Witches Page 2
That after shee came to dwell with us, one day as shee was alone in a lower roome, all the rest of us being in the chamber, she looked out at the window, & saw the devill in the habit of an old man, coming over a great meadow lying neere the house; & suspecting his designe, shee had thoughts to have gon away; yet at length resolved to tarry it out, & heare what hee had to say to her; when hee came hee demanded of her some of her blood, which shee forthwith consented to, & with a knife cut her finger, hee caught the blood in his hand, & then told her she must write her name in his booke, shee answered, shee could not Write, but hee told her he would direct her hand, & then took a little sharpened sticke, & dipt in the blood, & put it into her hand, & guided it, & shee wrote her name with his helpe: what was the matter shee set her hand to, I could not learne from her; but thus much shee confessed, that the terme of time agreed upon with him was for 7 yeers; one yeere shee was to be faithfull in his service, & then the other six hee would serve her, & make her a witch: shee also related, that the ground of contest between her & the devill which was the occasion of this sad providence, was this, that after her covenant made the devill showed her hell & the damned, & told her if shee were not faithfull to him, shee should goe thither, & bee tormented there; shee desired of him to show her heaven, but hee told her that heaven was an ougly place, & that none went thither but a company of base roagues whom he hated; but if shee would obey him, it should be well with her: but afterward shee considered with herselfe, that the terme of her covenant, was but short, & would soone bee at an end, & shee doubted (for all the devills promises) shee must at last come to the place hee had showne her, & withall, feared, if shee were a witch, shee should bee discovered, & brought to a shamefull end: which was many times a trouble on her spirits; this the Devill perceiving, urged upon her to give him more of her blood, & set her hand agen to his booke, which shee refused to doe, but partly through promises, partly by threatnings, hee brought her at last to a promise that shee would sometime doe it: after which hee left not incessantly to urge her to the performance of it, once hee met her on the staires. & often elsewhere pressing her with vehemencye, but shee still put it off; till the first night shee was taken when the devill came to her, & told her he would not tarry any longer: shee told him shee would not doe it hee Answered shee had done it already, & what further damage would it bee to doe it agen, for shee was his sure enough: she rejoyned shee had done it already, & if shee were his sure enough, what need hee to desire any more of her: whereupon he strucke her the first night, agen more violently the 2nd as is above exprest.
This is the sum of the Relation I then had from her: which at that time seemed to bee methodicall: These things she uttered with great affection, overflowing of teares, & seeming bitternesse: I asked of the Reason of her weeping & bitternesse, shee complained of her sinns, & some in particular, profanation of the sabbath &c: but nothing of this sin of renouncing the goverment of God. & giving herselfe up to the devill: I therfore, (as God helped) applied it to her & asked her whether shee desired not prayers with & for her, shee assented with earnestnesse, & in prayer seemed to bewaile the sin as God helped, then in the aggravation of it, & afterward declared a desire to rely on the power & mercy of God in Christ: shee then also declared, that the Devill had deceived her concerning those persons impeached by her, that hee had in their likenesse or resemblance tormented her, persuading her that it was they, that they bare her a spleen, but he loved her, & would free her from them, & pressed on her to endeavor to bring them forth to the censure of the law.
In this case I left her; but (not being satisfied in some things) I promised to visit her agen the next day which accordingly I did, but coming to her, I found her (though her speech still remained) in a case sad enough, her teares dryed up, & sences stupifyed, & (as was observed) when I could get nothing from her, & therfore applyed myselfe in counsell to her, shee regarded it not, but fixed her eye steadfastly upon a place, as shee was wont when the Devill presented himselfe to her, which was a griefe to her parents, & brought mee to a stand; in the condition I left her: The next day, being the Sabbath, whither upon any hint given her, or any advantage Satan tooke by it upon her, shee sent for mee in hast at noone, coming to her, shee immediately with teares told me that shee had belied the Devill, in saying shee had given him of her blood: &c: professed that the most of the apparitions shee had spoken of were but fansyes, as images represented in a dreame; earnestly entreated me to beleeve her, called God to witnesse to her assertion, I told her I would willingly hope the best, & beleeve what I had any good grounds to apprehend; if therefore shee would tell a more methodicall relation than the former, it would be well, but if otherwise, she must bee content that every one should censure according to their apprehension, shee promised soe to doe, & expressed a desire that all that would might heare her; that as they had heard soe many lyes & untruths, they might now heare the truth, & engaged that in the evening shee would doe it; I then repaired to her, & divers more then went; shee then declared thus much, that the Devill had sometimes appeared to her; that the occasion of it was her discontent, that her condition displeased her, her labor was burdensome to her, shee was neither content to bee at home nor abroad; & had oftentime strong persuasions to practice in witchcraft, had often wished the Devill would come to her at such & such times, & resolved that if hee would, shee would give herselfe up to him soule & body: but (though hee had oft times appeared to her, yet) at such times hee had not discovered himselfe, and therfore shee had bin preserved from such a thing: I declared a suspicion of the truth of the relation, & gave her some Reasons; but by Reason of the company did not say much, neither could anything further be gotten from her: but the next day I went to her, & opened my mind to her alone, & left it with her, declared (among other things) that shee had used preposterous courses, & therfore it was no marvell that shee had bin led into such contradictions, & tendered her all the helpe I could, if shee would make use of me, & more privately relate any weighty & serious case of Conscience to me, shee promised me shee would if shee knew any thing, but said that then shee knew nothing at all; but stood to the story shee had told the foregoing evening: & indeed what to make of these things I at present know not, but am waiting till God (if hee see meet) wind up the story, & make a more cleere discoverye.
It was not many dayes ere shee was hurried agen into violent fits after a different manner, being taken agen speechlesse, & using all endeavores to make away with herselfe, & doe mischiefe unto others; striking those that held her; spitting in their faces; & if at any time shee had done any harme or frightened them shee would laugh immediately; which fits held her sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, few occasions shee had of speech, but when shee could speake, shee complained of a hard heart, counselled some to beware of sin, for that had brought her to this, bewailed that soe many prayers had bin put up for her, & shee still so hard hearted, & no more good wrought upon her; but being asked whither shee were willing to repent, shaked her head, & said nothing.
Thus shee continued till the next sabbath in the afternoone; on which day in the morning, being somthing better then at other times, shee had but little company tarryed with her in the afternoon; when the Devill began to make more full discoverye of himselfe: It had bin a question before, whither shee might properly bee called a Demoniacke, or person possessed of the Devill, but it was then put out of Question: hee began (as the persons with her testifye) by drawing her tongue out of her mouth most frightfully to an extraordinary length & greatnesse, & many amazing postures of her bodye; & then by speaking, vocally in her, whereupon her father, & another neighbor were called from the meeting, on whom, (as soon as they came in,) he railed, calling them roagues, charging them for folly in going to heare a blacke roague, who told them nothing but a parcell of lyes, & deceived them, & many like expressions. after exercise I was called, but understood not the occasion, till I came, & heard the same voice, a grum, low, yet audible voice it was, the first salutation I had was, oh ! you are a great roague, I was at the first somthing daunted & amazed, & many reluctances I had upon my spirits, which brought mee to a silence and amazement in my spirits, till at last God heard my groanes & gave me both refreshment in Christ, & courage: I then called for a light, to see whither it might not appeare a counterfiet, and observed not any of her organs to moove, the voice was hollow, as if it issued out of her throat; hee then agen called me great blacke roague, I challenged him to make it appear; but all the Answer was, you tell the people a company of lyes.
I reflected on myselfe, & could not but magnifye the goodnesse of God not to suffer Satan to bespatter the names of his people, with those sins which hee himselfe hath pardoned in the blood of Christ. I Answered, Satan, thou art a lyar, and a deceiver, & God will vindicate his owne truth one day: hee Answered nothing directly, but said, I am not Satan, I am a pretty blacke boy; this is my pretty girle; I have bin here a great while, I sat still, and Answered nothing to these expressions; but when hee directed himselfe to mee agen, oh! you blacke roague, I doe not love you: I replyed through God's grace, I hate thee; hee rejoyned, but you had better love mee; these manner of expressions filled some of the company there present with great consternation, others put on boldnesse to speake to him, at which I was displeased, & advised them to see their call cleere, fearing least by his policye, & many apish expressions hee used, hee might insinuate himselfe, & raise in them a fearlessenesse of spirit of him: I no sooner turned my backe to goe to the fire, but he called out agen, where is that blacke roague gon: I seeing little good to bee done by discorse, & questioning many things in my mind concerning it, I desired the company to joyne in prayer unto God; when wee went about that duty & were kneeled downe, with a voice louder then before something, hee cryed out, hold your tongue, hold your tongue, get you gon you blacke roague, what are you going to doe, you have nothing to doe with me, &c: but through Gods goodnesse was silenced, &, shee lay quiet during the time of prayer, but as soone as it was ended, began afresh, using the former expressions, at which some ventured to speake to him.
Though I thinke imprudentlye: one told him, God had him in chaines, hee replyed, for all my chaine, I can knocke thee on the head when I please: hee said hee would carry her away that night. Another Answered, but God is stronger than thou, He presently rejoyned, that 's a ly, I am stronger than God: at which blasphemy I agen advised them to bee wary of speaking, counselled them to get serious parsons to watch with her, & left her, commending her to God.
On Tuesday following shee confessed that the Devill entred into her the 2nd night after her first taking, that when shee was going to bed, hee entred in (as shee conceived) at her mouth, & had bin in her ever since, & professed, that if there were ever a Devill in the world, there was one in her, but in what manner he spake in her she could not tell.
On Wednesday night, shee must forthwith be carried downe to the bay in all hast, shee should never be well, till an assembly of ministers was met together to pray with & for her, & in particular Mr. Cobbet: her friends advised with me about it; I signifyed to them, that I apprehended, Satan never made any good motion, but it was out of season, & that it was not a thing now fiezable, the season being then extreame cold; & the snow deepe, that if shee had bin taken in the woods with her fits shee must needs perish.
On friday in the evening shee was taken agen violently, & then the former voice (for the sound) was heard in her agen, not speaking, but imitating the crowing of a cocke, accompanied with many other gestures, some violent, some ridiculous, which occasioned my going to her, where by signes she signifyed that the Devill threatened to carry her away that night, God was agen then sought for her. & when in prayer, that expression was used, the God had prooved Satan a liar, in preserving her once when hee had threatned to carry her away that night, & was entreated soe to doe agen, the same voice, which had ceased 2 dayes before, was agen heard by the by-standers 5 times distinctly to cry out, oh you are a roague, and then ceased: but the whole time of prayer, sometimes by violence of fits sometimes by noises shee made, shee drouned her owne hearing from receiving our petition, as she afterwards confessed: Since that time shee hath continued for the most part speechlesse, her fits coming upon her sometimes often, sometimes with greater intermission, & with great varietyes in the manner of them, sometimes by violence, sometimes by making her sicke, but (through Gods goodnesse) soe abated in violence, that now one person can as well rule her, as formerly 4 or 5: She is observed alwayes to fall into her fits when any strangers goe to visit her, & the more goe the more violent are her fits: as to the frame of her spirits hee hath bin more averse lately to good counsell than heretofore, yet sometime shee signifyes a desire of the companye of ministers.
On Thursday last, in the evening, shee came a season to her speech, & (as I received from them with her) agen disouned a Covenant with the Devill, disouned that relation about the knife fore mentioned, declared the occasion of her fits to bee discontent, owned the temptations to murder; declared that though the devill had power of her body, shee hoped hee should not of her soule, that she had rather continue soe speechlesse, then have her speech, & make no better use of it then formerly shee had, expressed that shee was sometimes disposed to doe mischiefe, & was as if some had laid hold of her to enforce her to it, & had double strength to her owne, that shee knew not whither the devill were in her or no if hee were shee knew not when or how he entered; that when shee was taken speechlesse, she fared as if a string was tyed about the roots of her tongue, & reached doune into her vitalls & pulled her tongue downe, & then most when shee strove to speake.
On Fryday, in the evening shee was taken wth a passion of weeping, & sighing, which held her till late in the night, at length she sent for me; but then unseasonablenesse of the weather, & my owne bodily indisposednesse prevented: I went the next morning, when shee strove to speake somthing but could not, but was taken with her fits, which held her as long as I tarried, which was more then an houre, & I left her in them: & thus she continues speechlesse to this instant, Jan. 15. & followed with fits: concerning which state of hers I shall suspend my owne Judgment, & willingly leave it to the censure of those that are more learned, aged, & Judicious: only I shall leave my thoughts in resp. of 2 or 3 questions which have risen about her: viz.
1. Whither her distemper be reale or counterfiet: I shall say no more to that but this, the great strength appearing in them, & great weaknesse after them, will disclaime the contrary opinion: for tho a person may counterfiet much yet such a strength is beyond the force of dissimulation:
2. Whither her distemper bee naturall or Diabolicall, I suppose the premises will strongly enough conclude the latter, yet I will adde these 2 further arguments:
1. the actings of convulsion, which these come nearest to, are (as parsons acquainted with them observe) in many, yea the most essentiall parts of them quite contrary to these actings:
2. Shee hath no wayes wasted in body, or strength by all these fits, though soe dreadfulle, but gathered flesh exceedinglye, & hath her naturall strength when her fits are off, for the most part:
3. Whither the Devill did really speake in her: to that point which some have much doubted of, thus much I will say to countermand this apprehension:
1. The manner of expression I diligently observed, & could not perceive any organ, any instrument of speech (which the philosopher makes mention of) to have any motion at all, yea her mouth was sometimes shut without opening sometimes open without shutting or moving, & then both I & others saw her tongue (as it used to bee when shee was in some fits, when speechlesse) turned up circularly to the roofe of her mouth.
2. the labial letters, divers of which were used by her, viz. B. M. P. which cannot bee naturally expressed without motion of the lips, which must needs come within our ken, if observed, were uttered without any such motion, shee had used only Lingualls, Gutturalls &c: the matter might have bin more suspicious:
3. the reviling termes then used, were such as shee never used before nor since, in all this time of her being thus taken: yea, hath bin alwayes observed to speake respectively concerning mee;
4. They were expressions which the devill (by her confession) aspersed mee, & others withall, in the houre of temptation, particularly shee had freely acknowledged that the Devill was wont to appear to her in the house of God & divert her mind, & charge her shee should not give eare to what the Blacke coated roage spake:
5 wee observed when the voice spake, her throat was swelled formidably as big at least as ones fist.
These arguments I shall leave to the censure of the Judicious: whither shee have covenanted with the Devill or noe: I thinke this is a case unanswerable, her declarations have been soe contradictorye, one to another, that wee know not what to make of them & her condition is such as administers many doubts; charity would hope the best, love would alsoe feare the worst, but thus much is cleare, shee is an object of pitye, & I desire that all that heare of her would compassionate her forlorne state, Shee is (I question not) a subject of hope, & thererfore all meanes ought to bee used for her recoverye, Shee is a monument of divine severitye, & the Lord grant that all that see or heare, may feare & tremble: Amen. SW
End, Part 2