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Chapter 22

Of Divination, Sorcery, the Black-Art, Pawawing, and such like Pretenders to Devilism, and how far the Devil is or is not concern’d in them.

Tho’ I am writing the History of the Devil, I have not undertaken to do the like of all the Kinds of People, Male or Female, who set up for Devils in the World: This would be a Task for the Devil indeed, and fit only for him to undertake, for their Number is and has been prodigious great, and may, with his other Legions be rank’d among the Innumerable.

What a World do we inhabit! where there is not only with us a great Roaring-Lyon-Devil daily seeking whom of us he may devour, and innumerable Millions of lesser Devils hovering in the whole Atmosphere over us, nay, and for ought we know, other Millions always invisibly moving about us, and perhaps in us, or at least in many of us; but that have, besides all these, a vast many counterfeit Hocus Pocus Devils; human Devils, who are visible among us, of our own Species and Fraternity, conversing with us upon all Occasions; who like Mountebanks set up their Stages in every Town, chat with us at every Tea-Table, converse with us in every Coffee-House, and impudently tell us to our Faces that they are Devils, boast of it, and use a thousand Tricks and Arts to make us believe it too, and that too often with Success.

It must be confess’d there is a strong Propensity in Man’s Nature, especially the more ignorant part of Mankind, to resolve every strange Thing, or whether really strange or no, if it be but strange to us, into Devilism, and to say every Thing is the Devil, that they can give no Account of.

Thus the famous Doctors of the Faculty at Paris, when John Faustus brought the first printed Books that had then been seen in the World, or at least seen there, into the City, and sold them for Manuscripts: They were surpriz’d at the Performance, and question’d Faustus about it; but he affirming they were Manuscripts, and that he kept a great many Clarks employ’d to write them, they were satisfied for a while.

But looking farther into the Work, they observ’d the exact Agreement of every Book, one with another, that every Line stood in the same Place, every Page a like Number of Lines, every Line a like Number of Words; if a Word was mis-spelt in one, it was mis-spelt also in all, nay, that if there was a Blot in one, it was alike in all; they began again to muse, how this should be? in a Word, the learned Divines not being able to comprehend the Thing (and that was always sufficient) concluded it must be the Devil, that it was done by Magick and Witchcraft, and that in short, poor Faustus (who was indeed nothing but a meer Printer) dealt with the Devil.

N. B. John Faustus was Servant, or Journeyman, or Compositor, or what you please to call it, to Koster of Harlem, the first inventor of Printing; and having printed the Psalter, sold them at Paris as Manuscripts; because as such they yielded a better Price.


But the learned Doctors not being able to understand how the Work was perform’d, concluded as above, it was all the Devil, and that the Man was a Witch; accordingly they took him up for a Magician and a Conjurer, and one that work’d by the Black Art, that is to say, by the help of the Devil; and in a Word, they threaten’d to hang him for a Witch, and in order to it, commenc’d a Process against him in their criminal Courts, which made such a Noise in the World as rais’d the Fame of poor John Faustus to a frightful Height, till at last he was oblig’d, for fear of the Gallows, to discover the whole Secret to them.

N. B. This is the true original of the famous Dr. Faustus or Foster, of whom we have believ’d such strange Things, as that it is become a Proverb, as great as the Devil and Dr. Foster: Whereas poor Faustus was no Doctor, and knew no more of the Devil than another Body.


Thus the Magistrates of Bern and Switzerland, finding a Gang of French Actors of Puppet-shew open’d their Stage in the Town, upon hearing the surprizing Accounts which the People gave of their wonderful Puppets, how they made them speak, answer Questions, and discourse, appear and disappear in a Moment, pop up here, as if they rise out of the Earth, and down there, as if they vanish’d, and Abundance more Feats of Art, censur’d them as Demons; and if they had not pack’d up their Trinkets, and disappeared almost as dextrously as their Puppets, they had certainly condemn’d the poor Puppets to the Flames for Devils, and censur’d, if not otherwise punished their Masters. See the Count de Rochfort’s Memoirs, p. 179.

Wonderful Operations astonish the Mind, especially where the Head is not over-burthen’d with Brains; and Custom has made it so natural to give the Devil either the Honour or Scandal of every Thing, that we cannot otherwise Account for, that it is not possible to put the People out of the Road of it.

The Magicians were, in the Chaldean Monarchy, call’d the Wisemen; and tho’ they are joined with the Sorcerers and Astrologers in the same Place, Dan. ii. 4. yet they were generally so understood among those People; but in our Language we understand them to be People that have an Art to reveal Secrets, interpret Dreams, foretel Events, &c. and that use Enchantments and Sorceries, by all which we understand the same Thing; which now in a more vulgar Way we express by one general coarse Expression, Dealing with the Devil.

