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<86>

AN
ANTIDOTE
AGAINST
ATHEISM.

BOOK III.

CHAP. I.

1. That, good men not always faring best in this world, the great examples of Divine Vengeance upon wicked and blasphemous Persons are not so convincing to the obstinate Atheist. 2. The irreligious Jeers and Sacrileges of Dionysius of Syracuse. 3. The occasion of the Atheists incredulity in things supernatural or miraculous. 4. That there have been true Miracles in the world as well as false. 5. And what are the best and safest wayes to distinguish them, that we may not be impos'd upon by History.

1. HItherto I have insisted upon such Arguments for the proving of the Existence of God as were taken from the ordinary and known Phænomena of Nature; for such is the History of Plants, Animals and Man. I shall come now to such Effects discovered in the World as are not deemed Natural, but Extraordinary and Miraculous. I do not mean unexpected discoveries of Murthers, a conspicuous Vengeance upon proud and blasphemous Persons, such as Nicanor, Antiochus, Herod, and the like, of which all Histories, as well Sacred as Profane, are very full, and all which tend to the impressing of this divine Precept in the Poet upon the minds of Men, Discite Justitiam moniti & non temnere Divos.

For though these Examples cannot but move indifferent men to an acknowledgment of Divine Providence, and a Superiour Power above & different from the Matter; yet I having now to doe with the obstinate & refractory Atheist, who, though a known contemner of the Deity, finding <87> himself to be safe and well at ease, will shuffle all these things off, by asking such a Question as he did to whom the Priest of Neptune shewed the many Donaria hung up in his Temple by his Votaries saved from ship-wreck, and therefore vaunted much of the Power of that God of the Sea; But what is become of all those, said he, that notwithstanding their Vows have been lost? So I say, the Atheist to evade the force of this Argument will whisper within himself, But how many proud blasphemous Atheistical men, like my self, have escaped, and those that have been accounted good have died untimely deaths?

Such as Æsop and Socrates, the Prophets, Apostles and Martyrs, with sundry other wise and good men in all Ages and Places, who yet being not so well aware of the ill condition and restiness of this wicked World, of which they have truely profess'd themselves no Citizens, but Strangers, have suffered the greatest mischiefs that can happen to humane Nature, by their innocent meaning and intermeddling in aliena Republica: It having usually been more safe, craftily and cautiously to undermine the Honour of God, then plainly and honestly to seek the good and wellfare of Men.

2. Nay, outragious affronts done on purpose to Religion, will the Atheist further reply, have not onely past applauded by the World, but unpunish'd by Divine Justice: As is notorious in that Sacrilegious Wit, Dionysius of Syracuse, who spoiling Jupiter Olympius of his costly Robe very stiff and ponderous with Gold, added this Apologetical jeer to his Sacrilege, That this golden Vestment was too heavy for the Summer, and too cold for the Winter, but one of wool would fit both Seasons.

So at Epidaurus he commanded the golden Beard of Æsculapius to be cut off and carried away, alleging, that it was very unfit that the Son should wear a Beard, whenas his Father Apollo wore none.

That also was not inferiour to any of his Sacrilegious jests, when taking away the golden Cups and Crowns held forth by the hands of the Images of the Gods, he excused himself, saying, that he received but what they of their own accord gave him; adding, that it were a gross piece of foolishness, whenas we pray to the Gods for all good things, not to take them when they so freely offer them with their own hands.

These and other such like irreligious Pranks did this Dionysius play, who notwithstanding fared no worse then the most demure and innocent, dying no other death then what usually other Mortals do: as if in those Ages there had been as great a lack of Wit as there was here in England once of Latin, and that he escaped a more severe Sentence by the benefit of his Clergy. But others think that he was pay'd home and punish'd in his Son that succeeded him. But that, will the Atheist reply, is but to whip the absent; as Aristotle wittily said to him that told him that such an one did unmercifully traduce him behind his back.

Wherefore I hold it more convenient to omit such Arguments as may intangle us in such endless Altercations, & to bring onely those that cannot be resolved into any Naturall causes, or be phansied to come by Chance, but are so Miraculous, that they do imply the presence of some free subtile understanding Essence distinct from the brute Matter and ordinary power of Nature.

