1 That all wicked Spirits ordinary and extraordinary doe issue from the same head.
2 That they cannot harme a man really, without his owne naturall or wanton motion.
3 Their varieties proued out of the Scripture, where Saules lunacie is censured.
4 That the Spirit of Detraction attendeth on all the said spirits.
EVen as good spirits or vertuous motions issue from the Godhead, as from the * cleere fountaine of goodnesse; so wicked spirits and vnbridled affections, fetch their pedegree from the deceitfull Ser∣pent, w•h allured Eue to insring the Lords commandement. For his malicious spirit repining, that man, a new made creature, found more fauour then him∣selfe (belike long afore an out-cast from Gods presence) turned about the weaker vessell, the simple woman, and makes her an instrument for all their ouerthrowes toge∣ther. They were all of them accursed, mankind destinated to death, the Serpent to darkenesse. Since which time, continuall calamities and phantasticall spirits, the blacke guard of sinne pursue mankinde, till death gets the vpper hand, and looseth the soule out of her prison of flesh and bloud. I say, vntill death, as Gods Sergeant, doe attach our bodies vpon debt due vnto nature, and our soules vpon sinnes committed against the Authour of nature. These sinfull spirits like baites of sweet poison, or sugred gals, possesse olde Adams progeny, according to the va∣riable and voluble dispositions of the patient. These, not vnlike to Mice, Lice, lawlesse Lawiers, or noysome ver∣mine, by Sathans spirituall suggestion doe endeuour to infest, molest, and sift vs as wheate. They had their begin∣ning at the fall of the Diuell and his Angels, who are throughly possessed with all the said qualities, working Page 56 diuersly by the meanes of the same spirit. The spirit of De∣traction, the spirit of Enuy, the spirit of Pride, and such like vitious spirits, proceed from one roote, from one Serpent, that olde Impostor. I am setled in this opinion by the Apostle, who proued the identity of the Holy Spirit by the like reason. The body is one, and hath many members. And againe, There are diuersities of gifts, but the same spi∣rit.*To one is giuen by the spirit, the word of wisedome, to another the word of knowledge by the same spirit. To ano∣ther the operations of great workes, to another prophesie, to another the discerning of spirits, to another the diuersities of tongues. All these things worketh the same spirit, distribu∣ting to euery man, as it pleaseth him. From one Tree came many branches of euill: by the inticement of one Serpent came all these spirits of •rrours, which (like venemous stings) incite vs to vngodly actes. And yet for all this, I denie not, but there are malicious spirits as well as mini∣string spirits, Diuels as well as Angels, the one attending on Lucifer the Prince of Diuels, the other on Michael the Lords chiefe Angell, both inuisibly attempting to work vpon the Will of man vehemently, or by leisure, as God commands them, either for the knowledg of Good∣nesse, or for the knowledge of Euill.
Neyther will I here omit to interpose another opinion of mine, concerning the Diuels force, which is, that God* the reuenger of iniquity, commands the Diuell, as his ex∣ecutioner, to pursue the reprobate sometimes by imme∣diate causes, and somtimes by mediate and second causes; by immediate, when the faculties of the soule are by his spirituall spurres extraordinarily possessed with frenzie, sury, and such like; by mediate causes, when the instru∣ments of the body are by his spiritual enticements temp∣ted to receiue into them more then suffice nature; so that the veines ouerflow with blood, the gall with choler a∣dust, and the liuer with lust. But in my iudgement, with the former extraordinary or miraculous causes the Diuell Page 57 cannot harme a Christian mans body really, (howsoeuer I thinke of the soules immediate obsession) or harme the least part of his body. Surely I belecue, that God reserues that palpable reall power, as a prerogatiue to himselfe, to his owne Angels, and to his second causes in this world; to himselfe, as when Pharaoh and his Aegypti∣ans were miraculously plagued with Lice, and other an∣noyances by the singer of God or when he caused his An∣gel for Dauids fault to smite the Israelites with p•sti∣lence. But thou wilt aske me, how can a Christian bee frantick by the Diuels meanes, and yet not really hurt by him? By him, by the Diuels immediate reall force? Nay, principally by themselues, and by their owne filthy bo∣dies, which suffered themselues at first, to be gluttonously carried by their owne appetites, and by the Diuels spiri∣tuall suggestion. If they had eaten lesse, and drunke lesse, such corruption of humours could neuer taint them, neither could consequently frenzie possesse them. And also if they had in time sought for grace by daily prayers (fasting being a coadiutour vnto them) God would haue hearkened vnto them, and healed their indispositions. But on the contrary it pleased his Maiesty to harden some, to lead them into temptation because they might acknow∣ledge his iustice and omnipotency, and also serue for mo∣numents to terrifie the wauering minded.
