The fearefull aboundinge at this time in this countrie, o f these detestable slaves o f the Devill, the Witches or enchaunters, hath moved me (beloved reader) to dispatch in post, this following treatise o f mine, not in any wise (as I protest) to serve for a shew o f my learning & ingine,* but onely (mooved of conscience) to preasse thereby, so farre as I can, to resolve the doubting harts o f many; both that such assaultes o f Sathan are most certainly practized, & that the instrumentes thereof, merits most severly to be punished: against the damnable opinions o f two principally in our age, wherof the one called SCOT2 an Englishman, is not ashamed in publike print to deny, that ther can be such a thing as Witch-craft: and so mainteines the olde error o f the Sadducees, in denying o f spirits. The other called WIERUS,3 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 o f that profession. And for
to make this treatise the more pleasaunt and facill, I have put it in forme o f a Dialogue, which I have divided into three bookes: The first speaking of Magie in general, and Necromancie4 in special: The second o f Soreerie and Witch-craft: and the thirde, conteines a discourse o f all these kindes of spirits, & Spectres that appeares and trobles persones: together with a conclusion o f 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 o f things are possible to be performed in these arts, & by what naturall causes they may be, not that I touch every particular thing o f the Devils power, for that were infinite: but onelie, to speak scholasticklie, (since this can not bee spoken in our language) 1 reason upon genus leaving species, and differentia5 to be comprehended therein. As for example, speaking o f the power ofMagiciens, in the first book & sixt Chapter: I say, that they can suddenly cause be brought unto them, all kindes o f daintie dishes, 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 o f 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 o f Witch-craft in speciall, and fift Chap. I say and prove by diverse arguments, that Witches can, by the power o f their Master, cure or cast on disseases: Now by these same reasones, that proves their power by the Devil o f disseases in generall, is aswell proved their power in speciall: as o f weakening the nature o f some men, to make them unable for women: and making it to abound in others, more than the ordinary course o f nature would permit. And such like in all other particular sicknesses; 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 o f 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 o f them, that he is so permitted to deale with: God by the contrarie, drawes ever out o f that evill glorie to himselfe, either by the wracke o f the wicked in his justice, or by the tryall of the patient, and amendment o f the faith full, 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 o f these unlawfull artes: as also their infinite and wounderfull practises, as being neither o f them pertinent to my purpose: the reason whereof, is given in the hinder ende o f the first Chapter o f the thirde booke: and who likes to be curious in these thinges, he may reade, if he will here o f their practises, BODINUS Dsemonomanie,6 collected with greater diligence, than written with judgement, together with their confessions, that have bene at this time apprehen[d]ed. I f he would know what hath bene the opinion o f the Auncientes, concerning their power: he shall see it wel descrybed by HYPERIUS, & HEMMINGIUS,7 two late Germaine writers: Besides innumerable other neoterick* Theologues, that writ 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,8 and in WIERUS, 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 fare-well.