Examples of Witchcraft, and Famili∣arity with Devils amongst the An∣tient Druids, Sybils, Vestal Vir∣gins, and Heathen Priests.
IT is one of the Black Marks which the Apostle of the Gentiles gives us of Antichrist, That he shall sit in the Temple of God, and shew himself to be worshipped as God. And if we consider the Temples, Groves, Altars, Sacrifices and Priests that the Antients in the days of their Blindness, and stupid Idolatry Erected, and Consecrated to their In∣fernal Deities, we shall find that this Exaction of Worship and Adoration which Antichrist lays claim to, was in the former Ages paid unto the Devil himself; and that the Apostate Church of Rome usurped to her Revolted Head those Sacred Rites in conformity to those Sacrifices which their Idolatrous Ancestors paid unto the Revolted and Apostate Angels.
This Chapter therefore shall be Page 98 filled with an Enumeration of some of the first Proficients in the Black Infer∣nal Mysteries, that we may make way to parallel them with an Account of the Proficience of divers Popes and Orders among the Idolatrous Romanists in the same dark and Diabolical Arts, in some of the following Pages.
But what Astonishment may it well raise in us, if we but remark, that not only those Barbarous Nations that ne∣ver knew the true God, nor had the Advantages of his Law, and his Pro∣phets, amongst them, should follow the foul Abomination: But even the cho∣sen Israelites, to whom (as the Psalmist elegantly expresses) the Almighty arose Early, and sent his Prophets, who saw his wonders in Egypt, in the Red Sea, and in the Wilderness, who saw the Lightnings, heard the Thunders, and the solemn noise of Trumpets, when their Captain Moses receiv'd the Law from the mouth of the Most High on Mount Sinai, and had there that First, Positive and Repeated Command against Idol-worship, which (by the dreadful and amazing Judgments inflicted on them for that provoking sin) can be thought to be understood no otherwise than Devil-worship. See Exod. 20.23. Yet Page 99 notwithstanding, that this Israel should forsake the God that bought them, and marked them by special favours from all the Nations of the Earth! This you'l say is stupendious Ingratitude, and tre∣mendous Apostacy.
What can be thought of that Biggot∣ted Ahab, who is said to have Taught Israel to sin? He had been nurst up un∣der a Whorish, Idolatrous Mother, the Patroness of the Priests of Baal: And he makes little less than a challenge to the Almighty to contend with his Ado∣red Baalim. See 1 Kings 18. They were then so besotted, that they thought Baal to be a greater God, that he who laid the Foundations of the Earth, and whose Thunders their Rebellous Fathers had heard on the Sacred Mountain.
Was it possible that those Infernal Priests should expect an answer by Fire from their detestable Idol, unless they had at some time or other by some Voice, or Motion, or by some Success of their Im∣pious Adorations been deluded into an Opinion that there was something Sa∣cred in that which they reared their Shrines unto? It is (I think) indubi∣table, that the Devil, the Father of Lyes and Blasphemies, had some way or other gull'd them into that oppro∣brious Page 100 Worship. They skipt up and down upon his Altars, and lanced them∣selves until the blood gushed out; with their Devils Littany, O Baal, hear us, or, We beseech thee to hear us, O Baal. What can this be but an Invocation of the De∣vil? and bears so near a Resemblance un∣to Witchcraft, as if it were the Original of it. Do the False Prophets call upon the Devil in their Idol? So do the Witches call upon their Familiar: Do they offer Sacrifice to their Gods? So do these to their Goblins: They allure them with Incense and Perfumes; they eat and drink by way of Oblation to them, as the Priests used to do in their Idol-Temples: And as the Hellish Priests of∣fered their own Blood to Baal; so do these Infernal Haggs in their Contracts with Beelzebub.
So that having now cleared the way by explaining the foul Conformity and Analogy betwixt Idolatry and Witch∣craft, it may well be expected that I should assume the premised Method, and give some Instances of Antient Examples to make good the Thesis.
