Of The Various Methods The Devil Takes To Converse With Mankind

Having spoken something of Persons, and particularly of such as the

Devil thinks fit to employ in his Affairs in the World, it comes next

of course to say something of the Manner how he communicates his Mind to

them, and by them to the rest of his Acquaintance in the World.

I take the Devil to be under great Difficulties in his Affairs on his

Part, especially occasion'd by the Bounds which are set him, or which

Policys oblige him to set to himself, in his Access to the conversing

with Mankind; 'tis evident he is not permitted to fall upon them with

Force and Arms, that is to say, to muster up his infernal Troops, and

attack them with Fire and Sword; if he was not loose to act in this

Manner as he was able, by his own seraphic Power to have destroy'd the

whole Race, and even the Earth they dwelt upon, so he would certainly,

and long ago have effectually done it; his particular Interests and

Inclinations are well enough known.

But in the next Place, as he is thus restrain'd from Violence, so

Prudentials restrain him in all his other Actings with Mankind; and

being confin'd to Stratagem, and soft still Methods, such as Persuasion,

Allurement, feeding the Appetite, prompting, and then gratifying corrupt

Desires, and the like; he finds it for his Purpose not to appear in

Person, except very rarely, and then in Disguise; but to act all the

rest in the Dark, under the Vizor of Art and Craft, making Use of

Persons and Methods conceal'd, or at least not fully understood or


As to the Persons whom he employs, I have taken some Pains you see to

discover some of them; but the Methods he uses with them, either to

inform and instruct, and give Orders to them, or to converse with other

People by them, these are very particular, and deserve some Place in our

Memoirs, particularly as they may serve to remove some of our Mistakes,

and to take off some of the frightful Ideas we are apt to entertain in

Prejudice of this great Manager; as if he was no more to be match'd in

his Politics, than he would be to be match'd in his Power, if it was let

loose; which is so much a Mistake, that on the contrary, we read of

several People that have abused and cheated the Devil, a Thing, which

I cannot say, is very honest nor just, notwithstanding the old Latin

Proverb, Fallere fallentem non est fraus, (which Men construe, or

rather render, by way of Banter Upon Satan) 'tis no Sin to cheat the

Devil, which for all that, upon the whole I deny, and alledge, that

let the Devil act how he will by us, we ought to deal fairly by him.

But to come to the Business, without Circumlocutions; I am to enquire

how Satan issues out his Orders, gives his Instructions and fully

delivers his Mind to his Emissaries, of whom I have mention'd some in

the Title to Chap. IX. In order to this, you must form an Idea of the

Devil sitting in great State, in open Campaign, with all his Legions

about him, in the height of the Atmosphere; or if you will, at a certain

Distance from the Atmosphere, and above it, that the Plan of his

Encampment might not be hurried round its own Axis, with the Earth's

diurnal Motion, which might be some Disturbance to him.

By this fix'd Situation, the Earth performing its Rotation, he has every

Part and Parcel of it brought to a direct Opposition to him, and

consequently to his View once in twenty four Hours: The last time I was

there, if I remember right, he had this Quarter of the World, which we

call Christendom, just under his Eye; and as the Motion is not so swift,

but that his piercing Opticks can take a strict View of it en passant;

for the Circumference of it being but twenty one thousand Miles, and its

circular Motion being full twenty four Hours performing, he has

something more than an Hour to view every thousand Miles, which, to his

supernatural Penetration, is not worth naming.

As he takes thus a daily View of all the Circle, and an hourly View of

the Parts, he is fully Master of all Transactions, at least such as are

done above Board by all Mankind; and then he dispatches his Emissaries

or Aid du Camps to every Part with his Orders and Instructions: Now

these Emissaries, you are to understand, are not the Witches and

Diviners, who I spoke of above, for I call them also Emissaries; but

they are all Devils or (as you know they are call'd) Devil's Angels;

and these may, perhaps, come and converse personally with the

Sub-emissaries I mention'd, to be ready for their Support and Assistance

on all Occasions of Business: These are those Devils which the Witches

are said to raise; for we can hardly suppose the Master Devil comes

himself, at the Summons of every ugly old Woman.

These run about into every Nook and Corner, wherever Satan's Business

calls them, and are never wanting to him; but are the most diligent

Devils imaginable; like the Turkish Chaiux, they no sooner receive

their Errand, but they execute it with the utmost Alacrity; and as to

their Speed, it may be truly written as a Motto, upon the Head of every

individual Devil,

Non indiget calcaribus.

These are those, who they tell us our Witches, Sorcerers, Wizards, and

such Sorts of Folks converse freely with, and are therefore call'd their

Familiars; and as they tell us, come to them in human Shapes, talk to

them with articulate plain Voices, as if Men, and that yet the said

Witches, &c. know them to be Devils.

