne through the principal points thereof. As there are two sorts of folkes, that may be entysed t this arte, to wit, learned or unlearned: so is there two meanes, which are the first steerers up and feeders of their curiousitie, thereby to make them to give themselves over to the same: Which two meanes, I call Divels schoole, and his rudiments. The learned have their curiosities weakened uppe; and fedde by that which I call his schoole: this is the Astrologie judiciar. For divers men having attained to a great perfection learning, and yet remaining overbare (alas) of the spirit of regeneration and frutes thereof: finding all naturall thinges common, aswell to the stupide pedants as unto them, they assaie to vendicate unto them a greater name, by not onlie knowing the course of things heavenlie, but likewise to clim to the knowledge of things to come therby. Which, at the first face appearing lawfull unto them, in respect the ground therof seemeth to proceed of naturall causes onelie: they are so allured thereby, that finding their practize to proove true in sundry things, they studie to know the cause thereof: and so mounting from degree to degree, upon the slipperie and and uncertaine scale of curiousitie; they are at last entised, that where lawfull artes of sciences failes, to satisfie their restless mindes, even to seeke to that black and unlawfull science of Magie. Where, finding at the first, that such divers formes of circles and conjurations rightlie joyned thereunto, will raise such divers formes of spirites, to resolve them of their doubts: and attributing the doing thereof, to the power inseparablie tyed, or inherent in the circles: and manie words of God, confusedlie wrapped in; they blindlie glorie of themselves, as if they and by their quicknes of ingine, made a conquest of Plutoes dominion, and were become Emperours over the Stygian habitacles. Where, in the meane time (miserable wretches) they are become in verie deede, bond-slaves to their mortall enemie: and their knowledge, for all that they presume thereof, is nothing increased, except in knowing evill, and the horrors of Hell for punishment thereof, as Adams was by the eating of the forbidden tree. (9)


The Description of the Rudiments and Schoole, which are the entresses to the arte of Magie: And in speciall the differences betwixt Astronomie and Astrologie: Division of Astrologie in divers partes.

Phi. But I pray you likewise forget not to tell what are the Devilles rudiementes.

Epi. His rudimentes, I call first in generall, all that which is called vulgarly the vertue of wordes, herbe, and stone: which is used by unlawful charmes, without naturall causes. As likewise all kinde of practicques, freites, or other like extraordinaries actiones, which cannot abide the true touche of naturall reason.

Phi. I would have you to make that playner, by some particular examples;for your proposition is verie generall.

Epi. I meane either by such kinde of Charmes as commonlie dafte wives uses, for healing of forspoken goodes, for preserving them from evill eyes, by knitting roun trees, or sundriest kinde of herbes, to the haire or tailes of he goodes: By curing the Worme, by stemming of blood, by healing of Horse-crookes, by turning of ht riddle, or doing of such like innumerable things by wordes, without applying anie thing, meete to the part offended, as Mediciners doe; Or else by staying maried folkes, to have naturallie adoe with other, (by knitting so manie knottes upon a poynt at the time of their mariage) And such like things, which men uses to practise in their merrinesse. For fra unleaned men (being naturallie curious, and lacking the true knowledge of God) findes these practises to proove true, as sundrie of them will doe, by the power of the Devill for deceaving men, and not by anie inherent vertue in these vaine wordes and freites; and being desirous to winne a reputation to themselves in such-like turnes, they either (if they be of the shamefaster sorte) seeke to be learned by some that are experimented in that Arte, (not knowing it to be evill at the first) or else being of the grosser sorte, runnes directlies to the Devill for ambition of desire of gaine, and plainelie contractes with him thereupon.

Phi. But me thinkes these meanes which yee call the Schoole and rudimentes of the Devill, are thinges lawfull, and have bene approved for such in all times and ages: As in special, this science of Astrologie, which is one of the speciall members of the Mathematicques.