The Scripture speaks of a Spirit of Divination, Acts xvi. 16. and a Wench that was possess’d by this Spirit brought her Master much Gain by Southsaying, that is to say, according to the Learned, by Oracling or answering Questions; whence you will see in the Margin, that this southsaying Devil is there call’d Python, that is, Apollo, who is often call’d Python, and who at the Oracle of Delphos gave out such Answers and double Entendres, as this Wench possibly did; and hence all those Spirits which were call’d Spirits of Divination, were in another Sense call’d Pythons.

Now when the Apostle St. Paul came to see this Creature, this Spirit takes upon it to declare that those Men, meaning St. Paul and Timotheus, were the Servants of the most high God, which shew’d unto them the Way of Salvation; this was a good turn of the Devil, to preserve his Authority in the possess’d Girl; she brought them Gain by Southsaying, that is to say, resolving difficult Questions, answering Doubts, interpreting Dreams, &c. Among these Doubts, he makes her give Testimony to Paul and Timotheus, to wheedle in with the new Christians, and perhaps (tho’ very ignorantly) even with Paul and Timotheus themselves, so to give a Kind of Credit and Respect to her for speaking.

But the Devil, who never speaks Truth, but with some sinister End, was discover’d here and detected; his flattering Recognition not accepted, and he himself unkennel’d as he deserv’d; there the Devil was over-shot in his own Bow again.

Here now was a real Possession, and the evil Spirits who possess’d her, did stoop to sundry little Acts of Servitude, that we could give little or no Reason for, only that the Girl’s Master might get Money by her; but perhaps this was a particular Case, and, prepar’d to honour the Authority and Power the Apostles had over evil Spirits.

But we find these Things carried a great Way farther in many Cases, that is to say, where the Parties are thus really possess’d; namely, the Devil makes Agents of the possess’d Parties to do many Things for the propagating his Interest and Kingdom, and particularly for the carrying on his Dominion in the World: But I am for the present not so much upon the real Possession as the pretended, and particularly we have had many that have believed themselves possess’d, when the Devil never believed it of them, and perhaps knew them better; some of these are really poor Devils to be pitied, and are what I call Diables Imaginaire; these have notwithstanding done the Devil good Service, and brought their Masters good Gain by Southsaying.

We find Possessions acknowledg’d in Scripture to be really and personally the Devil, or according to the Text, Legions of Devils in the Plural. The Devil or Devils rather, which possessed the Man among the Tombs, is positively affirm’d to be the Devil in the Scripture; all the Evangelists agree in calling him so, and his very Works shew it; namely, the Mischief he did, as well to the poor Creature among the Tombs, who was made so fierce, that he was the Terror of all the Country, as to the Herd of Swine and to the Country in the Loss of them.

I might preach you a Lecture here of the Devil’s Terror upon the Approach of our Saviour, the Dread of his Government, and how he acknowledg’d that there was a Time for his Torment, which was not yet come: Art thou come to torment us before our Time? It is evident the Devil apprehended that Christ would chain them up before the Day of Judgment; and therefore some think the Devil here, being, as it were, caught out of his due Bounds, possessing the poor Man in such a furious manner, was afraid, and petition’d Christ not to chain him up for it, and as the Text says, They besought him to suffer them to go away, &c. that is to say, when they say, art thou come to torment us before the Time? the Meaning is, they begg’d he would not cast them into Torment before the Time, which was already fix’d; but that if he would cast them out of the Man, he would let them go away, &c.

The Evangelist St. Luke says, the Devil besought him that he would not command them to go out into the Deep: Our learned Annotators think that part is not rightly render’d; adding, that they do not believe the Devil fears drowning; but with Submission, I believe the meaning is, that they would not be confin’d to the vast Ocean, where no Inhabitants being to be seen, they would be effectually imprison’d and tied down from doing Mischief, which would be a Hell to them; as to their going into the Swine, that might afford us some Allegory; but I am not disposed to jest with the Scripture, no nor with the Devil neither, farther than needs must.

It is evident the Devil makes Use of very mean Instruments sometimes, such as the Damsel possess’d with a Spirit of Divination, and several others.

I remember a Story, how true I know not, of a weak Creature next Door to an Ideot, who was establish’d in the Country for an Oracle, and would tell People strange Things that should be, long before they came to pass; when People were sick, would tell them whether they should live or die; if People were married, tell how many Children they should have; and a hundred such Things as fill’d the People with Admiration, and they were the easier brought to believe that the Girl was possess’d; but then they were divided about her too, and that was the finest spun Thread the Devil could work, for he carried a great Point in it; some said she had a good Spirit, and some a bad, some said she was a Prophetess, and some that she was the Devil.

Now had I been there to decide the Question, I should certainly have given it for the latter; if it were only upon this Account, namely, that the Devil has often found Fools very necessary Agents for the propagating his Interest and Kingdom, but we never knew the good Spirits do so; on the other Hand, it does not seem likely that Heaven should deprive a poor Creature of its Senses, and as it were take her Soul from her, and then make her an Instrument of Instruction to others, and an Oracle to declare his Decrees by; this does not seem to be rational.

