HIstory often speaks, and common observation as∣sures us, that Bees gather excellent honey out of the bitterest herbs: So, were we wise, we might make good use of this foregoing Relation: Wherein we may consi∣der how the Devill gulls and deceives the souls of the Sons of men, He (without doubt) to bring them into such an unhappy league with himself, promiseth them to be no Inferiors to the greatest in the World. To the Poor hee promiseth Food; to the Sick, Health; to the Irefull, to be revenged; to the Curious, Knowledge; to the Ambi∣tious, Honour; and the Satisfying lusts to the Lustfull: He makes large promises when he means no such thing: Could ever any man at the last say he was a Gainer by his Contract with Satan? indeed he promised Adam fair, but the conclusion was a turning out of Paradise; he promised Sodome fair, but the conclusion was Burning: And how many can our experience testifie of, that (without doubt) after their league with him, built many Castles of Hope in the Air of their Thoughts, of their future happynesse; But what a sad end have they came unto! How many han∣ged and burned! And when they need most protection from the Devil, they have been most disappointed by him: Shall any therefore wilfully be deceived by his allure∣ments? Suppose the best, That such a shamefull end shall not betyde them: Yet is there any happynesse or any good to be found in the Devils service? Can he procure lost goods, can he restore decayed health, can he satisfie a Page 38 proud heart, can he content the ambitious minde, can he satisfie a fleshly lust, can he bestow on thee and let thee re∣ally enjoy all the glory of the world; yet he cannot save thee from death: can he prolong thy life in the land of the living, he cannot create comfort to thee in the day of Gods wrath: What will you then doe? Indeed your lusts perhaps by him have been satisfied, your health by him recovered, your lost goods by him restored, your ambitious minde something for a while quieted: But all this while your soul is not saved. Consider how God himself pities thee: What will you doe, saith the Lord in the day of my Wrath? Intombing your souls in the world will not shelter you, nor your agreement with Hell and Death cannot relieve you: Besides, what out∣ward, temporall, forenamed accommodations you have by him, as Health, Wealth, and the like; you give a dearer rate then the most chargeable Physician in the world would or possibly could demand of you for the restauration ofyour lost health; and it is much sweeter, easier, and lesse charge, to goe so long a voyage as to the Indies, and there dig for gold and silver, accounting all its difficulties, then to have it of the devils sending or bringing it to us.
In this sad foregoing Relation, thou hast the great and glorious attributes of Gods Justice and just Judgement, and of his rich Mercy and free grace.
To demonstrate the last first: Friendly Reader, Thou hadst in this Narration the torments of a poor Maid, so fully expressed, that in the reading thereof thou mayst take notice of the goodnesse of God in her support; sure I am, no naturall strength could have subsisted under such violent and strong racks, tortures and pangs as did seise on her for almost five weeks: Besides, a Maid so poorly principled as she was; for as she could not read, so shee could not answer, neither did she know, but was altoge∣ther ignorant of the Fundamentall grounds of Religion; and besides, lived profanely, yet in the extremity of her condition, and in the lowest ebbe of her sorrows, there was a ground of hope, and expressed by her self in such terms as these:
Page 39 Being asked whether she gave way to the Devill, in yeelding to any thing that he suggested into her thoughts and minde: She answered, No: Indeed (saith she) the Devill now appears to me from the top of the house in a fearfull shape, with flaming eyes, and calls to me to come away: But I tell him, I cannot, I am held, and glad I am that I am held, else I am afraid I should be carryed away by force. And at any time, when she had a little ease from the violent hurryings of her body, she was desirous to discourse, and said, she would not keep the Devils counsel; The Devil (saith she) claims his promise, and would have me away, for I have given him my soul: But, saith she, I know my soul is none of mine own to give, Christ hath bought it, and his it is, & none of my mine; and though I did so wickedly as to promise it him through the perswasions of a Witch, which I am heartily sorry for, yet I have not my soul in my own custody to dis∣pose of as I will; and this (saith she) I tell him, but it will not satisfie him. What ever questions she was asked against her self between her fits, when she was able to speak, she would freely relate it, though never so much against her self; replying, I have deserved death and hell a thousand times over, and if God shew me mercy, sure I doe not deserve it, yet I hope God will: I finde (saith she) that the Devill is within me, he is got into my stomach, and there he lies, and hath broken all my bones, yet I hope to be saved at last; I know God is mercifull, the Devill had else torne my body in pieces, he hath tryed what he can, but God hath yet kept me, and I beleeve he will still for all the Devill and this wicked base Woman: And further she said, I heartily desire the prayers of the Ministers and all good people, I doe desire it surely with my whole soul, for though I am a sinfull wretch, yet sure I doe beleeve God will hear their prayers for me. And many other expressions she used, which are set down in the former Narration. I onely relate these here, to shew the divine support she had in her distresse.