<88> 3. And these Miraculous effects, as there is nothing more cogent if they could be believed, so there is nothing more hard to the Atheist to believe then they are. For Religionists having for pious purposes, as they pretend, forged so many false Miracles to gull and spoil the credulous people; they have thereby with the Atheist taken away all belief of those which are true. And the childish & superstitious fear of Spirits in Melancholick persons who create strange Monsters to themselves & terrible Apparitions in the dark, hath also helped them with a further evasion, to impute all Spectres and strange Apparitions to mere Melancholy and disturbed Phansie.

4. But that there should be so universal a fame and fear of that which never was, nor is, nor can be ever in the world, is to me the greatest Miracle of all.

For if there had not been at some time or other true Miracles (as indeed there ought to be, if the Faculties of Man, who so easily listens to and allows of such things, be not in vain) it is very improbable that Priests and cunning Deluders of the people would have ever been able so easily to impose upon them by their false. As the Alchymist would never goe about to sophisticate Metalls, and then put them off for true Gold and Silver, but that it is acknowledged that there is such a thing as true Gold and Silver in the world. In like manner therefore as there is an endeavour of deluding the people with false Miracles, so it is a sign there have been and may be those that are true.

5. But you'l say there is a Touchstone whereby we may discern the truth of Metalls, but that there is nothing whereby we may discover the truth of Miracles recorded every where in History. But I answer, There is, and it is this.

First, if what is recorded was avouched by such persons who had no end nor interest in avouching such things.

Secondly, if there were many Eye-witnesses of the same Matter.

Thirdly and lastly, if these things which are so strange and miraculous leave any sensible effect behind them.

Though I will not acknowledge that all those Stories are false that want these conditions, yet I dare affirm that it is mere humour and sullennesse in a man to reject the truth of those that have them; for it is to believe nothing but what he seeth himself: From whence it will follow, that he is to read nothing of History, for there is neither pleasure nor any usefullness of it, if it deserve no belief.

<89>

CHAP. II.

1. The Moving of a Sieve by a Charme. Coskinomancy. 2. A Magical cure of an Horse. 3. The Charming of Serpents. 4. A strange Example of one Death-strucken as he walked the Streets. 5. A Story of a sudden Wind that had like to have thrown down the Gallows at the hanging of two Witches.

ANd now that I have premised thus much, I will briefly recite some few of those many Miraculous passages we meet with in Writers; beginning first with the bare and simple Effects of Spirits, as I will aforehand adventure to pronounce them, and then afterwards we shall come to the Apparitions of Spirits themselves.

And of those bare Effects we will not care to name what may seem slightest first. [1]Bodinus relates how himself and several others at Paris saw a young man with a Charm in French move a Sieve up and down. And that ordinary way of Divination which they call Coskinomancy, or finding who stole or spoiled this or that thing by the Sieve and Shears, [2]Pictorius Vigillanus professeth he made use of thrice, and it was with success.

2. A friend of mine told me this Story concerning Charms: That himself had an Horse which, if he had stood sound, had been of a good value. His Servants carried him to several Farriers, but none of them had the skill to cure him. At last, unknown to their Master, they led him to a Farrier that had, it should seem, some tricks more then ordinary, and dealt in Charms or Spells, and such like Ceremonies: in virtue of these he made the Horse sound. The Owner of him after he had observ'd how well his Horse was, asked his servants how they got him cured: whence understanding the whole matter, and observing also that there was an S. branded on his buttock, which he conceited stood for Satan, chid his Servants very roughly, as having done that which was unwarrantable and impious. Upon this profession of his dislike of the fact, the Horse forthwith fell as ill as ever he was, insomuch that for his unserviceableness he was fain to be turned up loose in the pasture. But a kinsman of the Owners coming to his house, and after chancing to see the Horse in the Grounds, took the advantage of a low price for so fair a Gelding, and bought him. The Horse had no sooner changed his Master, but presently changed his plight of body also, and became as sound as ever.

3. Charming also of Serpents is above the power of Nature. And [3]Wierus tells us this Story of a Charmer at Saltzburg, That when in the sight of the people he had charmed all the Serpents into a ditch and killed them; at last there came one huge one far bigger then the rest, that leapt upon him, and winded about his wast like a girdle, and pulled him into the ditch, and so killed the Charmer himself in the conclusion.