History has not yet enlighten'd us in this Part of useful Knowledge, or

at least not sufficiently for a Description of the Persons or Habits of

these Sorts of Appearances; as what Shapes they take up, what Language

they speak, and what particular Works they perform, so we must refer it

to farther Enquiry; but if we may credit History, we are told many

famous Stories of these Appearances; for Example, the famous Mother

Lakland, who was burnt for a Witch at Ipswich, Anno 1646,

confessed at the Time of her Execution, or a little before it, that she

had frequent Conversation with the Devil himself; that she being very

poor, and withal of a devilish passionate, cruel and revengeful

Disposition before, used to wish she had it in her Power to do such and

such mischievous Things to some that she hated; and that the Devil

himself, who, it seems, knew her Temper, came to her one Night as she

lay in her Bed, and was between sleeping and waking, and speaking in a

deep hollow Voice, told her; if she would serve him in some Things he

would employ her to do, she should have her Will of all her Enemies, and

should want for nothing: That she was much afraid at first, but that he

solliciting her very often, bad her not be afraid of him, and still

urg'd her to yield, and as she says, struck his Claw into her Hand, and

tho' it did not hurt her, made it bleed, and with the Blood wrote the

Covenants, that is to say, the Bargain between them: being ask'd what

was in them, and whether he requir'd her to curse or deny God or Christ?

She said no.

N. B. I do not find she told them whether the Devil wrote it with

a Pen, or whether on Paper or Parchment, nor whether she sign'd it

or no, but it seems he carry'd it away with him. I suppose, if

Satan's Register were examin'd, it might be found among the

Archives of Hell, the Rolls of his acta Publica; and when his

Historiographer Royal publishes them, we may look for it among


Then he furnish'd her with three Devils, to wait upon her (I suppose)

for she confess'd they were to be employ'd in her Service; they attended

in the Shapes of two little Dogs and a Mole: The first she bewitch'd

was her own Husband, by which he lay a while in great Misery and died;

then she sent to one Captain Beal and burnt a new Ship of his just

built, which had never been at Sea; these and many other horrid Things

she did and confess'd, and having been twenty Years a Witch, at last the

Devil left her, and she was burnt as she deserv'd.

That some extraordinary Occasions may bring these Agents of the Devil,

nay, sometimes the Devil himself, to assume human Shapes, and appear

to other People we cannot doubt; he did thus in the Case of our Saviour

as a Tempter, and some think he did so to Manasses as a Familiar,

who the Scripture charges with Sorcery, and having a Familiar or Devil;

Fame tells us that St. Dunstan frequently converst with him, and

finally, took him by the Nose; and so of others.

But in these modern Ages of the World, he finds it much more to his

Purpose to work under Ground as I have observ'd, and to keep upon the

Reserve; so that we have no authentick Accounts of his personal

Appearance, but what are very antient or very remote from our Faith, as

well as our Enquiry.

It seems to be a Question that would bear some debating, whether all

Apparitions are not Devils or from the Devil; but there being so

many of those Apparitions which we call Spirits, which really assume

Shapes and make Appearances in the World, upon such Accounts as we know

Satan himself scorns to be employ'd in, that I must dismiss the

Question in favour of the Devil; assuring them, that as he never

willingly did any good in his Life, so he would be far from giving

himself the Trouble of setting one Foot into the World, on such an

Errand; and for that Reason we maybe assur'd those certain Apparitions,

which we are told came to detect a Murther in Gloucestershire, and

others who appear'd to prevent the ruining an Orphan for want of finding

a Deed, that was not lost, was certainly some other Power equally

concern'd, and not the Devil.

On the other Hand, neither will it follow that Satan never appears in

human Shape; for tho' every Apparition may not be the Devil, yet it

does not follow that the Devil never makes an Apparition: All I shall

say to it is, as I have mention'd before, that generally speaking, the

Devil finds it more for his Purpose, to have his Interest in the World

propagated another Way; namely, in private, and his personal Appearances

are reserv'd for Things only of extraordinary Consequence, and, as I may

say, of evident Necessity, where his Honour is concern'd, and where his

Interest could be carried on no other Way; not forgetting to take Notice

that this is very seldom.

It remains to enquire, what then those Things are which we make so much

stir about, and which are call'd Apparitions, or Spirits assuming

human Shapes, and shewing themselves to People on particular Occasions?

whether they are evil Spirits or good? and tho', indeed, this is out of

my Way at this Time, and does not relate at all to the Devil's

History, yet I thought it not amiss to mention it; (1.) Because, as I

have said, I do not wholly exclude Satan from all Concern in such

Things; and (2.) Because I shall dismiss the Question with so very short

an Answer, namely, that we may determine which are and which are not the

Devil's, by the Errand they come upon; every one to his own Business;

if it comes of a good Errand, you may certainly acquit the Devil of

it, conclude him innocent, and that he has no hand in it; if it comes of

a wicked and devilish Errand, you may e'en take him up upon Suspicion,

'tis ten to one but you find him at the Bottom of it.

