A philosophical work on contemporary necromancy and the historical relationships between the various methods of divination used from ancient black magic. This included a study on demonology and the methods demons used to bother troubled men. It also touches on topics such as werewolves and vampires. It was a political yet theological statement to educate a misinformed populace on the history, practices and implications of sorcery and the reasons for persecuting a person in a Christian society accused of being a witch under the rule of canonical law. This book is believed to be one of the main sources used by William Shakespeare in the production of Macbeth.
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King James VI
THE BIG NEST
Published by The Big Nest
This Edition first published in 2020
Copyright © 2020 The Big Nest
All Rights Reserved.
NEWES FROM SCOTLAND.
The fearefull aboundinge at this time in this countrie, of these detestable slaues of the Deuill, the Witches or enchaunters, hath moved me (beloued reader) to dispatch in post, this following treatise of mine, not in any wise (as I protest) to serue for a shew of my learning & ingine, but onely (mooued of conscience) to preasse thereby, so farre as I can, to resolue the doubting harts of many; both that such assaultes of Sathan are most certainly practized, & that the instrumentes thereof, merits most severly to be punished: against the damnable opinions of two principally in our age, wherof the one called SCOT an Englishman, is not ashamed in publike print to deny, that ther can be such a thing as Witch-craft: and so mainteines the old [pg xii]error of the Sadducees, in denying of spirits. The other called VVIERVS, a German Phisition, sets out a publick apologie for al these craftes-folkes, whereby, procuring for their impunitie, he plainely bewrayes himselfe to haue bene one of that profession. And for to make this treatise the more pleasaunt and facill, I haue put it in forme of a Dialogue, which I haue diuided into three bookes: The first speaking of Magie in general, and Necromancie in special. The second of Sorcerie and Witch-craft: and the thirde, conteines a discourse of all these kindes of spirits, & Spectres that appeares & trobles persones: together with a conclusion of the whol work. My intention in this labour, is only to proue two things, as I haue alreadie said: the one, that such diuelish artes haue bene and are. The other, what exact trial and seuere punishment they merite: & therefore reason I, what kinde of things are possible to be performed in these arts, & by what naturall causes they may be, not that I touch every particular thing of the Deuils power, for that were infinite: but onelie, to speak scholasticklie, (since this can not bee spoken in our language) I reason vpon genus leauing [pg xiii]species, and differentia to be comprehended therein. As for example, speaking of the power of Magiciens, in the first book & sixt Chapter: I say, that they can suddenly cause be brought vnto them, all kindes of daintie disshes, by their familiar spirit: Since as a thiefe he delightes to steale, and as a spirite, he can subtillie & suddenlie inough transport the same. Now vnder this genus may be comprehended al particulars, depending thereupon; Such as the bringing Wine out of a Wall, (as we haue heard oft to haue bene practised] and such others; which particulars, are sufficientlie proved by the reasons of the general. And such like in the second booke of Witch-craft in speciall, and fift Chap. I say and proue by diuerse arguments, that Witches can, by the power of their Master, cure or cast on disseases: Now by these same reasones, that proues their power by the Deuil of disseases in generally is aswell proued their power in speciall: as of weakening the nature of some men, to make them vnable for women: and making it to abound in others, more then the ordinary course of nature would permit. And such like in all other particular sicknesses; But one thing I will pray thee [pg xiv]to obserue in all these places, where I reason upon the deuils power, which is the different ends & scopes, that God as the first cause, and the Devill as his instrument and second cause shootes at in all these actiones of the Deuil, (as Gods hang-man:) For where the deuilles intention in them is euer to perish, either the soule or the body, or both of them, that he is so permitted to deale with: God by the contrarie, drawes euer out of that euill glorie to himselfe, either by the wracke of the wicked in his justice, or by the tryall of the patient, and amendment of the faithfull, being wakened vp with that rod of correction. Hauing thus declared vnto thee then, my full intention in this Treatise, thou wilt easelie excuse, I doubt not, aswel my pretermitting, to declare the whole particular rites and secretes of these vnlawfull artes: as also their infinite and wounderfull practises, as being neither of them pertinent to my purpose: the reason whereof, is giuen in the hinder ende of the first Chapter of the thirde booke: and who likes to be curious in these thinges, he may reade, if he will here of their practises, BODINVS Dæmonomanie, collected with greater diligence, [pg xv]then written with judgement, together with their confessions, that haue bene at this time apprehened. If he would know what hath bene the opinion of the Auncientes, concerning their power: he shall see it wel described by HYPERIVS, & HEMMINGIVS, two late Germaine writers: Besides innumerable other neoterick Theologues, that writes largelie vpon that subject: And if he woulde knowe what are the particuler rites, & curiosities of these black arts (which is both vnnecessarie and perilous,) he will finde it in the fourth book of CORNELIVS Agrippa, and in VVIERVS, whomof I spak. And so wishing my pains in this Treatise (beloued Reader} to be effectual, in arming al them that reades the same, against these aboue mentioned erroures, and recommending my good will to thy friendly acceptation, I bid thee hartely fare-well.
The exord of the whole. The description of Magie in speciall.
Proven by the Scripture, that these vnlawfull artes in genere, haue bene and may be put in practise.
Philomathes and Epistemon reason the matter.
I am surely verie glad to haue mette with you this daye, for I am of opinion, that ye can better resolue me of some thing, wherof I stand in great doubt, nor anie other whom-with I could haue mette.
Epi. In what I can, that ye like to speir at me, I will willinglie and freelie tell my opinion, and if I proue it not sufficiently, I am heartely content that a better reason carie it away then.