4. That also I will adventure to refer to the Effects of Spirits which I heard lately from one Mtis Dark of Westminster concerning her own <90> Husband, who being in the flower of his Age, well in health and very chearful, going out of his house in the morning with an intent to return to Dinner, was, as he walked the streets, sensibly struck upon the thigh by an invisible hand, (for he could see no man near him to strike him.) He returned home indeed about dinner-time, but could eat nothing, only he complain'd of the sad Accident that befell him, and grew forthwith so mortally sick, that he dyed within three daies. After he was dead, there was found upon the place where he was struck the perfect figure of a mans hand, the four fingers, palm and thumb, black and sunk into the flesh, as if one should clap his hand upon a lump of dow.

And hitherto there is nothing related which will not abide the exactest trial, and be cleared from all suspicion of either Fraud or Melancholy. But I shall propound things more strange, and yet as free from that suspicion as the former.

5. And to say nothing of Winds sold to Merchants by Laplanders, and the danger of loosing the Third knot (which was very frequent, as [4]Olaus affirms, before those parts of the world were converted to Christianity) I shall content my self for the present with a true story which I heard from an eye-witness concerning these preternatural Winds. At Cambridge, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, there were two Witches to be executed, the Mother and Daughter. The Mother, when she was called upon to repent and forsake the Devil, said, there was no reason for that, for he had been faithfull to her these threescore years, and she would be so to him so long as she lived; and thus she died in this obstinacy. But she hanging thus upon the Gallows, her Daughter being of a contrary minde, renounced the Devil, was very earnest in prayer and penitence; which, by the effect, the people conceived the Devil to take very hainously. For there came such a sudden blast of Wind (whenas all was calm before) that it drave the Mother's body against the Ladder so violently, that it had like to have overturn'd it, and shook the Gallows with such force, that they were fain to hold the posts for fear of all being flung down to the ground.

<91> CHAP. III.

That Winds and Tempests are raised upon mere Ceremonies or forms of words. 2. The unreasonableness of Wierus his doubting of the Devils power over the Meteors of the Aire. 3. Examples of that power in Rain and Thunder. 4. Margaret Warine discharg'd upon an Oake at a Thunder-Clap. 5. Amantius and Rotarius cast headlong out of a cloud upon an house-top. 6. The Witch of Constance seen by the Shepherds to ride through the Aire. 7. That he might adde several other Instances from Eye-witnesses, of the strange Effects of invisible Dæmons. 8. His compendious Rehearsal of the most remarkable exploits of the Devil of Mascon in lieu thereof. 9. The Reasons of giving himself the trouble of this Rehearsal.

1. Wierus, that industrious Advocate of Witches, recites several Ceremonies that they use for the raising of Tempests, and doth acknowledge that Tempests do follow the performance of those Ceremonies, but that they had come to pass nevertheless without them: which the Devil foreseeing, excites the deluded Women to use those Magick Rites, that they may be the better perswaded of his power. But whether there be any causal connexion betwixt those Ceremonies and the ensuing Tempests, I will not curiously decide. But that the connexion of them is supernatural, is plain at first sight. [5]For what is casting of Flint-Stones behind their backs towards the West, or flinging a little Sand in the Aire, or striking a River with a Broom, and so sprinkling the Wet of it toward Heaven, the stirring of Urine or Water with their finger in a Hole in the ground, or boiling of Hogs Bristles in a Pot? What are these fooleries available of themselves to gather Clouds and cover the Aire with Darkness, and then to make the ground smoak with peals of Hail and Rain, and to make the Air terrible with frequent Lightnings and Thunder? Certainly nothing at all. Therefore the ensuing of these Tempests after such like Ceremonies must be either from the prevision of the Devil (as Wierus would have it) who set the Witches on work, or else from the power of the Devil which he hath in his Kingdom of the Aire.

2. And it seems strange to me that Wierus should doubt this power, when he gives him a greater; for what is the transporting of Vapours or driving them together, to the carrying of Men and Cattel in the Aire, (of which he is a confident Asserter)[6] unless it require larger Devils or greater numbers? And that there are sufficient numbers of such Spirits will seem to any body as credible as that there are any at all. But now for the truth of this, that certain Words or Ceremonies do seem at least to cause an alteration in the Aire, and to raise Tempests, Remigius writes that he had it witnessed to him by the free confession of near two hundred men that he examined: Where he adds a Story or two, in which there being neither Fraud nor Melancholy to be suspected, I think them worth the mentioning.

