This digital edition by Joseph H. Peterson,
2003, 2005. All rights reserved. Updated Jun 18, 2022.
A True & Faithful
What passed for many Yeers Between
Dr. JOHN DEE
(A Mathematician of Great Fame in Q. ELIZ.
And King JAMES their Reignes) and
TENDING (had it Succeeded)
To a General Alteration of most STATES and
KINGDOMES in the World.
His Private Conferences with RODOLPHE Emperor of Germany, STEPHEN K. of Poland, and divers other PRINCES about it.
The Particulars of his Cause, as it was agitated in the Emperors Court;
The LETTERS of Sundry Great Men
And PRINCES (some whereof were present at some of these
The Original copy, written with Dr. DEES own
Hand: Kept in the LIBRARY of
Confirming the Reality (as to the Point of SPIRITS) of
This RELATION: and shewing the several good USES that
A Sober Christian may make of All.
Printed by D. Maxwell, for T. GARTHWAIT, and sold at the Little North door of S. Pauls, and by other Stationers. 1659.
This book consists of detailed records that John Dee kept of his experiments with scrying and communicating with non-physical beings. It is quickly apparent from the abrupt beginning (May 1583), that they were proceeded by many more sessions. Fortunately, the earlier records were found in 1682, and are now in the British Library, manuscripts Sloane 3188 and 3189, which fill in many gaps. -JHP
London, British Library: Cotton Appendix MS. XLVI, parts 1 and 2. Manuscript of Dee's 'Spiritual Diaries' published by Meric Casaubon.
London, British Library: Cotton Appendix MS. XLVI. Elias Ashmole's copy of Dee's 'Spiritual Diaries'.
Oxford, Bodleian: MS. Ashmole 1790, fols. 1-19v. Dee's Latin copy of additional Spirit Actions.
Oxford, Bodleian: MS. Ashmole 1788, fols. 37-64. Ashmole's copy of MS. Ashmole 1790.
London, British Library: Sloane MS. 3645. A 17th century English translation of MS. Ashmole 1790.
Casaubon's own copy with his handwritten correction is in the Bodleian Library, shelf mark D. 8. 14. art.
'An Unknown Chapter in the Life of John Dee', ed. C. H. Josten, JWCI, XVIII (1965), 223-57. Translation of MS. Ashmole 1790.
Oxford, Bodleian: Ashmole MS. 580. Elias Ashmole's copy of Meric Casaubon's edition of A True & Faithful Relation of what passed for many Years Between Dr: John Dee... and Some Spirits which contains copious notes by Ashmole.
Oxford, Bodleian: Ashmole MS. 1788, arts. 1-18. Among other items: copy of Dee's Compendious Rehearsal; John Dee's 'Praefatio Latina in actionem in Latinam primum ex 7 (habitam 10 die Aprilis Pragae) etiam in Latinam conversam semonem, an[no] 1 586'; letter from Dr N. Bernard to Meric Casaubon concerning his book of Dee's actions with spirits and Archbishop Usher's opinion of it, as well as Sir Robert Cotton's note concerning that statement of opinion, and a letter by Casaubon concerning his book about Dee's angelic conferences. Much of it is transcribed by Ashmole.
Oxford, Bodleian: Ashmole MS. 1790, I-IV. 'Praefatio Latina in actionem'; papers relating to Dee's actions with the spirits; Elias Ashmole's observations and collections concerning Dee's religious magic; Elias Ashmole's correspondence relating to Dee.
Oxford, Bodleian: Rawlison MS. 923, art. B. 10. Various notes on Meric Casaubon's edition of the 'Spiritual Diaries'.
Preface is 55 pages, plus 56-64 = Dee, A Letter.
Text is pp. 1-256, 353-448, 1-45, sample page from Liber Loagaeth (“Arney vah…” lines 1-17)
By Meric Casaubon.
|WHAT is here presented unto thee (Christian Reader) being a True and Faithful Relation, &c. (as the Title beareth, and will be further cleared by this Preface) though by the carriage of it, in some respects, and by the Nature at it too, it might be deemed and termed, A Work of Darknesse: Yet it is no other then what with great tendernesse and circumspection, was tendered to men of highest Dignity in Europe, Kings and Princes, and by all (England excepted) listned unto for a while with good respect. By some gladly embraced and entertained for a long time; the Fame whereof being carryed unto Rome, it made the Pope to bestir himself, not knowing what the event of it might be, and how much it might concern him. And indeed, filled all men, Learned and Unlearned in most places with great wonder and astonishment: all which things will be shewed and made good (to the utmost of what we have said), in the Contents of this book, by unquestionable Records and evidences. And therefore I make no question but there will be men enough found in the world whose curiosity will lead them to Read what I think is not to be parallell’d in that Kind by any book that hath been set out in any Age to read: I say, though it be to no other end then to satisfie their curiosity. But whatsoever other men, according to their several inclinations, may propose to themselves in the reading of it, yet I may and must here professe in the first place, in Truth and Sincerity, that the end that I propose to my self (so far as I have contributed to the Publishing of the Work) is not to satisfie curiosity, but to do good, and promote Religion. When we were first acquainted with the Book, and were offered the reading of it, having but lately been conversant in a Subject of much Affinity; to wit, of Mistaken Inspiration and Possession, through ignorance of Natural causes (which labour of ours, as it was our aime at the first in publishing of it, to do good, so we have had good reason since to believe, that we did not altogether misse of what we aimed at) we could not but gladly accept of it. And as we gladly accepted, so we read unto the end with equal eagernesse and Alacrity: Which when we had done, truly it was our Opinion, That the Publishing of it could not but be very Seasonable and Useful, as against Atheists at all times, so in these Times especially, when the Spirit of Error and Illusion, not in profest Anabaptists only, even of the worst kind that former Ages have known and abhorred, doth so much prevail, but in many also, who though they disclaim and detest openly (and heartily too, I hope, most of them) the fruits and effects that such causes have produced in others, yet ground themselves neverthelesse upon the same principles of Supposed Inspiration and imaginary Revelations; and upon that account deem themselves, if not the Only, yet much better Christians then others. And I was much Confirmed in this Judgment when I was told (as indeed I was, at the first, by them that knew very well) that the Most Reverend, Pious and Learned Archbishop of Armagh, lately /2/ deceased, upon reading of the said book, before his death, had declared himself to the same purpose, and wished it Printed. But because it is very possible, that every Reader will not at the first be so well able of himself to make that good use by good and Rational Inferences and Observations of this sad Story as is aimed at, my chiefest aim in this Preface is to help such. And because it is not lesse probable that this Licentious Age will afford very many, who with the Saduces of old (that is, Jewish Epicures) believe no Spirit, or Angel, or Resurrection; who therefore being prepossessed with prejudice when they hear of so many Spirits as are here mentioned, and so many strange Apparitions, in several Kinds, will not only fling back themselves, but will be ready to laugh at any other that give any credit to such things. Although I will not take upon me to convert any by Reason that are engaged into such an opinion by a wicked life, that is, Unjust practises, Luxurious lewd courses, open profanenesse, under the name of Wit and Galantry, and the like, because, I think, it is very just with God to leave such to the error and blindnesse of their Judgments; so that without a Miracle there can be little hopes of such. Yet I shall hope that such as are Rational men, sober in their Lives and Conversations, such as I have known my self; yea, men of excellent parts in other things, men that are both willing to hear and able to consider: that such, I say, may receive some satisfaction by what I shall say and propose to their Ingenuous consideration in this matter. Were we to argue the case by Scripture, the businesse would soon be at an end; there being no one Controverted point among men, that I know of, that can receive a more Ample, Full, Clear and speedy determination, then this business of Spirits, and Witches, and Apparitions may, if the Word of God might be Judge. But I will suppose that I have to do with such, who though they do not altogether deny the Word of God, yet will not easily, however, admit of any thing that they think contrary to Reason, or at least not to be maintained by Reason. I shall therefore forbear all Scripture Proofs and Testimonies in this particular, and desire the Christian Reader (who otherwise might justly take offence) to take notice upon what ground it is that I forbear.|
But though I will not use any Scripture for proof, yet by way of Application I hope I may be allowed to use some Scripture words, which may direct us perchance to a good Method in the examination of this businesse. The Apostle saith in a place, [Greek quote omitted]: (professing themselves to be wise, they became fools) I shall not enquire of whom, and upon what occasion it was spoken: I draw no argument from it; only because there is a shew of great Wisdom in this Opinion; and yet, as I conceive, as much of Error and falsehood (that is, Folly, as the word is often used) as in any other false opinion that is lesse popular. I will frame my discourse to this issue, first, to enquire what it is that makes it so popular and plausible, among them especially that pretend to more then ordinary Wisdom; and then secondly, lay it open (as I am able) to the view in its right colours, that the Folly or falshood of it may be discernable even to ordinary judgments.
First then, (as for them that deny Spirits, &c.) we say, The world is full of imposture; to know this, to observe it in all Trades, in all Professions, in all ranks and degrees of men, is to know the world, and that is to be wise. Though we call them Juglers, yet they deserve to be thought the plainest dealing men of the world that shew their tricks openly in the streets for money; for they professe what they are. They are the truest Juglers that do their feats (and they for mony /3/ too, most of them) under the Veil and Reputation of Holinesse, Sanctity, (or Saintship) Religion, Virtue, Justice, Friendship; fine words to catch men that are of easie Belief, and thinks that every thing that glisters must needs be gold. Hence it is, that men that have had the Reputation of Wise men in the world, have commended this unto us as greatest Wisdom, NOT EASILY TO BELIEVE: [Greek quote omitted] Epicharmus got more credit for this one saying (and hath done more good too, perchance) then many that have been the Authors of vast Volumes. Now if those things that are exposed to sense, the proper Objects of our Eyes and Eares, be lyable to so much Imposture and Deceit, that the wisest can scarce know what to believe: How much more caution do we need in those things that are so much above Sense, and in some respects contrary to Sense (and that is Spirits) that we be not deceived? If we consider the Nature of man, his Bodily frame, the Affections of his soul, the Faculties of his mind, we shall have no occasion at all to wonder if most men are apt to believe and to be cheated. But as no cause to wonder, so as little cause to imitate: Felix qui rerum potuit cognoscere causas! [Greek omitted], a desire of, or to strange things that may cause amazement, is the proper affection of the vulgar, that is, of most men, which they bring into the world with them, (it is the observation of the wisest of men that have written concerning the affairs and actions of men) and cannot be rid of but by wisdom, which is the happinesse of few: Errandi, non necessitas tantum, sed amor. Seneca somewhere speaking of the Nature of Man; There was a time when the world was much governed by Oracles; private men went unto them as unto God, Kings and Princes sent unto them to be advised about greatest matters: and so much faith was ascribed unto them, generally, that the very word became a Proverb appliable unto those things, whereof no question can be made. Yet those very ancient Heathens, that tell us of these Oracles, tell us of their vanity; and though they say not, That all were false and counterfeit, yet whilest they acknowledg it of some, they give us just occasion to suspect that it might have been found as true of the rest also, had like care been taken to examine the truth of them also.
Again, there was a time (and that time not many hundred years yet past) when Miracles were the only discourse and delight of men: Ghosts and Spirits were in every house; and so prone were men to receive what was delivered unto them in that kind, that Miracle-makers were much put to it, not to make their stories probable, (for that was not stood upon) but to make them wonderful enough; insomuch that some have been forced to complain publickly of the credulity of the people,1 who yet themselves tell us much more, I dare say, then was ever true. As for Miracles, so of Exorcismes: How many Divels and Spirits have been driven out of men and women, supposed to be possessed, by solemn Exorcismes, to the great wonder of the beholders, which afterwards upon further search and examination, have been convicted to have been nothing but the artifices and subtil contrivances of men? Sentences and Judgments have passed upon such cheats when they have been discovered in most places of Europe, which have been published. But they have done strange things though (some that were thought possessed) and things impossible, to ordinary sense, to be done by Nature. It is very true, some have: But they that know what strange things may be done to the amazement /4/ of all not acquainted with such mysteries, by long Use and Custome, they will not easily wonder (so as to make a supernatural thing of it) though they see things, which, to their sight and of most, cannot but seem very wonderful, and almost impossible. As for the bodily temper of man and of his Brain, it hath been sufficiently by some late books of that subject (Enthusiasme) both by reasons from Nature, and by sundry examples proved, that a very little distemper or the brain, scarce discernable unto any, but those that are well versed in the study of Natural causes, is enough to represent Spirits, Angels and Divels, Sights and Stories of Heaven and Hell to the Fancy: by which sober kind of Madnesse and deliration, so little understood vulgarly, many have been, and are daily deceived; and from these things, through the ignorance of men, strange things sometimes have ensued, and the peace of Common-weales hath suffered not a little.
1. See the Life of Albertus M.
Aristotle, in his Meteors, tells of one that alwayes saw (so he thought, at least) another man's shape before his eyes, and how they happened unto him naturally, he gives a reason. Hippocrates, Περι παρθενιων, (a very short Discourse, but full of excellent matter) sheweth how some, both men and women, through Natural causes, come to fancy to themselves that they see δαιμονας, Divels and Spirits, and to be tormented in their Souls, even to the making away of themselves by their own hands. The Author of the book, De Morbo Sacro, (very ancient too, but not right Hyppocrates, as many are of opinion) hath excellent matter too, to the same purpose; but I have not the book at this time by me. Hyppocrates, (where before) sheweth how many in that case were gulled by the Priests of those times, making them believe, That this happened to them through the anger of some god. "They that are verst in the Opticks know, That there is a way, through the help of glasses that shall not be seen, to make moving shadows that shall appear like Ghosts, to the great terror of the ignorant beholder: and it is said, That pretended Astrologers and Fortune-tellers cheat many by those sights.” It is the opinion of some Jewish Rabbins, That what Ghosts or Souls are raised by Necromancy, they alwayes appear inverso corpore, that is, their head downwards and feet upwards. Though nothing is to be wondered at in Rabbins, who (commonly) are as full of ridiculous conceits as ever came into the head of any Bedlam: Yet my opinion is, "That the first ground of this wild conceit was, some appearance by the Species of an object, gathered through a little glasse into a dark room. For so indeed the objects must appear inverso corpore if it be done in a high room, and the objects from whence the Spiecies are gathered be lower then the glasse through which they passe. And the reason of it is very Demonstrable to the sight of any reasonable man. Certainly, by this secret (which yet is no great secret, being commonly seen and practised among them that are any thing curious) strange things may be done by a Cunning-man, to their great amazement that know not the cause. There would be no end if I should attempt to gather from several Authors what hath been invented by men, and what may be done by Art to cheat men in matters of this nature. Let any man, that is yet a stranger to it, but read the life of Alexander the false Prophet, or Prognosticator, written by Lucian, and he shall see notable examples of successeful Cheats and Impostures, scarce credible indeed, but that the thing was yet then fresh and famous, and that all circumstances of History /5/ History confirm the truth of the relation. And let him that reads it judge, what dull and dry fellows the Mountebank-Astrologers, Prognosticators and Fortune-tellers of there dayes are, to this Noble, Renowned Alexander. Only let him know that reads, that Lucian was a profest Atheist, and therefore no wonder if he find Epicurus spoken of with great respect, whom all Atheists, and Atheistically inclined are so much obliged to honour. This excepted, I think, the Story is very worthy to be known, and much more worthy to be read by all men (considering the good use that may be made of it) then many books that are daily translated out of other languages.
But lastly, If there were any such thing, really as Divels and Spirits that use to appear unto men, to whom should they (probably) sooner appear, then to such as daily call upon them, and devote their Souls and Bodies unto them by dreadful Oaths and Imprecations? And again, then to such, who through damnable curiosity have many times used the means (the best they could find in books, by Magical Circles, Characters and Invocations) and yet never, neither the one nor the other saw any thing?
I have said as much as I mean to say (though somewhat perchance might be added) to shew the plausiblenesse of the opinion, in opposition to vulgar apprehensions and capacities, whereby (as I conceive, for I have not wittingly omitted any thing that I thought material) it chiefly intitles it self to wisdom, and more then ordinary prudence, which all men generally are ambitious of. Yet I would not have it thought that all men that hold this conclusion, That there be no Spirits, &c. go so rationally to work, or can give this account or any other more rational and plausible for what they hold. God knows there be many in the world, men of no learning, and mean capacities, who can speak as peremptorily as the best, not because they have considered of it, and understand the grounds of either opinion, but because they know, or have heard it is the opinion of some Learned, and they hope they shall be thought learned too if they hold with them. Besides an ordinary (for some have been learned) Epicurean, who makes it his Motto (to himself and in his heart) [Greek quote omitted]: and seeks his ease in this world (... their own word, which imports Tranquility both of mind and body; a good word but ill applyed) as his summum bonum, or chiefest happinesse: It is a great ease to him when any strange things doth happen by Witches, Wizards and the like; and other some to satisfie their faith, others their reason and curiosity, are put to it to enquire of men by conference, and to search into books ancient and late, Sacred and Profane, and all little enough. A great ease, I say, for him, then, and upon all such occasions, to possesse his Soul in secure ignorance, and to save his credit (yea, and to gain credit with some) by barely saying, Fabula est, I do not believe it. We shall hear some of them by and by acknowledg, in effect, as much as I have said: I impose nothing upon them. I will not take upon me to judge of a book that I never read; I cannot say that I ever saw it. But because I have heard some men magnifie an English book written of this subject to prove there be no Witches, I will impart unto the Reader that hath not observed it, the judgment of one of the Learnedst men that ever England saw (I wish he had been more gently dealt with when time was) of that book, whereby it may appear (if his judgment be right, as I am very inclinable to believe, /6/ because of his great Learning, and wonted circumspection in his censures) what great undertakers many men are upon very little ground, and how prone others to extol what doth favour their cause, though to the prejudice of their better judgments, if they would judge impartially. Dr. Rainolds in those elaborate Prælectiones de libris Apocryphis, where he doth censure some opinions of Bodinus as prejudicial to the Christian Faith. Reginaldus Scotus, nostras, (saith he) qui contrariam Bodino insanit insaniam, ait Papistas confiteri, non posse Demonas ne audire quidem nomen Jehovæ. Acceperat ille à Bodino, & attribuit Papistis in genere, tanquam omnes Papistæ in eo conspirarent. Pergit ipse, & quoniam animadverterat quasdam fæminas maleficas, aliquando istius modi narrationes ementiri, putavit omnia esse ficta; ex imperitia Dialecticæ, & aliarum bonarum artium: Ut qui nullo judicio, nullà methodo, nullâ optimarum artium scientiâ, eodem modo aggressus sit hanc rem, quomodo Poeta loquitur,
----- Tenet insatiabile quosdam Scribendi cacoëthes:
|& eodem prorsus modo ratiocinatur, &c. We have been the more willing to produce this passage out of the writings of that Learned man, because we also in our answers may have occasion to say somewhat to the same purpose; not of that Author or his book, which he judgeth, any thing, but of the ground upon which he builded, which we shall find to be the same upon which others also, that deny Spirits have gone upon. But we will go Methodically to work, and take every thing in order, as we have proposed in the objections.|
First, We said, The world was full of Imposture. It is granted, of Impostors and Impostures. But what then shall the conclusion be, That therefore there is no truth in the world, or at least not to be attained unto by mortal man? Truly, many books of old have been written to that effect. Sextus Empiricus is yet extant, a very learned book it cannot be denied, and of excellent use for the understanding of ancient Authors, Phylosophers especially. I could name some Christians also, by profession, men of great learning that have gone very far that way. But this will not be granted by some I am sure that are or have been thought great oppugners of the common opinion about Witches and Spirits; some Physicians I mean, and Naturalists by their profession. But may not we argue as plausibly against that which they professe, as they have done or can do against Spirits and Apparitions? We would be loath to make so long a digression; we have had occasion elsewhere to say somewhat to this purpose: and they that will be so curious may see what hath been written by Cornel. Agrippa (who is very large upon this subject) about it, not to name any others. It is not yet a full twelve-moneth, that a friend of mine, a Gentleman of quality, brought his Lady to London (some 60 miles and upwards from his ordinary dwelling) to have the advice of Physicians about his wife (a very Virtuous and Religious Lady) troubled with a weak stomack and ill digestion, which caused grievous symptoms. I think he had the advice of no lesse then a dozen first and last: I am sure he named unto me five or six of the chiefest in Credit and practice that the Town affordeth. Not one of them did agree in their opinions, either concerning the Cause, or the means to be used for a Cure. So that the Gentleman went away more unsatisfied then he came. What he did I know not: I know what some men would have inferred upon this. Yet I, for my part, for the benefit that I have received by it, and the effects that I have seen of /7/ it, both upon my self, and others in my life-time, upon several occasions (where learned Artists, not Empiricks have been employed) though all the world should be of another opinion, I think my self bound to honour, as the profession, so all Learned, Ingenious Professors of it: and I make no question but the worst of Agrippa's objections, by any man of competent judgment and experience, may easily be answered. I say therefore that as in other things of the world, so in matters of Spirits and Apparitions, though lyable to much error and imposture, yet it doth not follow but there may be reality of truth and certainty discernable unto them that will take the pains to search things unto the bottom, where truth commonly is to be found, and are naturally endowed with competent judgments to discern between specious arguments and solidity of truth.