Phi. What thinke yee of these strange newes, which now onelie furnishes purpose to al men at their meeting: I meane of these Witches?
Epi. Surelie they are wonderfull: And I think so cleare and plaine confessions in that purpose, haue neuer fallen out in anie age or cuntrey.
Phi. No question if they be true, but thereof the Doctours doubtes.
Epi. What part of it doubt ye of?
Phi. Even of all, for ought I can yet perceaue: and namelie, that there is such a thing as Witch-craft or Witches, and I would pray you to resolue me thereof if ye may: for I haue reasoned with sundrie in that matter, and yet could never be satisfied therein.
Epi. I shall with good will doe the best I can: But I thinke it the difficiller, since ye denie the thing it selfe in generall: for as it is said in the logick schools, Contra negantem principia non est disputandum. Alwaies for that part, that witchcraft, and Witches haue bene, and are, the former part is clearelie proved by the Scriptures, and the last by dailie experience and confessions.
Phi. I know yee will alleadge me Saules Pythonisse: but that as appeares will not make much for you.
Epi. Not onlie that place, but divers others: But I marvel why that should not make much for me?
Phi. The reasones are these, first yee may consider, that Saul being troubled in spirit,
1. Sam. 28.
and having fasted long before, as the text testifieth, and being come to a woman that was bruted to have such knowledge, and that to inquire so important news, he having so guiltie a conscience for his hainous offences, and specially, for that same vnlawful curiositie, and horrible defection: and then the woman crying out vpon the suddaine in great admiration, for the vncouth sicht that she alledged to haue sene, discovering him to be the King, thogh disguysed, & denied by him before: it was no wounder I say, that his senses being thus distracted, he could not perceaue hir faining of hir voice, hee being himselfe in an other chalmer, and seeing nothing. Next what could be, or was raised? The spirit of Samuel? Prophane and against all Theologie: the Diuell in his likenes? as vnappeirant, that either God would permit him to come in the shape of his Saintes (for then could neuer the Prophets in those daies haue bene sure, what Spirit spake to them in their visiones) or then that he could fore-tell what was to come there after; for Prophecie proceedeth onelie of GOD: and the Devill hath no knowledge of things to come.
Epi. Yet if yee will marke the wordes of the text, ye will finde clearely, that Saul saw that apparition: for giving you that Saul was in an other Chalmer, at the making of the circles & conjurationes, needeful for that purpose (as none of that craft will permit any vthers to behold at that time) yet it is evident by the text, that how sone that once that vnclean spirit was fully risen, shee called in vpon Saul. For it is saide in the text, that Saule knew him to be Samuel, which coulde not haue bene, by the hearing tell onely of an olde man with an mantil, since there was many mo old men dead in Israel nor Samuel: And the common weid of that whole Cuntrey was mantils. As to the next, that it was not the spirit of Samuel, I grant: In the proving whereof ye neede not to insist, since all Christians of whatso-ever Religion agrees vpon that: and none but either mere ignorants, or Necromanciers or Witches doubtes thereof. And that the Diuel is permitted at som-times to put himself in the liknes of the Saintes, it is plaine in the Scriptures, where it is said, that Sathan can trans-forme himselfe into an Angell of light.
2. Cor. 11.14.
Neither could that bring any inconvenient with the visiones of the Prophets, since it is most certaine, that God will not permit him so to deceiue his own: but only such, as first wilfully deceiues them-selves, by running vnto him, whome God then suffers to fall in their owne snares, and justlie permittes them to be illuded with great efficacy of deceit, because they would not beleeue the trueth (as Paul sayth). And as to the diuelles foretelling of things to come, it is true that he knowes not all things future, but yet that he knowes parte, the Tragicall event of this historie declares it, (which the wit of woman could never haue fore-spoken) not that he hath any prescience, which is only proper to God: or yet knows anie thing by loking vpon God, as in a mirrour (as the good Angels doe) he being for euer debarred from the fauorable presence & countenance of his creator, but only by one of these two meanes, either as being worldlie wise, and taught by an continuall experience, ever since the creation, judges by likelie-hood of thinges to come, according to the like that hath passed before, and the naturall causes, in respect of the vicissitude of all thinges worldly: Or else by Gods employing of him in a turne, and so foreseene thereof: as appeares to haue bin in this, whereof we finde the verie like in Micheas propheticque discourse to King Achab.
1. King. 22.
But to prooue this my first proposition, that there can be such a thing as witch-craft, & witches, there are manie mo places in the Scriptures then this (as I said before). As first in the law of God, it is plainely prohibited:
But certaine it is, that the Law of God speakes nothing in vaine, nether doth it lay curses, or injoyne punishmentes vpon shaddowes, condemning that to be il, which is not in essence or being as we call it. Secondlie it is plaine, where wicked Pharaohs wise-men imitated ane number of Moses miracles,
Exod. 7 & 8.
to harden the tyrants heart there by. Thirdly, said not Samuell to Saull,
1. Sam. 15.
that disobedience is as the sinne of Witch-craft? To compare to a thing that were not, it were too too absurd. Fourthlie, was not Simon Magus, a man of that craft?
And fiftlie, what was she that had the spirit of Python?
beside innumerable other places that were irkesom to recite.
What kynde of sin the practizers of these vnlawfull artes committes. The division of these artes. And what are the meanes that allures any to practize them.
Bvt I thinke it very strange, that God should permit anie man-kynde (since they beare his owne Image) to fall in so grosse and filthie a defection.
Epi. Although man in his Creation was
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