To the Reader
The fearefull aboundinge at this time in this countrie, of these detestable slaves of the Devill, the Witches or enchaunters, hath moved me (beloved reader) to dispatch in post, this following treatise of mine, not in any wise (as I protest) to serve for a shew of my learning & 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, & that the instrumentes thereof, merits most severly to be punished: against the damnable opinions of two principally in our age, wherof 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, xii in denying of spirits. The other called VVIERVS, a German Phisition, sets out a publick apologie for al these craftes-folkes, whereby, procuring for their impunitie, he plainely bewrayes himselfe to have bene one of that profession. And for to make this treatise the more pleasaunt and facill, I have put it in forme of a 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, & Spectres that appears & trobles persones: together with a conclusion of the whol work. My intention in this labour, is only to prove two things, as I have alreadie said: the one, that such divelish artes have bene and are. The other, what exact trial and severe punishment they merite: & therefore reason I, what kinde of things are possible to be performed in these arts, & by what naturall causes they may be, not that I touch every particular thing of the Devils power, for that were infinite: but onelie, to speak scholasticklie, (since this can not bee spoken in our language) I reason upon genus leaving species, and differentia to be comprehended therein. xii
As for example, speaking of the power of Magiciens, in the first book & sixt Chapter: I say, that they can suddenly cause be brought unto them, all kindes of daintie disshes, by their familiar spirit: since as a thiefe he delightes to steale, and as a spirite, he can subtillie & suddenlie inough transport the same. Now under this genus may be comprehended al particulars, depending thereupon; such as the bringing Wine out of a 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, cure or cast on disseases: now by these same reasones, that proves their power by the Devil of disseases in generally 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; xiv but one thing I will pray thee to observe in all these places, where I reason upon the devils power, which is the different ends & 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 contrarie, drawes ever out of that evill glorie to himselfe, 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, aswel my pretermitting, to declare the whole particular rites and secretes of these unlawfull artes: as also their infinite and wounderfull practises, 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 practises, BODINUS Dæmonomanie, xvcollected 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 described by HYPERIUS, & HEMMINGIUS, two late Germaine writers: besides innumerable other neoterick Theologues, that writes largelie upon that subject: and if he woulde knowe what are the particuler rites, & curiosities of these black arts (which is both unnecessarie and perilous), he will finde it in the fourth book of CORNELIUS Agrippa, and in VVIERVS, 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 these above mentioned erroures, and recommending my good will to thy friendly acceptation, I bid thee hartely farewell.