Therefore not to look back upon those dreadful Examples, which the Sacred Writings afford us of the har∣dened Israelites, I shall proceed with Page 101 some Remarks upon the Antient, and much Celebrated Sybils.
And that it was the usual Compella∣tion the Ignorant Antients gave to their Familiars, Spirits, or Genii, to call them Gods, none need doubt who have read what is related of the Pythoness of En∣dor in the Book of Samuel, where she replies to King Saul, I see Gods coming up out of the Earth. So in 1 Kings 20.21. The Syrians speak of the Gods of the Hills, add of the Valleys, by which it is evident they reckon'd those Daemons which used to shew themselves unto them in those places to be Gods; nay, the Idolatrous Gentiles paid an Ado∣ration to them.
No wonder then if the Sybils obtain∣ed their name from an apprehension that they had Communion and Con∣verse with the Gods; for so it is thought the words Sios and Beel do import. It always hath been, and still is, the Cu∣stom of all Nations to affix something of a sacred and venerable Title or Cha∣racter on persons they have esteemed to be Inspired, or in favour with their Gods, and that even amongst the most uncultivated Scythians and Indians.
That the Sybils did generally by their Raptures and Enthusiasms promote and Page 102 encourage an Affiance in, and Depen∣dance upon the Heathen Oracles and Idols, none need doubt who have seen the Account Zozimus gives of them; who particularly relates many of their Verses full of Superstitions and Tradi∣tion, having no affinity at all with the holy Religion, but tending to advance the Credit of their Pagan Shrines.
The Learned Wierius in his Book de Praestigiis Daemonum, lib. 1. cap. 7. reckons most of the Sybils to be no better than Futhusiastae, and Pythonistae, and amongst the number of such against whom the mighty Prophet Moses made a Law, that those who resorted to them, should be stoned; and he is farther of Opinion, that through their Writings the Frantick Romans were drawn into many of their Extatick and Superstitious pursuits of their multiplied Deities. And although some extraordinary Prophecies relating to the Birth of the Glorious Messiah, are to be found in some of their Wri∣tings, yet will not those excuse the gross Daemonolatry of the rest, any more than that Praediction of the Delphick Oracle before cited can be supposed to Atone for the wretched Derelictions of the True and Holy God, occasioned by the Libidinous quest of the Nations Page 103 after that Idol. Besides, we have no mention made so much as of one of them in the Holy Register, tho their Writings had a Date long before the Records of the Blessed Evangelists and Apostles. Nor need it be thought strange that an Elogy in praise of our Saviour, should come from the Pen of a Pagan▪Prophetess, more than that an Ac∣knowledgment that he was the Son of God, should be proclaimed by the mouth of the Father of Lies, and the promoter of false Gods himself; who hath been compelled by the irresistible power of Divine Truth to pay that Acknowledg∣ment to the Soveraign of all. Or, whe∣ther those Divine Praedictions attribu∣ted to them, were properly their own, or the Works of others of later Date, and pretended to be theirs, shall not be my task here to determine. They were generally Priests Consecrated to Apollo, or the Delphick, or some other Oracle; and in furious Raptures pro∣nounced their Prophecies. Plato was of opinion that they were Inspired by the Gods, or some Spirit. And Jambli∣cus tells us, that the Sybil of Delphos two several ways received her Inspirations, either by a soft breath which came up∣on her whilst she was, or seemed to be Page 104 in a Trance or Extasie; or else by sitting on a Tripod of Brass, before the mouth of a Cave, from whence proceeded Fire, or a whispering Voice, upon which she either resolved the questions demanded of her, or uttered her Pro∣phecies. See Heywoods Hist. of Women, p. 78.