<92> 3. The one is of a Witch, who, to satisfie the curiosity of them that had power to punish her, was set free that she might give a proof of that power she professed she had to raise Tempests. She therefore being let goe, presently betakes her self to a place thick set with Trees, scrapes a Hole with her hands, fills it with Urine, and stirs it about so long, that she caused at last a thick dark Cloud charged with Thunder and Lightning, to the terror and affrightment of the beholders. But she bade them be of good courage, for she would command the Cloud to discharge upon what place they would appoint her; which she made good in the sight of the Spectators.

The other Story is of a young Girle, who to pleasure her Father complaining of a drought, by the guidance and help of that ill Master her Mother had devoted and consecrated her unto, rais'd a Cloud, and water'd her Father's ground onely, all the rest continuing dry as before.

4. Let us adde to these that of Cuinus and Margaret Warine. While this Cuinus was busie at his Hay-making, there arose suddenly great Thunder and Lightning, which made him run homeward and forsake his work, for he saw six Oaks hard by him overturned from the very Roots, and a seventh also shatter'd and torn apieces: he was fain to lose his hat, and leave his fork or rake for haste; which was not so fast, but another crack overtakes him and rattles about his ears: upon which Thunder-clap he presently espied this Margaret Warine, a reputed Witch, upon the top of an Oak, whom he began to chide. She desired his secrecy, and she would promise that never any injury or harm should come to him from her at any time.

This Cuinus deposed upon Oath before the Magistrate, and Margaret Warine acknowledged the truth of it, without any force done unto her, several times before her death, and at her death. [7]Remigius conceives she was discharged upon the top of the Oak at that last Thunder-clap, and there hung amongst the boughs; which he is induced to believe from two Stories he tells afterwards.

5. The one is of a Tempest of Thunder and Lightning, that the Herdsmen tending their Cattel on the brow of the Hill Alman in the field of Guicuria were frighted with, who running into the Woods for shelter, suddenly saw two countreymen on the top of the Trees which were next them, so dirty, and in such a pickle, and so out of breath, as if they had been dragg'd up and down through thorns and miry places; but when they had well eyed them, they were gone in a moment out of their sight they knew not how nor whither. These herdsmen talked of the business, but the certainty of it came out not long after. For the free confessions of those two men they then saw, being so exactly agreeing with what the Herdsmen had related, made the whole matter clear and undoubted.

The other Story is of the same persons, known afterward by their names, viz. Amantius and his partner Rotarius, who having coursed it aloft again in the Aire, and being cast headlong out of a Cloud upon an house, the later of them, being but a Novice and unexperienced in those supernatural exploits, was much astonish'd and afraid at the strangeness of the matter; but Amantius being used to those feats from his youth, <93> his Parents having devoted him from his childhood to the Devil, made but a sport of it, and laughing at his friend called him Fool for his fear, and bade him be of good courage; for their Master, in whose power they were, would safely carry them through greater dangers than those. And no sooner had he said these words, but a whirlwind took them and set them both safe upon the ground: but the house they were carried from so shook, as if it would have been overturn'd from the very foundations. This, both those men, examin'd apart, confessed in the same words, not varying their story at all; whose confessions exactly agreed in all circumstances with what was observed by the Countrey people concerning the time and the manner of the Tempest and shaking of the house.

6. I will onely add one Relation more of this nature, and that is of a Witch of Constance,[8] who being vex'd that all her Neighbours in the Village where she lived were invited to the Wedding, and so were drinking and dancing and making merry, and she solitary and neglected, got the Devil to transport her through the Aire, in the midst of day, to a Hill hard by the Village: where she digging a hole and putting Urine into it, rais'd a great Tempest of Hail, and directed it so that it fell onely upon the Village, and pelted them that were dancing with that violence, that they were forc'd to leave off their sport. When she had done her exploit, she returned to the Village, and being spied, was suspected to have raised the Tempest; which the Shepherds in the field that saw her riding in the Aire knew well before, who bringing in their witness against her, she confess'd the fact.

