The visions of dom Francisco de Quevedo Villegas, knight of the Order of St. James made English by R.L.
Quevedo, Francisco de, 1580-1645., L'Estrange, Roger, Sir, 1616-1704.

The Decree of Lucifer.

TO our Trusty and Despairing Le∣gions, and well-beloved Subjects, lying under the Condemnation of Per∣petual Darkness, that liv'd Pensioners to sin, and had Death for their Pay-master, Greeting. This is to let you understand, that there are two Devils, who pretend a claim to the honour of our Lieutenancy; but we have absolutely refus'd to gra∣tifie Page  336 either the One or the Other, in that point, out of a singular Affection and Respect to Our right Trusty and Well-beloved Cousin, a certain She-Devil that deserves it before all others.

At this the whole Assembly fell to whispering and muttering, and staring one upon another; till at last Lucifer observ∣ing it, bad them never trouble them∣selves to guess who it might be, but fetch Good Fortune to him, known other∣wise by the name of Madam Prosperity; who presently appear'd in the tail of the Assembly, and with a proud and dis∣dainful Air, march'd up and planted her self before the degraded Seraphim; who lookt her wistly in the face, and then he went on in the Tone he first began.

It is our Will, Pleasure, and Command, that next and immediately under our proper Person, you pay all Honour and Respect to the Lady Prosperity, and obey her, as the most mighty and supreme Go∣verness of these our Dominions. Which Titles and Qualities, we have conferr'd upon her, as due to her merit; for she hath damn'd more Souls than all you to∣gether; She it is that makes men cast off Page  337 all fear of God, and Love of their Neigh∣bour. She it is, that makes men place their Sovereign good in Riches. That Engages and Entangles mens minds in Vanity; strikes them blind in their Plea∣sures; Loads them with Treasure, and Buries them in sin. Where's the Trage∣dy that she has not play'd her part in't? Where's the Stability and Wisdom that she has not stagger'd? Where's the Folly that she has not improv'd and augment∣ed? She takes no Counsel, and fears no Punishment. She it is that furnishes mat∣ter for Scandal, experience for Story, that entertains the Cruelty of Tyrants, and bathes the Executioners in Innocent Bloud. How many Souls, that liv'd in∣nocent, while they were poor, have fal∣len into impiety and reprobation, so soon as ever they came to drink of the in∣chanted Cup of Prosperity! Go to then, be Obedient to Her, we charge ye all, as to Our Self: and understand, that They that stand their ground against Prosperity are none of your Quarry. Let them e'en alone; for 'tis but time lost to attempt them. Take example from that imper∣tinent Devil, that got leave to tempt Iob; he persecuted him, begger'd him, Page  338 cover'd him all over with Scabs and Vlcers. Sot that he was! if he had understood his business, he would have gone another way to work, and begg'd leave, to have multiplyed Riches upon him; and to have possest him of Health and Pleasures. That's the Tryal; and how many are there that when they thrive in the world, turn their backs upon Heaven, and never so much as name their Creator; but in Oaths, and then too, without thinking on him? Their Discourse is all of Iollities, Banquets, Comedies, Purchases, and the like. Where∣as the poor man has God perpetually both in his mouth and heart. Lord (says he) be mindful of me, and have mercy upon me, for all my trust is in thee. Wherefore (says Lucifer, redoubling his accursed clamour) let it be Publisht forthwith throughout all our Territories, that, Calamities, Troubles, and Persecutions are our mortal Enemies: for so we have found them upon Experience: they are the Dispensations of Providence, the Bles∣sings of the Almighty, to fit Sinners for himself, and they that suffer them are enrolled in the Militia of Heaven.

Item; For the better administration Page  339 of our Government, It is our Will and Pleasure, and we do strictly charge and command, that our Devils give constant attendance in all Courts of Iudicature; and they are hereby totally discharged from any further care of Little petty Fog∣gers, Flatterers, and Envious Persons, for they are so well acquainted with Hell Rode, that they'll guide one another, without the help of a Devil to bring them hither.

Item; We do Ordain and Command that no Devil presume for the future to entertain any Confident, but Profit; for That's the Harbinger that provides Vice the most commodious Quarter, even in the straitest Consciences.

Item; We do Ordain, as a matter of great importance to the conservation of our Empire, that in what part soever of our Dominions, the Devil of Money shall vouchsafe to appear, all other Devils there present, shall rise, and with a low Reverence▪ present him the Chair, in to∣ken of their submission to his Power and Authority.

Item; We do most expresly Charge and Command all our Officers, as well Ci∣vil as Military, to employ their utmost Page  340Diligence and Industry, for the establish∣ing a General Peace throughout the World. For that's the time for wicked∣ness to thrive in, and all sorts of vices to prosper and flourish; as Luxury, Gluttony, Idleness, Lying, Slandering, Gaming, and Whoring; and in a word, sin is upon the Encrease, and Goodness in the Wane. Whereas in a state of War, men are up∣on the exercise of Valour and Virtue; calling often upon Heaven, in the morn∣ing, for fear of being Knockt on the Head after Dinner: and honest men and acti∣ons are rewarded.