But as far as this kind of Divination is in Use in our Days, yet I do not find room to charge the Devil with making any great Use of Fools, unless it be such as he has particularly qualified for his Work, for as to Ideots and Naturals, they are perfectly useless to him; but a sort of Fools call’d the Magi, indeed, we have some Reason to think he often works with.

We are not arriv’d to a certainty yet, in the settling this great Point, namely, what Magick is? whether a diabolical Art or a Branch of the Mathematicks? Our most learned Lexicon Technicum is of the latter Opinion, and gives the Magic Square and the Magic Lantern, two Terms of Art.

The Magic Square is when Numbers in Arithmetical Proportion are dispos’d into such Parallels or equal Ranks, as that the Sums of each Row as well Diagonally as Laterally shall be all equal; for Example, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Place these Nine in a Square of three, they will directly and diagonally make 18. Thus,

This he calls the Magic Square, but gives no Reason for the Term, nor any Account of what infernal Operations are wrought by this Concurrence of the Numbers; neither do I see that there can be any such Use made of it.

The Magic Lantern is an optic Machine, by the Means of which are represented, on a Wall in the Dark, many Phantasms and terrible Appearances, but no Devil in all this, only that they are taken for the Effects of Magic, by those that are not acquainted with the Secret.

All this is done by the help of several little painted Pieces of Glass, only so and so situated, plac’d in certain Oppositions to one another, and painted with different Figures, the most formidable being plac’d foremost, and such as are most capable of terrifying the Spectators; and by this all the Figures may be represented upon the opposite Wall, in the largest Size.

I cannot but take Notice, that this very Piece of optic Delusion seems too much akin to the mock Possessions and infernal Accomplishments, which most of the Possessionists of this Age pretend to, so that they are most of them meer Phantasms and Appearances, and no more; Nor is the Spirit of Divination, the Magic, the Necromancing, and other Arts which were call’d Diabolical, found to be of any Use in modern Practice, at least, in these Parts of the World; but the Devil seems to do most of his Work himself, and by shorter Methods; for he has so compleat an Influence among those that he now Lists in his Service, that he brings all the common Affairs of Mankind into a narrower Compass in his Management, with a Dexterity particular to himself, and by which he carries on his Interest silently and surely, much more to the Detriment of Virtue and good Government, and consequently much more to his Satisfaction, than ever he did before.

There is a Kind of Magic or Sorcery, or what else you may please to call it, which, tho’ unknown to us, is yet, it seems, still very much encourag’d by the Devil; but this is a great Way off, and in Countries where the politer Instruments, which he finds here, are not to be had; namely, among the Indians of North-America; This is call’d Pawawing, and they have their Divines, which they call Pawaws or Witches, who use strange Gestures, Distortions, horrid Smokes, Burnings, and Scents, and several such Things which the Sorcerers and Witches in ancient Times are said to use in casting Nativities, in Philtres, and in determining, or as they pretended, directing the Fate of Persons; by burning such and such Herbs and Roots, such as Helebore, Wormwood, Storax, Devilwort, Mandrake, Nightshade, and Abundance more such, which are call’d noxious Plants, or the Product of noxious Plants; also melting such and such Minerals, Gums, and poisonous Things, and by several hellish Mutterings and Markings over them, the like do these Pawaws; and the Devil is pleased, it seems, (or is permitted) to fall in with these Things, and as some People think, appears often to them for their Assistance upon those Occasions.

But be that as it will, he is eas’d of all that Trouble here; he can Pawaw here himself, without their aid, and having laid them all aside, he negotiates much of his Business without Ambassadors; he is his own Plenipotentiary, for he finds Man so easy to come at, and so easy when he is come at, that he stands in no need of secret Emissaries, or at least not so much as he used to do.

Upon the whole, as the World, within the Compass of a few pass’d Years is advanc’d in all Kinds of Knowledge and Arts, and every useful Branch of what they knew before improv’d, and innumerable useful Parts of Knowledge, which were conceal’d before are discover’d; why should we think the Devil alone should stand at a stay, has taken no Steps to his farther Accomplishment, and made no useful Discoveries in his Way? That he alone should stand at a Stay, and be just the same unimprov’d Devil that he was before? No, no, as the World is improv’d every Day, and every Age is grown wiser and wiser than their Fathers; so, no doubt, he has bestirr’d himself too, in order to an encrease of Knowledge and Discovery, and that he finds every Day a nearer Way to go to work with Mankind than he had before.

Besides, as Men in general seem to have alter’d their manner, and that they move in a higher and more exalted Sphere, especially as to Vice and Virtue; so the Devil may have been obliged to change his Measures, and alter his Way of working; particularly, those Things which would take in former Times, and which a stupid Age would come easily into, won’t go down with us now: As the taste of Vice and Virtue alters, the Devil is forc’d to bait his Hook with new Compositions; the very Thing call’d Temptation is alter’d in its Nature, and that which serv’d to delude our Ancestors, whose gross Conceptions of Things caused them to be manageable with less Art, will not do now; the Case is quite alter’d; in some Things, perhaps, as I hinted above, we come into Crime with ease, and may be led by a Finger; but when we come to a more refin’d Way of sinning, which our Ancestors never understood, other and more refin’d Politics must be made Use of, and the Devil has been put upon many useful Projects and Inventions, to make many new Discoveries and Experiments to carry on his Affairs; and to speak impartially, he is strangely improv’d either in Knowledge or Experiment, within these few Years; he has found out a great many new Inventions to shorten his own Labour, and carry on his Business in the World currently, which he never was master of before, or at least we never knew he was.

No wonder then that he has chang’d Hands too, and that he has left of pawawing in these Parts of the World; that we don’t find our Houses disturb’d as they used to be, and the Stools and Chairs walking about out of one Room into another, as formerly; that Children don’t vomit crooked Pins and rusty stub Nails, as of old, the Air is not full of Noises, nor the Church-Yard full of Hobgoblins; Ghosts don’t walk about in Winding-Sheets, and the good old scolding Wives visit and plague their Husbands after they are dead, as they did when they were alive.

The Age is grown too wise to be agitated by these dull scare-crow Things which their Fore-Fathers were tickled with; Satan has been obliged to lay by his Puppet-shews and his Tumblers, those things are grown stale; his morrice-dancing Devils, his mountebanking and quacking won’t do now; those Things, as they may be supposed to be very troublesome to him, (and but that he has Servants enough would be chargeable too) are now of no great Use in the new Management of his Affairs.

In a Word, Men are too much Devils themselves, in the Sense that I have call’d them so, to be frighted with such little low priz’d Appearances as these; they are better acquainted with the old Arch-Angel than so, and they seem to tell him they must be treated after another manner, and that then, as they are good-natur’d and tractable, he may deal with them upon better Terms.

Hence the Devil goes to work with Mankind a much shorter Way; for instead of the Art of Wheedling and Whining, together with the laborious Part of Tricking and Sharping, Hurrying and Driving, Frighting and Terrifying, all which the Devil was put to the Trouble of before; in short, he acts the Grand Manner as the Architects call it (I don’t know whether our Free-Masons may understand the Word) and therefore I may hereafter explain it, as it is to be Diabolically as well as mathematically understood.

At present my meaning is, he acts with them immediately and personally by a magnificent Transformation, making them meer Devils to themselves, upon all needful Occasions, and Devils to one another too, whenever he (Satan), has Need of their Service.

This Way of embarking Mankind in the Devil’s particular Engagement, is really very modern; and tho’ the Devil himself may have been long acquainted with the Method, and as I have heard, began to practise it towards the Close of the Roman Empire, when Men began to act upon very polite Principles, and were capable of the most refin’d Wickedness, and afterwards with some Popes, who likewise were a kind of Church Devils, such as Satan himself could hardly expect to find in the World; yet I do not find that he was ever able to bring it into Practice, at least, not so universally as he does now: But now the Case is alter’d, and Men being generally more expert in Wickedness than they were formerly; they suffer the smaller Alteration of the Species, in being transmigrated; in a Word, they turn into Devils, with no trouble at all hardly, either to the Devil or to themselves.

This Particular would want much the less Explanation, could I obtain a License from Sir Hellebore Wormwood, Bart. or from my Lord Thwartover, Baron of Scoundrel Hall in the Kingdom of Ireland, to write the true History of their own Conduct; and how early, and above all, how easily they commenc’d Devils, without the least Impeachment of their Characters, as wise Men, and without any Diminution of that Part of their Denomination which establish’d them for Fools.

How many mad Fellows appear among us every Day in the critical Juncture of their Transmigration, just when they have so much of the Man left as to be known by their Names, and enough of the Devil taken up to settle their Characters? This Easiness of the Devil’s access to these People, and the great Convenience it is to him in his general Business, is a Proof to me that he has no more Occasion of Diviners, Magicians, Sorcerers, and whatever else we please to call those People who were formerly so great with him; for what Occasion has he to employ Devils and Wizards to confound Mankind, when he is arriv’d to such a Perfection of Art as to bring Men, at least in these Parts of the World, to do it all themselves; upon this Account we do not find any of the old Sorcerers and Diviners, Magicians or Witches appear among us; not that the Devil might not be as well able to employ such People as formerly, and qualify them for the Employment too, but that really there is no need of them hereabout, the Devil having a shorter Way, and Mankind being much more easily possess’d; not the old Herd of Swine were sooner agitated, tho’ there was full 2000 of them together; Nature has open’d the Door, and the Devil has egress and regress at Pleasure, so that Witches and Diviners are quite out of the Question.