To these resorted the great Captains, to know the Fate of their Wars; the Country-man to enquire of the Fertility of the ensuing Season; and others sought their direction in Emergent cases. They appointed where Temples and Altars should be reared, and when their Sacri∣fices were to be observed: And altho according to the Language of those times, all Females (as there were then many) that were rapt with this Pro∣phetick Fury were called Sybils; yet our Modern Authors have reduc'd the num∣ber to ten, or twelve, because to them peculiarly are attributed those prae∣dictions concerning the Evangelical times. They are thus named Sybilla Per∣sica, called Antiquissima Vaticinantium; She is said to have divided the term of years until the coming of Christ into seven Ages, reckoning the first from Adam to Noah 1556 years, and from the Flood to Abraham 292; from the Page 105 time of Abraham to the Children of Israels coming from Egypt 503. from that time to the building the Temple by King Solomon 481; and from thence to the Babylonish Captivity 1800 years; and from thence to the Birth of our Saviour the number of 614 years; which being added together, with the number of years, since the Redemption by the suf∣ferings of the Immaculate High Priest, makes the number of Six thousand nine hundred and thirty years, which comes within 48 years of the Roman Account; whereas by the Scripture reckoning it will amount to but Five thousand six hundred thirty and three years. So that upon the whole we see the Ro∣man Priest keeps a nearer touch with the Priest of Apollo, than the Sacred Chronicle.
2. Was called Sybilla Lybica; and a great dispute there is whether she or the forenamed were the more Antient.
3. Was Sybilla Delphica, she is said to have prophesied of the Trojan War.
This by some is affirmed to be that Daphne whom Ovid feigns in his Metamorphosis, to be changed into a Laurel, to avoid the embraces of A∣pollo; and if we can credit their Wri∣tings, we shall find the Delphick Page 106 Deity mightily enamoured on his Fe∣male Priests.
4. Is said to be Sybilla Cumaea; of whom it is reported, that being one of the Branchidae, or Priests of Apollo, that attended an Old Altar in the Milesian Fields, near the City of Cuma, when Pactias the Persian had fled for refuge to the Inhabitants thereof, and was by Mazares their great General com∣manded to be delivered into his hand; the Cumaeans thereupon consulted their Old Oracle, and were commanded by the Sybil to deliver him up; but one Aristodicus, who was a person of note among them, loth to deliver one who had committed the protection of his Life into their hands, delayed going out of the Temple, and espying about the place some Nests of young Spar∣rows, was about to carry them away; when sudddenly he heard a voice from the Altar, speaking thus to him;
O thou most wicked of Men, what arro∣gant boldness hath so far possest thee, that thou presumest to take hence my Suppliants and such as I have taken to my protection? Upon which, Aristodicus returned this bold and free answer; Dost thou O King, succour and protect thy Suppliants, and commandest us to betray the life of Pactias to the Persians?
Page 1075. Is reckoned to be Sybilla Samia, because born in the Island of Samos, a place notoriously famous for Idolatry; and where the Neiades, a sort of old fashioned Goblins are first reported to have shewed themselves, and entred into a converse with Mortals.
6. Sybilla Cumana, called likewise Amalthea; of her are devised abun∣dance of Fabulous Stories, she hath likewise ascribed to her a Prophecy of Christs Incarnation.
7. Sybilla Hellespontica; she is said to be descended from the Trojans, and to have written of the Wars between the Greeks, and that City.
8. Sybilla Phrygia, called besides Vates Ancyrae. It is said of her, that she was to have prostituted her self to Apollo, to obtain the Spirit of Divination, which she refused, after he had inspired her, so that afterward, in Revenge, he so ordered it, that no one gave Credit to her Predictions. She is likewise said to have Prophesied of the destru∣ction of Troy, and of the coming of Christ.
9. They say was Sybilla Europea; lit∣tle is said of her, only a Prophecy as∣signed to her concerning the coming of the blessed day of our Redemption.
Page 10810. Is accounted Sybilla Tyburtina, or Italica, being born near the River Ty∣ber. She is reckoned to have lived in the time of Augustus Caesar; and that upon account of her Devotion, Hea∣ven opened, and shewed the B. V. with her glorious Infant to the Emperour, at such time as the Romans were asking the Oracle about Deifying of Augustus: And that at the same time a voice was heard in the Air, Haec est Ara Primogeni∣ti Dei, which they say is since dedica∣ted to the Blessed Virgin; who in time perhaps may give his Holiness thanks for it.