Epi. There are two thinges which the learned have observed from the beginning, in the science of the Heavenlie Creatures, the Planets, Starres, and such like: The one is their course and ordinary motiones, which for that cause is called Astronomia: Which word is a compound of (nomos) and (asteron) that is to say, the law of the Starres: And this arte indeed is one of the members of the Mathematicques, and not onlie lawful, but most necessaries and commendable. The other is called Astrologia, being compounded of (asteron) and (logos) which is to say, the word, and preaching of the starres: Which is devided in two partes: The first by knowing thereby the powers of simples, and sickenesses, the course of the seasons and the weather, being ruled by their influence: which part depending upon the former, although it be not of it selfe a parte of Mathematicques: yet it is not unlawful, being moderatlie used, suppose not so necessarie and commendable as the former. The second part is to truste so much to their influences, as thereby to fore-tell what common-weales shall florish or decay: what persones shall be fortunate or unfortunate: what side shall winne in anie battell: What man shall obteine victories at singular combate: What way, and of what age shall men die: What horse shall winne at matche-running; and diverse others have more curiouslie then profitably written at large. Of this roote last spoken of, springs innumerable branches; such as the knowledge by the nativities; the Cheiromancie, Geomantie, Hydromantie, Arithmantie, Physiognomie: and a thousand others: which were much practised, and holden in great reverence by the Gentles of olde. And this last part of Astrologie whereof I have spoken, which is the root of their branches, was called by them luck (pars fortunae). This parte now is utterlie unlawful to be trusted in, or practized amongst christians, as leaning to no ground of natural reason: and it is this part which I called before the devils schole.

Phi. But yet manie of the learned are of the contrarie opinion.

Epi. I grant, yet I could give my reasons to fortifie and maintaine my opinion, if to enter into this disputation it wold not draw me quite off the ground of our discours; besides the mis-spending of the whole daie thereupon: One word onely I will answer to them, and that in the Scriptures (which must be an infallible true ground to all true Christians) That in the Prophet Jeremie it is plainelie forbidden, to believe or hearken unto them that Prophecies and fore-speakes by the course of the Planets and Starres. (10)


How farre the using of Charmes is lawfull or unlawfull: The description of the formes of Circkles and Coniurantiones. And what causeth the Magicianes themselves to wearie thereof.

Phi. Wel, ye have said far inough in that argument. But how proove ye now that these charmes or unnaturall practices are unlawfull: For so, many honest and merrie men and women have publicklie practized some of them, that I thinke if ye wold accuse them al of Witch-craft, ye would affirmee more nor ye will be beleeved in.

Epi. I see if you had teken good tent (to the nature of that word, whereby I named it,) ye would not have bene in this doubt, nor mistaken me, so farre as ye have done: For although, as none can be schollers in a schole, and not be subject to the master thereof: so none can studie and put in practize (for studie the alone, and knowledge, is more perilous nor offensive; and it is the practise only that makes the greatnes of the offence.) The cirkles and art of Magie, without committing an horrible defection from God: And yet as they that reades and learnes their rudiments, are not the more subject to anie schoole-master, if it please not their parentes to put them to the schoole thereafter; So they who ignorantly proves these practicques, which I cal the devilles rudiments, unknowing them to be baites, casten out by him, for trapping such as God will permit to fall in his hands: This kinde of folkes I saie, no doubt, ar to be judged the best of, in respect they use no invocation nor help of him (by their knowledge at least) in these turnes, and so have never entred themselves in Sathans service; Yet to speake truely for my owne part (I speak but for my selfe) I desire not to make so neere riding: For in my opinion our enemie is over craftie, and we over weake (except the greater grace of God) to assay such hazards, wherein he preases to trap us.

Phi. Ye have reason forsooth; for as the common Proverbe saith: They that suppe keile with the Devill, have need of long spoones. But now I praie you goe forwarde in the describing of this arte of Magie.

Epi. Fra they bee come once unto this perfection in evill, in having any knowledge (whether learned or unlearned) of this black art: they then beginne to be wearie of the raising of their Maister, by conjured circkles; being both so difficile and perilous, and so commeth plainelie to a contract with him, wherein is speciallie conteined formes and effectes.

Phi. But I praye you or ever you goe further, discourse with me some-what of their circkles and conjurationes; And what should be the cause of their wearying thereof: For it should seeme that that forme should be the cause of their wearying thereof: For it should seeme that that forme should be lesse fearefull yet, than the direct haunting and societie, with that foule and uncleane Spirite.