7. We might abound in instances of this kind (I mean, supernatural effects unattended with miraculous Apparitions) if I would bring in all that I have my self been informed of by either Eye-witnesses themselves, or by such as have had the narrations immediately from them. As for example, Bricks being carried round about a room without any visible hand; Multitudes of Stones flung down at a certain time of the day from the roof of an house for many moneths together, to the amazement of the whole Country; Pots carried off from the fire and set on again, no body meddling with thē; The violent flapping of a Chest-cover, no hand touching it; The carrying up linens, that have been a bleaching, so high into the Aire, that Table-cloths and Sheets looked but like Napkins, and this when there was no wind, but all calme and clear; Glass-windows struck with that violence as if all had been broken to shivers, the glasse jingling all over the Floor, and this for some quarter of an hour together, when yet all has been found whole in the Morning; Boxes carefully locked unlocking themselves, and flinging the Flax out of them; Bread tumbling off from a Fourm of its own accord; Womens pattens rising up from the floor, and whirling against people; The breaking of a Combe into two pieces of it self in the window, the pieces also flying in mens faces; The rising up of a Knife also from the same place, being carried with its haft forwards; Stones likewise flung about the house, but not hurting any mans person; with several other things, which would be too voluminous to repeat with their due circumstances; and the less needful, <94> there being already published to our hands such Narrations as will store us with Examples enough of this kind.

8. Amongst which that Relation of Mr Francis Perreand, concerning an unclean Spirit that haunted his house at Mascon in Burgundy, both for the variety of matter and the Authentickness of the Story, is of prime use. For though this Dæmon never appear'd visible to the eye, yet his presence was palpably deprehensible by many freaks and pranks that he play'd. As in drawing the Curtains at Midnight, and plucking off the blankets; In his holding of the doors, and in rolling of billets; In his knocking and flinging things against the Wainscot; In his whistling such tunes as they teach Birds, and in his singing prophane and baudy Songs; In his repeating aloud the Lords Prayer and the Creed; In his imitating the voices and dialects of several persons, as also the crying of Huntsmen, the croaking of Frogs, and the speeches of Jugglers and Mountebanks; His scoffing and jearing and uttering merry conceits, as that of pays de Vaux, where he said they made goodly Carbonado's of Witches, and thereupon laughed very loud; His bringing commendations from remote friends, and his telling stories of fightings and murders; His discovering of things done in private to the Actors of them; His exprobrating to a grave Divine the singing of a baudy song in a Tavern;

His tossing of a roll of cloth of fifty ells; His disordering of skeans of yarn, and pulling men at their work by their coats backward; His flinging the hat of one at his face while he was asleepin his house, and snatching a candlestick out of a maid's hand; His entagling and tying things in such knots as it was impossible for any one to untye them, and yet himself untying them in a moment; His tumbling the bed as soon as it has been made into the midst of the floor, and taking down books from their shelves in the study; His making a noise like a volly of shot, and imitating the sound of Hemp-dressers four beating together; His making musick of two little bells he found amongst rusty iron in the house, which he used not onely there but in several other places, whose sound theh could hear pass by them in the Aire, though they could see nothing; His hiding of a Goldsmiths Jewels and tools for a while, and then dropping them out of the Aire on the table; His flinging of stones about the house, but without hurt, as in the former Narration; His often beating a new Maid in her bed, and powring water on her head till he had forced her away; And lastly, his pulling a certain Lawyer by the arm into the midst of the room, and there whirling him about on the tiptoe, and then flinging him on the ground.

This is a short Epitome of the most remarkable exploits of that invisible Devil of Mascon. For,as I remember, he was not so much as once seen in any shape all this time; unless it was he that Lullier and Repay met at a corner of the street in the habit of a Countrey-woman spinning by Moon-shine, who upon their nearer approach vanished from their sight.

9. I have given my self the trouble of transcribing these particulars, partly because they conduce so much to the discovery of the nature of these kind of Spirits (these Effects making it suspicable that he did not much miss the mark that ventur'd to style them Homines Aëros) and <95> partly for the both copiousness and sutableness of the Story to the present Theme; but lastly and chiefly, for the unexceptionable tuth and Authentickness of the Narration: the observation of these strange passages being made not by one solitary person, but by many together; nor by a person of suspected integrity, but of singular gravity and exemplarity of life; nor carelesly or credulously, but cautiously and diligently, by searching every corner of the house, and setting bolts and barricadoes to all the doors and windows thereof, stopping the very Cat-holes of the doors, and leaving nothing that might give way to suspicion of Imposture; a candle also burning every night all the night long; the places also from whence te voice came in the day-time being searched and the things therein by divers persons; from whence when one Simeon Meissonier hand amongst other things brought away a bottle, the Devil fell a laughing, that he should think him such a fool as to goe into it, as being liable thereby to be stopped up therein by his finger; and lastly, the Experience made not once or twice, but in a manner every day for a quarter of a year together.