11, 12. Are named Sybilla Egyptia, and Sybilla Erithrea, to both which are assigned certain Prophetick verses rela∣ting to our Saviour, and to the last a clause in commendation of St. Peter▪ which makes it seem to me as if inser∣ted by some of those who pretended to have been his Successors.
Besides these, there have been recko∣ned abundance more Sybills, who never pretended to exceed the Order of the Bacchidae, who still attended the Groves, and Altars of the Heathen Oracles, and thence returned such answers as their Daemon inspired them withal, by hi••h it is demonstrable to whom they Page 109 did belong, by the Office assigned them. Tibullus in his second Book makes men∣tion of some of them.
Besides these, there were another sort of Votaries to the Goddess Vesta, who were tied by their order to the strictest Virginity for thirty years; and upon conviction of any lapse in that kind, they were immured, whil'st alive. Their Office was to keep the fire always burning on the Altar of Vesta, they were under the Discipline of the Flamen, or High Priest, who instructed them in the Ceremonies, and had the charge of punishing their Delinquencies.
This Order seems to have been of Page 110 great Antiquity and Veneration a∣mongst the Trojans, by whom it was brought into Italy in those early days, before the building of the City Lavi∣num. As Virgil records in his Aeneids, lib. 2.
Dr. Cotta in his discovery of Witch∣craft, makes a quotation out of Livy, of one of this Ancient Order, named Claudia, who (unassisted by any hu∣mane help) did (only with a small string fastened thereunto) draw a mighty Ship along the River of Tyber; which by reason of its vast weight and greatness, could not be moved by the force of many strong Men, assisted by Cattle that were used to draw heavy burthens, which with good reason he concludes she could not have performed without the co-operation of some evil Spirit. He likewise mentions Tuccia, another of that Sister-hood, who by muttering some Invocation, or Inchantment, could take up water in a Sieve, and carry it at a good distance from the River Tyber, without spilling a drop.
Page 111Besides, he takes notice out of Ca∣rion, quoted by Melancthon, of a Druid amongst the Nation of the Tungri, who did foretel to Dioclesian, That after he had killed a Boar, he should be Emperour of Rome. Which came to pass after he had killed one Aper, who was at that time an Usurper, and whose name in the Latin Tongue, signifies a Boar. Heywood reports in page 100. That A∣lexander the great went to the Oracle of Delphos to demand the success of his Expedition against Darius; after many Importunities, was answered by the Prophetess with an Invictus •ris O A∣lexander. By which his great Victo∣ries, and Triumphs were foretold, al∣though had he met with contrary mis∣fortune, the subtle Devil could have salved the reputation of the Oracle, by construing the words with relation to himself: So that if Alexander had been vanquished by Darius, yet had he remained Invictus, because by his Im∣portunities, he overcame the Oracle.
It would be endless, should I go •∣bout to enumerate the many Instances, with which Histories do abound in this kind; nor do I desire to tire the Rea∣der with a tedious transcript of Relati∣ons so common amongst Authors: That Page 112 which is here represented, will be suf∣ficient to evince, that Idol Priest-Craft, and Devil-Worship, are inseparable de∣pendants one upon the other: That the Devils Empire hath been supported, and promoted by the Collusion of his Priests, and the Reputation of the Priest hath been acquired by his converse, and in∣tercourse with the Devil and his Ora∣cles.
