صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

jurer, whereupon the whole company rising up against him for the performance of such diabolical feats (quæ nec arte, nec actu humano, nec natura fieri poterant) fell upon him, and by force brought him to confess that he conspired with the devil, which at first this hardened sinner was very unwilling to do; Bodinus with great candour observes, that this was indeed a blot in the fame of Charles the Ninth, who in all other respects was a praiseworthy monarch; (aliàs laudato rege.) When my readers recollect the meritorious part that Charles the Ninth acted in the massacre of Paris, he will own with me that the candour of Bodinus is extraordinary in producing a story so much to the discredit of a praiseworthy prince.

There was one Zedekiah, a Jew physician, who in

presence of the Emperor Lodowick the pious, in the year 876, swallowed a prize-fighter on horseback, horse and all (hoplomachum equitem devoravit) -Nay he did more, he swallowed a cart loaded with hay, horses, and driver, (currum quoque onustum fæno cum equis et aurigd )- he cut off people's heads, hands, and feet, which he fastened on again in the eyes of all the court, whilst the blood was running from them, and in a moment the man so maimed appeared whole and unhurt; he caused the Emperor to hear the sound of hounds in full chase, with shouts of huntsmen and many other noises in the air; and in the midst of winter shewed him a garden in full bloom with flowers and fruits, and birds singing in the trees; a most detestable piece of magic and very unworthy of an emperor to pass over with impunity, for he suffered the Jew doctor to escape. As it is always right when a man deals in the marvellous to quote his authority, I beg leave to inform the incredulous reader (if any there be) that I take these facts upon the credit of the learned Joannes Trithemius, a very serious and respectable author.

[blocks in formation]

-One more case in point occurs to me, which I shall state, and then release my readers from the conjurer's circle, and this is the case of one Diodorus, vulgarly called Liodorus, a Sicilian conjurer, who by spells and enchantments turned men into brute animals, and metamorphosed almost every thing he laid his hands upon ; this fellow, when the inhabitants of Catana would have persuaded him to let them hang him quietly and contentedly, as a conjurer and heretic ought, took counsel of the devil, and cowardly flew away to Byzantium by the shortest passage through the air, to the great disappointment of the spectators; being pursued by the officers of justice, not indeed through the air, but as justice is accustomed to travel pede claudo, he took a second flight, and alighting in the city of Catana, was providentially caught by Leo the good bishop of that city, who throwing him into a fiery furnace, roasted this strange bird to the great edification of all beholders ( sed tandem a Leone Catanensi episcopo, dirind virtute ex improviso captus, frequenti in me dia urbe populo, in fornacem igneam injectus, ignis incendio consumtus est )– This anecdote is to be found in Thomas Fazellus (lib. 5, c. 2, and again lib. 3, deca. 1 rerum Sicularum), who closes his account with the following pious remark, naturally arising from his subject, and which I shall set down in his own words-Sic divina justitia prævaluit, et qui se judicibus fortè minùs justo zelo motis eripuerat, e sancti viri manibus elabi non potuit. he, divine justice prevailed, and he, who had snatched himself out of the hands of judges, who perhaps were actuated by a zeal not so just as it should be, could not escape from this holy person.'

• Thus,' says


Quis labor hic superis cantus herbasque sequendi,
Spernendique timor? Cujus commercia pacti
Obstrictos habuere Deos ? Parere necesse est,
An juvat? Ignotâ tantum pietate merentur,
An tacitis valuere minis? Hoc juris in oinnes
Est illis superos? An habent hæc carmina certum
Imperiosa Deum, qui mundum cogere, quicquid

Cogitur, ipse potest? Lucan, lib. vi. 491, &c. Having in my preceding paper stated some of the proofs by which the orthodox theologicians make good their charge of sorcery against Heretics, Jews, and Mahometans, and shewn from their authorities, faithfully and correctly quoted, how naturally the devil and his agents take to all those who separate from the mother church of Rome; having also briefly deduced the history of magic from its origin and invention, and taken some notice of those

passages in holy writ, where sorcerers and magicians are made mention of, I shall now proceed to a more interesting part of my subject, in which I shall lay open the arcana of the art magic, and shew what that wicked and mysterious compact is, on which it depends, and explain the nature of those diabolical engagements, which a man must enter into before he can become an adept in sorcery.

This compact or agreement, as grave and learned authors inform us, is sometimes made expressly with the great devil himself in person, corporally present before witnesses, who takes an oath of homage and allegiance from bis vassal, and then endows him with the powers of magic: this was the case with a certain Arragonese nobleman, which Heisterback, in his treatise upon miracles, tells us he was a wit

ness to, also of the Vidame Theophylus in the

year 537, as related by Sigisbert: sometimes it is done by memorial or address in writing, in the manner of certain Norman heretics, who wrote a petition to the Sybils, as chief of the necromancers: this petition sets forth that, Whereas the parties undersigning had entered into certain articles and conditions, and by solemn engagement bound themselves faithfully to perform the same, they now pray in the first place the ratification of those articles and conditions on the part of the sybils; and that they would be pleased in conformity thereunto to order and direct their under-agents and familiars to do suit and service to the contracting parties agreeably to condition; and that when they were summoned and invoked to appear, they would be promptly forthcoming, not in their own shapes to the annoyance and offence of the contracting parties, but sprucely and handsomely, like personable gentlemen; also that the petitioners might be discharged from the ceremony of compelling them by the drawing of a circle, or of confining themselves or their familiars within the same.

Secondly, that the sybils would be pleased to affix some seal or signature to the convention, by which its

power and efficacy with their subservient familiars might be rendered more secure and permanent.

Thirdly, that the petitioners may be exempted from all danger, which might otherwise accrue to them, from the civil authority of magistrates or the inquisitorial power of the church.

Fourthly, that all the temporal undertakings and pursuits of the petitioners in the courts and councils of princes may prosper and succeed; and that good Juck may

attend them in all kinds of gaming to their suitable profit and advantage.

Lastly, that their enemies of all sorts may have no power over them to do them hurt.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

• That these conditions being granted and performed, the petitioners on their part solemnly promise and vow perpetual fealty and allegiance to their sovereigns, the Sybils, as in the convention itself is more fully set forth; and that they will faithfully, so long as they shall live, make a sacrifice and oblation of one human soul, every year, to be offered upon the day and hour of the day, in which this convention shall be ratified and confirmed by the sybilline powers; provided always, that the said high and mighty powers shall fully and bona fide perform what is therein stipulated and agreed to on their parts in the premises.'

This document is faithfully translated from Father Delrius's Latin treatise Disquisitionum Magicarum, Lib. 2, Quest. 4: he says that it was publicly burned at Paris, together with the books of magic it refers to, and he quotes the authority of Crespetus de odio Satanæ Discursu 15, for a more particular account; but as Crespetus's book is not in my reach I can trace the story no farther.

In both these cases, whether the parties contract viva voce, or proceed by petition, the conditions are the same, and consist, as we are told, in an express renunciation of the Christian creed; the baptismal rites are reversed, and the devil, or his representative, scratches out the cross from the forehead with his pails, and rebaptizes his vassal by a name of his own devising; these are indispensable conditions ; the devil also exacts some rag or remnant of his vassal's garment, as a badge of allegiance, and compels him to make the oath within a circle drawn upon the ground (which being a figure without beginning or end is a symbol of divinity); in this circle the figure of a cross is to be traced out, on which the magician elect tramples and kicks with disdain ; he then requests the devil to strike his name out of the book of

« السابقةمتابعة »