Nor let any Man be alarm’d at this Alteration, in the Case as it stands between Mankind and the Devil, and think the Devil having gain’d so much Ground, may in time, by Encroachment, come to a general Possession of the whole Race, and so we should all come to be Devils incarnate; I say, let us not be alarm’d, for Satan does not get these Advantages by Encroachment, and by his infernal Power or Art, no not at all; but ’tis the Man himself does it by his Indolence and Negligence on one Hand, and his Complaisance to the Devil on the other; and both Ways he, as it were, opens the Door to him, beckons him with his very Hand to come in, and the Devil has nothing to do but enter and take Possession: Now if it be so, and Man is so frank to him; you know the Devil is no Fool not to take the Advantage when ’tis offer’d him, and therefore ’tis no wonder if the Consequences which I have been just now naming follow.

But let no Man be discourag’d by this, from reaffirming his natural and religious Powers, and venturing to shut the Devil out; for the Case is plain he may be shut out; the Soul is a strong Castle, and has a good Garrison plac’d within to defend it; if the Garrison behave well, and do their Duty, it is impregnable, and the cowardly Devil must raise his Siege and be gone; nay, he must fly, or, as we call it, make his Escape, lest he be laid by the Heels, that is, lest his Weakness be exposed, and all his Lurking, lying in Wait, ambuscade-Tricks; this Part would bear a great Enlargement, but I have not room to be witty upon him, so you must take it in the Gross, the Devil lies at Blye Bush, as our Country People call it, to watch your coming out of your Hold; and if you happen to go abroad unarm’d he seizes upon and masters you with ease.

Unarm’d, you’ll say, what Arms should I take? what Fence against a Flail? What Weapons can a Man take to fight the Devil? I could tell you what to fight him with, and what you might fright him with, for the Devil is to be frighted with several Things besides Holy Water; but ’tis too serious for you, and you’ll tell me I am a preaching and a canting, and the like; so I must let the Devil manage you rather than displease you with talking Scripture and Religion.

Well, but may not the Devil be fought with some of his own Weapons? Is there no dealing with him in a Way of human Nature? This would require a long answer, and some Philosophy might be acted, or at least imitated, and some Magic, perhaps; for they tells us there are Spells to draw away even the Devil himself; as in some Places they nail Horse-Shoes upon the Threshold of the Door, to keep him out; in other Places old pieces of Flint, with so many Holes and so many Corners, and the like: But I must answer in the Negative, I don’t know what Satan might be scar’d at in those Days, but he is either grown cunninger since or bolder, for he values none of those Things now; I question much whether he would value St. Dunstan and his red hot Tongs, if he was to meet him now, or St. Francis or any of the Saints, no not the Host itself in full Procession; and therefore, tho’ you don’t care I should preach, yet in short, if you are afraid he should charge upon you and attack you, if you won’t make Use of those Scripture Weapons I should have mention’d, and which you may hear of, if you enquire at Eph. vi. 16. you must look for better where you think you can find them.

But to go on with my Work, the Devil, I say, is not to be fear’d with Maukins, nor does he employ his old Instruments, but does much of his Work himself without Instruments.

And yet I must enter a Caveat here too, against being misunderstood in my saying the Devil stands in no need of Agents; for when I speak so, I am to be taken in a limited Sense; I don’t say he needs them no where, but only that he does not need them in those polite Parts of the World which I have been speaking of, and perhaps not much here; but in many remote Countries ’tis otherwise still; the Indians of America are particularly said to have Witches among them, as well in those Countries where the Spaniards and the English and other Nations have planted themselves, as amongst those where the European Nations seldom come: for Example, the People of Canada, that is, of the Countries under the French Government of Quebeck, the Equimeaux, and other Northern Climates, have Magicians, Wizards and Witches, who they call Pilloatas or Pillotoas; these pretend they speak intimately and familiarly with the Devil, and receive from him the Knowledge of Things to come; all which, by the Way, I take to be little more than this; that these Fellows being a little more cunning than the rest, think, that by pretending to something more than human, they shall make the stronger Impressions on the ignorant People; as Mahomet amus’d the World with his Pigeon, using it to pick Peas out of his Ear, and persuaded the People it brought him superior Revelations and Inspirations from Paradise.

Thus these Pillotoas gaining an Opinion among the People, behave like so many Mountebanks of Hell, pretending to understand dark Things, cure Diseases, practise Surgery, Physick and Necromancy altogether; I will not say, but Satan may pick out such Tools to work with, and I believe does in those Parts, but I think he has found a nearer Way to the Wood with us, and that is sufficient to my present Purpose.

Some would persuade me the Devil had a great Hand in the late religious Breaches in France, among the Clergy, (viz.) about the Pope’s Constitution Unigenitus, and that he made a fair Attempt to set the Pope and the Gallican Church together by the Ears, for they were all just upon the Point or breaking out into a Church War, that for ought we knew might have gone farther than the Devil himself car’d it should; now I am of the quite contrary Opinion, I believe the Devil really did not make the Breach, but rather heal’d it, for fear it should have gone so far among them as to have set them all in a Flame, and have open’d the Door to the Return of the Hugonots again, which it was in a fair Way to have done.

But be it one Way or t’other, the historical Part seems to be a little against me; for ’tis certain, the Devil both wanted and made Use of Legions of Agents, as well human as infernal, visible and invisible in that great and important Affair, and we cannot doubt but he has innumerable Instruments still at work about it.

Like as in Poland, I make no Question but the Devil has thousands of his Banditti at work at this Time, and in another Country not far from it, perhaps, preparing Matters for the next General Diet, taking care to prevent giving any Relaxation to the Protestants, and to justify the moderate Executions at Thorn, to excite a Nation to quarrel with every Body who are able to fight with no body; to erect the Apostate Race of S——y upon a Throne which they have no Title to, and turn an elective Throne into an hereditary, in favour of Popery.

I might anticipate all your Objections, by granting the busy Devil at this Time employing all his Agents and Instruments (for I never told you they were idle and useless) in striving to enflame the Christian World, and bring a new War to overspread Europe; I might, perhaps, point out to you some of the Measures he takes, the Provocatives which his State Physicians administer to the Courts and Counsellors of Princes, to foment and ferment the Spirits, and Members of Nations, Kingdoms, Empires and States in the World, in order to bring these glorious Ends of Blood and War to pass; for you cannot think but he that knows so much of the Devil’s Affairs, as to write his History, must know something of all these Matters more than those that do not know so much as he.

But all this is remote to the present Case, for this is no Impeachment of Satan’s new Methods with Mankind, in this Part of the World, and in his private and separate Capacity; all this only signifies that in his more general and national Affairs, the Devil acts still by his old Methods; and when he is to seduce or embroil Nations, he, like other Conquerors, subdues them by Armies, employs mighty Squadrons of Devils, and sends out strong Detachments, with Generals and Generalissimos to lead them, some to one Part of the World, some to another; some to influence one Nation, some to manage and direct another, according as Business presents, and his Occasions require, that his Affairs may be carried on currently, and to his Satisfaction.

If it were not thus, but that the Devil by his new and exquisite Management, of which I have said so much, had brought Mankind in general to be the Agents of their own Mischiefs, and that the World were so at his Beck, that he need but command them to go and fight, declare War, raise Armies, destroy Cities, Kingdoms, Countries and People; the World would be a Field of Blood indeed, and all Things would run into Confusion presently.

But this is not the Case at all, Heaven has not let go the Government of the Creation to his subdu’d Enemy, the Devil; that would overturn the whole System of God, and give Satan more Power, than ever he was or will be vested with; when, therefore, I speak of a few forward Wretches in our Day, who are so warm in their Wickedness, that they anticipate the Devil, save him the Trouble to tempt, turn Devils to themselves, and gallop Hellward faster than he drives; I speak of them as single Persons, and acting in their own personal and private Capacity, but when I speak of Nations and Kingdoms, there the Devil is oblig’d to go on in the old Road, and act by Stratagem, by his proper Machinery, and to make use of all his Arts, and all his Agents, just as he has done in all Ages, from the beginning of his politic Government to this Day.

And if it was not thus too, what would become of all his numberless Legions, of which all Ages have heard so much, and all Parts of the World have had so much fatal Experience? They would seem to be quite out of Employment, and be render’d useless in the World of Spirits, where it is to be supposed they reside; not the Devil himself could find any Business for them, which by the Way, to busy and mischievous Spirits, as they are, would be a Hell to them, even before their Time; they would be, as it were, doom’d to a State of Inactivity, which we may suppose was one Part of their Expulsion from Blessedness and the Creation of Man; or as they were for the surprising Interval between the Destruction of Mankind by the Deluge and Noah’s coming out of the Ark, when indeed they might be said to have nothing at all to do.

But this is not Satan’s Case, and therefore let me tell you too, that you may not think I treat the Case with more Levity than I really do, and than I am sure I intend to do; tho’ it is too true that our modern and modish Sinners have arrived to more exquisite Ways of being wicked, than their Fathers, and really seem, as I have said, to need no Devil to tempt them; nay, that they do Satan’s Work for him as to others also, and make themselves Devils to their Neighbours, tempting others to crime even faster than the Devil desires them, running before they are sent, and going of the Devil’s Errands gratis; by which Means Satan’s Work is, as to them, done to his Hand, and they may be said to save him a great deal of Trouble; yet after all, the Devil has still a great deal of Business upon his Hands, and as well himself as all his Legions, find themselves a full Employment in disturbing the World, and opposing the Glory and Kingdom of their great Superior, whose Kingdom it is their whole Business, however vain in its End, to overthrow and destroy, if they were able, or at least to endeavour it.

This being the Case, it follows of course that the general Mischiefs of Mankind, as well national and public, as family Mischiefs, and even personal, (except as before excepted) lie all still at the Devil’s Door, as much as ever, let his Advocates bring him off of it if they can; and this brings us back again to the manner of the Devil’s Management, and the Way of his working by human Agents, or if you will, the Way of human Devils, working in Affairs of low Life, such as we call Divination, Sorcery, Black-Art, Necromancy, and the like; all which I take to consist of two material Parts, and both very necessary for us to be rightly inform’d of.

1. The Part which Satan by himself or his inferior Devils empowers such People to do, as he is in Confederacy with here on Earth; to whom he may be said, like the Master of an Opera or Comedy, to give their Parts to act, and to qualify them to act it; whether he obliges them to a Rehearsal in his Presence, to try their Talents, and see that they are capable of performing, that indeed I have not enquir’d into.

2. That Part which these empower’d People do voluntier or beyond their Commission, to shew their Diligence in the Service of their new Master, and either (1.) to bring Grist to their own Mill, and make their Market of their Employment in the best manner they can; or (2.) to gain Applause, be admir’d, wonder’d at, and applauded, as if they were ten Times more Devils than really they are.


In a Word, the Matter consists of what the Devil does by the Help of these People, and what they do in his Name without him; the Devil is sometimes cheated in his own Business; there are Pretenders to Witchcraft and Black-Art, who Satan never made any Bargain with, but who he connives at, because at least they do his Cause no harm, tho’ their Business is rather to get Money, than to render him any Service, of which I gave you a remarkable Instance before.

But to go back to his real Agents, of which I reckon two.

1. Those who act by Direction and Confederacy, as I have said already many do.

2. Those whom he acts in and by, and they (perhaps) know it not, of which Sort History gives us plenty of Examples, from Machiavel’s first Disciple —— to the famous Cardinal Alberoni, and even to some more modern than his Eminence, of whom I can say no more till farther Occasion offers.


1. Those who act by immediate Direction of the Devil, and in Confederacy with him; these are such as I mention’d in the beginning of this Chapter, whose Arts are truly black, because really infernal; it will be very hard to decide the Dispute between those who really act thus in Confederacy with the Devil, and those who only pretend to it; so I shall leave that Dispute where I find it; but that there are, or at least have been, a Set of People in the World, who really are of his Acquaintance, and very intimate with him; and tho’, as I have said, he has much alter’d his Schemes and chang’d Hands of late; yet that there are such People, perhaps of all Sorts; and that the Devil keeps up his Correspondence with them; I must not venture to deny that Part, lest I bring upon me the whole Posse of the conjuring and bewitching Crew, Male and Female, and they should mob me for pretending to deny them the Honour of dealing with the Devil, which they are so exceeding willing to have the Fame of.

Not that I am hereby oblig’d to believe all the strange Things the Witches and Wizards, who have been allow’d to be such, nay, who have been hang’d for it, have said of themselves; nay, that they have confess’d of themselves, even at the Gallows; and if I come to have an Occasion to speak freely of the Matter, I may perhaps convince you that the Devil’s possessing Power is much lessen’d of late, and that he either is limited, and his Fetter shortened more than it has been, or that he does not find the old Way (as I said before) so fit for his Purpose as he did formerly, and therefore takes other Measures, but I must adjourn that to a Time and Place by itself: But we are told that there are another Sort of People, and, perhaps, a great many of them too, in whom and by whom the Devil really acts, and they know it not.

It would take up a great deal of Time and Room, too much for this Place, so near the Close of this Work, to describe and mark out the involuntary Devils which there are in the World; of whom it may be truly said, that really the Devil is in them, and they know it not: Now, tho’ the Devil is cunning and managing, and can be very silent where he finds it for his Interest not to be known; yet it is very hard for him to conceal himself, and to give so little Disturbance in the House, as that the Family should not know who lodged in it; yet, I say, the Devil is so subtle and so mischievous an Agent, that he uses all manner of Methods and Craft to reside in such People as he finds for his Purpose, whether they will or no, and which is more, whether they know it or no.

And let none of my Readers be angry or think themselves ill used, when I tell them the Devil may be in them, and may act them, and by them, and they not know it; for I must add, it may, perhaps, be one of the greatest Pieces of human Wisdom in the World, for a Man to know when the Devil is in him, and when not; when he is a Tool and Agent of Hell, and when he is not; in a Word, when he is doing the Devil’s Work, and under his Direction, and when not.

It is true, this is a very weighty Point, and might deserve to be handled in a more serious Way than I seem to be talking in all this Book; but give me leave to talk of Things my own way, and withall, to tell you, that there is no Part of this Work so seemingly ludicrous, but a grave and well weigh’d Mind may make a serious and solid Application of it, if they please; nor is there any Part of this Work, in which a clear Sight and a good Sense may not see that the Author’s Design is, that they should do so; and as I am now so near the End of my Book, I thought it was meet to tell you so, and lead you to it as far as I can.

I say, ’tis a great Part of human Wisdom to know when the Devil is acting in us and by us, and when not; the next and still greatest Part would be to prevent him, put a Stop to his Progress, bid him go about his Business, and let him know he should carry on his Designs no farther in that manner; that we will be his Tools no longer; in short, to turn him out of Doors, and bring a stronger Power to take Possession; but this, indeed, is too solid a Subject, and too great to begin with here.

But now, as to the bare knowing when he is at work with us, I say this, tho’ it is considerable, may be done, nor is it so very difficult; for Example, you have no more to do but look a little into the Microcosm of the Soul, and see there how the Passions which are the Blood, and the Affections which are the Spirit, move in their particular Vessels; how they circulate, and in what Temper the Pulse beats there, and you may easily see who turns the Wheel; if a perfect Calm possesses the Soul; if Peace and Temper prevail, and the Mind feels no Tempests rising; if the Affections are regular and exalted to vertuous and sublime Objects, the Spirits cool, and the Mind sedate, the Man is in a general Rectitude of Mind, he may be truly said to be his own Man; Heaven shines upon his Soul with its benign Influences, and he is out of the Reach of the evil Spirit; for the divine Spirit is an Influence of Peace, all calm and bright, happy and sweet like it self, and tending to every Thing that is good both present and future.

But on the other Hand, if at any Time the Mind is ruffled, if Vapours rise, Clouds gather, if Passions swell the Breast, if Anger, Envy, Revenge, Hatred, Wrath, Strife; if these, or any of these hover over you, much more if you feel them within you; if the Affections are possess’d, and the Soul hurried down the Stream to embrace low and base Objects; if those Spirits, which are the Life and enlivening Powers of the Soul, are drawn off to Parties, and to be engag’d in a vicious and corrupt manner, shooting out wild and wicked Desires, and running the Man headlong into Crime, the Case is easily resolv’d, the Man is possess’d, the Devil is in him; and having taken the Fort, or at least the Counterscarp and Out-Works, is making his Lodgment to cover and secure himself in his Hold, that he may not be dispossess’d.

Nor can he be easily dispossess’d when he has got such hold as this; and ’tis no wonder, that being lodg’d thus upon the Out-Works of the Soul he continues to sap the Foundation of the rest, and by his incessant and furious Assaults, reduces the Man at last to a Surrender.

If the Allegory be not as just and apposite as you would have it be, you may, however, see by it in a full View, the State of the Man, and how the Devil carries on his Designs; nothing is more common, and I believe there are few thinking Minds but may reflect upon it in their own Compass, than for our Passions and Affections to flow out of the ordinary Channel; the Spirits and Blood of the Soul to be extravasated, the Passions grow violent and outragious, the Affections impetuous, corrupt and violently vicious: Whence does all this proceed? from Heaven we can’t pretend it comes; if we must not say ’tis the Devil, whose Door must it lie at? Pride swells the Passions; Avarice moves the Affections; and what is Pride, and what is Avarice, but the Devil in the Inside of the Man? ay, as personally and really as ever he was in the Herd of Swine.

Let not any Man then, who is a Slave to his Passions, or who is chain’d down to his Covetousness, pretend to take it ill, when I say he has the Devil in him, or that he is a Devil: What else can it be, and how comes it to pass that Passion and Revenge so often dispossess the Man of himself, as to lead him to commit Murther, to lay Plots and Snares for the Life of his Enemies, and so to thirst for Blood? How comes this but by the Devil’s putting those Spirits of the Soul into so violent a Ferment, into a Fever? that the Circulation is precipitated to that Degree, and that the Man too is precipitated into Mischief, and at last into Ruin; ’tis all the Devil, tho’ the Man does not know it.

In like manner Avarice leads him to rob, plunder and destroy for Money, and to commit sometimes the worst of Violences to obtain the wicked Reward. How many have had their Throats cut for their Money, have been murther’d on the Highway, or in their Beds, for the Desire of what they had? It is the same Thing in other Articles, every Vice is the Devil in a Man; Lust of Rule is the Devil of great Men, and that Ambition is their Devil as much as whoring is Father ———’s Devil, one has a Devil of one Class acting him, one another, and every Man’s reigning Vice is a Devil to him.

Thus the Devil has his involuntary Instruments, as well as those who act in Confederacy with him; he has a very great Share in many of us, and acts us, and in us, unknown to our selves tho’ we know nothing of it, and indeed tho’ we may not suspect it of our selves; like Hazael the Assyrian, who when the Prophet told him how he would act the Devil upon the poor Israelites, answer’d with Detestation, is thy Servant a Dog that he should do this Thing, and yet he was that Dog, and did all those cruel Things for all that; the Devil acting him, or acting in him, to make him wickeder than ever he thought it was possible for him to be.

Daniel Defoe

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