The Apostate Angel was not con∣tented to have his Altars advanced, his Oracles sought unto, his Idols Adored, his Priests had in Admiration among the Great and Pompous Eastern, and Western Monarchies: But he hath stai∣ned the remote Indians with his foul and contagious Worship; and with the help of his more Pagan Priests, and Brach∣mans, enslaved those Barbarous Nati∣ons to a Diabolical Adoration of his horrid Shrines. Sometimes they Sa∣crifice, and supplicate unto his Image in the most foul and monstrous Figure; sometimes he personally appears unto them, and frights them into a Panick Adoration of his Tremendous Deity: Oftentimes he scares them with dread∣ful Apparitions in the Air, which he rends with violent Tempests, and de∣vouring fire, and frequently mischiefs Page 113 them, not only in their Fields, but in their persons too, which occasions their supplicating him to avert his Terrours from them. The Histories of America give a large account of the many slave∣ries they are drawn into by this their Infernal Deity, who seems to have ob∣tained a Personal Empire, and Domini∣on amongst them.
The History of Persia gives a large Relation of the many monstrous Idols, and Pagods, to which that People pay Divine Worship, and Adoration, to some of which they offer their Chil∣dren by way of Immolation, as the Idola∣trous Israelites of old did unto their Monster Moloch. To some of their Idols they prostitute their Daughters, whom they reckon not fit for the Nup∣tial Rites, until they have permitted a penetration of their Bodies, by the wanton Member of their Beastly Idol: Or rather some sordid and lascivious Spirit, that sometimes actuates it from within. See Herberts Travels, which I take it, gives a particular, and distinct account of these, and divers other Abomina∣tions among them.
Nor have the Inhabitants of China, and the Eastern India, escaped the pollu∣tion of this Devil-Worship. For Ferdi∣nand Page 114 Mendez Pinto, a Portuguize, who Travelled many years amongst them, hath very largely set forth the many Idolatries and Superstitions of that people: They have amongst them a vast number of Priests, which they have in high veneration; and a prodi∣gious accumulation of Rites and Cere∣monies. And though the Turks in their extended Empire do forbid the use of Idols, yet we find in Knowles his Histo∣ry of them, that they have amongst their Priests abundance of Conjurers, which they call Wise, or Cunning Men, by which they maintain a Correspon∣dence with the black Inhabitants of the Infernal World: So that, tho they do not permit the use of the more lawful and liberal Studies, they yet give them∣selves up to be Scholars, and Disciples to the most interdicted Mysteries.
In Lappland they maintain such an ordinary Correspondence with the ex∣pulsed Spirits, that a Lappland Witch is almost grown to a Proverb with us: And though it be common amongst the Inhabitants to Converse, and Revel with their Daemons, and Familiars; yet the Priests among them generally acquire a dexterity in the Art above what the rest can pretend to: So that they do as Page 115 ordinarily train up their people in those Black Arts, as we do ours in Trades, and liberal Sciences.
There was in the year 1677. or 78. a Book printed, Intituled, The History of Lappland, which gives a full re∣lation of their many Methods of raising their Spirits; and of divers forms and shapes, in which they ordina∣rily shewed themselves to their Invo∣cators, and conversed with them, some∣times like a Satyr, sometimes in the likeness of a Man: and there is amongst them such a kind of Familiarity main∣tained, as if they were of the same Country, and Descent. Amongst the many ways they have to call the Spirits to their Attendance, none is more in use then that of a Magical Drum they have, and in great esteem amongst them; they are very well described in the Book above mentioned, and I have lately seen one of those Drums in Gresham Colledge; it is all over marked upon the vellam with a sort of Necro∣mantick Characters, somewhat like the Arabick letters; but doubtless a sort of Orthography, taught by the Black Master of the Infernal Science. When one of these Drums is beaten (with the addition of some Diabolical Ceremo∣nies, Page 116 and Incantations,) the Spirit pre∣sently attends, and either answers to what is demanded, out of the Drum, or else appears in some form in a place assigned him, and there resolves the mat∣ter for which he was invocated. It is no∣torious, amongst all Historians, that the people of Lappland sell Winds to Merchants for certain Voyages; by which they much enrich themselves. But I fear I have stretched this Chap∣ter beyond its due length, though I have used all possible brevity to con∣tract it. I shall therefore here put a period to this, and hasten to the seventh Chapter.