THE AVTHORS earnest requests.
FIRST, to the Worthy Rea∣der, whosoe∣uer, to whom let me but say thus much of this Discourse and allegoricall narration; that in it sunt bona, sunt quaedam mediocria, sunt mala nulla: Yet if any thing may seeme distastfull, let thy minde be to take it well, as Cae∣sars was, to interpret well the seeming offensiue carriage of Page [unnumbered] one Accius the Poet towards him, and thou wilt not be dis∣pleased. Thy good minde will preuent the taking of an offence, where none is intended to be gi∣uen. In discouery, attaching, arraigning and condemning of finne, I tax the Vice, and not any mans person: so as I may say with one,
Hunc seruare modum no∣stri nouere libelli,
Parcere personis, discere de vitijs.
Thou hast heere towards the end of this discourse, the tryall and iudgement vpon foure no∣torious Malefactors. Two of them the very prime Authors of all the open rebellion, or se∣cret * Conspiracies, which at any time euer were in that Iland: The other two were the princi∣pall Abettours and the chiefest Supporters of them. Their names, their natures, and their Page [unnumbered] mischieuous practices, thou mayest find at large in the nar∣ration.
There should haue beene, at that Assises with these, the ar∣raignment of certaine suspe∣cted Witches: but this was pre∣uented, because the Grand-Iu∣rie Gentlemen could not agree to bring in their Billa vera: for that they made question of diuers points, whereof they could not be resolued at that present.
1. Whether the afflicted did * suffer by onely some violent diseases in nature, producing strange effects, like practices of Witch-craft? Which for want of a iudicious Physitian they could not discerne. *
2. Whether the afflicted were a counterfeit, as was one Marwood, the Boy of Bilson, and one Mary Brosier? Or that he or she hauing some natural Page [unnumbered] disease, did make vse thereof, and counterfeited the rest, as one Mainy did, who was trou∣bled with the hysterica passio?
3. Whether being a disease supernaturall, yet might come vpon the afflicted by the opera∣tion of the deuill, without the association of a Witch, as it happened to Iob, and others in the Euangelists? Or that the afflicted hath a deuill, and is a Witch, and hath by his or her owne wayes, brought this euill vpon him or her, without the practice of any other Witch?
4. Whether they might pro∣ceed vpon meere presumptions against the suspected, or rather stay till they had more certaine and grounded pro•fet?
5. Whether they could (none of them being read in a∣ny learned Tractates touching the practices of Witches) right∣ly examine the suspected to Page [unnumbered] finde out a Witch, and so to bring him or her deseruedly vn∣der the power of Authority?
There is now come forth, by the leaue of Authority, a Guide*to Grand-Iury men in cases of Witch-craft; my suit is, that they would be pleased to accept of my well-meaning therein. In which all these points before are fully handled; as also, That* there are witches; who are most subiect to be made Wit∣ches. How they prepare them∣selues for the Deuill: How Satan draweth thē to a league, & becommeth familiar with them. That there are good Witches, and the signes to know them. That there are bad Witches, and how then practise, and what it is that they can doe, and how many things must concurre in be∣witching. What are the signes to know one to be bewitched. Page [unnumbered]That Witches may be dete∣cted. What are strong presūp∣tions of a Witch. What are the certaine euidences against such an one. How throughly to examine a Witch: With ma∣ny other particulars set forth in 28 distinct Chapters, fully, and yet with great breuity. The death of fiue brethren and si∣sters, lately condemned and ex∣ecuted for Witches, one more yet remaining, formerly brought before a Iudge, and now in dan∣ger to bee questioned againe, hath mooued mee to take this paine, not to preuent Iustice, nor to hinder legall proceedings; but that I may not be mistaken nor wronged, as I was once, and more should haue beene, had not the wisdome and goodnesse of so reuerend a Iudge accepted gra∣ciously of my vpright Apologie * against vaine Accusers.
I made a Petition then to my Page [unnumbered] Lord the Iudge, to the worthy then M. Sheriffe, and to all the * Worshipfull of the Bench then present, which I am bold to re∣new againe more publikely, and that now this third time, be∣cause it pleased that reuerend Iudge so well to like thereof, & to second it, and is wished of ma∣ny to finde some good effect at the length.
The state of poore prisoners * is well knowne, and how their soules safety is neglected: and yet our Sauiour gaue such a te∣stimony to a penitent theefe, as hee neuer gaue to any mortall man else; for he told him, that he should be that day with him in Paradise.
How blessed a worke would it be, to haue maintenance raised for a learned, godly, and graue Diuine, that might attend to instruct thē daily? Twelue pence a quarter, of one parish with an∣other Page [unnumbered] in our Countie, would en∣courage some compassionate ho∣ly man thereunto: And what is this? Not a mite out of euery mans purse to saue soules.
If with this instruction there * should bee meanes to set them also on worke, they might get somewhat for food, for raiment. They might so preuent the mi∣serable fruits of sloth; their mindes would bee imployed, their bodies bee preserued in health, and not pine away, and be consumed with vermine. Yea, enforced labour there, would terrifie loose vagrants, lazie wanderers, and the idle rout, from turning the eues, more then either imprisonment or death hitherto hath done. And besides, such as should escape, would by this heauenly meanes of instru∣ction, and bodily labour, become, through Gods mercy, more pro∣fitable members in the Commō-Weale Page [unnumbered] afterwards: whereas now they become twice more the children of Belial, than they were before.
Oh, let me be hold earnestly to beseech you, and in all humi∣lity to craue your mercifull and tender bowels of compassion to∣wards them.
