The exord of the whole. The description of Magie in speciall.
Proven by the Scripture, that these unlawfull artes in genere, have bene and may be put in practise.
PHILOMATHES and EPISTEMON reason the matter.
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, wherof 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, Ip.002 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. Surelie they are wonderfull: and I think so cleare and plaine confessions in that purpose, have never fallen out in anie age or cuntrey.
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 perceaue: and namelie, that there 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 difficiller, since ye denie the thing it selfe in generall: for as it is said in the logick schools, 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?p.003
PHI. The reasones are these, first yee may consider, that Saul being troubled in spirit, and having fasted long before, as the text testifieth,1.Sam.28 and being 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 curiositie, and horrible defection: and then the woman crying out upon the suddaine in great admiration, for the uncouth sicht that she alledged to have sene, discovering him to be the King, thogh disguysed, & denied by him before: it was no wounder I say, that his senses being thus distracted, he could not perceaue 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 would 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 clearely, that Saul saw that apparition: for giving you that Saul was in another Chalmer, at the making of the circles & 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,p.004 that how sone 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 Cuntrey 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 whatsoever 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 liknes of the Saintes, it is plaine in the Scriptures, where it is said, that Sathan can transforme himselfe into an Angell of light. 2.Cor.11.14 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 first wilfully deceives themselves, 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 sayth). 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 historie declares it, (which the wit of woman could never have forespoken) not that he hath any prescience, which is only proper to God:p.005 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 & 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 the creation, judges by likeliehood of thinges to 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 a 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.1.King.22 But to proove this my first proposition, that there can be such a thing as witch-craft, & witches, there are manie mo places in the Scriptures then this (as I said before). As first in the law of God, it is plainely prohibited: Exod.22 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 ane number of Moses miracles, to harden the tyrants heart there by.Exod.7 & 8 Thirdly, said not Samuell to Saull, that disobedience is as the sinne of Witch-craft?1.Sam.15 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 of Python?Acts.8 beside innumerable other places that were irkesom to recite.Acts.16