But this proveth nothing. No: but the removing of this common objection may dispose the Reader, I hope, to consider of what we have to say with lesse prejudice. And that shall be our next task, what we have to say for Spirits, &c. before we come to particular Objections. Wherein neverthelesse I will be no longer then I must at this time, because I shall have a more proper place in two several Tractates, the one whereof hath been a long time in loose notes and papers, not yet digested, to wit, my Second Part of Enthusiasme: the other, in my head yet wholly, but in better readinesse to be brought to light, because of later conception, to wit A Discourse of Credulity and Incredulity, in things Natural, Civil and Divine, or Theological. We shall meet there with many cases not so necessary here to be spoken of, which will help very much to clear this business.
¶ But here I say, first of all, It is a Maxim of Aristotle's the great Oracle of Nature, which many have taken notice of, and applyed to their several purposes: [Greek quote omitted] That which is generally believed, is most likely to be true. Who also in another place of the same book doth approve the saying of Hesiod, [Greek quote omitted] Now if any opinion whereof question is made can justly pretend to a general assent and consent of all people, places, ages of the world, I think, nay, I know, and it will be proved that this of Witches, Spirits, and Apparitions may. I do not know scarce any ancient book extant of Philosopher or Historian (the Writings of professed Epicureans excepted, of Aristotle we shall give an account by and by) but doth afford some pregnant relation, testimony or passage to the confirmation of this truth. I dare say, should a man collect the relations and testimonies out of several Authors and books (that are come to our knowledge) within the compasse of two thousand years, of Authors well accounted of, generally, and whose testimonies (Historians especially) we receive in other things; a man might make a book of the biggest size and form that ordinary books (which we call Folioes) are. It is true, many Authors may write one thing which may prove false, as the famous history of the Phenix, perchance, or some such; but upon examination it will appear that those many take all from one or two at the most, who first delivered it. They add nothing in confirmation of their own knowledge or experience. But here it is quite otherwise; those many Authors that I speak of (Historians especially of several ages) they tell /8/ us different things that hapned in their own times, in divers places of the world: and of many of them we may say they were such as knew little of former books, or stories of other Nations but their own. Within these 200 years the world, we know, by the benefit of Navigation hath been more open and known then before; yea, a great part of the world discovered that was not known before. I have read many books, the best I could meet with in several Languages, of divers Voyages into all parts of the world: I have conversed with many Travellers, whom I judged sober and discreet. I never read any book of that argument, nor yet met with man, that I have had the opportunity to confer with, but was able of his own knowledg to say somewhat whereby my belief of there things might be confirmed.
Now for the Epicureans (of all Philosophers the most inconsiderable in matters of knowledg, as former ages have described them) no man need to wonder if they denyed those things which by the solemn engagement of their Sect they were bound and resolved, notwithstanding any sight or sense, experience or evidence to the contrary, not to believe, at least not to acknowledg. This doth clearly appear by one that may be believed (though I have met with it in more) in such things: Lucian (himself a profest Epicurean Atheist) who doth commend Democritus, Epicurus and Metrodorus (the most famous of that Sect) for their [Greek quote omitted], as he calls it, their fixed, irrevokeable, unconquerable resolution, when they saw any strange thing that by others was admired as miraculous, if they could find the cause or give a probable guesse, well and good, if not, yet not to depart from their first resolution, and still to believe and to maintain that it was false and impossible: It is a notable passage, and which excellent use may be made of. I will therefore set down his own words for their sake that understand the Language: — [Greek quote omitted] (speaking of some of Alexander the false Prophet his devices) [Greek quote omitted].2 Who doubts that this is the resolution of many also in these dayes, not of them only who are Epicureans, whose manner of living (as we have said before) doth engage them to this opinion, but of others also, who think it not for their credit (the vanity of which belief nevertheless might easily appear, there being nothing so mean and ordinary in the world wherein the Wisdom of the wisest, in the consideration of the causes, by the confession of best Naturalists, may not be posed) to believe any thing that they cannot give a probable reason of. Not to be wondred then if we see many, notwithstanding daily experience to the contrary, to stick so close to those tenets which they have wedded themselves unto with so firm a resolution from the beginning, never to leave them, be they right or wrong.
2. Lucian, in Alex. Aldinæ. ed. p. 179.
As for Aristotle, I confesse his authority is very great with me; not because I am superstitiously addicted to any of his opinions, which I shall ever be ready to forsake when better shall be shewed unto me; but because /9/ (besides the judgment of all accounted wise and learned in former ages) I am convicted in my judgment, that so much solid reason in all Arts and Sciences never issued from mortal man (known unto us by his writings) without supernaturall illumination. Well: Aristotle doth not acknowledg Spirits, he mentions them not in any place. Let it be granted: And why should it be a wonder to any man that knows the drift and purpose of Aristotle’s Phylosophy? He lived when Plato lived; he had been his fellow Scholer under Socrates, and for some time his Scholer; but afterward s he became his æmulus, and pleased himself very much to oppose his Doctrine, insomuch as he is censured by some Ancients for his ingratitude. The truth is, Plato’s writings are full of Prodigies, Apparitions of Souls, pains of Hell and Purgatory, Revelations of the gods, and the like. Wherein he is so bold that he is fain to excuse himself sometimes, and doth not desire that any man should believe him, according to the letter of his relations, but in grosse only, that somewhat was true to that effect. Indeed he hath many divine passages, yea, whole Treatises, that can never be sufficiently admired in their kind, but too full of tales, for a Phylosopher, it cannot be denyed. Aristotle therefore resolved upon a quite contrary way: He would meddle with nothing but what had some apparent ground in Nature. Not that he precisely denyed all other things, but because he did not think that it was the part of a Phylosopher to meddle with those things that no probable reason could be given of. This doth clearly appear by a Divine passage of his, De part. anim. l. 1. c. 5. where he divides Substances in [Greek quote omitted], Eternal and Incorruptible, that is, in effect, Spiritual (for even Spirits that were created might be termed [Greek], that is, properly, That have not their beginning by Generation; but we will easily grant, that the creation of Angels, good or bad, was not known to Aristotle: (we may understand Gods and Intelligences) and those, that [Greek], that is, are mortals. He goes on, As for Divine Substances, which we honour, we can say but little of them, though we desire it, because so little of them is exposed to sense [and Reason.] Mortal things that we are familiarly acquainted and daily converse with, we may know if we take pains. But much more should we rejoice in the knowledg (yea though we know but a very little part) of things Divine for their excellency, then in the knowledg of these worldly things though never so perfect and general But the comfort that we have of them (which doth make some amends) is the certainty, and that they come within the compasse of Sciences. What could be said more Divinely by a man that had nothing by revelation? Truly, there appeareth unto me (if I may speak without offence and misconstruction) more Divinity in those words, then in some books that pretend to nothing else. Add to this another place of his in his Metaphysicks, where he saith, That though things supernatural be of themselves clear and certain, yet to us they are not so, who see them only with Owles eyes. Can we say then that Aristotle denyed those things that he forbore to write of, because they were (their natures and their qualities) above the knowledg of man? Neither is it absolutely true that Aristotle never wrote of Spirits and Apparitions. Cicero in his first book De Divinatione, hath a long story out of him of a shape or Spirit that appeared in a dream to one Eudemus (his familiar friend and /10/ acquaintance) and foretold him strange things that came to passe. Clemens Alexandrinus hath a strange story out of him, of a Magical Ring, one or two, which Excestus, King of the Phocenses did use, and foresaw things future by them. It is to be found and seen among the fragments of Aristotle's works. And that he did not deny Witches, may appear by that mention he makes of them in more then one place. How much he ascribed to common report and experience, though no reason could be given, doth appear by his Preface to his Treatise De Divinatione per insomnia: where he proposeth the case, how hard it is for a rational man to believe any thing upon report which he can see no reason for; nay, which seemeth contrary to reason: as, for a man to foretel by dream what shall happen in another Kingdome far off without any apparent cause. But on the other side, saith he, not less hard to deny that which all men, or most men, do believe, to wit, that there be such predictions. For to say (his own words) that such dreams come from God, besides what else might be objected (which might easily be understood by them that understand his Doctrine) it is most unreasonable to believe that God would send them to men either, vitious in their lives, or idiots and fools, of all men the most vile and contemptible, who have been observed so have such dreams oftner then better and wiser men. So leaving the business undetermined, he doth proceed to the consideration of those Prophetick dreams, for which some probable reason may be given. Yet in the second Chapter he saith directly, That though dreams be not [Greek], yet they may be perchance δαιμονια,3 for such he acknowledges Nature to be, not θειαν, but δαιμονιαν only. I will not enquire further into the meaning of these words; it is not to be done in few words. It plainly appears that nothing troubled him so much (for he repeats the objection twice or thrice) as that God should be thought to favour either wicked men or fools. I wish no worse Doctrine had ever been Printed of Preached concerning God. But still let it be remembered that he knew of no Divine Word or Revelation. Yet Jul. Scaliger in his Commentaries upon Hypocrates De Insomniis, doth wonder that Aristotle should stick so much at this, and seems himself to give a reason grounded in Nature. Indeed he saith somewhat as to the case of fools and idiots, but nothing (that I remember) that reacheth to wicked men also. Let these things be considered, and let the Reader judge of how different temper Aristotle was from that of ancient or later Epicures. This mention of Aristotle and Plato puts me in mind of Socrates their Master, his Familiar Spirit; no Shape but a Voice only, by which his life and actions were much directed. The thing is attested by so many, so grave Authors whereof some lived at the very time, others not long after, or in times not very remote, that I know not how it can be questioned by any man. Neither indeed is it, that I remember, by any Heathens or Christians of ancient times, and there have been books written of it, divers, in Greek and Latine, whereof some are yet extant. But whether it were a good Spirit or an evil, some men have doubted, and it is free for any man to think what he pleaseth of it. For my part I ever had a Reverend opinion of Socrates, /11/ and do believe (if there be no impiety in it, as I hope not) that he was, as among Heathens in some respect, a fore-runner of Christ, to dispose them the better when the time should come to imbrace (and it did it effectually) the Gospel. Many other Phylosophers, that have been of greatest fame, were certainly great Magicians, as Orpheus, Pythagoras, Empedocles, and the like, as by those things that have been written of them by several ancient authors may be collected. But above all I give the pre-eminence to Apollonius Thianeus,4 a man of later times, and of whom we may speak with more confidence and certainty. This was the man whom ancient Heathens very tenacious of their former worship and superstitions, did pitch upon to oppose unto Christ. His Life hath been written by divers, four of them were joyned together and opposed to the four Gospels: and Hierocles, a famous Phylosopher of those times, made a Collation of his Miracles with those of Christs, who was answered by Eusebius, yet extant. Sure it is, they prevailed so much, that he was for a long time worshipped by many, and in sundry places as a very God; yea, by some Roman Emperors, as we find in History. Philostratus hath written his life in very elegant stile (as Photius judged) in 8 books, which are extant. And though they contain many fabulous things, as any man may expect by the undertaking, yet have they so much truth and variety of ancient learning, that I think they deserve to be better known then commonly they are; but cannot be understood, I am sure, as they should be, by any translation either Latine or French that ever I saw: For the Paris Edition, though it boast of great things (as the manner is) yet how little was performed may easily appear unto any that will take the pains to compare it with the former edition of Aldus: Which I speak not to find fault, but because I wish that some able man would undertake the work; there is not any book, by the Translations yet extant, that more needeth it. What use Scaliger made of him, may appear by his frequent quotations in his Notes upon Eusebius, in the History of those times. As for Appollonius his Miracles or wonderful Acts (which is our businesse here) though many things have been added, some, probably, done by Imposture, yet I do not see how it can be doubted but he did many strange things by the help of Spirits, which things may be judged by due observation of circumstances; as for example, That being convented before Domitian the Emperor in the presence of many, he presently vanished and was seen a great way off (at Puteoli I think) about the same time. That at the very time when Domitian was killed at Rome, he spake of it publickly and of the manner of it at Ephesus: and so of many others, which seem to me (as unto most) almost unquestionable. The greatest wonder to me is, that such was his port and outward appearance of Sanctity and Simplicity, that even Christians have thought reverently of him, and believed that he did his wonders by the power of God, or by secret Philosophy and knowledg of Nature not revealed unto other men. So Justine Martyr, one of the ancient Fathers of the Church judged of him, as is well known. Most later Phylosophers that lived about Julians time, and before that, as also the Emperors themselves, many of them, were great Magicians and Necromancers, as may /12/ easily appear, partly by their own writings, and partly by the History of those times.
3. The Latine Interpreter translates it Demonia; & I know not how it
can be better expressed though lyable to ambiguity.
4. I.e. Apollonius of Tyana. -Ed.
I do very much wonder whether any man, being a Scholer, and not strongly prepossessed, that doth not believe Spirits, &c. can say that he ever read the books of Tryals and Confessions of Witches and Wizards, such I mean, as have been written by learned and judicious men. Such as, for example, I account Nichol. Remigius, his Demonolatria: ex judiciis capitalibus 900 plus minus hominum, &c. grounded especially upon the Confessions and Condemnations of no lesse then 900 men and women in Lorraine within the compasse of few years. That he was a learned man, I think no body will deny that hath read him; and that he was no very credulous and superstitious man (though a Papist) that also is most certain: and I have wondred at his liberty many times. I know not how it is now in those places; but by what I have read and heard of the doings of Witches and Sorcerers in Geneva and Savoy in former times (“I could say somewhat of my self, how my life was preserved there very strangely, but my witnesses are not, and I will not bring their credit in question for such a business.”) I am of opinion, That he that should have maintained there that there was no such thing as Witches, or Spirits, &c. would have been thought by most either mad and brain-sick (so frequent and visible were the effects to sober eyes) or a Witch himself. For indeed it is ordinary enough, that those that are so really, are very willing (which deceiveth many) to be thought Impostors, and there is good reason for it: I should sooner suspect him an Impostor that doth professe himself (except it be by way of confession, as many have done) and is ambitious to be counted a Witch or Sorcerer. I remember I saw a book some years ago, intituled, De l’inconstance des mauvais Anges & Demons, printed at Paris 1612. in quarto, and another of the same Author, and size, intituled, L'incredulite & mescrauce du sortilege, Paris 1642. Strange stories are told there of a Province of France about that time (or little before) marvellously infested with Witches and Sorcerers, insomuch that people did not know one another (in some one place) in the streets, by reason of evil Spirits appearing publickly in the shape of men; and that the proceedings of justice (which doth not happen often) were sometimes disturbed by them. I think the Author himself was one that was sent to the place by the King with some authority, and to make report. But as I do not altogether trust my memory, having had but a sight of the books (it was at the Bell in St. Pauls Church-yard:) So I beseech the Reader not to rest upon this account that I give him upon my best remembrance, but to peruse the books himself. I am confident he may receive good satisfaction, being things that were not done in a corner, but very publickly and well attested as I remember. However the reader must give me leave (though it be not to this purpose, lest my silence be drawn to the prejudice of the truth) to tell him, that I met with one great falshood there concerning my own father (of Bl. M.) which I had abundantly refuted,5 and all other of that nature, when I was yet very young. But that (as I conceive) which in all these stories would most puzzle a rational man, is the signes which are set /13/ down by many how witches may be known, as Teats, swimming upon the water, dry eyes, and the like: which things indeed have some ground of truth, being limited to particular times and places, but are not of general application. Mr. Vossius had therefore reason to find fault with Springerus and Bodinus for making that a certain token of a Witch that she cannot weep.6 Who also in the same place doth well except against the tryal of [Greek], as he calls it (commonly, purgatio per aqua frigidam) condemned by many. But he had done well to have limited his exception, and to have shewed how, and when, and how far such observations may be used. For certainly they are not altogether to be neglected. But the reasons of such observations or marks that are given by some, are so ridiculous, that they would make a sober man (that hath not patience enough to ponder all things diligently) to suspect all the rest. So one tels us, That when the Cock croweth the solemn meetings of Witches (which opinion perchance may prove ancient enough, as we shall shew elsewhere) are dissolved: and he thinks a reason may be because of the crowing of the Cock in the Gospel, when St. Peter denyed Christ. Another tells us, That Witches being well beaten trunco vitis (with a Vine stick or club) Maleficia illata solvere sævillina coguntur, have no more force to do hurt, or, that the party bewitched recovereth. And the reason (he thinks, and yet he no ordinary man neither) ex mysterio vini & vineæ7 dilectæ Deo, ex cujus mysterio quotidie Sacramentum Sacrosancti Sanguinis Domini conficitur, &c. But I shall have a more proper place for the full examination of these things in one of the two Treatises before mentioned. It cannot be denyed but this whole businesse of Witches, what through ignorance, what through malice, is very lyable to many mistakes and divers impostures. And it were to be wished that in all such Trials some prudent Divines, and learned experienced Physicians might be joyned. But hence to conclude with Wierius8 (who neverthelesse doth acknowledg Spirits, and the Illusions and Apparitions of Divels, and their mischievous opperations as much as any, and tells as strange things of them) and some others, that therefore there are no Witches and Sorcerers, is as if a man should deny the power of herbs because a thousand things have been written of them of old, and are yet daily falsely and superstitiously. And indeed it so fell out once in Rome, as by Plinie [=Pliny] is recorded at large, Where when some ascribed such power unto Herbs, as though Sun and Moon had been subject unto them, the dead might be raised, armies vanquished, and what not! which was not very well relished by many: at last came Asclepiades, who perswaded men that were very well disposed to be perswaded, that all Physical use of Herbs and Simples was a meer cheat, and that men were better want them, there being other means easier and lesse troublesome to restore health and overcome diseases, which he professed to teach: and prevailed so far for a while, that they were laid aside, and a new course of Physick introduced. While for a while, as I said, (so prone are men commonly to entertain new divices) gave good content generally. It is well observed by Aristotle (and I think a great part of humane wisdome /14/ dependeth on it) that in all things of the world that are commendable, as there is somewhat which is true and real, so somewhat also which is counterfeit and false. There is beauty Natural, saith he, and there is Artificial beauty by painting and trimming. A true, sound, healthy complexion, and that which makes a good shew, but is not sound. True, real gold and silver, but divers things also that may be taken for gold and silver at a distance, or by them that judge at the outward appearance. So, true, sound Ratiocination , and that which seems so to the unlearned, or to corrupt judgments, though it be very false. They that consider well of this, may the sooner come to the knowledg of truth in all things.
5. Tom 11, p. 608. Mer. Cas. Pietas.
6. Voss. de Idolol. 111. 180, 181.
7. So in my Copy; it may be it should be, vitis & vin.
8. I.e. Johann Weyer. -JHP
Well: we go on.
There was in Aix (Aquæ Sextiæ anciently, now Aquensis Civitas) in Provence (a County of France so called) in the year of the Lord 1611. a Romish Priest tryed, convicted, and by Sentence of the Court or Parliament condemned to be burned alive for abominable practises, and horrid things by him upon divers (some persons of quality) committed with and by the Divel. He had long desired it and sought it; at last the divel appeared to him in the habit of a Gentleman. The story is in divers books, French and Latine, and translated (at that time I believe) in divers languages. I would goe forty miles with all my heart to meet with that man that could tell me any thing whereby I might but probably be induced to believe, or at least to suspect, that there might be some mistake in the particulars of his Sentence. For my reason, I must confesse, was never more posed in any thing that ever I read of that nature. Gassendus indeed in Pereskius his life, hath somewhat (as I remember) of Pereskius his Opinion, as if he thought some of those things he confessed might be ascribed unto imagination; but I see no reason given: neither are the things of that nature, that can admit any such suspicion. Besides; Tristan, of the Lives of the Emperors and their Coynes, will tell you somewhat which may make a doubt, whether Gassendus ought to be believed in all things that he reporteth concerning that famous man. I am not very much satisfied of what Religion (though truly a very learned man) Gassendus was. And by the way (which is somewhat to the case of Witches in general) if I be not mistaken (for I have it not at this time) there is a relation in that very book of somewhat that hapned to Pereskius by witches when he was a child. That wicked Sorcerer which was burned at Aix, foretold before his death that some misfortune would be done at the time and place of his execution, which hapned accordingly, and very strangely too. Somewhat again, I must confesse, I have seen printed (Mimica Diaboli, &c.) to take away the scandal of some part of his confession, or the Devils saying of Masse, &c. some part of which things might perchance with some colour be ascribed to imagination: but that is not it that troubles me. But enough of him.