Next to Apparitions, we find Mankind disturb'd by abundance of little

odd reserv'd Ways which the Devil is shrewdly suspected of having a

Hand in, such as Dreams, Noises, Voices, &c. smells of Brimstone,

Candles burning blue, and the like.

As to Dreams, I have nothing to say in Satan's Prejudice at all there; I

make no Question but he deals very much in that Kind of Intelligence,

and why should he not? we know Heaven it self formerly converst very

often with the greatest of Men, by the same Method, and the Devil is

known to mimick the Methods, as well as the Actions of his Maker;

whether Heaven has not quite left off that Way of working, we are not

certain; but we pretty well know the Devil has not left it, and I

believe some Instances may be given where his Worship has been really

seen and talk'd to in sleep, as much as if the Person had been awake

with his Eyes open.

These are to be distinguish'd too, pretty much by the Goodness or

Badness of the Subject; how often have Men committed Murther, Robbery

and Adultery in a Dream, and at the same time except an extraordinary

Agitation of the Soul, and express'd by extraordinary Noises in the

Sleep, by violent Sweating and other such Ways, the Head has never been

remov'd from the Pillow, or the Body so much as turn'd in the Bed?

Whether in such Cases, the Soul with all the Passions and Affections

being agitated, and giving their full assent to the Facts, of whatever

Kind soever, the Man is not as guilty as if the Sins so dream'd of his

committing, had been actually committed? tho' it be no Doubt to me, but

that it is so, yet as it is foreign to the present Affair, and not at

all relating to the Devil's History, I leave it to the Reverend

Doctors of the Church, as properly belonging to them to decide.

I knew a Person who the Devil so haunted with naked Women, fine

beautiful Ladies in Bed with him, and Ladies of his Acquaintance too,

offering their Favours to him, and all in his Sleep; so that he seldom

slept without some such Entertainment; the Particulars are too gross for

my Story, but he gave me several long Accounts of his Night's Amours,

and being a Man of a virtuous Life and good Morals, it was the greatest

Surprize to him imaginable; for you cannot doubt but that the cunning

Devil made every thing be acted to the Life with him, and in a manner

the most wicked; he own'd with Grief to me, that the very first Attack

the Devil made upon him, was with a very beautiful Lady of his

Acquaintance, who he had been really something freer than ordinary with

in their common Conversation; This Lady he brought to him in a Posture

for Wickedness, and wrought up his Inclination so high in his Sleep,

that he, as he thought, actually went about to debauch her, she not at

all resisting; but that he wak'd in the very Moment, to his particular


He was greatly concern'd at this Part, namely, that he really gave the

Consent of his Will to the Fact, and wanted to know if he was not as

guilty of Adultery, as if he had lain with her; indeed he decided the

Question against himself, so forcibly, that I, who was of the same

Opinion before, had nothing to say against it; however, I confirm'd him

in it, by asking him these Questions.

1. Whether he did not think the Devil had the chief Hand in such

a Dream? he answer'd, it could certainly be no body else, it must

be the Devil.

2. I then ask'd him what Reason the Devil could have for it, if

his Consent to the Fact in Sleep had not been criminal? That's

true indeed, says he, I am answer'd: But then he ask'd another

Question, which, I confess, is not so easy to answer, namely, How

he should prevent being serv'd so again.

Nor could all my Divinity or his own keep the Devil from attacking him

again; on the other Hand, as I have said, he worried him to that Degree,

that he injur'd his Health, bringing naked Women to him, sometimes one,

sometimes another, sometimes in one Posture of Lewdness, sometimes in

another, sometimes into his very Arms, sometimes with such Additions as

I am not merry enough, and sometimes such as I am not wicked enough to

put into your Heads; the Man, indeed, could not help it, and so the

Devil was more Faulty than he; but as I hinted to him, he might bring

his Mind to such a stated Habit of Virtue, as to prevent its assenting

to any wicked Motion, even in Sleep, and that would be the Way to put an

End to the Attempt; and this Advice he relish'd very well, and

practised, I believe, with Success.

By this same Method, the same Devil injects powerful Incentives to

other Crimes, provokes Avarice, by laying a great Quantity of Gold in

your View, and no body present, giving you an Opportunity to steal it,

or some of it, at the same time, perhaps, knowing your Circumstances to

be such as that you are at that Time in a great want of the Money.