And Reader, Hadst thou seen the strength of her spirit, Page 40 and of her minde in giving in her Evidence, thou wouldst have beleeved she spoke truth: And I think there are none of an unprejudicate opinion, but did beleeve what she then said: She sometimes in her Accusation, or rather in her Evidence, accused her owne obnoxiousnesse, and how guilty she her self was of death and hell: And after sen∣tence was passed on the Witch, I came to the Maid, and asked her whether she was willing the Witch should be reprieved? She replyed, With all my heart, and glad I should be if any body could prevail for her reprieve; and I doe wish some body or other would try, if they did think they should not sin in so doing: She then at the same time wept exceedingly, and complaining, Oh my madnesse and my folly! Oh wicked Creature that I am, that ever I should sin against so good a God, that hath been so mercifull to me in my torments! Surely the De∣vill in one of those long nights would have carryed me away, had not God been mercifull to me: How hath Christ preserved me! Did I ever deserve svch mercy? Sure I did not; and it will be my sorrow so long as I live, should I sin against so loving a Christ, and give away my soul from so good a God, and all by the perswafions of so base a Woman: How can I forget this? Surely I shall never forget it as long as I live: I am resolved to serve such a God as this is, I will not count any thing too hard to doe for him that would have mercy upon me, that had given my soul to the Devil. I am not yet too old to learn, I will learn to read, sure, if God will be pleased that I shall, though I break my sleeping time to learn; and I will, if possibly I can, get into some good Ministers house or service, because I would not have any let from living a holy life: I wil learn the knowledge of Religion, that I may serve God, since I have done so much to his disho∣nour. I am this day to go away home, I hope now to be∣gin a holy life: and many more gracious expressions she used, that those that were present can testifie as well as my self. All which she spoke weeping bitterly: And longer discourse I had had with her, but by reason of her much weeping, she had not freedome of speech.
Page 41 I relate not here any fancy, but a reall truth, and I beleeve all my own actions are under diviue observation, and I should much offend, if I should under pretence of relating truth, do otherwise; and truly I doubt not but all these transactions and providences, are but the fore-runners of her day of con∣version, and God usually, or at least sometimes, makes use of a wilderness condition to be a passage into Canaar. O how ma∣ny souls hath God in Heaven, that have had their passage thither by Hels gate? Manasses prison was a means to break off his league with familiar spirits, so may I say, a Prison was the place, where God in mercy visited this poor Maid, and did there disthrone Satan, and gave her freedom of spirit and liberty of body in one day; and I make no doubt but the same God, that hath brought to the birth, and I beleeve brought forth, will not suffer to be despised the day of small things, but will make her a monument to his own praise, and although Jacob is but small, yet he shall arise.
I come to the period of my Narration, and shall close up all with a word or two of the discovery of Gods judgement, and Justice on the Witch. I need not reiterate what former∣ly hath been said, I have shewed something of her miserable life, and of her wofull death, but nothing in respect of what might be said; I have only spoken of her practice concerning this Maid, but at her tryal there were many other things brought in against her, and there was at the least eight wit∣nesses that gave in their Accusations against her on oath, and it was not solely this business that she was condemned for, but many other passages were brought in against her, of many of her vile and abominable practices, which would take up too much time to Insert; but here is enough already said suffi∣ciently to evidence unto the world how vile and wicked she was; and notwithstanding this her miserable condition (to the apprehension of all spectators) she desired nothing more than her end; thus the devil makes such people willing slaves to himself, and notwithstanding she came to such misery and sad condition, by reason of her wicked practices, yet she would keep the devils Councel to the last, and would not discover others in League with her self, although she saw the issue of the Practitioners by her self, neither would she forewarn Page 42 spectators of the like practice; we may see much of the Justice of God herein, that those that will rebelliously harden their hearts against God, shall be judicially hardned by him; all judgements cannot break the heart, or humble the sinner, if God soften it not; outward miseries may break the back, not of themselves melt the heart; all the torments the devils indure cannot bring down their pride, but they remain still proud, though in Hell. What a madness rests in the sons of men, to think they can repent when theywill? I am confident this Witch could not shed one penitential tear, though thereby she might have been reprieved from death. 'Tis dangerous to follow that trade will harden the heart, and 'tis usual that those that are so besotted and hardned, as to sin under daily mercies, are in time so hardned, that the worst of judgements and torments can∣not mollifie them. This Narration was penned to reclame poor people from running after such persons, for the restauration of lost health, or recovery of stollen goods, they may read the Issue thereof by this Maid, she can and doth speak forth, both by word of mouth, and also by her sufferings she lay under, the misery of such as resort to them; thou hast heard before how low she was brought, into as sad an estate as poor creature could be brought, and live, both in respect of her bodily tor∣ments and inward condition. I have not related every par∣ticular word she spake of her condition, neither indeed can I remember them all, but one time she was brought so low with her pain, being in a trance, that when she came to her self, she said to a God•y Minister of the City of Sa•um then with her, that she was just then falling into hell, and the devil was too strong for her, do what she could for her life, and was car∣rying her by might and force to hell, and she had Irrecoverably been thrown in, had not one little twig (or stick) held and stayed her, she had no refuge in the world but that twig, and no sup∣port by any, or assistance from any, but that twig, which was the greatest comfort to her she ever met with in all her sor∣rows, that such a seasonable support should come to her, when she was as she apprehended swallowed in at hels mouth. Here see a poor creature, as to its own apprehension, could not lye under greater misery, why then should the devil prevail with any, thus to treasure up to themselves sorrow? Besides the con∣dition Page 43 of the Maid, the Witch her self infinitely more bespeaks all not to follow after, or practice such wicked arts. Who would willingly have lived her life? but who then would dye her death? she had sorrows enough entayled to her practice here, while she lived, but infinitely more now dead; 'tis no indiffe∣rent thing, such a practice, but without infinite mercy 'tis damnation to the followers of it, and very few are reclamed from it, but as they live, usually they dye. And my friendly Reader, not to detein thee from thy more serious imployment any longer, I say, thou hast this relation, truly and faithful∣ly related unto thee; for what good or advantage would it be to me, to give a false relation of the same? which if I should, many hundred spectators can disprove me; but my own heart knows, and all observers can testifie, that the foregoing History, is the birth and true issues of the life and death of the Witch; neither hast thou it penned or illustrated with counterfeit co∣lours of curious language, for I know it matters not what Speech we use in telling truth, and I obliged my self in my undertakings to use the same words and expressions as both the Witch and Maid used, and have not made them speak my words in this relation. It is expected by some, having been urged there∣to, to annex to this Narration, a word or two concerning the practice of Witches, their nature and compact, how they may be discovered, and wherein there power consists; what power Witches have over others, more than any other person, and how they came by their power, and that the practice of this Witch, is the way and common practice of such as make compacts with devils; but those to whom my self am known, do also know, that I have other publike employment, to exercise my Pen, and Head about, than such a work as this; but pro∣vidence casting me on the afore-related business, I could not bury what I knew of it in oblivion, knowing that my self knew the passages in general, aswel as any, and I know none that would take the task to publish it but my self, and I could not (being solicited by many Justices of the Peace, that were at the Bench and heard the tryal, and other men of eminent worth) wave i•; but for clearing any objections in writing, that partial Readers might raise on the same, I think it a work needless; but for the Narration, if any notwithstan∣ding Page 44 what hath been said doubt the truth of it, if it be any li∣ving in the Western Circuit, Master Clark of the Assises, or any of 〈◊〉 Clarks or servants, can fully satisfy them the truth of it, and also the truth of it will be made manifest by eminent persons to be beleeved to every Clark of Assizes of every Circuit in England, and they will be able throughout, their whole Circuits to satisfy the truth of it to any that are du∣bious as to the belief thereof.
And now friendly Reader, having given thee as brief a Narration of the Judicial proceeding against this Witch, as possibly I could, I beg thy candid peru•al thereof, and such an observation of the passages therein, as they call for from thee.