What man is he, that pretends to learning, that hath not heard, and doth not honour the memory of Joachimus Camerarius, that great light of Germany? so wise (and for his wisdom, and other excellent parts, sought unto by many Princes) so moderate a man (an excellent temper for the /15/ attaining of Truth) and so versed in all kind of learning, that we shall scarce among all the learned of these later Times find another so generally accomplished. The strangest relations that ever I read, or at least as strange as any I have read of Witches, and Sorcerers, and Spirits, I have read in him: such as either upon his own knowledge he doth relate, or such as he believed true upon the testimonie of others known unto him. The last work that he ever went about for the publick was, De generibus Divinationum, but he did not live (the more the pity) to make an end of it. But so much as he had done was set out by one of his learned sons, Lipsiæ, an Dom. 1576. There p. 33. he hath these words, De Spirituum verò, quæ sunt Græcis δαιμόνια, admirabili non solum efficacitate, sed manifesta Specie, quæ φάσμακα perhibentur, præsentiâ; incredibiles extant passim veterum narrationes, & nostris temporibus super antia fidem comperta sunt, extra etiam γοηκος, de quibus posteà dicitur. So p. 89. & p. 151. again and more fully. But his strangest relations are in his Proæmium to Plutarchs two Treatises, De Defectu Oraculorum, and De Figura EI Consecratâ Delphis, set out by him with Notes. Here I could come in with a whole cloud of witnesses, name hundreds of men of all Nations and professions that have lived within this last hundred years, and not any among them but such as have had, and have yet generally the reputation of Honest, Sober, Learned and Judicious, who all have been of this opinion that we maintain. But because we have to do with them especially who by their Profession pretend to the Knowledge of Nature above other men, I will confine my self for further testimony to them that have been of that Profession. I have been somewhat curious for one of my Calling, that had no other end but to attain to some Knowledge of Nature, without which a man may quickly be lead into manifold delusions and Impostures. I have read some, looked into many: I do not remember I have met with any professed Physician or Naturalist (some one or two excepted, which have been or shall be named) who made any question of these things. Sure I am, I have met with divers strange relations in sundry of them, of things that themselves were present at, and saw with their own eyes, where they could have no end, that any man can probably suspect, but to acknowledge the truth, though with some disparagement to themselves (according to the judgment of many) in the free confession of their own ignorance and disability to give reasons, and to penetrate into causes. Well: what then shall we say to such as Jul. Cæsar, Scaliger, Fernelius, Sennertus, the wonders and Oracles of their times? As Physicians so Phylosophers, men of that profound wisdom and experience (much improved in some of them by long life) as their writings shew them to have been to this day. What shall we make of them? or what do they make of themselves, that will censure such men as either cheaters or ignorant idiots? Henericus Saxonia, a Learned Professor and Practiser of Physick in Padua, in that Book he hath written of that horrible Polonian Disease, which he calls Plicam, which turneth mens hairs (in sight) to Snakes and Serpents; in that book he doth ascribe so much to the power of Witches and Sorcerers in causing Diseases, not private only but even publick, as Pestilences and the like, as himselg confesseth he could never have believed, until he /16/ was convicted by manifest experience; and indeed is wonderful, and may well be thought incredible unto most, yet is maintained and asserted by Sennertus De Febribus; and in his sixth book (as I remember; De Morbis à fascino, incantatione, & veneficiis inductis. I will forbear the names of many men of fame and credit, Physicians too, because most of them are named (and commonly enough known) by Sennertus upon this occasion. There is one, whom I think inferiour to none, though perchance not so commonly known or read, and that is, Georgius Raqusaius9 a Venetian, who by his first education and profession was an Astrologer, cast many Nativities, and took upon him to Prognosticate; but afterwards conscious to himself of the vanity of the Art (that is, when the Divel doth not intermeddle, as alwayes must be understood: for some Astrologers have been Magicians withall, and have done strange things) gave it over, and hath written against it very Learned and Solidly. Read him, if you please, in his Chapters De Magis, De Oraculis; yea, through his whole Book De Divinatione, and you may be satisfied what he thought of these things: he also was a Physician. But I must not omit the Learned Author that set out Musæum Veronense, a great Naturalist and a Physician too; he handles it at the end of that work somewhat roundly and to the quick, I must confesse, but very Rationally and Solidly, in my judgment, against those pretended Peripateticians, that would be thought to defend the opinion of Aristotle herein. I could say somewhat of ancienter Physicians too, and give some account of those many Spels and Charmes that are in Trallienus, in all his books; an ancient Physician, in high esteeme with some eminent Physicians of these late times, as they themselves have told me; though not for his Charms, but for his other learning and excellent experience, which they had found good use of But this I reserve for another place & work. And this mention of that eminent Physician who commended Trallienus unto me, puts me in mind of what he imparted himself, not long before his death, of his own knowledge and experience; and particularly of the account he gave me of the examination of a Conjurer in Salisbury, at which, he said, none were present but King James, (of most Blessed Memory) the Duke of Buckingham, and himself: It is likely some others may have heard the same, and I had rather any body should tell it then I, who was then a patient under him, and durst not, were I put to it, trust to my memory for every circumstance.
9. Georg Von Ragusa (Ragusaius, Raguseius, Raguseo) b. 1579 in Ragusa, d. 1622. -Ed.
Hitherto I have gone by Authorities rather then Arguments, partly because I thought that the shortest and clearest way for every bodies capacity, and partly, because such Arguments (if any besides these we have here) as have been used against this opinion, may be found fully answered in those I have cited. The truth is, it is a Subject of that nature as doth not admit of many Arguments, such especially as may pretend to subtilty of Reason, Sight, Sense, and Experience (upon which most Humane Knowledge is grounded) generally approved and certain, is our best Argument. But before I give over, I will use one Argument which perchance may prove of some force and validity, and that is, A consideration of the strange shifts and evasions and notorious absurdities that these men are put /17/ to, who not being able to deny the δκι, or matter of Fact, would seem to say somewhat rather then to acknowledg Spirits, and Divels, and Witchcraft. Pomponatius, who hath not heard of? I once had the book, I know not now what is become of it. But I remember well, I never was more weary of reading then when I read him; nothing that ever I read or heard of Legends and old womans tales did seem to me more groundlesse and incredible. But because those men bear themselves very much upon the power of imagination (which indeed is very great, and doth produce strange effects) I shall commend to the sober Reader that hath not yet met with him, Tho. Fienus his Learned Tractat, De Viribus Imaginationis, a very Rational and Philosophical discourse. Of their miserable shifts and evasions in general, the Author or Observator rather of Musæum Veronense, before quoted, will give you a good account. I have at this present in my hands the writings of a Physician, Augerius Ferrerius by name. What he was for a Physician I know not; all (I doubt) of that profession will not allow very well of his Preface to his Castigationes Practicæ Medicinæ, whatever they think of the Castigationes themselves. But in general, his Stile, and various reading, and knowledge of good Authors, speak him a Learned man sufficiently. Thuanus in his History gives him a most ample Elogium, and makes him to have been Jul. C. Scaliger his intimate acquaintance and much respected by him. But I doubt whether Thuanus had ever seen this book of his: it doth not appear by that Elogium that he had. Well, this Learned man in his Chapter De Homerica (so he calls it) Medicatione, where he treats of cures done by Charms and Spels, by Words and Characters, which others impute commonly to Witchcraft: first, for the οκι, he doth not deny it: (Nam iis quæ sensibus exposita sunt contravenire, sani hominis non est.) He thinks them little better then mad men that will deny that which is approved by so visible experience. Yet it seems he was one of them that did not believe, or would not believe (though he doth not say so positively) Spirits and Witches, and Supernatural Operations. What then? he plainly maintaineth and argueth it (though he quote no Gospel for it) that such is the nature of the Soul of man (if he know how to use it) that by a strong faith and confidence it may work any miracle without a miracle: Verum confidentia illa, ac firma persuasio (that you may have some of his words if you have not the book) comparatur indoctis animis per opinionem quam de Caracteribus & sacris verbis conceperunt. Doctis & rerum intelligentiam habentibus, nihil opus est externi, sed cognitâ vi animi, per eam miracula edere possunt. &c. And again a little after, Doctus veró & sibi constans solo verbo sanabit. I do not hence conclude that this Ferrerius, though he speak as though he were, and names no body else, that he was the first or only that hath been of this opinion. Avicenne the Arab was the first, as I take it, that set it on foot: some others have followed him in it. But since these men acknowledg the strange effects that others deny, let the sober Reader judge whether of the two more likely to grant Spirits and Divels, or to make the Soul of man (of every man, naturally) either a God or a Divel. But let men take heed how they attempt to do Miracles by their strong faith and confidence, for that is the ready way to bring the Divel unto them, and that is it which hath made many Witches /18/ and Sorcerers. As for that Faith whereby men did work Miracles in the Primitive times, spoken of in the Gospel, commonly called, The Faith of Miracles, that is quite another thing, which I shall not need to speak of in this place. Of a strong confidence in God, even in them that are not otherwise very godly, whether it may not, according to Gods first order and appointment, produce sometimes some strange effects; we have had a consideration elsewhere, where we treat of Precatorie Enthusiasm. But this also is quite another thing, as may appear by what we have written of it.
But to conclude this part; upon due consideration of the premises, and what else I have in readinesse upon the same Subject (if God give me life and health) I cannot satisfie my self how any Learned man, sober and rational, can entertain such an opinion (simply and seriously) That there be no Divels nor Spirits, &c. But upon this account which I give my self (leaving all men to their own judgments herein) that if there be any such truly and really, it must needs be because being at first prepossessed upon some plausible ground, and being afterwards taken up with other thoughts and employments, they are more willing to stick to their former opinion without further trouble, then to take the pains to seek further. [Greek quote omitted] as Thucydides doth very well observe. And when we say, A Learned man, there is much ambiguity in that word. For a man may be (not to speak of the ignorance of the common people, in those climates especially, who think all Learning concluded in preaching; and now in these times too, them best Preachers that in very deed have least Learning, but preach by Instinct and Inspiration, as they call it) but a man, I say, may be a Learned Man, a very Learned man in some one kind or profession, even to Excellency and Admiration, who neverthelesse is and may be found ignorant enough in other kinds: but a general Learned man is a thing of a vast extent, and not often seen. It is a businesse of an infinite labour, besides that it requireth Natural parts answerable; without which (judgment specially) the more pains sometimes the more ignorance. I aim not by this at any particular man or men (Deum testor) I would much rather submit to the censure of others my self, then take upon me to censure any; but the observation is of very good use, I know it, and may give much satisfaction in many cases, and have given an instance of it in Tertullian, and some others elsewhere.
I have done for this time; I come now to the Objections, wherein I shall not need to be very long, because they run much upon one thing, Imposture, which hath already been spoken of and answered. But yet somewhat more particularly shal be answered.
First, Of Miracles. It cannot be denyed but the world is full of horrible Impostures in that particular: Yet I believe, that some supernatural things, as cures, &c. do happen in every age, for which no reason can be given, which also for the strangenesse may be called Miracles. But if we limit (with most) the word to those things that proceed immediately from God or divine power: I shall not be /19/ very ready to yield that many such Miracles are seen in these Dayes. But I will not further argue the Case in this place. Well, let us take Miracles in the ordinary Sense: I verily believe that many such things do happen in many places; but that through negligence partly, and partly through incredulity, they are not regarded oftentimes, or soon forgotten. And wiser men, sometimes, though they know or believe such things, yet are not they very forward to tell them, lest they bring themselves into contempt with those supposed wise men, who will sooner laugh at any thing they do not understand, then take the pains to rectifie their ignorance or inform their judgments. I hope I shall do no wrong to the Memory of that Venerable, Incomparable Prelate, BISHOP ANDREWES, for Sound Learning and True Piety whilest he lived, one of the greatest Lights of this Land; if I set down two Stories, which we may call Miracles, both which he did believe to be true, but for one of them, it seemes, he did undertake upon his own knowledge: The one, concerning a noted, or at least by many suspected Witch or Sorceress, which the Divel, in a strange shape, did wait upon (or for rather) at her death. The other, concerning a man, who after his death was restored to life to make Confession of a horrible Murder committed upon his own Wife, for which he had never been suspected; both these, as he related them to my F. (in familiar conversation) and my F. did enter them for a remebrance into some of his Adversaria. In the substance I believe there could be no mistake, but if there be any mistake in any Circumstances, as of Names, or otherwise, that must be imputed to my F. who was a stranger, not to the tongue only, but to all businesses (more then what might be known by printed books, and such publick wayes) of England.
The First, thus:
L. vetula Londinensis, cui morienti Diabolus affuit.
The other thus,
Kalend. August. Narrabat hodie mihi rem miram, Reverendiss. Præsul, Domin. Episcop. Eliensis: quam ille acceptam auribus suis à teste oculato & auctore, credebat esse verissimam. Est vicus in Urbe Londino, /20/ qui dicitur, Vicus Longobardorum. In eo vico Paræcia est, & ædes paræcialis, in qua fuit Presbyter, homo summæ fidei, et notæ Pietatis, ..... An. 1563. quo anno, si unquam aliàs, pestis grassata est per hanc Urbem Londinum. Narravit igitur hic Parrochus et passim aliis, et ipsi quoque Dom. Episcopo sibi hoc accidisse. Erat illi amicus in suâ Paræciâ insignis; vir, ut omnes existimabant, probus et pius. Hic peste correptus advocavit Presbyterum illum suum amicum, qui et ægrotanti affuit, et vidit morientem nec deseruit nisi mortuum; ita Demum repetiit domum suam. Post horas satis multas à morte hujus, cùm ipse pro mortuo esset relictus in cubiculo; uxor illius idem cubiculum est ingressa, ut ex arcâ promeret Lodicem, sine linteamen ad ipsum εντολιττουν ut est moris. Ingressa audit hanc vocem, operi intenta. Quis hic est? terreri illa, et velle egredi, sed auditur iterum vox illa: Quis hic est? Ac tandem comperto esse mariti vocem, accedit ad illum: Quid, ait, marite; tu igitur mortuus non es? et nos te pro mortuo compositum deserveramus. Ego verò, respondit ille, verè mortuus fuit: sed ita Deo visum, ut anima mea rediret ad corpus. Sed tu uxor, ait, Si quid habes cibi parati, da mihi esurio enim. Dixit illa veruecinam habere se, pullum gallinaceum, et nescio quid aliud: sed omnia incocta, quae brevi esset paratura. Ego, ait ille, Moram non fero; panem habes, ait, et caseum? quum annuisset, atque petiisset afferri, comedit spectante uxore: deinde advocato Presbytero, et jussis exire è cubiculo omnibus qui aderant; narrat illi hoc: Ego, ait, verè mortuus fui; sed jussa est anima redire ad suum corpus, ut scelus apperiram ore meo, manibus meis admissum, de quo nulla unquam cuiquam nota est suspicio. Priorem namque uxorem meam ipse occidi manibus meis, tantâ vafritie, ut omnes res lateret: deinde modum perpetrati sceleris exposuit; nec ita multò post expiravit, ac verè tum mortuus est.
There is no necessity that any body should make of either of these relations an Article of his Faith; yet I thought them very probable, because believed by such a man, and therefore have given them a place here. So much of Miracles.
Of Exorcismes we must say as of Miracles. One notable example of a counterfeit Possession, and of great stirs likely to have insued upon it in France, we have out of Thuanus, in our late Treatise of Enthusiasme. The History of the Boy of Bilson is extant, who by the Wisdom and Sagacity of the Rt Rd F. in God Thomas, Lord Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, was discovered to be an Impostor on purpose set up and suborned to promote the Romish cause, An. Dom. 1620. Such examples and stories most Countries have afforded good store, which are extant in divers Languages. Neither must it be concealed (by them that seek truth without partiality) that some, once called Disciplinarians, now more known by another name, have attempted to deal in those things, hoping thereby to gain great advantage to their cause. It was a famous Story in Q. Elizabeth's Reign, though now perchance out of the knowledg of many, and beyond the remembrance of any living, how one Mr. D. a very zealous man of that Sect, did take upon him by long prayers to cast out Divels, so maintained and asserted with great vehemency by him and some others that favoured that cause, though upon legal examination they proved otherwise, which occasioned many books on both sides in those dayes, but two, melioris notæ, as we say, written by Dr. H. concerning Exorcismes; the one against Papists, the other against P. I have them both somewhere yet, I hope, but can not come at /21/ them at this time, which is the cause that I cannot particularize that businesse with circumstances of times, and names or persons as I would. But there were many other books written (some very big, which I have seen) about it, as I said before; so that the whole businesse, with very little inquisition, if any have a mind, may quickly be found out. One Bookseller in Little Britain did help me to the sight of six or seven at once; yet one of the books then written, and as I was told, upon this occasion much commended unto me by some very Learned, to wit, Dr. Jordan, of the Suffocation of the Matrix, I long sought before I could meet with it. And such was the ignorance of some Booksellers, that I could not perswade them there was any such book extant: but now at last I have got it. All the use I shall make of it at this time is, that whereas the whole drift of the book tends unto this, to shew the error of many in ascribing natural diseases to supernatural causes, which might be thought by some to favour their opinion that believe not Witches, &c. The Author doth very prudently and piously make this profession in the Preface, I do not deny but that God doth in these dayes work extraordinarily for the deliverance of his children, and for other ends best known to himself; and that among other there may be both possessions by the Divel, and obsessions, and Witch-craft, &c. and dispossession also through the Prayers and Supplications of his servants, which is the only means left unto us for our relief in that case, but such examples being very rare now adayes, &c. Yet for all this I do not conclude that Mr. D. was guilty of any Imposture: he might do it through ignorance being cozened by others. I have heard he was an honest man, and dyed piously, and disclaimed to the very last that he did any thing in that businesse otherwise then Bonâ Fide. I would judge charitably, even of those men that are not guilty of much charity towards others, whose judgments and consciences will not suffer them (though men of approved worth and piety otherwise) to say as they say, and to do as they do in all things. Be it granted therefore, that this businesse of Exorcismes is lyable to much Imposture: however, no man that hatho read the relations of men and women possest, in several places, with due observation of circumstances, some of which relations, besides other persons of credit, have been attested; yea, some penned and published by learned Physicians and Naturalists, who have been employed about the Cure, observed their carriage, heard some of them speak strange Languages: silly women possest, discourse of highest points of Phylosophy, or the Mathematicks and the like. No man, I say, that is not a stranger to these things (besides what some Travellers, no way interessed in the cause, can aver upon their own knowledge) will make any question either of the real possession of divers, according to relations that have been made, or of the Divels speaking in them and by them when they have been Exorcised; and sometimes upon bare conference. And though some Protestants are of opinion, That it is not lawful or warrantable for any man to take upon him to Exorcise upon such occasions, that is, (as I conceive) by way of absolute power and authority, and by superstitious wayes and means, as is ordinarily done: Yet where a man hath a Calling, as if he be lawfully Called to the Ministry, and set over such a Parish where any happen to be possessed (as indeed /22/ my self have a Parish,10 that is, right to a Parish as good as the Laws of the Land can give me, which hath been grievously haunted, though not altogether in the same kind, this many years, to the undoing of many there; but I must not come near it, nor have the benefit of the Law to recover my right, though never told why) and he find himself zealously moved, yet without presumption, I would not despair, but his prayers, with other performances of devotion, and the assistance of some others of the same calling, might prove available before God: but still presupposed, as most expedient and necessary, that the opinion and resolution of some Learned and conscionable Physician, one or more, be had in the case; and their presence also in all actions, if it may be had, obtained. Some, it may be, will thank me, and I hope it will offend none, it I impart unto them what I have found in my F. his Ephemeris (or, Daily account of his life) tending to this purpose.
10. B. D. of T.
Anno Dom. 1603. Kal Junii. Quem memsem, et reliquos omnes velis ô Deus, &c. Hunc q. læetum egimus, cum matre, uxore, affine, et viro nobili, Dom. de Couns. et nobili item matrona, D. de St. Pons: qui omnes in re pietatis [Greek] Ecclesiam hujus loci assiduè celebravimus. Inter alios Sermones quos habui cum D. de St. Pons, de ministro provinciæ Vivaretii sumus locuti, cui nomen Mercero. Regit ille in eo tractu plutes parvas Ecclesias; habitat a. in loco, qui dicitur, Chasteau-double. Acceperam de eo ex vulgi rumoribus, quod vim Dæmonas ejiciendi haberet: quæsivi, [Greek] de D. de St Pons quid rei esset. Illa seriòp affirmavit, plures Dæmoniacos (decem aut circiter) in Ecclesiam auductos, eo concionante primùm, dein orante, palam, et Confessione omnium fuisse sanatos. Quosdam Demonas it a eum certis signis erupisse, ut res apud omnes fieret testatissima. Porró autem omnes qui sanati sunt, Religionem Catholicam Romanam ante semper professos. Mercerum verò impatientisiumè ferre, si qnis inter loquendum, ut fit, diceret, Mercerum Diabolos ejicere, non enim se, verùm Ecclesiam Dei esse nominandam, cujus precibus ardentissimis Dei aures res patuerint. Dom et illi et universo gregi suorum benedicat. Amen.
In English (for their sakes that understand no Latine, and that it be not required alwayes, for it would be very tedious) this is the effect, At such a time, in such a place, he had the opportunity to meet with a grave (whether Lady or Gentlewoman) Matron, one he had a very good opinion of; her name M. de St. Pons, and having often heard by common report of a certain Protestant Minister that was said to cast out Divels, he did accurately inform himself by her (she living, it seems, very near, if not in the same parish) of all particulars concerning that businesse; who did averre it to be most true, and that ten, or thereabouts, Demomoniacks, or possessed men (all making profession of the Roman Catholick Religion) had been brought to the Church (at several times, as I take it) and that publickly, and by the generall confession of all then present, and by some notable signes (sometimes) at the going out of the Devils; they were, upon his Praying after Sermon, all delivered. But that he took it very hainously if any said, that he had cast out Devils; For, not I, said he, but the earnest Prayers of the Church, have prevailed with Almighty God to work this wonderful thing.
As for Oracles: It is true, Heathens themselves acknowledg, that some /23/ were the jugglings of men. Sometimes Princes; sometimes private men: (as now of Religion, of Preaching, and Praying, and Fasting; of Masses and Processions: most Princes and States in all places) made good use of them to their owne ends; and made them speak what themselves had prompted. But a man might as probably argue; because some have been so freely acknowledged to have been by compact and subornation, it is the more likely, that those of which never any suspicion was, should be true. We read of many in Herodotus: of one, which was contrived by fraud; but there we read also, that when it came to be known (though care had been taken that it might not:) the chief Contriver, a great man, was banished, or prevented worse, by a voluntary Exile; and the Sacred Virgin or Prophetesse, deposed. But not to insist upon particulars, which would be long, it is most certain, and it will cleerly appear unto them that are well read in anciedest Authors and Histories, That all Heathens, generally the wisest and learnedest of them, those especially, that lived when Oracles were most frequent, did really believe them to be, which they pretended unto: and that they were so indeed, for the most part (taking it for granted that their Gods were Divels or Evil Spirits) by many circumstances of Stories, and by other good proofs, may be made as evident: neither was it ever doubted or denyed (alwayes granted and presupposed, that, as in all worldly things, much imposture did intervene and intermingle) by ancient Christians acknowledged, I am sure, by most, if not all. But I have spoken of them elsewhere already, and therefore will be the shorter here.
Our last Objection was: If there be Devils and Spirits, Why do they not appear unto them, who do what they can, as by continual curses, so by profane curiosity to invite them? First, We say, [Greek] When we have good ground for the [Greek], to stick at the [Greek], because we do not understand the reason, is as much as to say, that we think we should be as wise as God. Aristotle did not meddle with things that he could give no reason of; yet he did not deny them (as we have shewed) and it is one thing to require a reason of things meerly natural; and another of those that happen by a meer secret Providence. But this will give them no great satisfaction who perchance believe a God (some) as much as they believe a Devil. Secondly, Therefore we say, There may be some natural reason too, upon Aristotles grounds. Aristotle (as hath been shewed elsewhere) compares the effects of Melancholy, from whence he deriveth all kind of Enthusiasm, to the known effects of Wine. What is the reason, that some men with little wine will quickly be drunk, and become other Creatures, being deprived for the time of the use of reason? Others though they drink never so much, will sooner burst then reel, or speak idly, as some in their excess grow merry, others sad: some calm and better natured; others furious: some talkative, others stupid. The Devil knowes what tempers are best for his turn; and by some in whom he was deceived, he hath got no credit, and wished he had never meddled with them. Some men come into the world with Cabalistical Brains; their heads are full of mysteries; they see nothing, they read nothing, but their brain is on work to pick somewhat out of it that is not ordinary; and out of the very A B C that children are taught, rather then fail, they will fetch all the Secrets of Gods Wisdom; tell /24/ you how the world was created, how governed, and what will be the end of all things. Reason and Sense that other men go by, they think the acorns that the old world fed upon; fools and children may be content with them but they see into things by another Light. They commonly give good respect unto the Scriptures (till they come to profest Anabaptists) because they believe them the Word of God and not of men; but they reserve unto themselves the Interpretation, and so under the title of Divine Scripture, worship what their own phansie prompts, or the devil puts into their heads. But of all Scriptures the Revelation and the obscure Prophesies are their delight; for there they rove securely; and there is not any thing so prodigious or chimerical, but they can fetch it out of some Prophesie, as they will interpret it. These men, if they be upright in their lives and dealings, and fear God truly, it is to be hoped that God will preserve them from further evil; but they are of a dangerous temper; Charitable men will pity them, and sober men will avoid them. On the other side, some there are whose brains are of a stiff and restive mould; it will not easily receive new impressions. They will hardly believe any thing but what they see; and yet rather not believe their eyes; then to believe any thing that is not according to the course of nature, and what they have been used unto. The devil may tempt such by sensual baits, and catch them; but he will not easily attempt to delude them by magical Shews and Apparitions. And what sober man, that believeth as a God, so a divel, doth doubt, but they that make it their daily practice to damn themselves, by such horrid oaths and curses, are as really possest, yea far more in the possession of the devil, then many that foam at the mouth, and speak strange languages?
But 3dly Some have tried and used the means, but could never see any thing but what if others that never desired it really, but in some wanton curiosity, unadvisedly, that they might be the better able to confute the simplicity of some others as they thought, rather then that their faith wanted any such confirmation, have tryed some things, or have been present at some experiments and have seen (with no small astonishment) more then they expected or desired? Some persons of credit and quality, I am sure, have made it their confession unto me, that it hath so hapned unto them; who have been so affected with it, that they would not for a world be so surprized again.
But 4ly and lastly, The Confessions of some Magicians are extant in print,
who tell very particularly what means they used, what books they read, &c.
and they saw and found (if we believe them; and what should tempt them
to lye, no melancholy men, I know not) till they were weary, and Gods grace
wrought upon their hearts to bring them to repentance. There be such confessions
extant, but the Reader shal pardon me, if I give him no further account.
It would much better becom them therefore, that have made such essays without
successe, to repent, and to be thankful unto God, then to make that an argument,
that theres no divel, and perchance no God. There is a terrible saying
(if well understood) in the Scripture; [Greek], He that is filthy let him
be filthy still. Let them take heed (I advise them as a friend) if they persist
in their hardness of heart and infidelity, lest God in just judgment, though they
seek still, and provoke as much as they can, will not fuffer that they shall see
anything, lest they should fear and be converted.
First, Somewhat to confirm the truth and sincerity of this whole Relation.
Secondly, To answer some Objections that may be made against some parts of it.
Thirdly, To give some light to some places, and to satisfie the Reader concerning the perfection and imperfection of the book, as also, concerning the Original Copy.
Fourthly, and lastly, To shew the many good uses that may be made of all by a sober Christian.
1. It seems that Dr. Dee began to have the reputation of a Conjurer betimes. He doth very grievously complain of it in that Preface to Euclid but now spoken of, about the end of it, and yet there doth also term himself, An old forworn Mathematician. For my part whether he could ever truly be so called, I yet make some question: But I am very confident, that himself did not know or think himself so, but a zealous worshipper of God, and a very free and sincere Christian. How this is to be reconciled with the truth of this Relation, shall be afterwards considered of. For the truth and sincerity of the Relation, I hope /26/ no body will so grosly mistake us as though we intended thereby to justifie what is here printed against any suspition of forgery; as if any man taking the advantage of Dr. Dees name and fame of a Conjurer, could be suspected to have devised and invented these things in his own brain to abuse the world. I should be sorry my name should appear in any kind to any book lyable to such a suspition; and the very name and credit of that so much and so deservedly prized Library from whence this is pretended to be taken, is sufficient (with civil understanding men) to prevent the grossenesse of such a mistake. Besides the Original Copy it self, all written with Dr. Dees own hand, there kept and preserved. But by Truth and Sincerity, intending not only Dr. Dee's fidelity in relating what himself believed, but also the reality of those things that he speaks of, according to his relation: his only (but great and dreadful) error being, that he mistook false lying Spirits for Angels of Light, the Divel of Hell (as we commonly term him) for the God of Heaven. For the Truth then, and Sincerity or Reality of the Relation in this sense, I shall first appeal to the Book it self. I know it is the fashion of many (I will not say that (I never did it my self) that are buyers of books, they will turn five or six leaves, if they happen upon somewhat that pleaseth their fancy, the book is a good book, and when they have bought it, it concerneth them to think so, because they have paid for it: but on the other side, if they light upon somewhat that doth not please (which may happen in the best) they are as ready to condemn and cast away. It is very possible that some such buyer lighting upon this, and in it, upon some places here and there, where some odd uncouth things may offer themselves; things ridiculous, incredible to ordinary sense and construction, he may be ready to judge of the whole accordingly. But for all this, I will in the first place appeal to the book it self; but with this respect to the Reader, that he will have patience to read in order one fourth part of the book at least before he judge; and if by that time he be not convicted, he shall have my good will to give it over. Not but that all the rest, even to the end, doth help very well to confirm the truth and reality of the whole Story: but because I think there is so much in any fourth part, if diligently read, and with due consideration, that I despair of his assent, that is not convicted by it. For my part, when the book was first communicated unto me by that Right worthy Gentleman11 who is very studious to purchase and procure such Records and Monuments as may advantage the truth of God (all truth is of God) and the honour of this Land, following therein the example of his noble Progenitor, by his very name, Sir Robert Cotton, known to all the Learned as far as Europe extendeth. I read it cursorily because I was quickly convinced in my self that it could be no counterfeit immaginarie businesse, and was very desirous to see the end, so far as the book did go. Afterwards, when I understood that the said worthy Gentleman (especially, as I suppose, relying upon my Lord of Armagh's judgment and testimonie, which we have before spoken of) was willing it should be published, and that he had committed /27/ the whole business unto me; I read it over very exactly, and took notes of the most remarkable passages (as they appeared unto me) truly I was so much confirmed in this first opinion by my second reading, that I shall not be afraid to profess that I never gave more credit to any Humane History of former times. All things seemed unto me so simply, and yet so accurately, and with so much confirmation of all manner of circumstances written and delivered, that I cannot yet satisfie my self, but all judicious Readers will be of my opinion. But nevertheless, to help them that trust not much to their own judgments, let us see what can be said.
11. Sir Thomas Cotton Knight Baronet.
First, I would have them, that would be further satisfied, to read Dr. Dee in that forecited Preface, where he doth plead his own cause, to acquit himself of that grievous crime and imputation of a Conjurer. But that was written, I must confess, long before his Communication with Spirits: yet it is somewhat to know what opinion he had then of them that deal with Divels and evil Spirits. But after he was made acquainted, and in great dealings with them, and had in readiness divers of these his books, or others of the same Argument, containing their several conferences and communications, to shew, and the manner of their appearing exactly set down; observe, I pray, with what confidence he did address himself to the greatest and wisest in Europe. To Queen Elizabeth often, and to her Council, as by many places of this Relation doth appear; but more particularly by his Letter to Sir Francis Walsingham, Secretary, &c. That he did the like to King James and his Councel, may easily be gathered by the Records (in this Relation) of 1607. but much defective. But then to the Emperor Rodolphe, to Stephen King of Poland, and divers other Princes and their Deputies; the wisest and learnedst, their several Courts did afford for the time: the particulars of all which addresses and transactions are very exactly set down in the book. Nay, such was his confidence, that had it not been for the Nuncius Apostolicus his appearing against him at the Emperors Court by order from the Pope, he was, as by some places may be collected, resolved for Rome also, not doubting but he should approve himself and his doings to the Pope himself and his Cardinals. In all these his addresses and applications being still very ready to impart all things unto them that would entertain them with that respect he thought they deserved; yea, readily, which is very observable, even to receive them into this Mystical Society, whom he thought worthy, and in some capacity to promote the design; as de facto he did divers in several places: Albertus Alasco, Prince Palatine of Polonia, Puccius a learned man, and Prince Rosemberg in Germany, who were long of the Society, besides some admitted to some Actions for a while, as Stephen King of Poland, and some others. We will easily grant (as elsewhere hath been treated and handled at large) that a distempered brain may see, yea, and hear strange things, and entertain them with all possible confidence, as real things, and yet all but fancy, without any real sound or Apparition. But these sights and Apparitions that Dr. Dee gives here an account, are quite of another nature; yea, though possibly the Divel might represent divers of these things to the fancy inwardly /28/ which appeared outwardly: Yet of another nature, I say, and not without the intervention and operation of Spirits, as will easily appear to any man by the particulars. Besides the long Speeches, Discourses, Interlocutions upon all occasions and occurrences in the presence of more then one alwayes; and externally audible to different persons, for the most part or very frequently. That these things could not be the operation of a distempered Fancy, will be a sufficient evidence to any rational man.
Again, let his usual preparations and Prayers against an Apparition or Action (as he called them) his extraordinary prayers upon some extraordinary occasions, as upon Edward Kelley his temporary repentance, and another for him when he was about to forsake him (in Latine a long one) Stephen King of Poland being then present. And again, when his Son Arthur was to be initiated to these Mystical Operations and Apparitions, in the place of Edward Kelley, and the like. And again, his Humility, Piety, Patience, (O what pity that such a man should fall into such a delusion! but we shall consider of the causes in its right place afterwards) upon all occasions, temptations, distresses, most eminent throughout the whole Book. Let these things be well considered, and above the rest, his large and punctual relation of that sad abominable story of their Promiscuous, carnal Copulation, under the pretence of obedience to God. — Let these things, I say, be well considered, and I think no man will make any question but the poor man did deal with all possible simplicity and sincerity, to the utmost of his understanding at that time. And truly, this one thing (as we said before) excepted, his mistaking of evil Spirits for good, it doth not appear by any thing but that he had his understanding, and the perfect use of his Reason to the very last, as well as he had had any time of his life.
Again, let it be considered, that he carryed with him where ever he went A STONE, which he called his Angelicall Stone, as brought unto him by an Angel, but by a Spirit sure enough, which he shewed unto many; to the Emperor among others, or the Emperors Deputy, Dr. Curts, as I remember: But more of this Stone afterwards. We may therefore conclude surely enough, That Dr. Dee in all this Relation did deal with all simplicity and sincerity. I shall only add, That whereas I used the word Reality before, concerning those things that appeared, according to this Relation: I would not be mistaken, as though I intended that whatsoever the Divel did seem to do or represent; it was Really and Substantially as it seemed and appeared, that would be a great and gross mistake. The very word Apparition doth rather import the contrary. All I understand by Reality, is, that what things appeared, they did so appear by the power and operation of Spirits, actually present and working, and were not the effects of a depraved fancy and imagination by meer natural causes. By which, strange things, I confess, may be presented and apprehended too, sometimes by the parties with all confidence, as we said before, though all be but fancy and imagination. But all circumstances well considered, make this Case here to be of another nature; and it may be it was the policy of these Spirits to joyn two of purpose in this business, to make the truth and reality of it the more unquestionable; /29/ hoping (if God had given way) they should have passed, in time for good Spirits abroad generally, and then we should have seen what they would have made of it. From lesse beginnings, I am sure, greatest confusions have proceeded and prevailed in the world, as we shall shew elsewhere. And since that in all this business, as we said but now, Dr. Dee did not deal alone, but had a constant Partner or Assistant, whom sometimes himself calleth his Seer, or Skryer, one by name Edward Kelly: it will be requisite before we proceed further, that we give some account of him also. According to Dr. Dee's own relation here, An. Dom. 1587. April 7. Trebonæ: in the particulars of his Son Arthur's Consecration (after his manner, which he calls, His offering and presenting of him to the service of God:) Uriel (one of his chiefest Spirits) was the author of their Conjunction: but when and how it hapned (being but obiter mentioned there) we do not find any where; and more then what I find here I have nothing to say: For certain it is by this whole story, from the beginning to the end of it, that Kelley was a great Conjurer, one that daily conversed by such art as is used by ordinary Magicians, with evil Spirits, and knew them to be so. Yet I would suppose that he was one of the best sort of Magicians, that dealt with Spirits by a kind of Command (as is well known some do) and not by any Compact or agreement: this may probably be gathered from sundry places. But that he was a Conjurer, appearereth first by that, where he proffered to raise some evil Spirit before the Polish Prince Palatine, Albert Lasky (of whom more by and by) for a proof of his Art. But Dr. Dee would not suffer him to do it in his house. Wicked spirits are cast out of him to the number of 15. p. 32. But I make no great matter of that in point of proof, because all there upon his bare report only. But see p. 63. &c. where it is laid to his charge, and he answereth for himself and his Spirits. See also where at last he yielded to bury not to burn his Magical books. But read his own confession (where you shall find him speak like one that knew very well what did belong to the Art) and the record made by Dr. Dee concerning a shrewd contest that hapned between Dr. Dee and him, (it was about some Magical things) wherein Edward Kelly carried himself so fiercely, that Dr. Dee being afraid of his life, was forced to call for help. Peruse well this place and I presume you will require no further light as to this particular concerning Kelly.
As for the several Epistles (in Latin most) that will be found here, as also Narratives of several meetings and conferences, they carry so much light with them, being set out with so many remarkable circumstances of time, place, persons, &c. that no man of judgment that hath any knowledge of the world, will or can make any scruple of the sincerity and fidelity of either reports or Deeds and monuments (such I account the Letters to be) herein contained. A man might with little labour (that had all kind of books at command) have found somewhat concerning most (outlandish) persons in them mentioned. I could not intend it, and I think it would have been a needless labour. If any make any question let them make search, I dare warrant it unto them they shall find all things to agree punctually. But because Albert Lasky (next to Edward Kelley) is the man most /30/ interressed in this story, I will give you some account of him out of Mr. Cambden his Annals.
Anno Dom. 1583. E Polonia, Russiæ vicinâ hac æstate venit in Angliam ut Reginam inviseret, Albertus Alasco, Palatinus Siradiensis vir eruditus, corporis lineamentis barbâ promisissimâ, vestitu decoro, & pervenusto; qui perbenignè ab ipsa nobilibusque magnoque honore & lautitiis, et ab Accademia Oxoniensi eruditis oblectationibus, atque variis spectaculis exceptus, post 4. menses ære alieno oppressus, clam recessit.
But of all Letters here exhibited, I am most taken, I must confess, with the Bishops Letter that was Nuncius Apostolicus: he seemes to me to speak to the case very pertinently (take Puccius his account along in his long letter to Dr. Dee, of his conference with the said Bishop concerning the same business) and to have carryed himself towards Dr. Dee very moderately and friendly.
II. Now to Objections:
The first shall be this: Although 'tis very probable that Dr. Dee himself dealt simply and sincerely; yet since he himself saw nothing (for so himself acknowledgeth in some places) but by Kelley's eyes, and heard nothing but with his ears. Is it not possible that Kelley being a cunning man, and well practised in these things might impose upon the credulity of Dr. Dee (a good innocent man) and the rather, because by this office under the Doctor he got 50 l. by the year, as appeareth. Truly this is plausible as it is proposed; and like enough that it might go a great way with them that are soon taken, and therefore seldom see any thing in the truth or true nature of it, but in the outward appearance of it only. But read and observe it diligently and you will find it far otherwise: It is true indeed, that ordinarily, Dr. Dee saw not himself; his business was to write what was seen (but in his presence though) and heard by Kelley. Yet that himself heard often immediately appeareth by many places; I shall not need any quotations for that himself feeleth as well as Kelley. In the relation of the Holy Stone, how taken away by one that came in at a window in the shape of a man, and how restored; both saw certainly. In the story of the Holy Books, how burned and how restored again (part of them at least) which Dr. Dee made a great Miracle of, as appeareth by some of those places; there also both saw certainly. And Albert Lasky, the Polonian Palatine saw as well as Kelley. Besides, it doth clearly appear throughout all the book that Kelley (though sometimes with much adoe perswaded for a while to think better of them) had generally no other opinion of these Apparitions but that they were meer illusions of the Divel and evil Spirits, such as himself could command by his art when he listed, and was acquainted with, insomuch that we find him for this very cause forsaking, or desirous to forsake Dr. Dee, who was much troubled about it; and is forced in a place to Pawn his Soul unto him (to use his own words) that it was not so, and that they were good Spirits sent from God in great favour unto them. But for all this Kelley would not be satisfied, but would have his Declaration or Protestation of his suspition to the contrary entred into the book; which you shall find, and it will be worth your reading. I could further /31/ alledge, that if a man considers the things delivered here upon several occasions, being of a different nature, some Moral, some Physical, some Metaphysical, and Theological of highest points (though sometimes wild enough, and not warrantable; yet for the most part very remote from vulgar capacities) he will not easily believe that Kelley, who scarce understood Latine) not to speak of some things delivered in Greek in some places) and betook himself to the study of Logick long after he had entred himself into this course, could utter such things: no, nor any man living perchance, that had not made it his study all his life-time. But that which must needs end this quarrel (if any man will be pertinacious) and put all things out of doubt, is, that not Kelley only served in this place of Seer or Skryer, but others also, as his son Arthur, and in his latter dayes, when Kelley was either gone or sick, one Bartholomew, as will be found in all the Actions and Apparitions of the year 1607. which (as I suspect) was the last year of the Doctors life, or beyond which I think he did not live long.
