« PreviousContinue »
OF THE ACTUAL
Existence of Witches ;
PROVED FROM THE
SACRED SCRIPTURES OF THE OLD AND NEW
And from other respectable Authorities.
WRITINGS OF THE LATE JOSEPH GLANVILLE,
Chaplain in Ordinary to his Majesty King Charles II., and Fellow of the
Royal Society, elucidative of this important Subject.
“ Regard not them that have Familiar Spirits, neither seek after Wizards to
LEV. xix. 31.
PLAIN EVIDENCE, &c.
UCH has been written about witches M
and witchcraft, in all past ages of the world, but very little has appeared that
has given satisfaction to the reader.At this day, the general notions entertained by Christians throughout the world, in relation to witches, are so very silly and absurd, that no one of a sound understanding can believe them : that a witch-woman is able to transform herself into the shape of a hare or cat, or any other creature, according to her own pleasure, are amongst such notions. But I shall endeavour to add something on this iopic, according with the sacred Scriptures, (and my own experience) that may, perhaps, throw fresh light upon a subject, which crafty and designing men have, in all past ages of the world, conspired to keep in darkness and obscurity.
Accordingly we find recorded in the sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, a variety of names which relate to witches, wizards, and to those persons who perform magical arts, such as sorcerers, magicians, charmers, diviners, familiar spirits, enchanters, southsayers, &c. :these are part of the names which are recorded in the sacred Scriptures in relation to witches wizards, and infernal arts;—these are they who “ have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations,” Isa. lxvi. 3. “ We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement,” Isa. xxviii. 15. “ And the children of Israel had sinned against
the Lord their God, and walked in the statuies of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before thenı. Aud the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they rejected his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and they became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them. And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord,” 2 Kings xvii. 7, 8, 9, 15, 16,
They are sottish children, and they have none understanding ; they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge," Jer, iv. 22.
The following Extracts are taken from the Pre
face of a work, concerning Witches and APPARITIONS, the second Part, by Joseph GLANVILLE, Chaplain to King Charles II. :
* I know it is matter of very little credit 10 be a relater of stories, and I, of all men living, have the least reason to be fond of the employment ; for I never had any faculty in telling of a story, and have always had a particular indisposition and backwardness to the writing any such ; but of all relations of fact, there are none like to give a man such trouble and disreputation, as those
that relate to Witchcraft and Apparitions, which so great a party of men (in this age especially) do so rally and laugh at, and, without more ado, are resolved to explode and despise, as mere winter tales and old wives fables ; such they will call and account them, be their truth and evidence what it will; for they have unalterably fixed and determined the point, that witches and apparitious are things ridiculous, incredible, foppish, impossible, and therefore all relations that assert them are lies, cheats, and delusions, and those that afford any credit to them are credulous gulls, and silly easy believers. Which things, if they sbould not be so, it would spoil many a jest, and those who thought themselves great wits must have the discomfort of finding they are mistaken.They must fall back into common and vulgar belief, and lose the pretence to extraordinary sagacity, on which they valued themselves so much, and be brought to be afraid of another world, and be subjected to the common terrors which they. despised before, as the juggles and contrivances of priests and politicians, and so must see themselves under a necessity of altering their laws, or of being undone. These are very hard and grierous things, and therefore the stories of witches and apparitions must be exploded and run down, or all is lost.
" This is the case with multitudes of brisk, confident men, in our days; so that to meddle on this subject is to affront them greatly, to provoke their rage and contempt, and to raise the devil of their wit and buffoonery. All which considered, it must be confessed to be a very bold and adventurous thing, to undertake the province in which I have engaged. And besides the provocation which it must needs give to the huffers and witlings, there is another sort, whose good opinion I greatly value : some sober and ingenious spirits,