Item; We do from this time forward dis∣charge all our Officers and Agents what∣soever, from giving themselves any fur∣ther trouble of tempting Men and Women to sins of Incontinence; for as much as we find upon Experience, that Adultery and Fornication will never be left, till the old Woman scratches the stooll for her back∣side. And though there may be several intervals of Repentance, and some faint Purposes of giving it over: yet the Hu∣mour returns again with the next Tyde of Bloud, and Concupiscence is as Loyal a Subject to us, as any we have in our Do∣minions.

Page  341Item; In Consideration of the Exem∣ption aforesaid, by which means several Devils are left without present Employ∣ment; And for as much as there are ma∣ny Merchants and Tradesmen in London, Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, and elsewhere, up and down the world, that are very cha∣ritably dispos'd to relieve People in want; especially young Heirs newly at Age, and Spend-Thrifts, that come to borrow mo∣ney of them; but the times being Dead and little money stirring, all they can do is to furnish them with what the House af∣fords; and if a hundred pound or two in Commodity will do them any good, 'tis at their service (they say.) This the Gal∣lant takes up at an excessive Rate, to sell again immediately for what he can get; and the Merchant has his friend to take it off under-hand, at a third part of the Va∣lue (which is his way of helping men in distress.) Now out of a singular Respect o the said Merchants and Tradesmen, and for their better Encouragement; as also, to the end that the Devils aforesaid may not run into lewd Courses, for want of business; We Will and Require that a Legion of the said Devils, shall from time to time be continually aiding and assisting Page  342 to the said Merchants and Tradesmen, in the Quality of Factors, to be reliev'd monthly by a fresh Legion, or oftner if oc∣casion shall require.

Item; We Will and Command that all our Devils, of what Degree, or Quality soever, do henceforth Entertain a strict Amity and Correspondence with Our Trusty, and well belov'd, the Usurers, the Revengeful, the Envious, and all Pretenders to great Places, and Digni∣ties: And above all Others, with the Hy∣pocrites, who are the most Powerful Im∣postors in Nature, and so Excellently skill'd in their Trade, that they steal away People's Hearts and Souls at the Eyes, and Ears, insensibly, and draw to themselves Adoration, and Reward.

Item; We do further Order, and Command, that all Care possible be ta∣ken for the maintaining of Blabs, In∣formers, Incendiaries, and Parasites in all Courts, and Palaces, for thence comes Our Harvest.

Item; That the Bablers, Tale-Bear∣ers, Make-Bates and Instruments of Di∣vorces, and Quarrels, be no longer call'd Fannes, but Bellows; in regard that they draw, and Inflame, without giving any Allay, or Refreshment.

Page  343Item; That the Intermedlers be here∣after call'd, and Reputed the Devils Bo∣dy-Lice, because they fetch Bloud of those, that feed, and Nourish them.

Lucifer then casting a Soure Look over his Shoulder, and spying the Go∣vernante: I'm of his Mind (quoth he) that said, Let God dispose of the Doüeg∣nas (or Governantes) as he pleases: for I'm in no little Trouble, how to dispose of these Confounded Carrions. Whereupon, the Damn'd cry'd out with one Voice: Oh! Lucifer, let it never be said, that it rain'd Doüegnas in thy Dominions. Are we not miserable enough without this new Plague of being baited by Haggs? Ah! Cursed Lucifer; (cry'd every one to himself) stow them any where, so they come not near me. And with that, they all clapt their Tayls between their Legs, and drew in their Horns, for fear of this new Torment. Lucifer, finding how the Dread of the old Women wrought upon the Devils, contented himself, at the present, to let it pass only, in Terrorem; but withal, he swore, by the honour of his Imperial Crown, and as he hop'd to be sav'd; that what Devil, Devil s Damme, or Reprobate soever, should in time to Page  344 come be found wanting to his Duty; and in the least Degree disobedient to his Laws, and Ordinances: All, and every the said Devil, or Devils; their Dams, and Reprobates so offending, should be deliver'd up to the Torture of the Doü∣egna; and ty'd Muzzle to Muzzle; so to remain in Secula Seculorum, without Relief or Appeal; or any Law, Statute, or Vsage to the Contrary Notwithstand∣ing. But in the Mean time, Cast them into that Dry Ditch, (says he) that they may be ready for use upon any Occa∣sion.

Immediately, upon the Pronouncing of this Solemn Decree, Lucifer retir'd to his Cell; The Weather clear'd up; and the Company disperst in a fright, at so horrible a Menace, and so went about their Business: When a Voice was heard out of the Clouds, as the Voice of an Angel, saying, He that rightly compre∣hends the Morality of this Discourse, shall never repent the Reading of it.