To the truth of the miraculousness of the Narration the silence of the Dog gives also further suffrage, he being otherwise very watchfull and ready to bark at the least noise, and yet never barking at the loud speaking and hideous noises of the Dæmon: Which the prophane Goblin himself took notice of, roguishly avouching that it was because he had made the sign of the Cross on his head; for he was then on a merry pin and full of jearing.

To all which you may further adde the Authority of the Reverend and Learned Mr P. Du Moulin, Father to the now Dr Du Moulin, and the smart judicious reasoning of his accomplish'd Son, in his Preface to Mr Perreand's Relation, namely, That this familiar Conversation of the Devil was not in a corner or in a Desart (where the Melancholy of Witches is supposed to make them fancy they converse with him) but in the midst of a great City, in an house where there was daily a great resort to hear him speak, and where men of contrary Religions met together; whose proneness to cast a disgrace upon the dissenting parties did occasion the narrow examining and full confirming the truth thereof, both by the Magistrate and by the Diocesan of the place.

And lastly, that nothing may be wanting to convince the incredulous, we adjoyn the Testimony of that excellently-learned and noble Gentleman Mr R. Boyle, who conversed with Mr Perreand himself at Geneva, where he received from him as a present a Copie of his Book before it was printed, and where he had the opportunity to enquire both after the Writer and several passages of his Book; and was so well satisfied, that he professes that all his settled indisposedness to believe strange things was overcome by this special Conviction.

<96> CHAP. IV.

1. The Supernaturall Effects observed in the bewitched Children of Mr Throgmorton and Mris Muschamp. 2. The general Remarkables in them both. 3. The possession of the Religious Virgins of Werts, Hessimont, &c. 4. The story of that famous Abbatess Magdalena Crucia, her useless and ludicrous Miracles. 5. That she was a Sorceress, and was thirty years married to the Devil. 6. That her story is neither any Figment of Priests, nor delusions of Melancholy.

1. WE will now passe to those supernatural Effects which are observed in Persons that are bewitch'd or possess'd. And such are, Foretelling things to come; telling what such and such persons speak or doe as exactly as if they were by them, when the party possess'd is at one end of the Town and sitting in a house within doors, and those parties that act and confer together are without at the other end of the Town; to be able to see some and not others; to play at Cards with one certain person, and not to discern any body else at the table besides him; to act, and talk, and goe up and down, and tell what will become of things, and what happens in those fitts of possession, and then, so soon as the possessed or bewitched party is out of them, to remember nothing at all, but to enquire concerning the welfare of those whose faces he seemed to look upon but just before, when they were in their fitts. All which can be no symptoms nor signs of any thing else but of the Devil got into the body of a man, and holding all the Operations of his Soul, and then acting and speaking and sporting as he pleases in the miserable Tenement he hath crouded himself into, making use of the Organs of the Body at his own pleasure, for the performing of such pranks and feats as are far above the capacity, strength or agility of the party thus bewitched or possessed.

All these things are fully made good by long and tedious observations recorded in The discovery of the Witches of Warbois in Huntingtonshire, Anno 1594. the memory whereof is still kept fresh by an Anniversary Sermon preach'd at Huntington by some of the Fellows of Queen's College in Cambridge.

There is also lately come forth a Narration how one Mris Muschamp's Children were handled in Cumberland, which is very like this of Mr Throckmorton's Children of Warbois.

2. That which is generally observed in them both is this, That in their fitts they are as if they had no Soul at all in their Bodies, and that whatsoever operations of Sense, Reason or Motion there seems to be in them, it is not any thing at all to them, but is wholly that Stranger's that hath got into them. For so soon as their fitts are over, they are as if they had been in so profound a sleep that they did not so much as dream, and so remember nothing at all of what they either said or did, or where they had been; as is manifest by an infinite number of Examples in the forenamed relations.

<97> 3. Of the truth of which passages here at home we being very well ascertain'd, we may with the more confidence venture upon what is recorded concerning others abroad. As for example, The possession of the Religious Virgins in the Monastery of Werts, others in Hessimont, others also not far from Xantes, and in other places, where there were Eye-witnesses enough to take notice how strangely they were handled, being flung up from the ground higher then a mans head, and falling down again without harm; swarming upon Trees as nimbly as Cats, and hanging upon the boughs; having their flesh torn off from their bodies without any visible hand or instrument; and many other mad pranks, which is not so fit to name, but they that have a mind may read at large in Wierus.