Secondly, It may be objected, or stuck at least, How Dr. Dee, so good, so innocent, yea, so pious a man, and so sincere a Christian as by these papers (his delusion and the effects of it still excepted) he doth seem to have been, God would permit such a one to be so deluded and abused, so rackt in his soul, so hurried in his body for so long a time, notwithstanding his frequent, earnest, zealous prayers and addresses unto God, by evil Spirits (even to his dying day, for ought we know) as he is here by his own relation set out unto us? Truly, if a man shall consider the whole carriage of this businesse, from the beginning to the end, according to this true and faithful (for I think I may so speak with confidence) account of it here presented unto us, this poor man, how from time to time shamefully, grosly delayed, deluded, quarrelled without cause, still toled on with some shews and appearances, and yet still frustrated and put off: his many pangs and agonies about it, his sad condition after so many years toil, travel, drudgery and earnest expectation, at the very last (as appeareth by the Actions and apparitions of the year 1607.) I can not tell whether I should make him an object of more horror or compassion; but of both certainly in a great measure to any man that hath any sense of Humanity, and in the examples of others of humane frailty: and again, any regard of parts and worth, such as were in this man in a high degree. True it is, that he had joyes withal and comforts, imaginary, delusory, it is true; yet such as he enjoyed and kept up his heart, and made him outwardly chearful often times, I make no question; such as the Saints (as they call themselves) and Schismaticks of these and former times have ever been very prone to boast of, perswading themselves that they are the effects of Gods blessed Spirit. But even in these his joys and comforts, the fruits and fancies of his deluded soul (as in many others of a distempered brain) is not he an object of great compassion to any, both sober and charitable? If this then were his case indeed, what shall we say? if nothing else, I know not but it ought to satisfie a rational, sober, humble man: If we say, That it is not in man to give an account of all Gods judgments, neither is there any ground for us to murmrle because we do not understand them, or that they often seem contrary /32/ to the judgment of humane reason, because it is against all Reason as well as Religion, to believe that a creature so much inferior to God, by nature as man is, should see every thing as he seeth, and think as he thinks; and consequently judge and determine in and of all things as God judgeth and determineth. The Apostle therefore not without cause, would have all private judgments (for of publick for the maintenance of peace and order among men, it is another case) deferr'd to that time, when the hearts of all men shall be laid open, all hidden things and secret counsels revealed. But we have enough to say in this case without it. For if Pride and Curiosity were enough to undoe our first Parent, and in him all mankind, when otherwise innocent, and in possession of Paradise. Should we wonder if it had the same event in Dr. Dee, though otherwise, as he doth appear to us, innocent, and well qualified? That this was his case and error, I will appeal to his own confession (though he makes it his boast) in more then one of his Letters or addresses, where he professeth, That for divers years he had been an earnest suter unto God in prayer for Wisdom; that is, as he interprets himself, That he might understand the secrets of Nature that had not been revealed unto men hitherto; to the end, as he professeth, and his own deceitful heart it may be suggested unto him, That he might glorifie God; but certainly, that himself might become a glorious man in the world, and be admired, yea, adored every where almost, as he might be sure it would be, had he compassed his desire. And what do we think should put him upon such a desire, with hopes to obtain it, but an opinion he had of himself as an extraordinary man, both for parts, and for favour with God? But however, had he been to the utmost of what he could think of himself, besides his Spiritual pride of thinking so of himself (as great a sin as any in the eyes of God) his praying for such a thing with so much importunity, was a great tempting of God, and deserving greatest judgments. Had he indeed been a suter unto God for such Wisdom as the Prophet Jeremie describeth (11. v. 24, 25.) Let not the Wise man glorie in his wisdom, &c. but let him that glorieth, &c. And for such knowledg as our Saviour commandeth, Joh. 17. 3. And this is life eternal, that they may know thee, &c. And his blessed Apostle (1 Cor. 11.2.) For I determined not to know any thing, &c. he had had good warrant for his prayers, and it is very likely that God would have granted him his request, so far as might have concerned his own salvation and eternal happiness. Besides, it is lawful (nay fit) for a man to pray for Gods blessing upon his labours, for competency of wit and capacity that he may do well in his vocation and glorifie God. But for a man to aspire to such eminency above other men, and by means that are not ordinary (as that conceited Phylosophers Stone, and the like) and to interest God by earnest solicitations in his ambitions extravagant desires; that God, who hath said of himself, That he resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble, must needs be so great and so high a provocation (if well considered) as that I begin to doubt whether it be charity to pity him that suffered so justly and deservedly. I do not know but it is as lawfull for any man obscurely born to pray for a Kingdom, for a Common Souldier that he may have strength to encounter thousands, or for an ordinarie Maid, that she may become the fairest of women. In /33/ all these it is possible to glorifie God, we grant, were it fit for us to prescribe unto God, neglecting those that he hath appointed, by what means he should be glorified; and could we secure our selves that in pretending to Gods glory we do not seek our own. I wish that our great undertakers and reformers (such is their wisdom they think) of Arts and Sciences would seriously think of this; they especially who take upon themselves to make all men wise and of one mind, and to reconcile all doubts and difficulties in Religion, and otherwise; in a word, to make Truth to be imbraced by all men. Should these men tell us that if they had had the creating of the world, and the ordering of all things (and there be, I think, in the world that have said little less) from the beginning, they would have made an other guess of things then God had done: We would have considerd of it perchance what might be the ground in any mortal man of such wonderful confidence. But such being the condition of the world, as it is, and such of men, naturally; or to speak as a Christian, since the fall of Adam, and the consequencies of it, the curse of God, &c. to make all men wise, of one mind, good, religious, without an infinite omnipotent power, such as of nothing was able to create a world: can any man (sober and wise) hear it; hear it with patience, that thinks it impossible, yea strange, that Castles should be built in the air, or the heavens battered with great guns? And yet such books are read, yea and much set by, by some men. My judgment is, That they are to be pityed (if distemper be the cause, as I believe it is in some) that boast of such things; but if wise and politick, to get credit and money (as some I believe) it is a great argument of their confidence, that there be many in the word that are not very wise. But to return to Dr. Dee: It might be further added and proved by examples, that some men of transcendent holiness and mortification (in the sight of men) so sequestred from the world (some of them) and the vanities of it, that for many years they had conversed with God alone in a manner; yet through pride and conceit of their own parts and favour with God, fell into delusions and temptations, if not altogether the same, yet not less strange and dreadful. Such examples Ecclesiastical Story will afford, and other books of that nature, but I have them not at this time, and I conceive I have said enough to this particular.
But of his Praying too, somewhat would be observed. His Spirits tell him somewhere, that he had the Gift of Praying. Truly I believe he had, as it is ordinarily called: that it is, that he could express himself very fluently and earnestly in Prayer, and that he did it often to his own great contentment. Let no man wonder at this; I have shewed elsewhere that some that have been very wicked, yea, some that dyed for blasphemy, and with blasphemy in their mouth to the last gasp, have had it in a great measure, and done much mischief by it. It is no disparagement to Prayer, no more then it is to the best things of the world (and what better and more heavenly then prayer well used?) if they be abused. And it is commonly observed, that the corruption of best things is most dangerous. What bred those pernicious hereticks that so long troubled the world, and could not be suppressed but by absolute destruction, but long affected prayers (therefore called Euchites or Messaliani, that is to say, the Prayers) and Enthusiasms? And as to that point of inward joy and comptacency, which some Schismaticks and wicked men find in /34/ themselves at their prayers, which ignorant deluded people think to be an argument of the Spirit: It is certain, and is a mystery of nature that hath (may I speak it without bragging) been brought to light (of late years at least) by my self and fully discovered, ‘That not only the inward heat of mental conception (where there is any vigor) but also the musick of outward words, is able to occasion it.’ Indeed it is a point that doth deserve to be well considered of in these times especially. For when young boyes and illiterate men (and the number is likely to increase now that Catechizing is so much neglected) are turned loose to exercise themselves in this gift (as they call it) and when by long practice they have attained to some readiness and volubility, which doth occasion some inward lightsomeness and excitations, or perchance somewhat that may have some resemblance to spiritual sorrow and compunction, they presently think themselves inspired, and so they become Saints before they know what it is to be Christians. And if they can Pray by inspiration, why not Preach also? So comes in Anabaptism by degrees, which will be the ruine of all Religion and civil Government where ever it prevails. And I believe that this fond foolish conceit of Inspiration, as it hath been the occasion of much other mischief, so of that horrid sacriledge, shall I call it, or profanation (I hope I may do either without offence, for it is not done by any publick Authority that I know of) the casting and banishing of THE LORDS PRAYER out of many private houses and Churches; then which, I think, Christ never received a greater affront from any that called themselves Christians. I am not so uncharitable as to believe that it is done in direct opposition to Christ by any real Christians, but in a furious zeale by many, I believe, against set prayers. But this is not a place to dispute it: Certainly, as the Lords Prayer is a Prayer of most incredible comfort to them that use it devoutly and upon good grounds (a good foundation of Religion and sound Faith, I mean) so I believe that set Prayers in general are of more concernment to the setling of Peace in the Commonwealth then many men are aware of. But let this pass for my opinion; there be worse I am sure that pass currently.
Again, A man may wonder (I cannot tell whether an objection may be made of it) that Dr. Dee, though he were at the first deluded (to which his own pride and presumption did expose him) as many have been; yet afterwards in process of time when he found himself so deluded and shuffled with; when Edward Kelley did use such pregnant arguments to him (as he did more then once) to perswade him that they were evil Spirits that appeared unto them; nay, when he had found by certain experience, that his Spirits had told him many lies, foretold many things concerning Princes and Kingdoms, very particularly limited with circumstances of time, which when the time was expired did not at all come to pass; yet for all this he durst pawn his Soul for them that they were good Spirits, and continued in his confidence (so farre as our Relation goes) to the last. I answer, Such is the power of this kind of Spiritual delusion, it doth so possess them whom it hath once taken hold of, that they seldom, any of them, recover themselves. In the dayes of Martin Luther (a great and zealous reformer /35/ of Religion, but one that would have detested them as the worst of Infidels that had used the Lords Prayer, as some have done in our dayes, as appears by what he saith of it in more then one place) there lived one Michael Stifelius, who applying to himself some place of the Apocalypse, took upon him to Prophecy. He had foretold that in the year of the Lord 1533. before the 29 of September the end of the world, and Christs coming to Judgment would be. He did shew so much confidence, that some write, Luther himself was somewhat startled at the first. But that day past, he came a second time to Luther with new Calculations, and had digested the whole business into 22. Articles, the effect of which was to demonstrate that the end of the world would be in October following. But now Luther thought he had had tryal enough, and gave so little credit to him, that he (though he loved the man) silenced him for a time; which our Apocalyptical Prophet took very ill at his hands, and wondred much at his incredulity. Well, that moneth and some after that over, our Prophet (who had made no little stir in the Country by his Prophecying) was cast into prison for his obstinacy. After a while Luther visited him, thinking by that time to find him of another mind. But so far was he from acknowledging his error, that he down right railed at Luther for giving him good counsel. And some write that to his dying day (having lived to the age of 80. years) he never recanted. And was not this the case of learned Postellus, who fallen into some grievous wild fancies in his latter dayes, though sound enough still in other things, could never be reclaimed though means were used from time to time the best and gentlest (in respect to his worth and person) that could be thought of? But what talk we of particular men? Consider the Anabaptists in general. Above an hundred years ago they troubled Germany very much: it cost many thousands their lives. They roved up and down. No sooner destroyed in one place but they sprung (whilest that season lasted) in another. Their pretences every where were the same; Revelations and the Spirit: the wickedness of Princes and Magistrates, and Christ Jesus to be set up in his Throne. Well, at last they were destroyed in most places. Stories of them have been written in all Languages, read every where, and their lamentable end. Can all this hinder but that upon every opportunity of a confused and confounded Government, they start up again in the same shape and form as before; the same pretences, the same Scriptures, for all the world, miserably detorted and abused, to raise tumults and seditions in all places. Such is the wretchedness of man that is once out of the right way of Reason and Sobriety. But withall we must say in this particular case of Dr. Dee's, though his obstinacy was great and marvellous, yet it must be acknowledged, that great was the diligence and subtility of his Spirits to keep their hold: and some things sometimes happened (as his danger and preservation about Gravesend, when he first, here related, went out of the Realm) very strangely, and such was the unhappiness of his misapplyed zeal, that he made a Providence of whatsoever hapned unto him as he desired.
So much for Dr. Dee himself. But of his Spirits a greater question perchance may be moved: If evil, wicked, lying Spirits (as we have reason /36/ to believe, and no man I think will question) how came they to be such perswaders to Piety and godliness, yea, such preachers of Christ, his Incarnation, his Passion, and other Mysteries of the Christian Faith, not only by them here acknowledged, but in some places very Scholastically set out and declared? It seemeth somewhat contrary to reason and as contrary to the words of our Saviour, Every Kingdom divided against it self, &c. But first, to the matter of fact: The Divels we know even in the Gospel did acknowledg, nay, in some manner proclaim Christ to be the Son of God: which is the main Article he did contest with Christ by Scripture Authority; and by S. Pauls testimony, can transform himself, when he list into an Angel of light. And in some relations well attested, of Possessions and publick Exorcisms that have been used; we find the Divel often speaking by the mouth of women, rather like a Monk out of the Pulpit, perswading to temperance, rebuking vices, expounding of mysteries, and the like, then as one that were an enemy to truth and godliness. Insomuch that some have been ready to make a great mystery and triumph of it, thereby to convict Hereticks and Atheists, in time, more effectually, then they have been by any other means that have been used hitherto: and ascribing the whole business not to the Divel himself, but the great power and Providence of God, as forcing him against his will to be an instrument of his Truth. For my part, I see cause enough to believe that such things, there contained at large, might come from the Divel; that is, might truly and really be spoken by persons possessed and inspired by the Divel. But that they are imployed by God to that end, I shall not easily grant. I rather suspect that whatsoever comes from them in that kind, though it be good in it self, yet they may have a mischievous end in it; and that I believe will soon appear if they can once gaine so much credit among men as to be believed to be sent by God to bear testimony to the truth. A man may see somewhat already by those very Relations, and that account that is given us there. And therefore I do not wonder if even among the more sober Papists this project (as the relater and publisher complaineth) hath found opposition. The Divel is very cunning; a notable Polititian. S. Paul knew him so, and therefore he uses many words to set out his frauds. He can lay the foundation of a plot, if need be, a hundred years before the effects shall appear. But then he hath his end. It is not good trusting of him, or dealing with him upon any pretence. Can any man speak better then he doth by the mouth of Anabaptists and Schismaticks? And this he will do for many years together if need be, that they that at first stood off may be won by time. But let them be once absolute masters, and then he will appear in his own shape. There is one thing which I wonder much more at in those Relations I have mentioned, and that is, that the Divel himself should turn such a fierce accuser of them that have served him so long, Witches and Magicians. I know he doth here so too in some kind, in more then one place. He doth much inveigh against Divels and all that have to do with them, Megicians, &c. But that is in general only, or in Kelley's particular case, upon whom he had another hold, which he made more reckoning of, to wit, as he appeared /37/ to them as an Angel of light. Any thing to maintain his interest there, and their good opinion of him; for he had great hopes from that plot. But that he should pursue so ridgedly particular men and women whom he had used so long, to death, and do the part of an informer against them, may seem more like unto a Kingdom divided against it self, but it is not our case here; neither am I very well satisfied, that whatsoever the Divel saith or layes to the charge of them by whose mouth he speaketh, ought to be received for good testimony. Here it may be Wierius had some reason; for I doubt some have been too credulous. But this by the way shall suffice.
That the Divel should lie often, or be mistaken himself, in his Prophecies, as by many particulars of this Relation will appear, I will not look upon that, as if any objection could be made of it. But it may be wondred, perchance, Dr. Dee being often in so great want of monies, that he did not know which way to turn, what shift to make; at which time he did alwayes with much humility address himself to his Spirits, making his wants known unto them; and the Divel on the other side, both by his own boasting, and by the testimonie of those who could not lie, having the goods of this world (though still under God) much at his disposing, and alwayes, as he seemed, very desirous to give Dr. Dee all possible satisfaction: that in this case, once or twice perchance excepted, when the Dr. was well furnished (for which the Spirits had his thanks) at all other times he was still, to his very great grief and perplexity, left to himself to shift as he could, and some pretence, why not otherwise supplyed, cunningly devised by them that were so able, and to whom he was so dear. But I must remember my self: I said so able; but in some places his Spirits tell him plainly, It was not in their power, because no part of their Commission, or because it did not belong unto them (such as dealt with him) to meddle with the Treasures of the earth: and sometimes that they were things beneath their cognizance or intermedling. Of the different nature of Spirits, we shall say somewhat by and by, that may have some relation to this also, perchance. But granting that the Divel generally hath power enough both to find mony and to gratifie with it where he seeth cause. Yet in this case of Witches and Magicians, direct or indirect, it is certain and observed by many as an argument of Gods great Providence over men, that generally he hath not: It is in very deed a great Argument of a superiour over-ruling power and Providence. For if men of all professions will hazard (their Souls) so far as we see daily to get money and estates by indirect unconscionable wayes, though they are not alwayes sure, and that it be long oftentimes before it comes, and oftentimes prove their ruine, even in this world, through many casualties; as alterations of times, and the like: what would it be if it were in the power of the D. to help every one that came unto him, yielding but to such and such conditions, according as they could agree?
Hitherto I have considered what I thought might be objected by others. I have one objection more, which to me was more considerable (as an objection, I mean, not so readily answered) then all the rest: Devils, we think /38/ generally, both by their nature as Spirits, and by the advantage of long experience (a very great advantage indeed in point of knowledg) cannot but have perfect knowledg of all natural things, and all secrets of Nature, which do not require an infinite understanding; which by that measure of knowledge that even men have attained unto in a little time, is not likely to be so necessary in most things. But lest any man should quarrel at the word Perfect, because all perfection belongs unto God properly, it shall suffice to say, That the knowledge Divels have of things Natural and Humane is incomparably greater then man is capable of. If so, how comes it to pass that in many places of this Relation we find him acting his part rather as a Sophister (that I say not a Juggler) then a perfect Philosopher; as a Quack, or an Empirick sometimes, then a True, genuine Naturalist. And for language (not to speak of his Divinity, which he might disguise of purpose to his own ends) rather as one that had learned Latin by reading of barbarous books, of the middle age, for the most part, then of one that had been of Augustus his time, and long before that. But that which is strangest of all is, that as in one place the Spirits were discovered by Ed. Kelley to steal out of Agrippa or Trithemius (so he thought at least) so in divers other places, by the phrase, and by the doctrine and opinions a man may trace noted Chymical and Cabalistical Authors of later times; yea, (if I be not much mistaken) and Paracelsus himself, that prodigious creature, for whom and against whom so much hath been written since he lived; these things may seem strange, but I think they may be answered. For first, we say, The Divel is not ambitious to shew himself and his abilities before men, but his way is (so observed by many) to fit himself (for matter and words) to the genius and capacity of those that he dealeth with. Dr. Dee, of himself, long before any Apparition, was a Cabalistical man, up to the ears, as I may say; as may appear to any man by his Monas Hieroglyphica, a book much valued by himself, and by him Dedicated at the first to Maximilian the Emperor, and since presented (as here related by himself) to Rodolphe as a choice piece. It may be thought so by those who esteem such books as Dr. Floid, Dr. Alabaster, and of late Gafarell, and the like. For my part I have read him; it is soon don, it is but a little book: but I must profess that I can extract no sense nor reason (sound and solid) out of it: neither yet doth it seem to me very dark or mystical. Sure we are that those Spirits did act their parts so well with Dr. Dee, that for the most part (in most Actions) they came off with good credit; and we find the Dr. every where almost extolling his Spiritual teachers and instructers, and praysing God for them. Little reason therefore have we to except against any thing (in this kind) that gave him content, which was their aim and business.
Secondly, I say, If any thing relish here of Trithemius or Paracelsus, or any such, well may we conclude from thence, that the Divel is like himself. This is the truest inference. It is he that inspired Trithemius and Paracelsus, &c. that speaketh here; and wonder ye if he speaks like them? I do not expect that all men will be of my opinion; yet I speak no Paradoxes: I have both reason and authority good and plausible, I think, for what I say; but to argue the case at large would be tedious. Of Trithemius somewhat more afterwards will be said. But we must go far beyond that time. A thousand years and above, /39/ before either of them was born, was the BOOK OF ENOCH well known in the world; and then also was Lingua Adami (upon which two most of the Cabala stands) much talked of, as appears by Greg. Nissen his learned books against Eunomius the Heretick. To speak more particularly (because so much of it in this Relation) the BOOK OF ENOCH was written before Christ; and it is thought by some very learned (though denyed by others) that it is the very book that S. Jude intended. A great fragment of it in Greek (it was written in Hebrew first) is to be seen in Scaliger12 (that incomparable man, the wonder of his Age, if not rather of all Ages) his learned Notes upon Eusebius. It was so famous a book antiently that even Heathens took notice of it, and grounded upon it objections against Christians. It may appear by Origen against Celsus, in his book 5. p. 275. [Greek quote omitted] (saith he) [Greek] But S. Jerome and S. Augustin speak of it more peremptorily as a fabulous book, and not allowed by the Church. How much of it is extant, besides what we have in Scaliger, I know not; nor what part it is so often mentioned in this Relation. By what I have seen it doth appear to me a very superstitious, foolish, fabulous writing; or to conclude all in one word, Cabalistical, such as the Divel might own very well, and in all probability was the author of. As for that conceit of the tongue which was spoken by Adam in Paradise, we have already said that it is no late invention; and I make no question but it proceeded from the same Author. Yea, those very Characters commended unto Dr. Dee by his Spirits for holy, and mystical, and the original Characters (as I take it) of the holy tongue, they are no other, for the most part but such as were set out and published long agoe by one Theseus Ambrosus13 out of Magical books, as himself professeth: you shall have a view of them in some of the Tables at the end of the Preface. Some letters are the same, others have much resemblace in the substance; and in transcribing it is likely they might suffer some alteration. But it may be too the Spirits did not intend they should be taken for the same, because exploded by learned men, and therefore altered the forms and figures of most of them of purpose that they might seem new, and take the better. So that in all this the Divel is but still constant unto himself, and this constancy stands him in good stead, to add the more weight and to gain credit to his Impostures. Not to be wondred therefore if the same things be found elsewhere, where the D. hath an hand.
12. Joseph Juste Scaliger, Thesaurus temporum, 1606. -JHP
13. Sic. Ambrosius, Theseus, Introductio in chaldaicam linguam (1539). Let me point out, however, that there is no resemblance between the magical alphabets in Ambrosius and the so-called Enochian alphabet of John Dee. -JHP
With Cabalistical writings we may joyn Chymical, here also mentioned in
many places. I have nothing to say to Chymistrie as it is meerly natural, and
keeps it self within the compass of sobriety. It may wel go for a part of Physick,
for ought I know, though many great Physicians, because of the abuse and
danger of it, as I conceive, have done their best (formerly) to cry it down. I
my self have seen strange things done by it: and it cannot be denyed but the
wonders of God and Nature are as eminently visible in the experiments of
that Art as any other natural thing. However, it is not improbable that divers secrets
of it came to the knowledg of man by the Revelation of Spirits. And the practice and
profession of it in most (them especially that profess nothing else) is accompanied
with so much Superstition and Imposture, as it. would make a sober
man, that tendreth the preservation of himself in his right wits, to be afraid of
it. Of the Transmutation of Metals, what may be done by Art I will not take
upon me to determine: I am apt enough to believe that some strange things
(in that kind) may be done, if a man will go to the cost of it, and undergoe the
trouble upon so much uncertainty of the event. But that which we call ordinarily,
and most understand by it, The Phylosophers Stone, is certainly a meer cheat,
the first author and inventor whereof was no other then the Divel. Legi etiam
Spiritum supernorum revelatione traditam antiquitùs artem faciendi Auri, & me ætate
idem usu evenisse, &c. saith one (Jo. Franc. Picus Mirandula) of the learnedst Authors
that I have seen of that subject, in defence of it, I meant. If he mean Supernos
Spiritus, such as appear in form of Angels of Light, such as deluded Dr.
Dee, and daily doth those that hunt after Revelations, and Prophecies, and unlawful
Curiosities, I grant it. But that any good Angels did ever meddle in a
practice commonly attended with so much imposture, impiety, cousenage as
this commonly is, I shall not easily grant. Though I must add, I make great
difference (if we will speak properly) between Ars faciendi auri (a thing I do
not deny to be feasible by natural means) and that we call the Phylosophers Stone,
as before already intimated. And for that objection of his, why evil Spirits
should not be the Authors or revealers of it unto any (though otherwise for
some other reasons he thinks it probable) because it is not likely that God
would suffer them to give such power unto men like themselves, whom only
among men they favour and respect, that is, wicked ungodly men. First, I
answer, That is a very weak objection, since we know by constant experience
of present and future Ages, that they are not of the best of men commonly
that are the greatest and richest. But Secondly, There is no great cause to fear
that any thing hitherto revealed (or hereafter to be revealed, I believe) of this
secret, should enable men (good or bad) to do much hurt in the world. The
greatest hurt is to themselves who are deluded (yea, and beggerd many first or
last) and to some few not very wise whom they cousen as themselves have
been cousened. And for this that they can do no more, we are beholding
not to the Divel who certainly would not be wanting to himself or to any
opportunity to do mischief by himself or his Agents, but to God who doth
not give him the povver: So much to Mirandula, out of my respect to his
name, and for the better satisfaction to the Reader. I owe the sight and use
of the book to my Learned friend Dr. Windett before mentioned &mdash. I am much
confirmed in that opinion (of the Divel being the Author) by what I find of
it in the book vvhich hath given me this occasion to speak of it. Were there
nothing else but the gross and impudent forgeries that have been used to commend
it unto men, some entituling the Invention to Adam himself, others to
Solomon, and the like; and the many books that have been counterfeited to the
same end; and again the most ridiculous and profane applying & expounding
of Scriptures, a thing usually done by most that are abettors of it, those things
were enough to make a man to abhor it. Sure enough it is, that not only Dr.
Dee, but others also who had part of that precious Powder brought unto them by
Spirits, and expected great matters of it, were all cheated and gull'd (and I believe
it cost some of them a good deal of money; Prince Rosemberg particularly)
by those Spiritual Chymists. Let them consider of it that have been dealing
in such things as they shall see cause.
So still we see, that in all these things, as we said before, the Divel is not beholding to others, (as might be suspected) but others have been beholding to him: As for his Divinity, in highest points, if he spake the truth, it was for his own ends, as we said before: He can do it, who makes any question? In controverted points, we may observe, that he doth serve the scene and present occasion; and I make no question, but had Dr. Dee gone to Constantinople, and been entertained there with respect, his Spirits there would have shewed themselves as good Mahometans, as elsewhere good Roman Catholicks, or Protestants.
We have somewhere a very pretty Tale, (I would say a curious Observation, if I thought it true) concerning the nature of the Serpent or Addar, handsomly expressed, how she traineth her yong ones to set them out abroad into the world, that they may shift for themselves. Twenty days, as I remember, are spent in that work: Now whether it be so really, I cannot say certainly, but I suspect it. It is not in Aristotle, and I looked in Aldrovandus, and I could not finde it: But whether it be so or no, let no body wonder; for this was the maner of Preaching formerly (and may be yet perchance in some places) among Monks and Fryars in great request. They would make a story of Man, or Beasts, as they thought fit themselves, and their Fancies best served; pretty and witty, as much as they could; whether it had any ground of truth, or no, no man required: The moralization was good. If the Divel have done so here, it was not through ignorance (for he is too good a Naturalist; and I believe there is somewhat even in Nature, though we know it not, why both in sacred and prophane History, Spirits and Serpents are so often joyned) of which is true and real; but as hath been said, it served his turn, and that is enough. And although, having considered it as an Objection, how the Divel cometh to speak so much truth, as will be found in this Book; no man, I think, will expect I should give an account of any false Doctrine or Divinity, that it may contain: Yet one point I think fit to take notice of, and protest against it; as false, erronious, and of dangerous consequence, and that is, where it is said, That a man (in some cases) may kill another man (Prince or other) without apparent cause, or lawful Authority, and therefore punishable by the Laws of Man; who nevertheless, may expect a great reward at the hands of God for his act: How this may agree with the Principles of New Lights, and Anabaptistical Divinity, I know not; it is very contrary to the Principles of that Orthodox Divinity, lately professed and established by Law in England.
I have now said in this main Objection, (as I apprehended it) what I think was most proper and pertinent, and I hope may satisfie. But I have somewhat else to say, which in this case of Divels and Spirits in general, I think it very considerable, and may satisfie perchance, in some cases, where nothing else can. We talk of Spirits, and read of Spirits often, but I think it is very little that we know (the best of us all) of them, of their nature or differences: And how then can it be expected that we should resolve all doubts? And though I think it is not much that any man ever knew and rightly apprehended, or can, as he is a man in this business; yet my opinion is, (though I know it is much gainsaid and opposed) that ancient Platonick Phylosophers of the latter times, understood much more then most Christians; I do not write this, as though I thought, or would have any thought by others to be the worse Christians for being ignorant in these things; but rather, in my opinion, any /42/ man the better Christian, by much, who doth not regard it or desire it: For my part, although I must acknowledge that some scruples of my minde, did induce me to look into many Books, until I was satisfied, which otherwise I had never done; yet I profess to believe, that it is so little that can be known by man in this subject, and subject to so much illusion, as that I think no study is more vain and foolish; and that I would not go three steps out of my doors (more then what I did to satisfie my minde in some matters of Faith, if any such scruple did arise) to know as much as the profoundest Platonick or Phylosopher yea, or Magician of them all ever knew. Certainly he is but a weak Christian, when so many high Mysteries are proposed unto us in Christ by his Gospel, and of so much consequence, that cannot bestow his time better: They that have any hopes, through Faith in Christ, and a godly life, to be admitted one day into the presence of God, and to see face to face, as God hath promised; will they hazard so glorious a hope, by prying through unseasonable, unprofitable curiosity, into the nature of these vassal Spirits, which God hath forbidden: But because it doth concern Religion in general, that we believe Spirits; and when Objections are made that cannot be answered, many are scandalized, and Atheists ready to take the advantage of it; I say, that it should be no wonder to any, sober and rational, if we cannot resolve all doubts, since it is so little that we know, or can know, beyond the bare ότι in this matter: Most Christians are bred in and to this opinion, that all Spirits, (so commonly called) are either Angels of Heaven, or Divels of Hell: I know no Scripture for it, or determination of any general Councel, that I remember, at this time at least, and so long I do not think my self bound against apparent reason: For the conceit of all evil Spirits or Divels being in Hell, I think learned Mr. Meade hath taken that to task in some of his Works, and sufficiently confuted it: The very word Spirit, is a term of great Ambiguity; We understand by it, commonly, substances, that are altogether immaterial. Many of the ancient Fathers, it is well known, did not allow of any such at all, besides God: But we think that to have no visible Body, and to be purely immaterial, is all one: God knows how many degrees there may be between these, but we cannot know it, neither doth it concern our salvation for which we have reason to praise God: But if it were so, that all Spirits are either Divels or Angels, what shall we make of these that are found in mines, of which learned Agricola hath written; of those that have been time out of minde called χόβαλοι (from whence probably, as we have said elsewhere, Gobelin in English is derived) who live in private Houses, about old Walls, and stalks of Wood, harmless otherwise, but very thievish, so frequent and so known in some Countreys, that a man may as well doubt whether there be any Horses in England, because there are none in some parts of the World; not found in all America, I think, till some were carried thither: Neither can I believe, that those Spirits that please themselves in nothing else but harmless sports and wantonnesse, such as have been known in all Ages; such as did use to shave the hairs of Plinius Secundus his Servants in the Night, as himself relates (a very creditable man, I am sure) in his Epistles, and the like; that such Spirits, I say, have any relation either to Heaven or to Hell: We might insist in more particulars, but we do not desire to dwell upon it at this time; and there is yet somewhat else to be said: And /43/ what I have said of some Platonicks, I did not intend thereby to justifie all their absurd or superstitious Opinions in this Argument of Spirits: As they have searched furrher into it then others (besides damnable experience, having confounded Magick with Phylosophy, yea almost turned all Phylosophy into Magick) so it was consequent, they would fall into more Errors and Absurdities; yet withal, they have found somewhat that doth better agree with daily experience, then what is commonly known or believed. Sinesius was a Bishop, but as he doth appear to us in his Writings, a better Platonick then a Christian: In a place (in his Treatise De insomniis) he sheweth how evil Spirits come to inhabit men and to possesse their Brains: His terms are very course, and apparantly ridiculous; but there may be some truth in the Opinion:
For if there were not a very near and intimate conjunction, it were to be wondered how the Divel comes to know the very thoughts of Witches and Magicians, as is found by experience, averred by more then one: And in this very Book, if I be not mistaken, somewhat may be observed to that purpose: It is possible there may be more kindes of possession then one, and that some men, that never were suspected, have had a spirit (besides their own) resident in them, all, or most part of their lives.
I have done, with what I could think of, upon which objection can be made: The next thing is to make the way clearer to the Reader, by some consideration of the method of the Books, and explanation of some terms and phrases there used, at which perchance some may stick at the first: At the very beginning a man may be to seek, it the Title of it, Liber sexti mysteriorum, & sancti parallelus, novalisque. 1583. both as it relates to that which follows, and as it reflects upon somewhat before, by which it may be inferred that the book begins here abruptly and imperfectly: of this I am now ready to give an account to the Reader, and it is very fit it should be done.
First concerning Titles, such as will be found here many more besides this, the whole book, or relation being subdivided into many parts; in general I say, that according to the Doctors genius (we have said before he was very Cabalistical, that is, full of whimsies and crotchets, under the notion of Mysteries, a thing that some very able, otherwise, have been subject unto) and the high opinion he had of these actions and apparitions; they are mostly very concealed, and (to speak the truth) phantastick, which must make them the Obscurer: I could give the Reader a view of them all here put together, but it would be superfluous: There be some fourteen or fifteen Divisions in all now remaining, and so many Titles: There is a Table at the beginning, that doth refer to the beginning of every division, where the Title also will be found: But at the end of the viii. Division, I finde these words, Sequitur liber 24. qui hac die etiam inceptus est, à meridie: horam circiter tertiam, per ipsum Lavanael: But I finde nothing following, (but some vacant sheets, till we come to the ix. Division, Mysteriorum pragensium, &c. And the last Division hath onely some Fables, and before them, some five or six pages of unknown mystical words, which we know not what to make of; but of that more afterwards: The main business to be resolved here (as I take it) is what it is that we have, and what we have not, so far as can be gathered by what remaineth; we shall see what we can say to it. In the year of the Lord, One thousand five /44/ hundred eighty four, September the third, (being a Monday) Dr. Dee first appeared (being presented by Honorable persons, and expected) before the Emperor Rodolph. Among other things he then told him, That for these two years and a half Gods holy Angels had used to inform him: Our Book, or first Action here, beginneth 28 May, 1583. According to this reckoning, it must be, that above a year and three Moneths before, began the first Apparition: The account then of fifteen Moneths from the first Apparition, we want: How much (in bulk) that might come to, I cannot tell; neither will I warrant all perfect from this 28 of May, 1583 to the fourth of April 1587. though for the most part the coherence is right enough to that time: But from thence to the twentieth of March, 1607. is a vast chasma or hiatus, of no less then twenty years: How this hath happened, I cannot tell certainly; what I guess, is this, some years after Dr. Dees death ( ) Sir Robert Cotton bought his Library (what then remained of it) with his Magical Table, (of which afterwards) and the Original Manuscript, written With his own hand, whereof this is a Copy: The Book had been buried in the Earth, how long, years or moneths, I know not; but so long, though it was carefully kept since, yet it retained so much of the Earth, that it began to moulder and perish some years ago, which when Sir Thomas C. (before mentioned) observed, he was at the charges to have it written out, before it should be too late: Now full fifty years, or not many wanting, being passed since this Original came to Sir Robert, it is very likely, that had any more in all that time been heard of, Sir Robert, or Sir Thomas, his Son and Heir, would have heard of it, and got it as soon as any body else: And because no more hath been heard of all this while, it is more then probable that no more is extant, not in England, nor I think any where else: Happily the rest might perish, some part, (if not all) even whilest the Doctor lived; and we shall finde in this Relation, That a good part of his holy Books were burned, but (which is more strange) a great part of them, by the help of Spirits, recovered and restored: Or it may be, that since his death, the rest (the place where they lay being unknown) might rot in the earth; now if, as probably no more be extant, we may account this that we have here, in that respect perfect, because here is all that can be had. But if any, (as it is the nature of many, if not most, rather to desire that which cannot be had, then to content themselves with that which may) shall much lament the loss of the rest, and be less pleased with this, because so much (though indeed we know not certainly whether much or little) is wanting; I would desire them to consider with themselves, in case there had been twice or thrice as much more as all this comes too, what should have been done with it? For my part, for so much as is here set out (all we had) I thought it would do best, though somewhat long, yet as a thing very extraordinary, and of great consequence to many good purposes and uses; I thought, I say, it would do best to have it all Printed; Yet we had some consideration about it, and it may be some others would have thought that less might have served the turn: But I hope more will be of my minde, and there be but few actions but afford somewhat that is extraordinary, and for some respect or other observable and useful; Howsoever, I am confident, if all had been extant, (supposing that the rest would have made much more) that none or /45/ very few would have thought fit to have Printed all; and if it had once come to a contraction or abridgement it may be much less then this must have served: It is free for all men to think as they please; for my part all things considered, I finde no great want of the rest; and if I were put to it, I cannot tell whether I can say, that I wish more were extant: yet it gives great content, (and I hope there is no Blasphemy or Superstition in it, if I adscribe it to providence) that after that long intermission, or hiatus, we have yet the last Actions of all, whereby it might appear, after many goodly shews and promises, so much hope and expectation; so many Prayers, so many Thanksgivings and Humiliations, what the end is of dealing with Divels, and using means that are not lawful, to compass ambirious unwarrantable desires. Besides, be it more or less that is wanting, yet I am confident we have the chiefest parts here preserved; as part cularly, an exact account of his addresses and dealings with the Emperor, and other great men and Princes, in the vii. and some following Divisions; and that sad story of their promiscuous Copulation, under the perswasion of obedience to God, very particularly related in the twelfth Division; wherein as the cunning and malice of evil Spirits, to lead away from God, when they most pretend to God and godliness; so the danger of affected singularity and eminency, (the first ground of all this mischief) of Spiritual pride and self-conceit, is eminently set out to every mans observation, that is not already far engaged (as in these times too to many) in such Principles.
But yet nevertheless I must acknowledge, that there is one part of the story wanting, which I believe by most will be much desired: For whereas at the very beginning, mention is made of a Stone, and that Stone not onely there mentioned, but afterwards in every action almost, and apparition, throughout the whole Book to the very end, still occurring and commemorated as a principal thing; what it was, and how he came by it yea and what became of it, would be known, if by any means it might: All that we are able to say of it, is this, It was a stone in which, and out of which, by persons that were qualified for it, and admitted to the sight of it; all Shapes and Figures mentioned in every Action were seen, and voices heard: The form of it was round, as appeareth by some course representations of it in the Margins, as pag. 395. 399.b. 413.b. and it seems to have been of a pretty bigness: It seems it was most like unto Crystal, as is called sometimes, as pag. 80. Inspecto Chrystallo, and page 177.b. nihil visibile apparuit in Chrystallo Sacrato, præter ipsius crystalli visibili formam. Every very body knows by common experience, that smooth things are fittest for representations, as Glasses and the like; but ordinarily such things onely are represented, as stand opposite and are visible in their substance. But it is a secret of Magick (which happily may be grounded, in part at least, upon some natural reason, not known unto us) to represent Objects (externally not visible) in smooth things: And Roger Bacon (alias Bacun) in a Manuscript inscribed, De dictis & factis falsorum Mathematicorum & Dæmonum, communicated unto me by my I earned and much esteemed Friend, Dr. Windett, Professor of Physick in London hath an Observation to that purpose, in these words,
Hiis Mathematicis in malitia suâ completis apparent Dæmones sensibilitur in formâ humanâ & aliis formis variis, & dicunt & faciunt multa eis mirabilia secundum /46/ quod Deus permittit. Aliquando apparent imaginarie ut in ungue pueri virginis carminati; & in pelvibus & ensibus, & in spathulâ arietis secundum modum eorum consecratis, & in cæteris rebus politic: & Dæmones ostendunt eis omnia quæ petunt, secundum quod Deus permittit. Unde pueri sic inspicientes res politas vident imaginariè res furtivè acceptas & ad quem locum deportatæ sunt, & quæ personæ asportaverunt; & sic de aliis, multis, dæmones apparentes omnia hæc illis pejus ostendunt.
Joach. Camerarius (that worthy man before spoken of) in his Proemium to Plutarch, De Oraculis, &c. hath a strange Story upon the credit of a friend of his whom he much respected (as himself professeth) for his Piety and Wisdom. A Gentleman of Norimberg had a Crystal (how he came by it, is there to be read) which had this vertue: Si qua de re certior fieri vellet, &c. if he desired to know any thing past or future, that concerned him, yea, or any other (in most things) let a young Boy (Castum, one that was not yet of Age, &c.) look into it, be should first see a man in it, so and so apparelled and afterwards what he desired. No other but a Boy, so qualified, could see any thing in it. This Crystal became very famous in those parts; yea some learned men came to it to be satisfied in doubtful points, and had their questions resolved: Yet at last, (as well it deserved) it was broken in pieces by Camerarius his Friend. Many such stories are to be found of Magical Stones and Crystals: And though Fernelius, De abditis rerum causis; and after him (as I remember) one, in worth and esteem of all men, not inferior to Fernelius, Dr. Harvey, lately deceased, turns the relation of a strange stone brought to one of the late Kings of France, into an Allegory, or Physical explication of the power and proprieties of the Element of Fire; yet I am not satisfied, but that the relation might be literally true: For so it is, (as I remember here also, for I have none of those Books by me at this time) related by Thuanus, and so by some others, very learned, understood.
