Of Witch Craft

Hell Really Exists

Hell Really Exists

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LET a witch therefore be granted, who can strongly torment an absent man by an image of wax, by imprecation or cursing, by enchantment, or also by a foregoing touch alone, (for here we speak nothing of Sorceries, because they are those which kill only by poison, inasmuch as every common apothecary can im itate those things) that this act is diabolical, no man doubts: however, it is profitable to discern how much Satan and how much the witch can contribute hereunto.

The First Supposition.

First of all, thou shalt take notice, that Satan is the sworn and irreconcileable enemy of man, and to be so accounted by all, unless any one had rather have him to be his friend; and therefore he most readily procures whatso ever mischief he is able to cause or wish unto us, and that without doubt and neglect.

The Second Supposition.

And then although he be an enemy to witches themselves, forasmuch as he is also a most malicious enemy to all mankind in general; yet, in regard they are his bond-slaves, and those of his kingdom, he never, unless against his will betrays them, or discovers them to judges, &c.

From the former supposition I conclude, that if Satan were able of himself to kill a man who is guilty of deadly sin, he would never delay it; but he doth not kill him, therefore he cannot.

Notwithstanding, the witch doth oftentimes kill; hence also she can kill the same man, no otherwise than as a privy murderer at the liberty of his own will slays any one with a sword.

There is therefore a certain power of the witch in this action, which belongs not to Satan, and consequently Satan is not the principal efficient and executor of that murder; for otherwise if he were the executioner thereof, he would in nowise stand in need of the witch as his assistant; but he alone had soon taken the greatest part of men out of the way.

Surely most miserable were the conditions of mortals who should be subject to such a tyrant, and stand liable to his commands; we have too faithful a God, than that he should subject the work of his own hands to the arbitrary dominion of Satan.

Therefore in this act, there is a certain power plainly proper and natural to the witch which belongs not to Satan.

Moreover, of what nature, extent, and quality that power may be, we must more exactly sift out.

In the first place, it is manifest that it is no corporeal strength of the male sex; for neither doth there concur any strong touching of the extreme parts of the body, and witches are for the most part feeble, impotent, and malicious old women, therefore there must needs be some other power, far superior to a corporeal attempt, yet natural to man.

This power therefore was to be seated in that part wherein we most nearly resemble the image of God; and although all things do also, after some sort, represent that venerable image, yet because man doth most elegantly, properly, and nearly do that, therefore the image of God in man doth far outshine, bear rifle over, and command the images of God in all other creatures; for, peradventure, by this prerogative, all things are put under his feet.

Wherefore if God act, per nutum, or by a beck, namely by his word, so ought man to act some things only by his beck or will, if he ought to be called his true image: for neither is that new, is that troublesome, is that proper to God alone: for Satan, the most vile abject of creatures, doth also locally move bodies per nutum, or by his beck alone, seeing he hath not extremities or corporeal organs, whereby to touch, move, or also to snatch a new body to himself

That privilege therefore ought no less to belong to the inward man, as he is a spirit, if he ought to represent the image of God, and that indeed not all idle one; if we call this faculty magical, and thou being badly instructed, art terrified at this word, thou mayest, for me, call it a spiritual strength or efficacy: for, truly, we are nothing solicitous about names. I always, as immediately as I can, cast an eye upon the thing itself.

That magical power, therefore, is in the inward man, whether thou, by this etymology, or true word, understandest the soul or the vital spirit thereof, it is now indifferent to us; since there is a certain proportion of the internal man towards the external in all things, glowing or growing after its own manner, which is an appropriated disposition, and proportioned property.

Wherefore the power or faculty must needs be dispersed throughout the whole man; in the soul, indeed, more vigorous, but in the flesh and blood far more remiss.

THE vital spirit in the flesh and blood perform. s the office of the soul; that is, it is the same spirit in the outward man, which, in the. seed, forms the whole figure, that magnificent structure and perfect delineation of man, and which hath known the ends of things to be done, because it contains them; and the which as president accompanies the new framed young, even unto the period of its life; and the which, although it depart therewith, some smacks or small quantity, at least, thereof remains in a carcass slain by, violence, being as it were most exactly co-fer.mented with the same. But, from a dead carcass that was extinct of its own accord, and from nature failing, as well the implanted as inflowing spirit passed forth at once.

For which reason, physicians divide this spiri.t into the implanted or mummial, and inflowing or acquired spirit, which departs; to wit, with the former life and this influxing spirit they afterwards subdivide into the natural, vital, and animal spirit; but, we likewise, do here comprehend them all at once in one single word.

The soul therefore being wholly a spirit could. never move or stir up the vital spirit, (being indeed corporeal), much less flesh and bones,. unless a certain natural power, yet magical and spiritual, did descend from the soul into the spirit and body.

After what sort, I pray, could the corporeal sp irit obey the commands of the soul, unless there should be a command from her for moving of the spirit, and afterwards the body?

But against this magical motive faculty thou w. ill forthwith object, that that power is limited within her composed body, and her ow.. n natural inn: therefore although we call this soul a magicianness, yet it shall be only a wresting and abuse of the name; for truly the true and superstitious magic draws not its foundation from the soul; seeing this same soul is not able to move, alter, or exite any thing out of its own body.

I answer, that this power, and that natural magic of the soul which she exerciseth not of herself, by virtue of the image of God, doth now lie hid as obscure in man, and as it were lie asleep since the fall or corruption of Adam, and stands in need or stirring up; all which particulars we shall anon in their proper place. prove; which same power, how drowsy and as it were drunk soever, it otherwise remains .daily in us, yet it is sufficient to perform its offices in its own body.

OF THE MAGICAL POWER, &c.

THEREFORE the knowledge and power magical, and that faculty in man which acteth only per nutum, sleeps since the knowledge of the apple was eaten; and as long as this knowledge (which is of the flesh and blood, gross and material belonging to the external man and darkness) flourishes, the more noble magical power is lying dormant.

But because in sleep this outward or sensual knowledge is sometimes dormant, hence it is that our dreams are sometimes prophetical, and God himself is therefore nearer unto man in dreams, through that effect, viz. when the more inward magic of the soul being uninterrupted by the flesh, diffuses itself on every side into the understanding; even as when it sinks itself into the inferior powers thereof it safely leads those who walk in their sleep by moving or conducting them, whither those that were awake could not surmount or climb.

Therefore we establish this point, viz. that there is inherent in the soul a certain magical virtue given her by God, naturally proper and belonging to her, in asmuch as we are his image and engravement; and in this respect she acts also in a peculiar manner, i. e. spiritually on an object at a distance, and that more powerfully than by any corporeal assistance; for seeing the soul is the principal part of the body, therefore all action belonging to her is spiritual, magical, and of the greatest validity.

Which power man is able, by the Art of the Cabala, to excite in himself at his own pleasure, and these, as we have before said, are called Adepts; who are governed by the Spirit of God.

Thus we have endeavoured to shew that man predominates over all other creatures that are corporeal, and that by his magical faculty he is able to subdue the magical virtues of all other things; which predominance of man, or the soul's natural magic, some have ignorantly attributed solely to verses, charms, signs, characters, &c. by which hierarchy or holy dominion inherent in man, those effects, whatever they may be, are wrought, which some (who but too corporeally philosophize) have attributed to the dominion of Satan.

High and sacred is the force of the microcosmical spirit, which, as is evident in pregnant women, stamps upon the young the image and properties of a thing desired, as we have before instanced in a cherry, which, without the trunk of a tree, brings forth a true cherry, that is flesh and blood, enobled with the properties and power of the more inward or real cherry, by the conception of the imagination alone; from whence are two necessary consequences.

First, that all the spirits, and as it were the essences of all things, lie hid in us, and are born and brought forth only by the working, power, and phantasy of the microcosm.

The second is, that the soul, in conceiving, generates a certain idea of the thing conceived; the which, as it before lay hid unknown, like fire in a flint, so by the stirring up of the phantasy there is produced a certain real idea, which is not a naked quality, but something like a substance, hanging in suspen se between a body and a spirit, that is the soul.

That middle being is so spiritual, that it is not; plainly exempted from a corporeal condition, since the actions of the soul are lim ited on the body, and the inferior orders of faculties de ending upon it, nor yet so corporis al that it may be inclosed by dimensions, the which we have also related to be only proper to a seminal being. This ideal entity, therefore, when it falls out of the invisible and intellectual world of the microcosm, it puts on a body, and then it is first inclosed by the limitation of place and numbers.

The object of the understanding is in itself a n;; aked and pure essence, not an accident, by the consent of practical, that is, mystical divin; es; therefore this Proteus or transferable essence, the understanding doth, as it were, put on and clothe itself, with this conceived essence. ;

But because every body, whether external or internal, hath its making in its own proper image, the understanding knows or discerns n; ot, the will loves and wills not, the memory recollects not, but by images or likenesses: th;e understanding therefore puts on this same image of its object; and because the soul is th;e pure simple form of the body, which turns itself about to every member, therefore the ac;ting understanding cannot have two images at once, but first one and then the other. He, w;; ho is wholly the life, created all things and hath said, nothing is to be expected as dead o;ut of his hand. Likewise nothing can come to our view wherein himself is not clearly app arent or present; for it is said, "the spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole globe of the earth:" and, again, "that he containeth or comprehendeth all things," therefore there is nothing in being, no creature but what possesses a certain degree of divine fire and life, yet lying dormant or unexcited, till stirred up by the art, power, and operation of man.

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