Epi. I thinke ye take me to be a Witch my selfe, or at the least would faine sweare your selfe prentise to that craft: Alwaise as I may, I shall shortlie satisfie you, in that kinde of conjurations, which are conteined in such bookes, which I call the Devilles Schoole: There are foure principall partes; the persons of the conjurations, which are conteined in such bookes, which I call the Devilles Schoole: There are foure principall parties; the persons of the conjurers; the action of the conjuration; the wordes and rites used to that effect; and the Spirites that are conjured. Ye must first remember to laye the ground, that I tould you before: which is, that it is no power inherent in the circles, or in the holines of the names of God blasphemouslie used: nor in whatsoever rites or ceremonies at that time used, that either can raise any infernall spirit, or yet limitat him perforce within or without these circles. For it is he onelie, the father of all lyes, who having first of all prescribed that forme of doing, feining himselfe to be comanded and restreined thereby, wil be loath to passe the boundes of thes injunctiones; aswell thereby to make them glory in the impiring over him (as I saide before:) As likewise t make himselfe so to be trusted in these little things, that he may have the better commoditie thereafter, to deceive them in the end with a trickle once for all; I meane the everlasting perdition of their soul and body. Then laying this ground, as I have said, these conjurationes must have few or mo in number of the persones conjurers (alwaies passing the singuler number) according tot he qualitie of the circle, and forme of apparition. Two principall thinges cannot well in that errand be wanted: holie-water (whereby the Devill mockes the Papistes) and some present of a living thing unto him. There ar likewise certaine seasons, dayes and houres, that they observe in this purpose: These things being all readie, and prepared, circles are made triangular, quadrangular, round, double or single, according to the forme of apparition that they crave. But to speake of the diverse forms of the circles, of the innumerable characters and crosses that are within and without, and out-through the same, of the divers formes of apparitiones, that that craftie spirit illudes them with, and of all such particulars in that action, I remit it to over-manie that have busied their heades in describing of the same; as being but curious, and altogether unprofitable. And this farre onelie I touch, that when the conjured Spirit appeares, which will not be while after manie circumstances, long praiers, and much muttring and murmuring of the conjurers; like a Papist priest, dispatching a hunting Masse: how sone I say, he appeares, if they have missed one iote of all their rites; or if any of their feete once slyd over the circle through terror of his feareful apparition, he payes himselfe at that time in his owne hand, of that due debt which they ought him; and other-wise would have delayed longer to have payed him: I meane hee carries them with him bodie and soule. If this be not now a just cause to make them wearie of thes formes of conjuration, I leave it to you to judge upon; considering the long-somenesse of the labour, the precise keeping of dayes and houres (as I have said) The terriblenesse of apparition, and the present perrell that they stand in, in missing the least circumstance or freite, that they ought to observe: And on the other parte, the Devil is glad to moove them to a plaine and square dealing with him as I said before.


The Devilles contract with the Magicians: The division thereof in two partes: What is the difference betwixt Gods miracles and the Devils.

Phi. Indeede there is cause inough, but rather the leave him at all, then to runne more plainlie to him, if they wer wise he delt with. But goe forwarde now I pray you to these turnes, fra they become once deacons in this craft.

Epi. From time that they once plainelie begin to contract with him: The effect of their contract consistes in two thinges; in formes and effectes, as I began to tell alreadie, were it not yee interrupted me (for although the contract be mutuall; I speake first of that part, wherein the Devill oblishes himselfe to them) by formes, I meane in what shape or fashion he shall come unto them, when they call upon him. And by effectes, I understand, in what special sorts of services he bindes himselfe to be subject unto them. The qualitie of these formes and effectes, is less or greater, according to the skil and art of the Magician. For as to the formes, to some of the baser sorte of them he oblishes him selfe to appeare at their calling upon him, by such a proper name which he shewes unto them, either in likenes of a dog, a Catte, and Ape, or such-like other beast; or else to answere by a voyce onlie. The effects are to answere to such demands, as concernes curing of disseases, their own particular menagery: or such othere base things as they require of him. But to the most curious sorte, in the formes he will oblish him selfe, to enter in a dead bodie, and there out of to give such answers, of the event of battels, of maters concerning the estate of commonwelths, and such like other greate questions: yea to some he will be a continuall attender, in forme of a Page: He will permit himselfe to be conjured, for the space of so many yeres, either in a tablet or a ring, or such like thing, which they may easely carrie about with them: He gives them power to sel such wares to others, whereof some will be dearer, and some better cheape; according to the lying or true speaking of the Spirit that is conjured therin. Not but that in verie deede, all Devils must be lyars; but so they abuse the simplicitie of these wretches, that becomes their schollers, that they make them beleeve, that at the fall of Lucifer, some Spirites fell in the air, some in the fire, some in the water, some in the lande: In which Elementes they still remaine. Whereupon they build, that such as fell in the fire, or in the aire, are truer then they, who fell in the water or in the land, which is al but meare trattles, and forged be the author of al deceit. For the fel not be weight, as a solid substance, to stick in any one parte: But the principall part of their fal, consisting in qualitie, by the falling from the grace of God wherein they were created, they continued still thereafter, and shal do while the latter daie, in wandring through the worlde, as Gods hang-men, to execute such turnes as he employes them in. And when anie of them are not occupyed in that, returne they must to their prison in hel (as it is plaine in the miracle that CHRIST wrought at Gennezareth) (11) therein at the latter daie to be all enclosed for ever: and as they deceive their schollers in this, so do they in imprinting in them the opinion that there are so manie Princes, Dukes, and Kinges amongst them, everie one commanding fewer or mo Legions, and impyring in divers artes, and quarters of the earth. For though that I will not denie that there be a forme of ordour amonges the Angels in Heaven, and consequentlie, was amonges them before their fall; yet, eithere that hey bruike the same sensine; or that God will permit us to know by damned Devils, such heavenlie mysteries of his, which he would not reveale to us neither by Scripture no Prophets, I thinke no Christiane will once thinke it. But by the contrarie of all such mysteries contented with an humble ignorance, they being thinges not necessarie for our salvation. But to return to the purpose, as these formes, wherein Sathan oblishes himselfe to the greatest of the Magicians, are wonderfull curious; so are the effectes correspondent unto the same: For he will oblish himselfe to teach them artes and sciences, which he may easelie doe, being so learned a knave as he is: To carrie them newes from anie parte of the worlde, which the agilitie of a Spiritie may easilie perform: to reveale to them the secretes of anie persons, so being they bee once spoken, for the thought none knowes but GOD; except so far as yee may ghesse by their countenance, as one who is doubtleslie learned inough in the Physiognomie: Yea, he will make his schollers to creepe in credite with Princes, by fore-telling them manie greate thinges; parte true, parte false: for if all were false, he would tyne credite at all handes; but alwaies doubtsome, as his Oracles were. And he will also make them to please Princes, by faire banquets and daintie dishes, carryed in short space from the farthest part of the world. For no man doubts but he is a thiefe, and his agilitie (as I spake before) makes him to come such speede. Such-like, he will guard his schollers with faire armies of horse-men and foote-men in appearance, castles and fortes: Which all are but impressiones in the air, easelie gathered by a spirite, drawing so neare to that substance himselfe: As in like maner he will learne them manie juglarie trickes at Cardes, dice, and such like, to deceive mennes senses thereby: and such innumerable false practicques; which are proven by over-manie in this age: As they who ar acquainted with that Italian called SCOTO yet living, can reporte. And yet are all these thinges but deluding of the senses, and no waies true in substance, as were the false miracles wrought by King Pharaoes Magicians, for counterfeiting Moyses: For that is the difference betwixt Gods myracles and the Devils, God is a creator, what he makes appeare in miracle, it is so in effect. As Moyses rod being casten downe, was no doubt turned in a natural Serpent: where as the Devill (as Gods Ape) counterfeiting that by common proofe, that simple juglars will make an hundreth thinges seeme both to our eies and eares otherwaies then they are. Now as to the Magicians parte of the contract, it is in a word that thing, which I said before, the Devill hunts for in all men.

Phi. Surely ye have said much to me in this arte, if all that you have said be as true as wounderfull.

Epi. for the trueth in these actiones, it will be easelie confirmed, to anie that pleases to take paine upon the reading of diverse authenticque histories, and the inquiring of daily experiences. And as for the truth of the possibilitie, that they may be, and in what maner, I trust I have alleaged nothing whereunto I have not joyned such probable reasons, as I leave to your discretion: to waie and consider: One word onlie I omitted; concerning the forme of making of this contract, which is either written with the Magicians owne bloud: or else being agreed upon (in termes his schole-master) touches him in some parte, thought peradventure no marke remain: as it doth will all Witches.


The reason why the arte of Magie is unlawfull. What punishment they merite: And who may be accounted guiltte of that crime.

Phi. Surelie Ye have made this arte to appeare very monstrous and detestable. But what I pray you shall be said to such as mainteines this art to be lawfull, for as evill as you have made it?

Epi. I say, they favour of the panne them selves, or at least little better, And yet I wold be glad to heare their reasons.

Phi. There are two principallie, that ever I heard used; beside that which is founded upon the comon Proverb (that the Necromancers commands the Devill, which ye have already refuted) The one is grounded upon a received custome, we see that diverse Christian Princes and Magistrates severe punishers of Witches, will not onelie over-see Magicians to live within their dominions; but even some-times delight to see them proove some of their practicques. The other reason is, that Moyses being brought up (as it is expreslie said in the Scriptures) in all the sciences of the AEgyptians; whereof no doubt, this was one of the principalles. And he notwithstanding of this arte, pleasing God, as he did, consequentlie that art professed by so godlie a man, coulde not be unlawfull.

Epi. As to the first of your reasones, grounded upon custome: I saie, and evill custome can never be accepted for a good law, for the overgreat ignorance of the worde in some Princes and Magistrates, and the contempt thereof in others, moves them to sinne heavelie against their office in that poynt. As to the other reasone, which seemes to be of greater weight, if it were formed in a Syllogisme; it behooved to be in manie termes, and full of fallacies (to speake in termes of Logicque) for first, that that generall proposition; affirming Moyses to be taught in Magie, I see no necessity. For we must understand that the spirit of God there, speaking of sciences, understandes them that are lawfull; for except they be lawfull, they are but abusive called sciences, and are but ignorances indeed: The picture is not the thing. (Nam homo pictus, non est homo.) Secondlie, giving that he had bene taught in it, there is great difference, betwixt knowledge and practising of a thing (as I said before) For God knoweth all thinges, being alwaies good, and of our sinne and our infirmitie proceedeth our ignorance. Thirdlie, giving that he had both studied and practised the same (which is more nor maonstrouse to be beleeved by any Christian) yet we know well inough, that before that ever the spirite of God began to call Moyses, he was fled out of AEgypt, being fourtie yeares of age, for the slaughter of an AEgyptian, and in his good-father Iethroes lande, first called at the firie bushe, having remained there other fourtie yeares in exile: so that suppose he had beene the wickeddest man in the world before, he then became a changed and regenerat man, and very litle of olde Moyses remained in him. Abraham was an Idolater in Ur of Chaldea, before he was called: And Paule being called Saule, was a most sharp persecutor of the Saintes of God, while that name was changed.

Phi. What punishment then thinke ye merits these Magicians and Necromancers.

Epi. The like no doubt, that Sorcerers and Witches merites; and rather so much greater, as their error proceedes of the greater knowledge, and so drawes nerer to the sin against the holy Ghost. And as I saye of them, so say I the like of all such as consults, enquires, entertaines, and oversees them, which is seene by the miserable endes of many that askes councell of them: for the Devill hath never better tydings to tell to any, then he tolde to Saule: neither is it lawfull to use so unlawfull instruments, were it never for so good a purpose: for that axiome in Theologie is most certaine and infallible:

Evil is never to be done; thus good may happen.

(Nunquam faciendum est malum ut bonum inde eveniat.) Ast 3.

1. I Sam. 28.
2. 2.Cor.11.14.
3. I Kings 22
4. Exod. 22.
5. Exod. and I. Sam. 15.
6. Acts. 8. Acts. 10.
7. Gen. 1
8. Heb. 6.10.
9. Gen. 3.
10. Jerem. 10.
11. Mat. 8.

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