Now for the maner how he came by it, the particulars of the story cannot be had by this here preserved, but onely this in general, That it was brought unto him by some, whom he thought to be Angels: So we finde him telling the Emperor, That the Angels of God had brought to him a Stone of that value, that no earthly Kingdom is of that worthiness, as to be compared to the vertue or dignity thereof. Page 272. in his conference with Dr. Curts, appointed by the Emperor to treat with him; and also let him see the stone brought me by Angelical Ministery: And we finde this Note recorded, [Prague, Tuesday 25 Septembris, I went to Dinner to the Spanish Ambassador, and carried with me the Stone brought me by an Angel, and the fourth Book, wherein the maner of the bringing of it is expressed.14] And for the use of the Stone, besides what hath been said, this is observable: Some Spirits being in sight of E. K. out of the Stone, Dr. Dee would have the Stone brought forth, but E. K. said, He had rather see them thus, out of the Stone; to which the Doctor replies, That in the Stone they had warrant that no wicked Spirits should enter; but without the Stone illuders might deal with them, unless God prevented it, &c. From which passage also we may learn, as from divers others in the Book that although the stone (as we said before) was the place, in which, and out of which, ordinarily, most Apparitions were framed, yet it was not so always: For we shall meet /47/ with divers things in that kinde that were seen and heard, without any reference to the Stone: From the same place also we may learn, that the said Stone was the same he also called the Shew-stone; as in many places besides. However, it is certain enough that he had more Stones then one, which he accounted sacred; observe Principal Stone, and this other Stone; & first Sanctified Stone, usual Shew-stone, and Holy-stone, may be thought opposed and different; but I understand it otherwise: This is the account we can give of this principal Holy-Stone. And to supply the defect of the maner how it was brought to him, the Reader, if he please, may finde some satisfaction, if he read the maner how it was taken away, and restored, very particularly set down, as before (upon another occasion) was observed.
14. I.e Mysteriorum Libri Quinque, Liber Quartus, actions of Nov 21, 1582. Peterson 2003 p. 245. -JHP
Besides this Stone or Stones there are divers other sacred things mentioned, that belonged to this personated Sanctuary, but nothing more frequently mentioned then Curtains; a Curtain or Vail, as it is sometimes called. A man would think at first, perchance, that it was somewhat outward, but it will be found otherwise; it was seen in the Stone, and appeared of different forms and colours, as they that read will quickly finde.
Next unto these the Holy Table is chiefly considerable, ordering of it is referred
to Dr. Dee, which he durst not take upon himself, until he had warrant
from his Spiritual Teachers: This Table, which may well be called Magical,
is preserved and to be seen in Sir Thomas Cottons Library (from whence
we had the rest) and by his leave is here represented in a brass Cut15 mention is
made of it, as I take it, where Dr. Dee proposeth to his Teachers, Whether
the Table (for the middle cross of uniting the 4 principal parts) be made perfect
or no: You may see more of it, it is also called League Table; Table of Covenant,
mensa fœderis in some places: The Pedestal of it is mentioned in two or three
places, and indeed a very curious Frame belonging unto it, yet to be seen in the
said Library. But I know not what to make of that, neither Nalu: nor the Table
appeareth; and the round Table or Globe appeared not. I believe it must be
understood of somewhat that had appeared before in the stone. The Reader
that will be so curious, by careful reading may soon finde it out; I was not
willing to bestow too much time upon it.
15. Elias Ashmole, who had seen Dee's actual Holy Table, stated that Casaubon's engraving of it was accurate. Nonetheless its accuracy has been questioned. As far as I can tell, however, this drawing conforms closely with the instructions in Sloane ms. 3188, with the exeption of the proportions, and a missing dot. See my article on the holy table. -JHP
But here remaineth a main business whereof we are to give an account to the Reader: There were many Tables or Schemes at the end of the Book, containing Letters, a. b. c. &c. disposed into little squares, with an Inscription over each Table in that unknown Character (before spoken of) expressed in usual Letters how it should be read. There is one for a Specimen here at the end of the Preface; the rest were omitted, because it was judged needless, except it were to increase the price of the Printed book. For first, Dr. Dee himself, though he took a great deal of pains to understand the Mystery of them, and had great hopes given him from time to time to reap the benefit (himself complains of it in more then one place) of his toilsome work and long patience, yet it never came to any thing: and if he made nothing of them (to benefit himself thereby) what hopes had we? Besides, we may judge of these Tables, and all this mystery of Letters, by what we have seen in others of the same kinde. Johannes Trithemius was a man that was supposed by most to have dealt with Spirits a long time, and to have been instructed by them in /48/ some of those secrets that he pretends unto by his Books. I know some have thought him innocent, or at least, have attempted to justifie him: Some affect such things to shew their wit, and think they shall be thought much wiser then other men, if they contradict received Opinions, though their vanity and strong conceit of their own parts, be their chief, if not onely ground. Learned and Judicious Master Vossius, hath shewed himself very willing to think the best of him and his Books; yet he gives it over at last, and rather concludes on the contrary. They that dare defend Apollonius, the greatest upholder of Ethnicism that ever was, and by most Heathens accounted either a God, or a Magician, need not stick at any thing in this kinde: But say he was, what any man will have of him, (Trithemius we speak of, his Polygraphy, he set out in his life time, dedicated to the then Emperor: He tells the World of the greatest wonders to be done by it, that ever were heard of: All Wisdom and Arts, all Languages, Eloquence, and what not, included in it. But I never heard of any man that could make any thing of it or reaped any benefit in any kinde; which I think is the reason that his Steganography, mentioned and promised in this first work was so long after his death before it was Printed: It was expected it would have given some light to the first; but neither of that, nor of this latter, could ever any thing, that ever I could hear, be made by any man. I have good ground for what I say: For besides what others have acknowledged, I finde learned Viginaire, (who in his old age was grown himself very Cabalistical, or it may be had some disposition that way, though very learned otherwise, from his natural temper) as much grounded in that book, as any man before him: He doth plainly profess he could make nothing of it: And truly if he could not, that had bestowed so much time and pains in those unprofitable studies, I see little hopes that any man else should. It would make a man almost hate Learning, to see what dotage, even the most learned, are subject unto: I could bless them that know but little, so themselves knew it is but little that they know, and were humble: But it commonly falls out otherwise, that they that know but little, think that little to be much, and are very proud of it; whereas much knowledge (or to speak properly more knowledge) if well used, hath this advantage, that it makes men most sensible of their ignorance. The reading of Vigenaires book of Cyphers (which I once thought a rare piece, as many other things of the same Author, which I had read) hath expressed these words from me in this place; and because thath so much affinity with our present Theme, I was the bolder; But to return. Upon this consideration, the Reader I hope, will not be sorry the rest of the Tables (being many in number) were omitted. Though I must adde withal, had I known or thought any use could be made of them, having no better opinion of the Author (him or them) I mean, from whom Dr. Dee had them) I should not have been very forward to have had a hand in their coming abroad.
I should have told the Reader before but it may do well enough here, that besides the particulars before specified, there were other things that belonged to this holy Furniture (as Dr. Dee somewhere doth speak) whereof mention is made in some places: as Carpet, Candlestick, Taper, Table-Cloth, Cushion, and some others perchance. But I know nothing needs be observed upon /49/ any of these. I make no question but the Divel in all these things had a respect to the Ceremonial Law especially; as also in those words, Move not, for the place is holy, often repeated, which are also elsewhere expounded: The Interlocutors in all this relation, are, Δ. (that is, Dr. Dee) and E. K. that is Edw. Kelley; and the Spirits, to the number of some twenty, or thereabouts, so many named: (Madini16, Esemeli, Merifri, Ath, Galuah, Il, Jubenladece, Gabriel, Jam, Moreorgran, Aph, Lasben, Uriel, Naluage, Mapsama, Aue, Ilemese, Gaza, Vaa, Leveanael, Ben,) at least, but whether all Interlocutors, I know not, because I do not remember, neither doth it much concern.
16. Madini: First appeared as "Madimi" (along with Esemeli and Ath) in Sl. 3188, Mar 21, 1582 (Peterson 2003 p. 136). -JHP
There be divers marginal Notes and Observations, which being of Dr. Dee his own, are for the most part not inconsiderable, and some very remarkable, all therefore here exhibited; but whereas in some places he had attempted to represent the apparition, or some part of it, in Figures also; this being done but sometimes, and in case it had been done oftner (except it were to satisfie the childish humor of many Buyers of Books in this Age, when because they buy not to read, must have somewhat to look upon; whence it comes to pass, that much trash doth pass for good ware, for the trimming sake, and on the contrary) of little use, no notice is taken of it; except some Figure be in the Text it self, and of some consequence, for the better understanding of the rest.
The Greek, p. 25. b. is exactly set out, as it was found, and yet to be seen in the original, written by Dr. Dee himself: But little or nothing can be made of it, as it is written; and it is a sign that Dr. Dee who writ it, as Edw. Kelley reported it unto him, and afterwards plodded upon it (as doth appear by some Conjectures and Interpretations found in the original, and here also exhibited) as well as he could, was no very perfect Grecian; much less Edw. Kelley, who could not so much as read it, which made Dr. Dee to write some things that he would not have Kelley to read, in Greek Characters, though the words were English: I would not alter any thing that was in the Original: But the words, I believe spoken by the Spirit, (and so the Greek is warrantable enough) were these, [Greek]: This I think was intended of Edw. Kelley, who was ever and anon upon projects to break with Dr. Dee, and to be gone, as here presently after, and in divers other places of this relation; nay, did really forsake him sometimes for some time: The sence verbatim is this: This fellow (or Friend) will overthrow this work (of Apparitions you must understand, to which he was requisite, because the Divel had not that power over Dr. Dees Body, to fit it, though he did promise it him, for such sights.) His baggage (or furniture) is in a readiness. And he doth very much endeavor: To withdraw himself from this common friendship. Take heed, that you give him no occasion: For he doth mightily plot by art and cunning: How he may leave you for ever. [Greek], in the first line, may seem unusual, for [Greek] or [Greek]; but it is an elegant Metaphore. [Greek] for [Greek], is not usual; and happily it should have been [Greek], and so uttered; but that is nothing. Certainly he that could speak so much Greek, (called here Syrian, to jeer Ed. Kelley) could not want Latine at any time to express /50/ himself; which nevertheless, might be thought, where we finde him speaking English, to them that understood it not; so that Dr. Dee was fain to interpret it. But we cannot give an account of all his fetches and projects: He had a consideration, I make no question.
I cannot think of any thing else that the Reader need to be told, that is of this nature, and it may be some what might have been spared: However the Reader will consider, that as in all Books, so in this: It is one thing to read from the beginning, and so to go on with heed and observation, without skipping; and another thing to read here and there, which would require a perpetual Comment, which is the wretchedness of most Readers, in these declining days of Learning; and therefore they have Comments (or Rhapsodies rather) accordingly; similes habent labra lactuses, never more true of any thing.
It may be some will wonder what made the Spirits to fall upon English Genealogies and Stories; it is at very beginning, therefore I take notice of it for the Readers sake, that is yet (and cannot otherwise) a stranger to the Book: The business is, Dr. Dee was lately grown into great league and confederacy with Albert Lasky, (or à lasco rather) a great man of Polonia. You had before what Cambden saith of him of his coming to England, at this very time, and his going away, which doth very well agree with our dates here. It seems, though nobly born, and to great dignity, yet his thoughts did aspire much higher; and though no rich man, for a man of his rank and quality, yet expecting such matters from Dr. Dee and his Spirits, as he did, he could finde money enough to supply their wants upon occasion. The Spirits were very glad of the occasion, and did what they could to cherish him according to his humor: Being then at that very time upon deliberations, that much depended of Alb. Laskey and his good opinion; among other things, his Pedegree, which must needs please a vain man very well, was taken into consideration: That every thing there said, doth exactly agree to the truth, as I do not warrant it so neither am I at leisure at this time to take the pains to examine. We must never look further in those things that are delivered by such, then if it were, or be pertinent (true or false) to their end and present occasion. Besides, it is very possible, (which I desire the Reader to take good notice of) that both here and elsewhere the Transcribers, as they could not read sometimes, and were forced to leave some blancks (though seldome to any considerable prejudice of the sence) so they might mistake also, having to do with an Original that was (and is yet to be seen) so defaced and worm-eaten as this is, written (as we have said) by Dr. Dee himself.
Besides the authentickness of the Original Copy, written by Dr. Dee himself; the Reader may know, that the Originals of the Letters that are here exhibited, are all, or most of them yet preserved, and to be seen in Sir Tho. Cottons Library.
IV. I am now come to the last of the four things that I promised, to shew the several good uses that may be made of this Book, and which were principally looked upon in the publishing of it. This order indeed I proposed to my self, but great part of this occasion offering it self upon other matter, is already performed in the former Discourse, so that but little is now left to be done. However I will sum them up, and represent them together, that every Reader may /51/ have them in readiness and in view for his use the better.
The first is against Atheists, and such as do not believe that there be any Divels or Spirits: We have argued it, I confess, pretty largely, at the beginning of this Discourse or Preface, and I hope some may receive competent satisfaction by what we have said: But if no Argument had been used, (setting aside Scripture Authority, which would be impertinent against Atheists) I do not know what can be more convincing then this sad Story, so exactly so particularly, so faithfully delivered. Truly, they must see further then I do, that can finde what to answer (rationally) and to oppose: This is a great point, and a great ground of Religion; but this is not all: For if there be Spirits indeed, so wicked and malicious, so studious and so industrious, to delude men, and to do mischief, which is their end, all which is so fully represented in this Relation; then certainly must it follow, that there is a great over-ruling Power, that takes care of the Earth, and of the Inhabitants of it; of them especially that adore that Power, and worship it with true affection and sincerity: For without this over ruling Power, what a miserable World should we have? What man so sober or innocent, that could enjoy himself at any time with any comfort or security? But again, what man can read this sad story, and can be so perswaded of his own Wisdom or innocency, but will in some degree reflect upon himself, and will be moved to praise God, that notwithstanding many provocations in several kindes (as damnable curiosity, open prophaneness, frequent Oathes, Curses, Perjuries, scandalous Life, and the like) God hath been pleased to protect and preserve him from the force and violence of such enemies of mankinde?
I said before, from les, beginnings greatest confusions had ensued, which is very true as in the case of Bacchus particularly many Ages before; and in the case of Mahomet afterwards, (two notable lewd Euthusiasts, by whom as Instruments, evil Spirits, by Gods permission, brought great alterations in Governments, and wrought much mischief and villany among Men and Women) we shall elsewhere shew more at large. By due consideration of all Circumstances, as chiefly their confident and reiterated Addresses unto, and Attempts upon so many great men in Power and Authority, and the like; I am much of opinion that these Spirits had as great hopes of Dr. Dee, as ever they had of Bacchus or Mahomet. But God was not pleased at that time to permit that their malice and subtilty should prevail. And I think, if we consider it well, we have reason to praise God for it. England might have been over-run with Anabaptism (when I say Anabaptism, I mean Anabaptism confirmed and in full power, not as it appears in its first pretentions) long before this: God be thanked that it was not then, and God keep it from it still, I hope is the Prayer of all truly sober and Religious. And in very deed I know no reason, but the Wisdom and prudence of their Majesties Councel that then were, in opposing Dr. Dees frequent addresses and Sollicitations, may (under God) challenge and deserve some part of our Thanks and Acknowledgement.
Again, The Divel we see can Pray and Preach, (as to outward appearance we mean; for truly and really, God forbid that any thing sacred and holy should be thought to proceed from Divels) and talk of Sanctity and Mortification, as well as the best. And what he can in his own person, or by himself immediately, /52/ there is no question, but he doth by his Ministers and Instruments much more, more ordinarily and frequently I mean: Let any man judge then, whether it be the part of a sober wise man, not onely to hear such men as can give no account of their calling, but also to follow them, to embrace their Doctrine, to be of their number or Congregation; and all this, upon this account, because they can pray and preach very well, (as they think and judge at least) and talk very godlily and zealously? How much more inexcusable they that will clave unto such, though they see and know them scandalous in their Lives, Proud, Insolent, Ignorant, Seditious, Intolerable, because they can pray, and preach, and talk, as best agreeth with their own humor, and gives them best content? Can any man think they follow God in this, who would have all things done in order, and is not a God of Confusion, (1 Cor. 14. 33, 40.) when all they do, tends to nothing else but disorder and confusion? I confess it is possible, that men lawfully called may prove bad enough, we have divers examples in the Scripture. But if a man, simply and ignorantly be mis-led by such, certainly his judgement will be much lighter then they can expect, who will not use the means that God hath ordained, in so great and weighty a business as the salvation of Souls is. I know not what these men can say for themselves, except it be, that they are resolved to make use of the Liberty of the times to please their humor; they may do it, but if that bring them to Heaven, they have good luck.
But the business of praying, is that I would principally insist upon: You see here how Dr. Dee, where he gives an account of himself to the Emperor, and others, bears himself much upon this, that so many years he had been an earnest Suitor unto God by Prayer to obtain Wisdom, such wisdom as he was ambitious of. I believe him, that he had prayed very earnestly, and with much importunity many times: This was the thing that made him so confident of his Spirits, that they must needs be good Spirits and Angels. I know a man, I have no comfort to tell it, but that I would not conceal any thing that may be a warning unto others, and yet I will have a respect unto him too: But I knew one, a very innocent man (in his outward conversation, and as I believe very really) Humble, Religious, very Learned and Orthodox, and one that had suffered for his Conscience, as others have done in these times: This worthy man, being engaged in a controverted Argument, upon which his phancy had wrought very much, or rather which had much wrought upon his phancy; he had written much, filled much Paper, and was desirous to communicate unto me as his friend what he had done: But when I perceived that the drift of his writing was out of the Law and the Prophets, to shew the necessity of some things which I thought of a more indifferent nature; I was not willing to meddle with it; and begun to argue against his main drift, and to shew my disliking. After many words to and fro, he began to press me with this, that he had often prayed with much earnestness, and he was very confident that God had heard his Prayers: Yea, he proceeded so far, that if God were true, he could not be deceived, and used many other words to the same purpose, at which I was much amazed, but /53/ could do no good upon him, such was his confidence and violence upon this occasion, though otherwise a very moderate ingenuous man: And thus I found him more then once, or twice. Truly, I think God was very merciful unto him, that took him away in good time. But certainly this business of Prayer and praising, is a business as of great comfort (the greatest that mortal man is capable of upon earth) so of much more danger and delusion, then many do believe. And if caution and circumspection be to be used in any thing that belongs to Religion, I think it ought in Prayer, as much as any thing. And since I have adventured to tell one story upon mine own credit, I will tell one more upon better authority, which I have long desired (for the observableness of it) to communicate unto the world, and to that end, had once inserted it in a Treatise of mine, which I thought would have been Printed, but it was not: I will first give the English of it, that all men may reap the benefit, and then set it down in the words of my Author (mine own Father Isaac Casaubon, of b. m.) as I have it to shew under his hand.
At a Consistory in Geneva, upon a Friday, 18 July, 1589. The case of one Mr. Nicholas being there proposed to the Assembly to be considered of, who was wont to insinuate himself into private Houses, under pretence of praying, and made small congregations: The business was disliked by the Pastors; First, because nothing in the Church of God ought to be done without order. Secondly, because to turn such duties of Religion to matter of Traffick to get money onely, (without any other end or calling) was not lawful. Thirdly and lastly, his battalogy, (or vain repetition of words) was not to be suffered: Then upon this occasion it was related by Mr. Beza, that the Saturday before, whilest that sharp conflict was, which we had before our eyes, (to wit, between the Genevians, and the Duke of Savoys Forces) that a certain Woman addressed her self to him, saying, What Mr. Beza, will you make Prayers here? To which he had answered, No: What, do you think I do behold these things with mine eyes onely, and do not pray to God in my heart? Giving this reason for his answer he had made to the Woman: [It is not so expressed in the Latine, that the following words were Beza's words, but the coherence of matter doth so require it] That Prayer was certainly a holy thing, which it did not become any man to apply himself unto, (or to undertake) without due preparation: And that they were deceived, who thought it so easie a thing to pray rightly: And that care also should be taken lest [under a colour of zeal and devotion] a way be made to superstition:
The Latine words are these,
[Die Veneris, Julii 18. 1589. Cùm relatum esset in coetum, de Mag. Nicolao, qui insinuaret se in domos varias [Greek] & ita aliquando cœtus, et si paruos, coire solitos, pastoribus res improbata est: Primùm, quia extra ordinem, nihil in Dei Ecclesia fieri debet: Deinde, quia πορισμον facere [Greek], nefas. Tertio, hominis [Greek] non ferenda. Narratum est tum à B se die Sabbathi proxime præcedente, dum acerrimum illud prælium committeretur, quod nobis erat ante oculos, interrogatum à mulieraculà, Quid tu D. B. vis preces hic facere? Respondisse, Nequaquam. Tu ne enim (ait) me putas, hæc oculis tantum spectare, nec vota in animo ad Deum Opt. Max. fundere? Omnino, /54/ res sancta [Greek] ad quam non nisi meditatum oporteat accedere, falluntur enim qui rem putant esse facilem, preces benè concipere. Simul cavendum, ne alicui superstitioni viam imprudentes aperiamus.]