And first of you (right Ho∣nourable * my Lords the Iudges) who sit as Gods among men, to giue iudgement vpon this so * wretched, and so miserable a generation of mankinde: that, if they die, they may be more ready with all patience and sub∣mission of spirit, to receiue their iust reward, and your doome of death vpon them: or, if they be acquitted, and so liue, they may learne afterwards to liue the life of good Christians, and so make a good vse of their deliue∣rance. And would not this re∣ioyce your hearts, to forward Page [unnumbered] such a worke, when your Lord∣ships doe know, that the blessed Angels doe reioyce at the con∣uersion of Sinners?
Next of you (Worthy Ma∣ster Sheriffe) vnder whose wise∣dome, * religious affection, ten∣der mercies, and powerfull ha∣bilities the Prison, and the Pri∣soners be for the time present. Shall not this worke set for∣ward by you, be vnto you an euerlasting remembrance?
Then of all you (Right Wor∣shipfull the worthy Iustices of our Country) by whose authori∣ty these offenders are sent vnto prison. Oh that it might not displease you, to heare me cal∣ling vpon you by name, who, I hope, are well-minded to such a blessed and charitable a worke.
Yee deseruedly honoured Knights, Sir George Speke, Sir Iohn Stowel, Sir Francis Popham, Sir Henry Barkley,Page [unnumbered] Sir Iohn Windham, Sir Iohn Horner, Sir Edward Rodney, and Sir Robert George; And may I not here also name the worthily esteemed of their Country, though not at this present in Commission with you, Sir Ralph Hopton, Sir Robert Philips, Sir Charles Barkley, and Sir Edward Barkley? All to be graciously pleased to commiserate their la∣mentable case, and to helpe for∣ward this worke of pietie and pitie towards prisoners?
O yee other worthies of your Country no lesse generously affe∣cted, Iohn Powlet, Robert Hopton, Edward Rogers, George Lutterell, Iohn May, Fra. Baber, Ro. Cuffe, Tho. Breerton, Io. Coles, William Francis, Rice Dauys, Thomas Windham, Iohn Harrington,*Io. Harbin, William Capel, and Anth. Stocker Esquires, Page [unnumbered] let the bowels of compassion compasse you about, that you may affect this so good a deed, and be honoured for euer in bringing to passe so rare a cha∣ritie.
The worke surely would blesse you all. Alas, the Prison now is a very picture of Hell, and (more is the pitie) as the case now stands, is no lesse than a preparatiue thereto, for want of daily instruction. It would be, by a faithfull ministery and bodily imploiment of them, a house of correction with instru∣ction, and so happily the way of life. Then might charity quic∣ken vp iustice to send offenders obstinately persisting in euill, and abusing their liberty, vnto prison, in good hope of their re∣formation. The losse of their corporall liberty, might through Gods mercy, then gaine them spirituall freedome: Health by Page [unnumbered] labour would be preserued, and their soules by wholsome instru∣ction saued.
The Father of our Lord Ie∣sus Christ, perswade your well∣disposed hearts, to such an vn∣begun worke, among so many good deeds very famous in this renowned Nation. The spirit of the Lord God of Heauen and Earth rest vpon you, to cause you to affect this, and in time to effect the same, by stirring vp the Country, and by your owne mercies in your life times, you giuing, and at your deaths be∣queathing something thereun∣to. Euen so be it, and the Lord God Almighty be with you all herein, Amen.
My suit is to euerie Keeper * of a prison, if they bee no kinne to Master Newman, the Gao∣ler in this discourse, that yet they would take acquaintance of him, and become better Page [unnumbered] knowne to him. That their pri∣soners may by their vertues and religious care, bee betier dispo∣sed.
My request to poore priso∣ners * is, to redeeme their time ill spent; to call to God for mer∣cie and pardon: and to moue them hereunto, let them in serious meditation put them∣selues in minde of these things. 1. That their libertie abused, * God hath by the hand of autho∣ritie taken from them, as vn∣worthy to liue freely in a Com∣mon-Wealth. 2. That as they neglected and despised spiritu∣all meanes of saluation, they are now depriued thereof. 3. That as before they deligh∣ted onely with wicked compa∣nie, now are they shut vp one with another together. 4. That their ragges are ensignes to them of their ragged conditi∣ons. 5. That their filth and ver Page [unnumbered] mine telleth them of their fil∣thie conuersation, and their many sinnes and corruptions. 6. That their want of food is a punishment for such of them, as haue abused Gods blessings to gluttony, drunkennesse, and the fruits thereof, wantonnesse, and filthy vncleannesse. 7. That their prison is as it were, a pi∣cture of hell, to minde them of their end, whither they are go∣ing, if they doe not amend. 8. That their expecting of the Assises, is an instruction to look for Iesus, the Iudge of all the world. 9. That their chaines, fetters and bolts teach them to consider the nature of their sinnes, which hold them bound to answer at the Barre of Gods Iustice. 10. That their desire of life by a Psalme of mercie, should moue them to desire eternall life, through the mer∣cies of God in Iesus Christ, who Page [unnumbered] will be gracious to euery true beleeuing penitent: which gra∣ces (poore prisoners) God send you: and feare onely to die eter∣nally.
Before I end, I haue a * suit to all that professe the Law, that if in this Allegorie, fetched from such termes, as be better knowne to them, than to my selfe, I doe mistake, they would be pleased to passe ouer that, and make vse with me of the spirituall sense, which is the drift of my labour herein. And so at the length, I take leaue, with my prayer to God for the peace of Ierusalem, and for a prosperous successe to all that loue the Israel of God, with our Countreyes glorie and safetie.