4. I would pass now to other Effects of Witchcraft, as the conveying of Knives, Balls of hair and Naile into the bodies of them that are bewitched; but that the mention of these Nuns puts me in mind of that famous story in Wierus of Magdalena Crucia, first a Nun, and then an Abbatesse of a Nunnery in Corduba in Spain. Those things which were miraculous in her were these; That she could tell almost at any distance how the affairs of the world went, what consultations or transactions there were in all the Nations of Christendome, from whence she got to her self the reputation of a very Holy woman and a great Prophetess. But other things came to pass by her, or for her sake, no less strange and miraculous; as that at the celebrating of the holy Eucharist the Priest should always want one of his round Wafers, which was secretly conveyed to Magdalen by the administration of Angels, as was supposed, and she receiving of it into her mouth ate it in the view of the people, to their great astonishment and high reverence of the Saint. At the elevation of the Host Magdalen being near at hand, but yet a wall betwixt, that the wall was conceived to open, and to exhibite Magdalen to the view of them in the Chappel, and that thus she partaked of the consecrated bread. When this Abbatesse came into the Chappel her self upon some special day, that she would set off the solemnity of the day by some notable and conspicuous Miracle: for she would sometimes be lifted up above the ground three or four cubits high; other sometimes bearing the Image of Christ in her arms, weeping savourly, she would make her hair to increase to that length and largeness that it would come to her heels, and cover her all over and the Image of Christ in her armes, which anon notwithstanding would shrink up again to its usual size; with a many such specious, though unprofitable, Miracles.

5. But you'l say that the Narration of these things is not true, but they are feigned for the advantage of the Roman Religion, and so it was profitable for the Church to forge them and record them to posterity. A man that is unwilling to admit of any thing supernatural would please himself with this general shuffle and put-off. But when we come to the Catastrophe of the Story, he will finde it quite otherwise: for this Saint at last began to be suspected for a Sorceress, as it is thought, and she being conscious, did of her own accord, to save her self, make confession of her wickedness to the Visiters of the Order, as they are called, viz. That for <98> thirty years she had been married to the Devil in the shape of an Æthiopian; that another Devil, servant to this, when his Master was at dalliance with her in her Cell, supplied her place amongst the Nuns at their publick Devotions; that by virtue of this Contract she made with this Spirit she had done all those Miracles she did. Upon this confession she was committed, and while she was in durance, yet she appear'd in her devout postures praying in the Chappel as before at their set hours of Prayer: which being told to the Visiters by the Nuns, there was a strict watch over her that she should not stir out. Nevertheless she appeared in the Chappel as before, though she were really in the Prison.

6. Now what credit or advantage there can be to the Roman Religion by this Story, let any man judge. Wherefore it is no Figment of the Priests or Religious persons, nor Melancholy, nor any such matter (for how could so many spectators at once be deluded by Melancholy?) but it ought to be deem'd a reall Truth: And this Magdalena Crucia appearing in two several places at once, it is manifest that there is such a thing as Apparitions of Spirits. But I must abstain as yet from touching that argument, I having not dispatch'd what I propounded concerning the vomiting up of Nails, the conveying of Knives and pieces of Wood into the Bodies of men, and the like. Which things are so palpable and uncapable of delusion, that I think it worth the while to insist a little upon them.

[1] Mag. Dæmonoman. lib. 2. c. 1.

[2] De speciebus Magia Ceremonialis, c. 21.

[3] De Præstig. Dæmon. lib. 2. cap. 4.

[4] De Gentibus Septentrional. lib. 3. subtit. De Magis & Maleficis Finorum.

[5] Wierus de Præstig. Dæmon. l. 3. c. 16.

[6] De Præstig. Dæmon. l. 3. c. 12. l. 4. c. 19. See Bodin. Mag. Dæmon. l. 2. c. 4.

[7] See Remigius his Dæmonolatr. l. 1. c. 29.

[8] See Bodin. Mag. Dæmonoman. l. 2. c. 8.

Cite as: Henry More, An Antidote against Atheism, 3rd ed., from A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings (1662), pp. 86-98, http://www.cambridge-platonism.divinity.cam.ac.uk/view/texts/diplomatic/More1662F-excerpt003, accessed 2020-10-21.