In the last place, All men may take warning by this example, how they
put themselves out of the protection of Almighty God, either by presumptuous
unlawful wishes and desires, or by seeking not unto Divels onely, directly
(which Dr. Dee certainly never did, but abhorred the thought of it
in his heart) but unto them that have next relation unto Divels, as Witches,
Wizzards, Conjurers, Astrologers, (that take upon them to foretell humane
events) Fortune tellers, and the like, yea and all Books of that subject,
which I doubt, were a great occasion of Dr. Dees delusion: That men are
commonly cheated by such, is sure enough; and those that are not
very fools, would take heed how they deal with them, and avoid them,
to avoid the Imputation of Fools; but those that are wise, much
more, if they can more then cheat; for the more they can do, the more
they know they have of the Divel in them: Wretched people! that will
not, dare not trust God, who as he is the onely fountain of goodness, so
onely knows what is good for every man. They may rejoyce for a time,
and applaud themselves in their conceited successes, but misery, if they repent
not, will be their end; and it is a great sign that God is very angry
with them, when he doth suffer them to thrive by means which Himself
SInce this Preface was written, and almost printed, I was shewed a Book, entituled, Theatrum Chemicum
Britannicum, &c. by Elias Ashmole Esq; and in some Annotations there, at the end, an account
concerning Dr. Dee and Edw. Kelley, (there stiled Sir Edward Kelley) out of a Diary of Dr. Dees, all
written with his own hand: As I do not question the Gentlemans fidelity in this business, so I make as
little question but Dr. Dee's own hand will be found to agree in all matters of Fact both here and there,
if any shall take the pains to compare. And it may be the Reader may receive some further satisfaction
in some particulars by his labor, which is the reason that I mention the Book here, being but lately come
to my knowledge; His Judgement either concerning Dr. Dee, or Kelley, I meddle not with; and it
may be, had he seen what is here to be seen, he would have been of another opinion in some things:
Here is enough, I am sure, to satisfie any man that is not very much preoccupied, or otherwise engaged
by particular ends. As for those Reports concerning Kelley, (some whereof concern Dr. Dee also) he
tells us of; as I believe him, that he hath heard so, so I must (and may truly) profess, that I have met with
far contrary, and in my judgement, and by this account here given us by Dr. Dee, much more probable:
And particularly, that Kelley was put in Prison by the Emperor, for a notable Chymical cheat that
he had put upon him; the particulars whereof, though they were fully related unto me, yet I will not
adventure upon, lest I mistake in some terms of art, or petty circumstance of fact. And let the Reader
judge by that account, Dr. Dee (who best knew) doth give us here throughout the whole Book of this
Kelley, whether Wevers Story in his Funeral Monum. pag. 45, 46. of damnable Necromancy, and other
Diabolical Conjuration, practised by Kelley in Lancashire, be not (besides what is there said and attested)
much more probable, then any thing that hath been or can be said by others, to his justification or commendation:
Which indeed doth make Doctor Dee's case altogether inexcusable, that believing and knowing
the man to be such a one, he would have to do with him, and expected good by his Ministeries; but
that the Doctor his Faith, and his intellectualls (through Gods just judgement, as we have said) were so
much in the power and government of his Spirits, that they might perswade him to any thing, under
colour of doing service unto God, yea had it been to cut his own Fathers throat, as we see in the Relation,
that they perswaded him to lie with another mans Wife, and prostitute his own to a vile, and, by himself
belived, Diabolical man.
Besides, I have been told by many, that Dr. Dee, very poor and every way miserable, dyed at Mortlack, here about London, which doth not seem to agree with the report in those Annotations: But enough of them: Neither indeed have I said any thing at all of purpose to oppose the Author, but to give this further satisfaction to the Reader, or rather to the truth, which I thought I was bound to do.
The passage in Wevers Funeral Monuments, pag. 45, 46. concerning Kelley, for their satisfaction that have not the Book, is this;
Kelley, (otherwise called Talbot) that famous English Alchymist of our times, who flying out of his own Countrey (after he had lost both his ears at Lancaster) was entertained by Rodolph the second, and last of that Christian name, Emperor of Germany; for whom Elizabeth of famous memory, sent (very secretly) Captain Peter Gwyn [*Gwinne], with some others, to perswade him to return back to his own Native home, which he was willing to do; and thinking to escape away in the night, by stealth, as he was clammering over a Wall in his own House in Prague (which bears his name to this day, and sometimes was an old Sanctuary) he sell down from the Battlements, broke his leggs, and bruised his body, of which hurts within a while after, he departed this World.
Sed quorsum hæc? you will say: Then thus, This diabolical questioning of the dead, for the knowledge of future accidents, was put in practice by the foresaid Kelley, who upon a certain Night, in the Park of Walton in le dale, in the county of Lancaster, with one Paul Waring, (his fellow companion in such deeds of darknesse) invocated some one of the infernal regiment, to know certain passages in the life, as also what might be known by the Divels [*devils] foresight, of the manner and time of the death of a noble young Gentleman, as then in wardship. The blacke ceremonies of that night being ended, Kelley demanded of one of the Gentlemans servants, what Corse [=corpse] was the last buried in Law-church-yard, a Church thereunto adjoyning, who told him of a poor man that was buryed there but the same day: Hee and the said Waring intreated this foresaid servant, to go with them to the grave of the man so lately interred, which he did; and withall did helpe them to digge up the carcase of the poore caitiff, whom by their incantations, they made him (or rather some evil Spirit through his Organs) to speake who delivered strange Predictions concerning the said Gentleman. I was told thus much by the said Servingman, a secondarie actor in that dismall abhorred businesse; and divers gentlemen, and others, are now living in Lancashire to whom he hath related this story. And the Gentlemen himselfe (whose memorie I am bound to honour) told me a little before his death, of this conjuration by Kelley, as he had it by relation from his said Servant and Tenant, onely some circumstances excepted, which he thought not fitting to come to his masters knowledge.
Dr. Dee's Apology,
Sent to the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury. 1594/5.
A Letter containing a most brief Discourse Apo[lo]-
The original letter adds: "Pro eo, vt me diligerent, detrahebant mihi: [drawing] Ego autem Orabam. Psalm. 108."
Casaubon takes the opportunity to modernize the spelling somewhat from Dee's original publication, e.g. Dee's "her Maiesties priuy Counsaile" becomes "her Majesties Privy Councell". -JHP
To the most Reverend Father in God, the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate and Metropolitane of all England, one of her Maiesties most Honorable Privie Councell: my singular good Lord.
MOst humbly and hartily I crave your Graces pardon, if
I offend any thing, to send, or present unto your Graces
hand, so simple a Discourse as this is: Although, by
some sage and discreet my friends their opinion, it is
thought not to be impertinent, to my most needfull
suits, presently in hand, (before her most Excellent Majesty
Royall, your Lordships good Grace, and other the
Right honorable Lords of her Majesties Privy Councell) to make some
part of my former studies, and studious exercises (within and for these 46
yeares last past, used and continued) to be first known and discovered unto
your Grace, and other the right Honorable, my good Lords of her Majesties
privy Councell: And secondly, afterwards, the same to be permitted
to come to publick view: Not so much, to stop the mouthes, and, at length
to stay the impudent attempts, of the rash, and malicious devisers, and contrivers
of most untrue, foolish, and wicked reports, and fables, of, and concerning
my foresaid studious exercises, passed over, with my great, (yea incredible)
paines, travells, cares, and costs, in the search, and learning of true
Philosophie; As, therein, So, to certifie, and satisfie the godly and unpartiall
Christian hearer, or reader hereof: That, by his own judgement, (upon
his due consideration, and examination of this, no little parcell, of the particulars
of my foresaid studies, and exercised philosophicall annexed) He
will, or may, be sufficiently informed, and perswaded; That I have wonderfully
laboured, to find, follow, use, and haunt the true, straight, and most narrow
path, leading all true, devote, zealous, faithfull, and constant Christian
students, ex valle hac miseriæ, & miseria istius vallis: & tenebrarum
Regno; & tenebris istius Regni, ad montem sanctum Syon, & ad cœlestia tabernacula.
All thankes, are most due, therefore, unto the Almighty: Seeing, it so
pleased him, (even from my youth, by his divine favour, grace, and help)
to insinuate into my heart, an insatiable zeal, and desire, to know his truth:
And in him, and by him, incessantly to seek, and listen after the same; by the
true Philosophical method and harmony: proceeding and ascending, (as it
were) gradatim, from things visible, to consider of things invisible: from
things bodily, to conceive of things spirituall: from things transitory, and
momentarie, to meditate of things permanent: by thinges mortall (visible and
invisible) to have some perseverance of immortality. And to conclude,
most briefly; by the most mervailous frame of the whole World, philosophically
viewed, and circumspectly weighed, numbred, and measured (according
to the talent, and gift of GOD, from above alotted, for his divine purposes
effecting) most faithfully to love, honor, and glorifie alwaies, the Framer,
and Creator thereof. In whose workmanship, his infinite goodness, unsearchable
wisdome, and Almighty power, yea, his everlasting* power,
and divinity, may (by innumerable means) be manifested, and demonstrated.
The truth of which my zealous, carefull, and constant intent, and
endeavour specified, may (I hope) easily appear by the whole, full and due
survey, and consideration of all the Books, Treatises, and Discourses, whose
Titles onely, are, at this time, here annexed, and expressed: As they are set
down in the sixth Chapter, of another little Rhapsodicall Treatise, intituled,
The Compendious Rehearsall, &c. written above two years since: for those her
Majesties two honorable Commissioners; which her most excellent Majesty
had most graciously sent to my poor Cottage in Mortelacke: to understand
the matters, and causes at full; through which, I was so extreamly urged
to procure at her Majesties hands such Honorable Surveyors and witnesses
to be assigned, for the due proof of the contents, of my most humble
and pitifull supplication, exhibited unto her most Excellent Majesty, at
Hampton Court, An. 1592. Novemb. 9. Thus therefore (as followeth) is
the said 6. Chapter there, recorded.
* The original edition adds this note in marg: Paule to the Rom. Cap. 1. verse 19. 20.
¶ My labours and pains bestowed at divers times, to pleasure my native Countrey: by writing of sundry BOOKS, and Treatises: some in Latine, some in English, and some of them, written, at her Majesties commandement.
Of which BOOKS, and Treatises, some are printed, and some unprinted.
The printed BOOKS: and Treatises are these following:
The unprinted Books and Treatises, are these:
some, perfectly finished: and some, yet unfinished.
With many other Books, Pamphlets, Discourses, Inventions, and Conclusions,
in divers Arts and matters: whose names, need not in this Abstract
to be notified: The most part of all which, here specified,
lie here before your Honours upon the Table, on your left hand.
But by other books and Writings of an other sort, (if it so please God, and
that he wil grant me life, health, and due maintenance thereto, for some
ten or twelve years next ensuing) I may, hereafter make plaine, and without
doubt, this sentence to be true, Plura latent, quàm patent.
Thus far (my good Lord) have I set downe this Catalogus, out of the foresaid
sixt Chapter, of the booke, whose title is this:
To which compendious rehearsall, doth now belong an Appendix, of thefe two last years: In which I have had many just occasions, to confesse, that Homo Homini Deus, and Homo Homini Lupus, was and is an Argument, worthy of the decyphering, and large discussing: as may, one day, hereafter (by Gods help) be published, in some maner very strange. And besides all the rehearsed Books & Treatises of my writing, or handling hitherto, I have just cause, lately given me to write & publish a Treatise, with Title, (50.) De Horizonte Æternitatis: to make evident, that one Andreas Libavius, in a book of his, printed the last year, hath unduly considered a phrase of my Monas Hyeroglyphica: /61/ to his misliking, by his own unskilfulnesse in such matter: and not understanding my apt application thereof, in one of the very principal places, of the whole book. And this book of mine, (by Gods help and favour) shall be dedicated unto her moft Excellent Majesty Royall: And this Treatise doth contain three books;
It may now be here also remembred, that almost three years after the writing of this Letter, I did somewhat satisfie the request of an Honourable Friend in Court, by speedily penning some matter concerning her Majesties Sea-Soveraigntie: under this title:
¶ Truly I haue great cause to praise and thanke God, for your Graces very charitable using of me: both in sundry points else, and also in your favorable yeelding to, yea & notifying the due means for the performance of her Sacred Majesties most gracious and bountifull disposition, resolution, and very royall beginning, to restore and give unto me (her Ancient faithfull servant) some due maintenance to lead the rest of my old daies, in some quiet and comfort: with habilitie, to retaine some speedy, faire, and Orthographicall writers, about me; and the same skilfull in Latine and Greek (at the least:) aswell for mine owne books, and Works, fair, and correctly to be written (such I mean, as either her most Excellent Majestie, out of the premisses will make choice of, or command to be finished or published: or such of them, as your grace shall think meet or worthy for my farther labor to be bestowed on) as else for the speedy, faire, and true writing out of other ancient Authors their good and rare workes, in greek or Latine which by GODS Providence, have been preserved from the spoile made of my Librarie, and of all my movable goods here: &c. Anno 1583.+ In which Librarie, were about 4000 books; whereof, 700. were anciently written by hand; Some in Greeke, some in Latine, some in Hebrew, And some in other languages (as may by the whole Catalogus thereof appeare.) But the great losses and dammages which in sundry sorts I have sustained, do not so much grieve my heart, as the rash, lewde, fond, and most untrue fables, and reports of me, and my Studies Philosophicall, have done, and yet do; which commonly, after their first hatching, and divelish devising, immediately with great speed, are generally all the Realme overspread; and to some, seem true; to other, they are doubtfull; and to onely the wise, modest, discreet, godly, and charitable (and chiefly to such as have some acquaintance with me) they appear, and are known to be fables, untruths, and utterly false reports, and slanders. Well, this shall be my last charitable giving of warning, and fervent protestation to my Countreymen, and all other in this case:
+ Although that my last voyage beyond the Seas, was duly undertaken (by her Majesties good favour and licence) as by the same words may appear in the Letter, written by the Right Honourable Lord Treasurer, unto your Grace in my behalf, and her most Excellent Majestie willing his Honor so to do. Anno. 1590. the 20. of January.
A fervent Protestation.
Before the Almighty our GOD, and your Lordships good Grace, this day, on the perill of my souls damnation (if I lie, or take his name in vaine herein) I take the same GOD, to be my witnesse; That, with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength, power, and understanding (according to the measure thereof, which the Almighty hath given me) for the most part of the time, from my youth hitherto, I have used and still use, good, lawfull, honest, christian, and divinely prescribed means to attain to the knowledge of those truthes, which are meet, and necessary for me to know; and wherewith to do his divine Majesty such service, as he hath, doth, and will call me unto, during this my life: for his honour and glory advancing, and for the benefit, and commoditie publique of this Kingdome; so much, as by the will, and purpose of God, shall lie in my skill, and hability to perform: as a true, faithfull, and most sincerely dutifull servant, to our most gratious and incomparable Queen Elizabeth, and as a very comfortable fellow-member of the body politique, governed under the scepter Royal of our earthly Supreame head (Queen Elizabeth) and as a lively sympathicall, and true symetricall fellow-member of that holy and mysticall body, Catholiquely extended and placed (wheresoever) on the earth: in the view, Knowledge, direction, protection, illumination, and consolation of the Almighty, most Blessed, most holy, most glorious, comajesticall, coeternall, and coessentiall Trinity: The Head of that Body, being only our Redeemer, Christ Jesus, perfect God, and perfect man: whose return in glory, we faithfully awaite; and daily doe very earnestly cry unto him to hasten his second comming for his elects sake; iniquity doth so on this earth abound and prevaile, and true faith withCcharity and Evangelicall simplicity, have but cold; slender and uncertrin intertainement among the worldly-wise men of this world.
Therefore (herein concluding) I beseech the Almighty God, most abundantly to
increase and confirme your Graces heavenly wisdome, and endue you with all the
rest of his heavenly gifts, for the relieving, refreshing, and comforting, both bodily
and spiritually, his little flock of the faithfull, yet militant here on earth.
Good my Lord, I beseech your Grace, to allow of my plaine and comfortable Epilogus, for this matter at this time. 1. Seeing, my studious exercises, and conversation civill, may be abundantly testified, to my good credit, in the most parts of all Christendome; and that by all degrees of Nobility, by al degrees of the Learned, and by very many other, of godly and Christian disposition, for the space of 46. years triall: (as appeareth by the Records lately viewed by two honourable witnesses, by Commission from her Majesty;) 2. And seeing, for these 36. years last past, I have been her most Excellent Majesties very true, faithfull, and dutifull servant; at whose Royall mouth, I never received any one word of reproach; but all of favour, and grace: In whose Princely Countenance, I never perceived frowne toward me, or discontented regard, or view on /63/ me: but at all times favourable, and gracious: to the great joy and comfort of my true, faithfull, and loyall heart. And (thirdly) Seeing, the works of my hands, and words of my mouth (here before notified, in the Schedule of my books, and writings) may beare lively witnesse of the thoughts of my heart, and inclination of my minde, generally, (as all wise men do know, and Christ himself doth avouch,) It might, in manner seem needlesse, thus carefully (though most briefely and speedily) to have warned or confounded the scornfull, the malicious, the proud, and the rash in their untrue reports, opinions, and fables of my studies, or exercises Philosophicall: but that, it is of more importance, that the godly, the honest, the modest, the discreet, grave, and charitable Christians (English or other,) lovers of Justice, truth, and good learning, may hereby receive certaine comfort in themselves (to perceive, that Veritas tandem prævalebit) and sufficiently be weaponed and armed with sound truth, to defend me against such kind of my adversaries: [if] hereafter they will begin afresh, or hold on obstinately in their former errors, vain imaginations, false reportes, and most ungodly slanders of me & my studies. ¶ Therefore, (to make all this cause, for ever, before God & man, out of all doubt:) Seeing, your Lordships good grace, are, as it were, our high Priest, and chief Ecclesiasticall Minister, (under our most dread and Soveraigne Lady Queen Elizabeth) to whose censure and judgement, I submit all my studies and Exercises; yea all my Books past, present, and hereafter to be written, by me (of my own skill, judgement, or opinion,) I do, at this present time, most humbly, sincerely, and unfainedly, and in the name of Almighty God, (yea for his honour and glory) request, and beseech your Grace, (when, and as conveniently you may) to be well and throughly certified of me, what I am, Intus & in cute: Reverendissime in Christo Pater, & Dignissime Archipræsul, cognosce & agnosce vultum tàm internum, quàm externum pecoris tui: And wherein I have used, do or shall use, pen, speech, or conversation, otherwise then as it appertaineth to a faithfull, carefull, sincere, and humble servant of Christ Jesu, That your Grace would vouchsafe to advertise me. So, I trust, Ultima respondebunt primis: in such sort, as this Authentick Record in Latine annexed (ad perpetuam rei memoriam) doth testifie: having never hitherto had occasion to shew that, in any place of Christendome: to testifie better of me, then they had proofe of me, themselves, by my conversation among them. (The Almighty, therefore, be highly thanked, praised, honoured and glorified, for ever and ever, Amen.)
But now, in respect of the generall intent of this briefe discourse, I most
humbly, and reverently, exhibit to your Graces view, and perusing, the originall
monument, and authenticke Record, before mentioned, fair written in
Parchment, with the Seal whole, and perfect, duly appendant: as I have 46.
years, and somewhat longer, preserved it. The true Copy whereof, your
Grace doth see, to be verbatim, as followeth.
|For certain due respects the very Image of the foresaid Seal, is not here in portraiture published; the Moto Locus veri sigilli.|
THe Almighty and most mercifull God, the Father; for his only Son (our
Redeemer) Jesus Christ his sake: by his holy spirit, so direct, blesse,
and prosper all my studies, and exercises Philosophicall, (yea, all my
thoughts, words, and deeds) henceforward, even to the very moment of my
departing from this world, That I may evidently and abundantly be found,
and undoubtedly acknowledged of the Wise and Just, to have been a zealous
and faithfull Student in the School of Verity, and an Ancient Graduate
in the School of Charity: to the honour and glory of the same God Almighty;
and to the sound comfort and confirming of such as faithfully love and
fear his Divine Majestie, and unfainedly continue in labour to do good on
earth: when, while, to whom, and as they may, Amen.
Very spedily written, this twelfth even, and twelfth day, in my poore Cottage, at Mortlake: Anno. 1595. currente à Nativitate Christi: ast, An. 1594. Completo, à Conceptione ejusdem, cum novem præterea mensibus, Completis.