To returne vnto my former matter, as all wicked spirits and vitious purt•rbations sprung in mortall men, * by meanes of the said Arch-spirit of sinne, so likewise by him they worke many and sundry operations. Moyses made mention of the spirit of Iealousie. Esay of the spirit of Errour. The Lord permitted alying spirit to goe out, and * be in the mouth of all Ahabs Prophets, to en•ice him into the battell against the Sirians. Another Prophet re∣lateth * of the spirit of fornication. And as S. Paul records: God gaue them the spirit of slumber. The spirit of God de∣parted from Saeul, and an euill spirit was sent from God, to Page 58 vexe him. Therefore his seruants aduised him to seeke a cunning player vpon the Harpe, whereby he might be refreshed and eased. What sense more naturall to our capacities can we gather by this euill spirit, and the easie cure thereof, then that it was eyther a kinde of Lunacy vsuall in that hote countrey, a fit of melancholy, or a fal∣ling sickenesse? For the cure whereof, his seruants (by whom I vnderstand his Phisittans) hauing experimented belike, that none other medicine then musicke could a∣uaile him, or perhaps not hauing such insight in Phisicke as we haue, wished him onely to comfort his heart with ioyes, and (as we vulgarly speake) to keepe Doctor Merri∣man company. To this opinion of mine I adioyne another reason (whereof we must not descant ouer-curiously) that God predestinated purposely this extraordinary acci∣dent vpon Saul for the aduancement of Dauid, who vpon this occasion happily composed many of his Psalmes, and confirmed the vertues of his spirit, and also by this accesse into the Kings Palace, he gained vnto him the mindes of his chiefe Captaines and Officers; besides he got by this familiar frequency in the Court his educati∣on, and experience in matters of ciuill policy, which o∣therwise he could hardly in humane probability obtaine, by reason that hee was brought vp but simply among Sheepheards. This I write not of any blasphemous pur∣pose to restraine the Lords miraculous power, but that we may obserue his prouidence in vouchsafing to worke by ordinary and naturall meanes. But admit, that the li∣terall sense be admitted; what absurdity can ensue there∣of? For the Diuell in his fall hauing wholy lost the musi∣call consent, and melodious concord which was ensused in his soule at his creation, could hardly digest Dauids Hymmes and Harpe, the same being quite disagreeable to his discording and disproportioned nature, I say such Diuine musicke reduced the extrauagant thoughts of Saules soule to such an excellent harmony and quiet Page 59 tune, that the Diuell durst not abide that sweete tempe∣red sound.
Ouer all the abouesaid wicked spirits, the spirit of De∣traction awaiteth. Doth the Lord send his terrible thun∣der, * his glorious lightnings, as warlike alarums to rouze vs vp from our sleepy sinnes? Behold the spirit of Detra∣ction at hand, and attributes those strange signes to the Prince of this world, his Lord and Master the Diuell God (quoth he) is the Author of goodnesse, quiet, and neuer int•rmedles with thunder-claps, stormes, or tempests.
As Neptune spake of himselfe to Aeolus, Such Here∣ticall paradoxes as these he inspires mens braines withall, and rammes them, as with a strong beetle, into their shal∣low hearts. Liues a man in loue and charity with his neighbour? Againe, the same spirit of Detraction appeares, sowes idle tales of dilgrace, whereby they may goe to∣gether by the eares, and empty their virulen: galles with most violent reuenge, the one against the other. Art thou chole•cke? Beware of Saules spirit of lunacie? Art thou merrily disposed at games and sports? Thou shalt be sure of Sathans spiritual sting, and be throughly possessed both with the spirites of blasphemy and Detraction, al∣though thou perceiuest them not visibly with mortall eyes. To be briefe, he will neuer be spiritually wanting to any man. To a man in prosperity he sends his spirit of pride, to a sinner despaire, to married soikes the spirit of iea∣lousie, to children the spirit of disobedience, to Courtiers the gliuing pompes or vanity, to Preachers the spirit of false prophesie, to the subiect the spirit of rebellion, to friends the spirit of inconstancy, to seruants the spirit of in∣gratitude, so that there be few men in the world, but their wils are possessed with some spirit or other. I passe ouer Page 60 many other spirits, which beare dominion among vs, as the spirit of lechery, the spirit of drunkennesse, the spirit of gluttony, and the damnable spirite of auarice. All which as rotten branches, I know to be descended and deriued from one tree the tree of the knowledge of good and euill, by the subtle temptations of the sneaking Snake of sinne, the Angell of Perdition.