I knew another, who being a Tradesman, and in great Distress for Money

in his Business, dream'd that he was walking all alone in a great Wood,

and that he met a little Child with a Bag of Gold in its Hand, and a

fine Necklace of Diamonds on its Neck, upon the Sight, his Wants

presently dictated to him to rob the Child; the little innocent

Creature, (just so he dream'd) not being able to resist; or to tell who

it was, accordingly he consented to take the Money from the Child, and

then to take the Diamond Necklace from it too, and did so.

But the Devil, (a full Testimony, as I told him, that it was the

Devil, not contented with that, hinted to him, that perhaps the Child

might some time or other know him, and single him out, by crying or

pointing, or some such Thing, especially if he was suspected and shew'd

to it, and therefore it would be better for him to kill the Child,

prompting him to kill it for his own Safety, and that he need do no more

but twist the Neck of it a little, or crush it with his Knee; He told me

he stood debating with himself, whether he should do so or not; but that

in that Instant his Heart struck him with the Word Murther, and he

entertain'd a Horror of it, refus'd to do it, and immediately waked.

He told me, that when he wak'd, he found himself in so violent a Sweat

as he never had known the like; that his Pulse beat with that Heat and

Rage, that it was like a Palpitation of the Heart to him, and that the

Agitation of his Spirits was such, that he was not fully composed in

some Hours; tho' the Satisfaction and Joy that attended him, when he

found it was but a Dream, assisted much to return his Spirits to their

due Temperament.

It is neither my Business or Inclination to turn Divine here, nor is the

Age I write to sufficiently Grave to relish a Sermon, if I was disposed

to preach, though they must allow the Subject would very well bear it;

but I shall only ask them, if they think this is not the Devil, what

they think it is? If they believe it is the Devil, they will act

accordingly I hope, or let it alone, as Satan and they can agree about


I should not oblige the Devil over much, whatever I might do to those

that read it; if I should enter here upon a Debate of Interests,

(viz.) to enquire whether the Devil has not a vast Advantage upon

Mankind this Way, and whether it is not much his Interest to preserve

it; and if I prove the Affirmative, I leave it to you to enquire whose

Interest it is to disappoint and supplant him.

In short, I take Dreams to be the second Best of the Advantages the

Devil has over Mankind; the first, I suppose, you all know (viz.)

the Treachery of the Garrison within; by Dreams he may be said to get

into the Inside of us without Opposition; here he opens and locks

without a Key, and like an Enemy laying siege to a fortified City,

Reason and Nature, the Governor of the City, keep him out by Day, and

keep the Garrison true to their Duty; but in the Dark he gets in and

parlees with the Garrison (the Affections and Passions) Debauches their

Loyalty, stirring up them to Disloyalty and Rebellion, so they betray

their Trust, Revolt, Mutiny, and go over to the Besieger.

Thus he manages his Interest, I say, and insinuates himself into the

Inside of us, without our Consent, nay, without our Knowledge; for

whatever Speculation may do, 'tis evident Demonstration does not assist

us to discover which Way he gets Access to the Soul, while the Organ

tied up, and dozed with Sleep has lock'd it up from Action; that it is

so is clear, but how he does it is a Secret which I do not find the

Antients or Moderns have yet made a Discovery of.

That Devil of a Creature, Mother Lakland, whose Story I mention'd

above, acknowledg'd that the first Time the Devil attempted to draw

her in to be a Witch was in a Dream, and even when she consented, she

said, she was between sleeping and waking; that is, she did not know

whether she was awake or asleep, and the cunning Devil it seems was

satisfied with her Assent given so, when she was asleep, or neither

asleep or awake, so taking the Advantage of her Incapacity to act


The Stories of her bewitching several People, and the manner in which

they died, are so formidable and extravagant, that I care not to put any

one's Faith to the stretch about them, tho' publish'd by Authority, and

testified by Abundance of Witnesses; but this is recorded in particular,

and to my Purpose, whether from her own Mouth or not, I do not say,

namely, the Description of a Witch, and the Difference between Witches,

and those other of Satan's Acquaintance who act in his Name.

1. They have consulted and covenanted with a Spirit or Devil.

2. They have a Deputy Devil, sometimes several to serve and

assist them.

3. These they employ as they please, call them by Name, and command

their Appearance in whatever Shape they think fit.

4. They send them abroad to or into the Persons who they design to

bewitch, who they always torment, and often murther them, as Mother

Lakland did several.

As to the Difference between the several Devils that appear, it relates

to the Office of the Persons who employ them; as Conjurers, who seem to

command the particular Devil that waits upon them with more Authority,

and raise them and lay them at Pleasure, drawing Circles, casting

Figures, and the like; but the Witch, in a more familiar manner,

whispers with the Devil, keeps the Devil in a Bag or a Sack, sometimes

in her Pocket, and the like, and like Mr. Faux shews Tricks with him.

But all these Kinds deal much in Dreams, talk with the Devil in their

Sleep, and make other People talk with him in their Sleep too; and 'tis

on this Occasion I mention it here; in short, the Devil may well take

this Opportunity with Mankind, for not half the World that came into his

Measures would comply, if they were awake; but of that hereafter.

And yet his thus insinuating himself by Dream, does not seem sufficient,

in my Opinion, to answer the Devil's End, and to carry on his

Business; and therefore we must be forc'd to allow him a Kind of actual

Possession, in particular Cases, and that in the Souls of some People,

by different Methods from others; Luther is of the Opinion that the

Devil gets a Familiarity with some Souls just at, or rather before

their being embodied; as to the Manner and Method how he gets in, that

is another Question, and may be spoken of by it self; besides, why may

not he, that at Satan's Request to enter into the Herd of Swine, said

go, give the same Commission to possess a sort of Creatures so many

Degrees below the Dignity of the Gaderenian Swine, and open the Door

too? but as for that, when our Lord said go, the Devil never

enquir'd which Way he should get in.

When then I see Nations, or indeed Herds of Nations set on Fire of Hell,

and as I may say, enflam'd by the Devil; when I see Towns, Parties,

Factions and Rabbles of People visibly possess'd; 'tis enough to me that

the great Master of the Devils has said to him, GO; there's no need to

enquire which Way he finds open, or at what postern Gate he gets in; as

to his appearing, 'tis plain he often gets in without appearing, and

therefore the Question about his appearing still remains a Doubt, and is

not very easy to be resolv'd.

In the Scripture we have some Light into it, and that is all the Help I

find from Antiquity, and it goes a great Way to solve the Phaenomena of

Satan's appearing; what I mean by the Scripture giving some Light to it,

is this; 'tis said in several Places, and of several Persons, God came

to them in a Dream, Gen. xx. 3. God came to Abimelech in a Dream by

Night, Gen. xxxi. 24. And God came to Laban the Syrian in a

Dream, Matt. ii. 13. The Angel of the Lord appear'd to Joseph in a

Dream; short Comments are sufficient to plain Texts, applying this to

my Friend when he wanted to be satisfied about the How, relating to his

Dream (viz.) how he should come to Dream such wicked Things? I told

him, in short, the Case was plain, the Devil came to him in a Dream by

Night: How and in what manner he form'd the wicked Representations, and

spread debauch'd Appearances before his Fancy, by real Whispers and

Voice, according to Milton, or by what other Methods, the Learned are

not arriv'd to any Certainty about it.

This leads me necessarily to enquire whether the Devil or some of his

Agents are not always in our Company, whether they make any visible

Appearances or no? For my Part I make no Question of it, how else could

he come at the Knowledge of what we do; for as I can allow him no

Prescience at all, as for many Reasons I have observ'd already, he must

be able to see and know us, and what we are about when we know nothing

of him, or else he could know nothing of us and our Affairs, which yet

we find otherwise; and this gives him infinite Advantage to Influence

our Actions, to judge of our Inclinations, and to bring our Passions to

clash with our Reason, as they often do, and get the better of it too.

All this he obtains by his being able to walk about invisible, and see

when he is not seen, of which I have spoken already; hence that most

wise and solid Suggestion, that when the Candles burn blue the Devil

is in the Room, which great Secret in Nature, that you may more fully be

convinc'd of its imaginary Reality, I must tell you the following Story

which I saw in a Letter directed to a particular Friend, take it Word

for Word as in the Letter; because I do not make my self accountable for

the Facts, but take them ad referendum.


We had one Day, very early in the Morning, and for the most Part of the

Day a great deal of Rain with a high Wind, and the Clouds very thick and

dark all Day.

In the Evening the cloudy thick Weather continued, tho' not the Rain,

when being at a Friend's House in ---- Lane London, and several Ladies

and some Gentlemen in the Room, besides two or three Servants (for we

had been eating) the following Interlude happen'd for our Entertainment:

When the Cloth was taken away, two large Candles were brought upon the

Table and plac'd there with some Bottles and Glasses for the Gentlemen,

who, it seems, were intending to drink and be very merry; two large

Wax-Candles were also set on another Table, the Ladies being going to

Cards, also there were two large Candles in Sconces over or near the

Chimney, and one more in a Looking-Glass Sconce, on a Peer by the


With all this Apparatus, the Company separating sat down, the

Gentlemen at their Table, and the Ladies at theirs, to play as above;

when after some time the Gentleman of the House said hastily to a

Servant, what a P---- ails the Candles? and turning to the Servant

raps out an Oath or two, and bids him snuff the Candles, for they burnt

as if the Devil was in the Room.

The Fellow going to snuff one of the Candles, snuffs it out, at which

his Master being in a Passion the Fellow lights it again immediately at

the other Candle, and then being in a little hurry, going to snuff the

other Candle snuffed that out too.

The first Candle that was relighted (as is usual in such Cases) burn'd

dim and dull for a good while, and the other being out, the Room was

much darker than before, and a Wench that stood by the Ladies Table,

bawls out to her Mistress, Law Madam! the Candles burn blue; an old

Lady that sat by says, ay Betty! so they do; upon this one of the

Ladies starts up, Mercy upon us, says she, what is the Matter! In

this unlucky Moment another Servant, without Orders, went to the great

Peer Sconce, and because, as he thought, he would be sure to snuff the

Candle well, he offers to take it down, but very unhappily, I say, the

Hook came out and down falls the Sconce Candle and all, and the

Looking-Glass broke all to pieces, with a horrible Noise; however, the

Candle falling out of the Sconce did not go out, but lay on the Floor

burning dully, and as it is usual on such Cases, all on one Side,

Betty cries out again, Law Madam, that Candle burns blue too; the

very Moment she said this, the Footman that had thrown down the Sconce,

says to his fellow Servant, that came to his Assistance, I think the

Devil is in the Candles to Night, and away he run out of the Room, for

fear of his Master.

The old Lady, who, upon the Maid Betty's Notion of the Candles burning

blue, had her Head just full of that old Chimney-Corner Story, the

Candles burn blue when the Spirits are in the Room, heard the Footman

Say the Word Devil, but heard nothing else of what he said; upon this

she rises up in a terrible Fright, and cries out that the Footman said

the Devil was in the Room; as she was, indeed, frighted out of her

Wits, she frighted the Ladies most terribly, and they all starting up

together, down goes the Card Table, and put the Wax-Candles out.

Mrs. Betty, that had frighted them all, runs to the Sconce next the

Chimney, but that having a long Snuff, she cried out it burnt blue too,

and she durst not touch it; in short, tho' there were three Candles left

still burning in the Room, yet the Ladies we're all so frighted, that

they and the Maids too run out of the Parlour screaming like mad Folks.

The Master in a Rage kick'd his first Man out of the Room, and the

second Man was run out to avoid, as I said before, the like, so that no

Servant was to be had, but all was in Confusion.

The two other Gentlemen, who were sitting at the first Table, kept their

Seats composed and easy enough, only concern'd to see all the House in

such a fright; it was true, they said, the Candles burnt dim and very

oddly, but they could not perceive they burnt blue, except one of

those over the Chimney, and that on the Table, which was relighted

after the Fellow had snufft it out.

However, the Maid, the old Lady and the Footman that pull'd down the

Sconce, all insist that the Candles burnt blue, and all pretend that

the Devil was certainly in the Room, and was the Occasion of it; and

they now came to me with the Story, to desire my Opinion of it.

This put me upon Enquiry into the Notion of Candles burning blue when

Spirits are in a Room, which upon all the Search into Things, that I am

able to make, amounts to no more than this; that upon any extraordinary

Emission of sulphureous or of nitrous Particles, either in a close Room,

or in any not very open Place, if the Quantity be great, a Candle or

Lamp, or any such little Blaze of Fire will seem to be, or to burn

blue; and if then they can prove that any such Effluvia attends or is

emitted from a Spirit, then when SATAN is at Hand it may be so.

But then 'tis begging the Question grossly, because no Man can assure us

that the Devil has any sulphureous Particles about him.

It is true, the Candles burn thus in Mines and Vaults, and damp Places;

and 'tis as true that they will do so upon Occasion of very damp, stormy

and moist Air, when an extraordinary Quantity of Vapours are supposed to

be dispers'd abroad, as was the Case when this happen'd; and if there

was any Thing of that in it on that Monday Night, the Candles might,

perhaps, burn blue upon that Occasion; but that the Devil was abroad

upon any extraordinary Business that Night, that I cannot grant, unless

I have some better Testimony than the old Lady that heard the

Footman's out-cry but by halves, or than Mrs. Betty, who first fancied

the Candles burnt blue; so I must suspend my Judgment till I hear


This Story however may solve a great many of those Things which pass for

Apparitions in the World, and which are laid to the Devil's Charge, tho'

he really may know nothing of the Matter; and this would bring me to

defend Satan in many Things, wherein he may truly be said to suffer

wrongfully; and if I thought it would oblige him, I might say something

to his Advantage this Way; however, I'll venture a Word or two for an

injur'd Devil, take it as you will.

First, it is certain, that as this Invisibility of the Devil is very

much to our Prejudice, so the Doctrine of his Visibility is a great

Prejudice to him, as we make Use of it.

By his Invisibility he is certainly vested with infinite Advantages

against us; while he can be present with us, and we know nothing of the

Matter, he informs himself of all our Measures, and arms himself in the

best and most suitable manner to injure and assault us, as he can

counteract all our secret concerted Designs, disappoint all our Schemes,

and except when Heaven apparently concerns it self to over-rule him, can

defeat all our Enterprizes, break all our Measures, and do us Mischief

in almost every Part of our Life, and all this, because we are not privy

to all his Motions, as he is to ours.

But now for his Visibility and his real Appearance in the World, and

particularly among his Disciples and Emissaries, such as Witches and

Wizards, Demonaists, and the like: Here, I think Satan has a great deal

of Loss, suffers manifest Injury, and has great Injustice done him; and,

that therefore I ought to clear this Matter up a little, if it be

possible, to do Justice to Satan, and set Matters right in the World

about him, according to that useful old Maxim of setting the Saddle upon

the right Horse, or giving the Devil his due.

First, as I have said, we are not to believe every idle Head, who

pretends even to converse Face to Face with the Devil, and who tells

us, they have thus seen him, and been acquainted with him every Day:

Many of these Pretenders are manifest Cheats; and, however, they would

have the Honour of a private Interest in him, and boast how they have

him at their Beck, can call him this Way, and send him that, as they

please, raise him and lay him when and how, and as often as they find

for their Purpose; I say, whatever Boasts they make of this Kind, they

really have nothing of Truth in them.

Now the Injuries and Injustice done to the Devil, in these Cases, are

manifest; namely, that they entitle the Devil to all the Mischief they

are pleased to do in the World; and if they commit a Murther or a

Robbery, fire a House, or do any Act of Violence in the World, they

presently are said to do it by the Agency of the Devil, and the

Devil helps them; so Satan bears the Reproach, and they have all the

Guilt; this is, (1.) a grand Cheat upon the World, and (2.) a notorious

Slander upon the Devil; and it would be a public Benefit to Mankind,

to have such would-be-Devils as these turn'd inside out, that we might

know when the Devil was really at work among us, and when not; what

Mischiefs were of his doing, and which were not; and that these Fellows

might not slip their Necks out of the Halter, by continually laying the

Blame of their Wickedness upon the Devil.

Not that the Devil is not very willing to have his Hand in any

Mischief, or in all the Mischief that is done in the World; but there

are some low priz'd Rogueries that are too little for him, beneath the

Dignity of his Operation, and which 'tis really a Scandal to the Devil

to charge upon him. I remember the Devil had such a Cheat put upon

him in East-Smithfield once, where a Person pretended to converse with

the Devil Face to Face, and that in open Day too, and to cause him to

tell Fortunes, foretel Good and Evil, &c. discover stollen Goods, tell

where they were who stole them, and how to find them again, nay, and

even to find out the Thieves; but Satan was really sandered in the

Case, the Fellow had no more to do with the Devil than other People,

and perhaps not so much neither: This was one of those they call'd

CUNNING-MEN, or at least he endeavour'd to pass for such a one, but

'twas all a Cheat.

Besides, what had the Devil to do to detect Thieves, and restore

stollen Goods? Thieving and Robbing, Trick and Cheat, are part of the

Craft of his Agency, and of the Employments which it is his Business to

encourage; they greatly mistake him, who think he will assist any Body

in suppressing and detecting such laudable Arts and such diligent


I won't say, but the Devil, to draw these People we call

Cunning-Men, into a Snare, and to push on his farther Designs, may

encourage them privately, and in a manner that they themselves know

nothing of, to make use of his Name, and abuse the World about him, till

at last they may really believe they do deal with the Devil, when

indeed 'tis only he deals with them, and they know nothing of the


In other Cases he may encourage them in these little Frauds and Cheats,

and give them leave, as above, to make use of his Name to bring them

afterwards, and by Degrees to have a real Acquaintance with him; so

bringing the Jest of their Trade into Earnest, till at length prompting

them to commit some great Villany, he secures them to be his own, by

their very Fear of his leaving them to be exposed to the World; thus he

puts a Jonathan Wild upon them, and makes them be the very Wretches

they only pretended to be before: So old Parsons of Clithroe, as

Fame tells, was twenty five Years a Cunning-man, and twenty two Years

a Witch; that is to say, for five and twenty Years, he was only

pretending to deal with the Devil, when Satan and he had no manner of

Acquaintance, and he only put his Leger-de-main upon the People in the

Devil's Name, without his leave; but at length the Devil's Patience

being tir'd quite out, he told the old Counterfeit, that in short, he

had been his stalking Horse long enough, and that now, if he thought fit

to enter himself, and take a Commission, well and good; and he should

have a Lease to carry on his Trade for so many Years more, to his

Heart's content; but if not, he would expose his Knavery to the World,

for that he should take away his Peoples Trade no longer; but that he

(Satan) would set up another in his Room, that should make a meer Fool

of him, and carry away all his Customers.

Upon this, the old Man consider'd of it, took the Devil's Counsel, and

listed in his Pay; so he, that had plaid his Pranks twenty five Years as

a Conjurer, when he was no Conjurer, was then forc'd really to deal with

the DEVIL, for fear the People should know he did not: Till now he had

ambo dexter, cheated the Devil on one Hand, and the People on the

other; but the Devil gain'd his Point at last, and so he was a real

Wizard ever after.

But this is not the only way the Devil is injur'd neither, for we have

often found People pretend upon him in other Cases, and of nearer

Concern to him a great deal, and in Articles more Weighty, as in

particular, in the great Business of Possession; it is true this Point

is not thoro'ly understood among Men, neither has the Devil thought fit

to give us those Illuminations about it, as I believe he might do;

particularly that great and important Article, is not, for ought I can

see, rightly explain'd, namely; whether there are not two several Kinds

of Possession, (viz.) some wherein the Devil possesses us, and some in

which we really possess the Devil; the Nicety of which I doubt this Age,

with all its Penetration, is not qualified to explain, and a

Dissertation upon it being too long for this Work, especially so near

its Conclusion, I am oblig'd to omit, as I am also all the practical

Discourses upon the Usefulness and Advantages of real Possession,

whether consider'd one Way or other to Mankind, all which I must leave

to hereafter.

But to come back to the Point in Hand, and to consider the Injustice

done to the Devil, in the various Turns and Tricks which Men put upon

him very often in this one Article (viz.) pretending to Possession,

and to have the Devil in them, when really it is not so; certainly the

Devil must take it very ill, to have all their demented, lunatick Tricks

charg'd upon him; some of which, nay, most of which are so gross, so

simple, so empty, and so little to the Purpose, that the Devil must be

asham'd to see such Things pass in his Name, or that the World should

think he was concern'd in them.

It is true, that Possession being one of the principal Pieces of the

Devil's Artifice in his managing Mankind, and in which, with the most

exquisite skill he plays the Devil among us, he has the more Reason to

be affronted when he finds himself invaded in this Part, and angry that

any Body should pretend to possess, or be possess'd without his leave,

and this may be the Reason for ought we know, why so many Blunders have

been made, when People have pretended to it without him, and he has

thought fit not to own them in it; of which we have many Examples in

History, as in Simon Magus, the Devil of London, the fair Maid of

Kent, and several others, whose History it is not worth while to enlarge


In short, Possessions, as I have said, are nice Things, as it is not so

easy to mimick the Devil in that Part, as it may be in some other;

designing Men have attempted it often, but their manner has been easily

distinguish'd, even without the Devil's Assistance.

Thus the People of Salem in New-England pretended to be bewitch'd,

and that a black Man tormented them by the Instigation of such and such,

whom they resolv'd to bring to the Gallows: This black Man they would

have be the Devil, employ'd by the Person who they accus'd for a

Witch: Thus making the Devil a Page or a Footman to the Wizard, to go

and torment whoever the said Wizard commanded, till the Devil himself

was so weary of the foolish Part, that he left them to go on their own

Way, and at last they over-acted the murthering Part so far, that when

they confess'd themselves to be Witches, and possess'd, and that they

had Correspondence with the Devil, Satan not appearing to vouch for

them, no Jury would condemn them upon their own Evidence, and they could

not get themselves hang'd, whatever Pains they took to bring it to pass.

Thus you see the Devil may be wrong'd, and falsely accus'd in many

Particulars, and often has been so; there are likewise some other sorts

of counterfeit Devils in the World, such as Gypsies,

Fortune-Tellers, Foretellers of good and bad Luck, Sellers of Winds,

Raisers of Storms, and many more, some practis'd among us, some in

foreign Parts, too many almost to reckon up; nay I almost doubt whether

the Devil himself knows all the Sorts of them; for 'tis evident he has

little or nothing to do with them, I mean not in the Way of their Craft.

These I take to be Interlopers, or with the Guinea Merchants leave,

separate Traders, and who act under the Skreen and Protection of Satan's

Power, but without his License or Authority; no doubt these carry away a

great deal of his Trade, that is to say, the Trade which otherwise the

Devil might have carried on by Agents or his own; I cannot but say,

that while these People would fain be thought Devils, tho' they really

are not, it is but just they should be really made as much Devils as

they pretended to be, or that Satan should do himself Justice upon

them, as he threaten'd to do upon old Parsons of Clithroe

abovemention'd, and let the World know them.

Of The Tools The Devil Works With Witches Wizards Or Warlocks Conjurers Magicians Divines Astrologers Interpreters Of Dreams Te Of The Word Devil As It Is A Proper Name To The Devil And Any Or All His Host Angels facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail