Of The Devil's Management In The Pagan Hierarchy By Omens Entrails Augurs Oracles And Such Like Pageantry Of Hell

Of the Devil's Management in the Pagan Hierarchy by Omens,

Entrails, Augurs, Oracles, and such like Pageantry of Hell;

and how they went

off the Stage at last by the Introduction of true Religion.

I have adjourn'd, not finished, my Account of the Devil's secret

Management by Possession, and shall reassume it, in its Place; but I

must take leave to mention some other Parts of his retir'd Scheme, by

which he has hitherto manag'd Mankind, and the first of these is by that

Fraud of all Frauds call'd Oracle.

Here his Trumpet yielded an uncertain Sound for some Ages, and like what

he was, and according to what he practised from the Beginning, he

deliver'd out Falshood and Delusion by Retale: The Priests of Apollo

acted this Farce for him to a great Nicety at Delphos; there were

divers others at the same Time, and some, which to give the Devil his

due, he had very little Hand in, as we shall see presently.

There were also some smaller, some greater, some more, some less famous

Places where those Oracles were seated, and Audience given to the

Enquirers, in all which the Devil, or some Body for him, Permissu

Superiorum, for either vindictive or other hidden Ends and Purposes,

was allow'd to make at least a Pretension to the Knowledge of Things to

come; but, as publick Cheats generally do, they acted in Masquerade, and

gave such uncertain and inconsistent Responses, that they were oblig'd

to use the utmost Art to reconcile Events to the Prediction, even after

things were come to pass.

Here the Devil was a lying Spirit, in a particular and extraordinary

manner, in the Mouths of all the Prophets; and yet he had the Cunning to

express himself so, that whatever happen'd, the Oracle was suppos'd to

have meant as it fell out; and so all their Augurs, Omens and Voices, by

which the Devil amus'd the World, not at that Time only, but since, have

been likewise interpreted.

Julian the Apostate dealt mightily in these Amusements, but the Devil,

who neither wish'd his Fall, or presag'd it to him, evidenc'd that he

knew nothing of Julian's Fate; for that, as he sent almost to all the

Oracles of the East, and summon'd all the Priests together to inform him

of the Success of his Persian Expedition, they all, like Ahab's

Prophets, having a lying Spirit in them, encourag'd him and promis'd

him Success.

Nay, all the ill Omens which disturb'd him, they presag'd good from;

for Example, he was at a prodigious Expence when he was at Antioch

to buy up white Beasts, and white Fowls, for Sacrifices, and for

predicting from the Entrails; from whence the Antiochians, in

contempt, call'd him Victimarius; but whenever the Entrails foreboded

Evil, the cunning Devil made the Priests put a different Construction

upon them, and promise him Good: When he entred into the Temple of the

Genij to offer Sacrifice, one of the Priests dropt down dead; this,

had it had any Signification more than a Man falling dead of an

Apoplectic, would have signified something fatal to Julian, who made

himself a Brother Sacrist or Priest; whereas the Priests turn'd it

presently to signify the Death of his Colleague, the Consul Sallust

which happen'd just at the same Time, tho' eight hundred Miles off; so

in another Case, Julian thought it ominous that he, who was Augustus

should be nam'd with two other Names of Persons, both already dead; the

Case was thus, the Stile of the Emperor was Julianus Foelix

Augustus, and two of his principal Officers were Julianus and

Foelix; now both Julianus and Foelix died within a few Days of

one another, which disturb'd Him much, who was the third of the three

Names; but his flattering Devil told him it all imported Good to him

(viz.) that tho' Julianus and Foelix should die, Augustus

should be immortal.

Thus whatever happen'd, and whatever was foretold, and how much soever

they differ'd from one another, the lying Spirit was sure to reconcile

the Prediction and the Event, and make them at least seem to

correspond in Favour of the Person enquiring.

Now we are told Oracles are ceased, and the Devil is farther limited

for the Good of Mankind, not being allow'd to vent his Delusions by the

Mouths of the Priests and Augurs, as formerly: I will not take upon me

to say how far they are really ceas'd, more than they were before; I

think 'tis much more reasonable to believe there was never any Reality

in them at all, or that any Oracle ever gave out any Answers but what

were the Invention of the Priests and the Delusions of the DEVIL; I have

a great many antient Authors on my Side in this Opinion, as Eusebius,

Tertullian, Aristotle, and others, who as they liv'd so near the

Pagan Times, and when even some of those Rites were yet in Use, they had

much more Reason to know, and could probably pass a better Judgment upon

them; nay Cicero himself ridicules them in the openest manner; again,

other Authors descend to Particular and shew how the Cheat was manag'd

by the Heathen Sacrists and Priests, and in what enthusiastic manner

they spoke; namely, by going into the hollow Images, such as the brazen

Bull and the Image of Apollo, and how subtilly they gave out dubious

and ambiguous Answers; that when the People did not find their

Expectations answer'd by the Event, they might be imposed upon by the

Priests, and confidently told they did not rightly understand the

Oracle's Meaning: However, I cannot say but that indeed there are some

Authors of good Credit too, who will have it that there was a real

prophetic Spirit in the Voice or Answers given by the Oracles, and that

oftentimes they were miraculously exact in those Answers; and they give

that of the Delphic Oracle answering the Question which was given

about Croesus for an Example, viz. what Croesus was doing at

that time? to wit, that he was boiling a Lamb and the Flesh of a

Tortoise together, in a brass Vessel, or Boiler, with a Cover of the

same Metal; that is to say, in a Kettle with a brass Cover.

To affirm therefore, that they were all Cheats, a Man must encounter

with Antiquity, and set his private Judgment up against an establish'd

Opinion; but 'tis no matter for that; if I do not see any thing in that

receiv'd Opinion capable of Evidence, much less of Demonstration, I must

be allow'd still to think as I do; others may believe as they list; I

see nothing hard or difficult in the Thing; the Priests, who were always

historically inform'd of the Circumstances of the Enquirer, or at least

something about them, might easily find some ambiguous Speech to make,

and put some double Entendre upon them, which upon the Event solv'd

the Credit of the Oracle, were it one way or other; and this they

certainly did, or we have room to think the DEVIL knows less of Things

now than he did in former Days.

It is true that by these Delusions the Priests got infinite Sums of

Money, and this makes it still probable that they would labour hard, and

use the utmost of their Skill to uphold the Credit of their Oracles; and

'tis a full Discovery, as well of the Subtlety of the Sacrists, as of

the Ignorance and Stupidity of the People, in those early Days of

Satan's Witchcraft; to see what merry Work the Devil made with the

World, and what gross Things he put upon Mankind: Such was the Story of

the Dordonian Oracle in Epirus, viz. That two Pigeons flew out

of Thebes (N. B. it was the Egyptian Thebes) from the Temple of

Belus, erected there by the antient Sacrists, and that one of these

fled Eastward into Lybia, and the Desarts of Africk, and the other

into Greece, namely, to Dordona, and these communicated the divine

Mysteries to one another, and afterwards gave mystical Solutions to the

devout Enquirers; first the Dordonian Pigeon perching upon an Oak

spoke audibly to the People there, that the Gods commanded them to build

an Oracle, or Temple, to Jupiter, in that Place; which was accordingly

done: The other Pigeon did the like on the Hill in Africa, where it

commanded them to build another to Jupiter Ammon, or Hammon.

Wise Cicero contemned all this, and, as Authors tell us, ridiculed the

Answer, which, as I have hinted above, the Oracle gave to Croesus

proving that the Oracle it self was a Liar, that it could not come

from Apollo, for that Apollo never spoke Latin: In a Word,

Cicero rejected them all, and Demosthenes also mentions the Cheats

of the Oracles; when speaking of the Oracle of Apollo, he said,

Pithia Philippiz'd; that is, that when the Priests were brib'd with

Money, they always gave their Answers in favour of Philip of


But that which is most strange to me is, that in this Dispute about the

Reality of Oracles, the Heathen who made use of them are the People who

expose them, and who insist most positively upon their being Cheats and

Impostors, as in particular those mentioned above; while the Christians

who reject them, yet believe they did really foretel Things, answer

Questions, &c. only with this Difference, that the Heathen Authors who

oppose them, insist that 'tis all Delusion and Cheat, and charge it upon

the Priests; and the Christian Opposers insist that it was real, but

that the Devil, not the Gods, gave the Answers; and that he was

permitted to do it by a superior Power, to magnify that Power in the

total silencing them at last.

But, as I said before, I am with the Heathen here, against the Christian

Writers, for I take it all to be a Cheat and Delusion: I must give my

Reason for it, or I do nothing; my Reason is this, I insist Satan is as

blind in Matters of Futurity, as we are, and can tell nothing of what is

to come; these Oracles often pretending to predict, could be nothing

else therefore but a Cheat form'd by the Money-getting Priests to amuse

the World, and bring Grist to their Mill: If I meet with any thing in my

Way to open my Eyes to a better Opinion of them, I shall tell it you as

I go on.

On the other hand, whether the Devil really spake in those Oracles, or

set the cunning Priests to speak for him; whether they predicted, or

only made the People believe they predicted; whether they gave Answers

which came to pass, or prevail'd upon the People to believe that what

was said did come to pass, it was much at one, and fully answer'd the

Devil's End; namely, to amuse and delude the World; and as to do, or

to cause to be done, is the same Part of Speech, so whoever did it, the

Devil's Interest was carried on by it, his Government preserv'd, and

all the Mischief he could desire was effectually brought to pass, so

that every way they were the Devil's Oracles, that's out of the


Indeed I have wonder'd sometimes why, since by this Sorcery the Devil

perform'd such Wonders, that is, play'd so many Tricks in the World, and

had such universal Success, he should set up no more of them; but there

might be a great many Reasons given for that, too long to tire you with

at present: 'Tis true, there were not many of them, and yet considering

what a great deal of Business they dispatch'd, it was enough, for six or

eight Oracles were more than sufficient to amuse all the World: The

chief Oracles we meet with in History are among the Greeks and the

Romans, viz.

That of Jupiter Ammon, in Lybia, as above.

The Dordonian, in Epirus.

Apollo Delphicus, in the Country of Phocis in Greece.

Apollo Clavius, in Asia Minor.

Serapis, in Alexandria in Egypt.

Trophomis, in Baeotia.

Sybilla Cumaea, in Italy.

Diana, at Ephesus.

Apollo Daphneus, at Antioch.

Besides many of lesser Note, in several other Places, as I have

hinted before.

I have nothing to do here with the Story mentioned by Plutarch, of a

Voice being heard at Sea, from some of the Islands call'd the

Echinades, and calling upon one Thamuz, an Egyptian, who was on

board a Ship, bidding him, when he came to the Palodes, other Islands

in the Ionian Seas, tell them there that the great God PAN was dead;

and when Thamuz perform'd it, great Groanings, and Howlings, and

Lamentation were heard from the Shore.

This Tale tells but indifferently, tho' indeed it looks more like a

Christian Fable, than a Pagan; because it seems as if made to honour

the Christian Worship, and blast all the Pagan Idolatry; and for that

Reason I reject it, the Christian Profession needing no such fabulous

Stuff to confirm it.

Nor is it true in fact, that the Oracles did cease immediately upon the

Death of Christ; but, as I noted before, the Sum of the Matter is this;

the Christian Religion spreading it self universally, as well as

miraculously, and that too by the Foolishness of Preaching, into all

Parts of the World, the Oracles ceas'd; that is to say, their Trade

ceas'd, their Rogueries were daily detected, the deluded People being

better taught, came no more after them, and being asham'd, as well as

discourag'd, they sneak'd out of the World as well as they could; in

short the Customers fell off, and the Priests, who were the Shopkeepers,

having no Business to do, shut up their Shops, broke, and went away; the

Trade and the Tradesmen were hiss'd off the Stage together; so that the

Devil, who, it must be confess'd, got infinitely by the Cheat, became

bankrupt, and was oblig'd to set other Engines at work, as other Cheats

and Deceivers do, who when one Trick grows stale, and will serve no

longer, are forc'd to try another.

Nor was the Devil to seek in new Measures; for tho' he could not give

out his delusive Trash as he did before, in Pomp and State, with the

Solemnity of a Temple and a Set of Enthusiasts call'd Priests, who plaid

a thousand Tricks to amuse the World, he then had Recourse to his old

Egyptian Method, which indeed was more antient than that of Oracles;

and that was by Magic, Sorcery, Familiars, Witchcraft, and the like.

Of this we find the people of the South, that is, of Arabia and

Chaldea were the first, from whence we are told of the Wise Men, that

is to say, Magicians, were call'd Chaldeans and Southsayers. Hence

also we find Ahaziah the King of Israel sent to Baalzebub the God

of Ekron, to enquire whether he should live or die? This some think

was a kind of an Oracle, tho' others think it was only some over-grown

Magician, who counterfeited himself to be a Devil, and obtain'd upon

that Idol-hunting Age to make a Cunning Man of him; and for that Purpose

he got himself made a Priest of Baalzebub, the God of Ekron, and

gave out Answers in his Name. Thus those merry Fellows in Egypt,

Jannes and Jambres, are said to mimick Moses and Aaron, when

they work'd the miraculous Plagues upon the Egyptians; and we have

some Instances in Scripture that support this, such as the Witch of

Endor, the King Manasses, who dealt with the Devil openly, and had

a Familiar; the Woman mentioned Acts xvi. who had a Spirit of

Divination, and who got Money by playing the Oracle; that is,

answering doubtful Questions, &c. which Spirit, or Devil, the

Apostles cast out.

Now tho' it is true that the old Women in the World have fill'd us with

Tales, some improbable, others impossible; some weak, some ridiculous,

and that this puts a general Discredit upon all the graver Matrons, who

entertain us with Stories better put together, yet 'tis certain, and I

must be allow'd to affirm, that the Devil does not disdain to take

into his Service many Troops of good Old Women, and Old Women-Men too,

who he finds 'tis for his Service to keep in constant Pay; to these he

is found frequently to communicate his Mind, and oftentimes we find them

such Proficients, that they know much more than the Devil can teach


How far our antient Friend Merlin, or the grave Matron his (Satan's)

most trusty and well-beloved Cousin and Counsellor, Mother Shipton,

were commissioned by him to give out their prophetic Oracles, and what

degree of Possession he may have arrived to in them upon their Midnight

Excursions, I will not undertake to prove; but that he might be

acquainted with them both, as well as with several of our modern

Gentlemen, I will not deny neither.

I confess it is not very incongruous with the Devil's Temper, or with

the Nature of his Business, to shift hands; possibly he found that he

had tried the World with Oracular Cheats; that Men began to be forfeited

with them, and grew sick of the Frauds which were so frequently

detected; that it was time to take new Measures, and contrive some new

Trick to Bite the World, that he might not be expos'd to Contempt; or

perhaps he saw the Approach of new Light, which the Christian Doctrine

bringing with it began to spread in the Minds of Men; that it would

out-shine the dim burning ignis fatuus, with which he had so long

cheated Mankind, and was afraid to stand it, lest he should be mobb'd

off the Stage by his own People, when their Eyes should begin to open:

That upon this foot he might in Policy withdraw from those old Retreats

the Oracles, and restrain those Responses before they lost all their

Credit; for we find the People seem'd to be at a mighty Loss for some

time, for want of them, so that it made them run up and down to

Conjurers, and Man-Gossips, to brazen Heads, speaking Calves, and

innumerable simple Things, so gross that they are scarce fit to be

named, to satisfy the Itch of having their Fortunes told them, as we

call it.

Now as the DEVIL is very seldom blind to his own Interest, and therefore

thought fit to quit his old way of imposing upon the World by his

Oracles, only because he found the World began to be too wise to be

imposed upon that way; so on the other hand, finding there was still a

Possibility to delude the World, tho' by other Instruments, he no sooner

laid down his Oracles, and the solemn Pageantry, magnificent

Appearances, and other Frauds of his Priests and Votaries, in their

Temples and Shrines; but he set up a new Trade, and having, as I have

said, Agents and Instruments sufficient for any Business that he could

have to employ them in, he begins in Corners, as the learned and merry

Dr. Brown says, and exercises his minor Trumperies by way of his own

contriving, lifting a great Number of new-found Operators, such as

Witches, Magicians, Diviners, Figure-casters, Astrologers, and such

inferior Seducers.

Now it is true, as that Doctor says, this was running into Corners, as

if he had been expell'd his more triumphant way of giving Audience in

Form, which for so many Ages had been allow'd him; yet I must add, that

as it seem'd to be the DEVIL's own doing, from a right Judgment of his

Affairs, which had taken a new Turn in the World, upon the shining of

new Lights from the Christian Doctrine, so it must be acknowledged the

Devil made himself amends upon Mankind, by the various Methods he

took, and the Multitude of Instruments he employ'd, and perhaps deluded

Mankind in a more fatal and sensible manner than he did before, tho' not

so universally.

He had indeed before more Pomp and Figure put upon it, and he cheated

Mankind then in a Way of Magnificence and Splendor; but this was not in

above eight or ten principal Places, and not fifty Places in all, public

or private; whereas now fifty thousand of his Angels and Instruments,

visible and invisible, hardly may be said to suffice for one Town or

City; but in short, as his invisible Agents fill the Air, and are at

hand for Mischief on every Emergence, so his visible Fools swarm in

every Village, and you have scarce a Hamlet or a Town but his Emissaries

are at Hand for Business; and which is still worse, in all Places he

finds Business; nay even where Religion is planted and seems to

flourish; yet he keeps his Ground and pushes his Interest according to

what has been said elsewhere upon the same Subject, that wherever

Religion plants, the Devil plants close by it.

Nor, as I say, does he fail of Success, Delusion spreads like a Plague,

and the Devil is sure of Votaries; like a true Mountebank, he can always

bring a Croud about his Stage, and that some Times faster than other


What I observe upon this Subject is this, that the World is at a strange

Loss for want of the Devil; if it was not so, what's the Reason, that

upon the silencing the Oracles, and Religion telling them that Miracles

are ceas'd, and that God has done speaking by Prophets, they never

enquire whether Heaven has established any other or new Way of

Revelation, but away they ran with their Doubts and Difficulties to

these Dreamers of Dreams, Tellers of Fortunes, and personal Oracles to

be resolv'd; as if when they acknowledge the Devil is dumb, these could

speak; and as if the wicked Spirit could do more than the Good, the

Diabolical more than the Divine, or that Heaven having taken away

the DEVIL's Voice, had furnish'd him with an Equivalent, by allowing

Scolds, Termagants, and old weak and superannuated Wretches to speak for

him; for these are the People we go to now in our Doubts and


While this Blindness continues among us, 'tis Nonsense to say that

Oracles are silenced, or the Devil is dumb, for the Devil gives

Audience still by his Deputies; only as Jeroboam made Priests of the

meanest of the People, so he is grown a little humble, and makes use of

meaner Instruments than he did before; for whereas the Priests of

Apollo, and of Jupiter, were splendid in their Appearance, of grave

and venerable Aspect, and sometimes of no mean Quality; now he makes use

of Scoundrels and Rabble, Beggars and Vagabonds, old Hags, superannuated

miserable Hermits, Gypsies and Strollers, the Pictures of Envy and ill


Either the Devil is grown an ill Master, and gives but mean Wages,

that he can get no better Servants; or else Common Sense is grown very

low priz'd and contemptible; that such as these are fit Tools to

continue the Succession of Fraud, and carry on the Devil's Interest in

the World; for were not the Passions and Temper of Mankind deeply

pre-engaged in favour of this dark Prince, we could never suffer our

selves to accept of his Favours by the Hands of such contemptible Agents

as these! How do we receive his Oracles from an old Witch of particular

Eminence, and who we believe to be more than ordinarily inspir'd from

Hell; I say, we receive the Oracle with Reverence; that is to say, with

a kind of Horror, with regard to the Black Prince it comes from, and at

the same time turn our Faces away from the Wretch that mumbles out the

Answers, lest she should cast an Evil Eye, as we call it, upon us, and

put a Devil into us when she plays the Devil before us? How do we

listen to the Cant of those worst of Vagabonds the Gypsies, when at

the same time we watch our Hedges and Hen-roosts for fear of their


Either the DEVIL uses us more like Fools than he did our Ancestors, or

we really are worse Fools than those Ages produced, for they were never

deluded by such low-priz'd Devils as we are; by such despicable

Bridewell DEVILS, that are fitter for a Whipping-post than an Altar,

and instead of being receiv'd as the Voice of an Oracle, should be sent

to the House of Correction for Pick-pockets.

Nor is this accidental, and here and there one of these Wretches to be

seen, but in short, if it has been in other Nations as it is with us, I

do not see that the DEVIL was able to get any better People into his

Pay, or at least very rarely: Where have we seen any thing above a

Tinker turn Wizard? and where have we had a Witch of Quality among us,

Mother Je------gs excepted? and if she had not been more of something

else than a Witch, 'twas thought she had never got so much Money by her


Magicians, Southsayers, Devil-raisers, and such People, we have heard

much of, but seldom above the Degree of the meanest of the mean People,

the lowest of the lowest Rank: Indeed the Word Wise Men, which the

Devil wou'd fain have had his Agents honour'd with, was used a while

in Egypt, and in Persia, among the Chaldeans, but it continued but

a little while, and never reach'd so far Northward as our Country; nor,

however the Devil has managed it, have many of our great Men, who have

been most acquainted with him, ever been able to acquire the Title of

Wise Men.

I have heard that in older Times, I suppose in good Queen Bess's Days,

or beyond, (for little is to be said here for any thing on this Side of

her time) there were some Counsellors and Statesmen who merited the

Character of wise, in the best Sense; that is to say, good, and

wise, as they stand in Conjunction; but as to what has happen'd since

that, or, as we may call it, from that Queen's Funeral to the late

Revolution, I have little to say; but I'll tell you what honest Andrew

Marvel said of those Times, and by that you may, if you please, make

your Calculation or let it alone, 'tis all one.

"To see a white Staff-maker, a Beggar, a Lord,

"And scarce a wise Man at a long Council-Board.

But I may be told this relates to wise Men in another Constitution, or

wise Men as they are opposed to Fools; whereas we are talking of them

now under another Class, namely, as Wisemen or Magicians,

South-sayers, &c. such as were in former Times call'd by that Name.

But to this I answer, that take them in which Sense you please, it may

be the same; for if I were to ask the Devil the Character of the best

States-man he had employ'd among us for many Years past, I am apt to

think that tho' Oracles are ceased, he would honestly, according to the

old ambiguous Way, when I ask'd if they were Christians, answer they

were (his) Privy-Counsellors.

It is but a little while ago, that I happen'd (in Conversation) to meet

with a long List of the Magistrates of that Age, in a neighbouring

Country, that is to say, the Men of Fame among them; and it was a very

diverting Thing to see the Judgment which was pass'd upon them among a

great deal of good Company; it is not for me to tell you how many white

Staves, Golden Keys, Mareshals Batoons, Cordons Blue, Gordon Rouge and

Gordon Blanc, there were among them, or by what Titles, as Dukes,

Counts, Marquis, Abbot, Bishop, or Justice they were to be

distinguish'd; but the marginal Notes I found upon most of them were

(being mark'd with an Asterism) as follows.

Such a Duke, such eminent Offices added to his Titles (* in the Margin)

------ No Saint.

Such an Arch---- with the Title of Noble added, ------ No Archangel.

Such an eminent Statesman and prime Minister, ------ No Witch.

Such a Ribbon with a Set of great Letters added, ------ No Conjurer.

It presently occurr'd to me that tho' Oracles were ceased, and we had

now no more double Entendre in such a Degree as before, yet that

ambiguous Answers were not at an End; and that whether those Negatives

were meant so by the Writers, or not, 'twas certain Custom led the

Readers to conclude them to be Satyrs, that they were to be rung

backwards like the Bells when the Town's on fire; tho' in short, I durst

not read them backward any where, but as speaking of foreign People, for

fear of raising the Devil I am talking of.

But to return to the Subject; to such mean Things is the DEVIL now

reduc'd in his ordinary Way of carrying on his Business in the World,

that his Oracles are deliver'd now by the Bellmen and the

Chimney-Sweepers, by the meanest of those that speak in the Dark, and if

he operates by them, you may expect it accordingly; his Agents seem to

me as if the DEVIL had singl'd them out by their Deformity, or that

there was something particular requir'd in their Aspect to qualify them

for their Employment; whence it is become proverbial, when our Looks are

very dismal and frightful, to say, I look like a Witch, or in other

Cases to say, as ugly as a Witch; in another Case to look as envious as

a Witch; now whether there is any Thing particularly requir'd in the

Looks of the DEVIL's modern Agents, which is assisting in the Discharge

of their Offices, and which make their Answers appear more solemn, this

the Devil has not yet reveal'd, at least not to me; and therefore why

it is that he singles out such Creatures as are fit only to fright the

People that come to them with their Enquiries, I do not take upon me to


Perhaps it is necessary they should be thus extraordinary in their

Aspect, that they might strike an Awe into the Minds of their Votaries,

as if they were Satan's true and real Representatives; and that the said

Votaries may think when they speak to the Witches they are really

talking to the Devil; or perhaps 'tis necessary to the Witches

themselves, that they should be so exquisitely ugly, that they might not

be surpriz'd at whatever Figure the Devil makes when he first appears to

them, being certain they can see nothing uglier than themselves.

Some are of the Opinion that the Communication with the Devil, or

between the Devil and those Creatures his Agents, has something

assimulating in it, and that if they were tolerable before, they are,

ipso facto, turn'd into DEVILS by talking with him; I will not say but

that a Tremor in the Limbs, a Horror in the Aspect, and a surprizing

Stare in the Eyes may seize upon some of them when they really see the

DEVIL, and that the frequent Repetition may make those Distortions,

which we so constantly see in their Faces becomes natural to them; by

which if it does not continue always upon the Countenance, they can at

least, like the Posture-Masters, cast themselves into such Figures and

frightful Dislocations of the Lines and Features in their Faces, and so

assume a Devil's Face suitable to the Occasion, or as may serve the turn

for which they take it up, and as often as they have any use for it.

But be it which of these the Enquirer pleases, 'tis all one to the Case

in Hand; this is certain, that such deform'd Devil-like Creatures,

most of those we call Hags and Witches, are in their Shapes and

Aspects, and that they give out their Sentences and frightful Messages

with an Air of Revenge for some Injury receiv'd; for Witches are fam'd

chiefly for doing Mischief.

It seems the Devil has always pick'd out the most ugly and frightful

old Women to do his Business; Mother Shipton, our famous English

Witch or Prophetess, is very much wrong'd in her Picture, if she was not

of the most terrible Aspect imaginable; and if it be true that Merlin,

the famous Welch Fortune-Teller, was a frightful Figure, it will seem

the more rational to believe, if we credit another Story, (viz.) that

he was begotten by the Devil himself, of which I shall speak by it self:

But to go back to the Devil's Instruments being so ugly; it may be

observed, I say, that the Devil has always dealt in such sort of Cattle;

the Sybils, of whom so many strange prophetic Things are recorded,

whether true or no is not to the Question, are (if the Italian

Painters may have any Credit given them) all represented as very old

Women; and as if Ugliness were a Beauty to old Age, they seem to paint

them out as ugly and frightful as (not they, the Painters) but even as

the Devil himself could make them; not that I believe there are any

original Pictures of them really extant; but it is not unlikely that the

Italians might have some traditional Knowledge of them, or some

remaining Notions of them, or particularly that antient Sybil named

Anus, who sold the fatal Book to Tarquin; 'tis said of her that

Tarquin supposed she doated with Age.

I had Thoughts indeed here to have entred into a learned Disquisition of

the Excellency of old Women in all diabolical Operations, and

particularly of the Necessity of having recourse to them for Satan's

more exquisite Administration, which also may serve to solve the great

Difficulty in the natural Philosophy of Hell; namely, why it comes to

pass that the Devil is oblig'd for want of old Women, properly so

call'd, to turn so many antient Fathers, grave Counsellors both of Law

and State, and especially Civilians or Doctors of the Law into old

Women, and how the extraordinary Operation is perform'd; but this, as a

Thing of great Consequence in Satan's Management of humane Affairs, and

particularly as it may lead us into the necessary History, as well as

Characters of some of the most eminent of these Sects among us, I have

purposely reserv'd for a Work by it self, to be published, if Satan

hinders not, in fifteen Volumes in Folio, wherein I shall in the first

Place define in the most exact Manner possible, what is to be understood

by a Male old Woman, of what heterogeneous Kind they are produced,

give you the monstrous Anatomy of the Parts, and especially those of the

Head, which being fill'd with innumerable Globules of a sublime Nature,

and which being of a fine Contexture without, but particularly hollow in

the Cavity, defines most philosophically that antient paradoxical

Saying, (viz.) being full of Emptiness, and makes it very consistent

with Nature and common Sense.

I shall likewise spend some Time, and it must be Labour too, I assure

you, when 'tis done, in determining whether this new Species of

Wonderfuls are not deriv'd from that famous old Woman Merlin, which I

prove to be very reasonable for us to suppose, because of the many

several judicious Authors, who affirm the said Merlin, as I hinted

before, to have been begotten by the Devil.

As to the deriving his Gift of Prophesy from the Devil, by that

pretended Generation, I shall omit that Part, because, as I have all

along insisted upon it, that Satan himself has no prophetic or

predicting Powers of his own, it is not very clear to me that he could

convey it to his Posterity, nil dat quod not habet.

However, in deriving this so much magnified Prophet in a right Line from

the Devil, much may be said in favour of his ugly Face, in which it

was said he was very remarkable, for it is no new Thing for a Child to

be like the Father; but all these weighty Things I adjourn for the

present, and proceed to the Affair in Hand, namely, the several Branches

of the Devil's Management since his quitting his Temples and Oracles.

Of The Devil's Last Scene Of Liberty Of The Devil's Second Kingdom And How He Got Footing In The Renew'd World By His Victory Over Noah And His Race facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail