To distinguish in a mass of forged literature certain books as more spurious than others, seems at first sight a needless ingenuity of criticism. There are, however, some Rituals of Black Magic which are merely the knavish speculations of catchpenny booksellers, and there are others, anterior to the period, and foreign to the centres, of colportage, which have never exercised any influence, and are, in fact, generally unknown. Both classes neither possess a history nor have contributed anything to their subject. Yet it does not follow that they offer no points of curiosity or interest, and some account of them must be given in this place.
The Verus Jesuitarum Libellus, or "True Magical Work of the Jesuits, containing most powerful conjurations for all evil spirits of whatever state, condition and office they are, and a most powerful and approved conjuration of the Spirit Uriel; 1 to which is added Cyprian's Invocation of Angels, and his Conjuration of the Spirits guarding Hidden Treasures, together with a form for their dismissal,"--purports to have been published at Paris in the Latin tongue, and in the year 1508. It was reprinted by Scheible at Stuttgart in 1845, forming part of the curious collection of Faust documents already mentioned. Finally, in the year 1875, the late Major Herbert Irwin made, or procured privately, an English translation, which remains in MS. The date placed on the title-page of the original edition at once betrays the imposture. It will be almost needless to say that in the first decade of
the sixteenth century there were no Jesuits; the Society originated with St. Ignatius, who died in 1556, being two years after the confirmation of the Society by Pope Paul III. The Conjurations are excessively curious. The first is addressed to a spirit whose name is not indicated, but he is, supposed to have been obedient to Abraham and Isaac, and is directed to bring the magician, out of the depths of the sea, so many millions--the number is not specified and depends upon the cupidity of the operator--of the best Spanish gold; otherwise, says the Conjuration, I will condemn thy body (sic) and thy soul. In the second. formula, the spirit is cited by the knowledge and exorcising power of Agrippa, 1 which again puts a definite limit to the antiquity of the collection, were it otherwise necessary. The third Invocation is addressed to the spirit Zayariel, who is conjured by Agla Scheffert and the great Jehova Podashocheia. The remainder, to the number of seven in all, are nearly identical in character and precisely in purpose, the demon being invariably required too bring that which is desired by the operator from the depths of the sea, or from the abyss of the waters, or from the spiritual abyss. The Discharge or Absolution which concludes the series is really an additional conjuration.
The Citation of St. Cyprian is presumably an experiment in what is distinguished as White Magic, seeing that it is addressed to an Angel who was the guest of Lot and Abraham. The object being "help in need," and this in all simplicity, it is apparently appropriate for every strait in life, and should be, therefore, noted for reference by those who may think it worth while; it is too cumbrous and tedious for these pages, A similar observation would apply only too truly to the Process for the Magical Acquisition of Hidden Treasures, but it is
much more complete than the rest and has so much connection with the Summum Bonum, the desire of the eyes of all Ceremonial Magic, that it may be held necessary to give it. it is, however, an operation of Necromancy and will be found in its proper place in the Second Part. 1 The Verus Jesuitarum Libellus closes with a fuliginous conjuration of the entire hierarchy of Infernus, which continues for many pages and contains more unintelligible words than several combined Grimoires. In the absence of all knowledge of its original edition, it is impossible to throw any light upon this singular imposture.
The Praxis Magica Fausti or "Magical Elements of Dr. John Faust, Practitioner of Medicine," claims to have been printed from the original MS. in the Municipal Library of Weimar and is dated 1571, at which period it must be respectfully affirmed that there was no Municipal Library in the birthplace of Goethe. Furthermore, the existing collection does not include the MS. Whether the original edition was antedated cannot be certainly affirmed, as it is exceedingly scarce, and I am acquainted with it only in the reprint of Scheible and in an unprinted transcript by Major Irwin. The work consists of a few curious plates, in the manner of the seventeenth century, and a few unintelligible conjurations, all exceedingly brief. The third of these exhorts the Evil Spirit on the quaint ground that now it is the time of the Great Name Tetragrammaton. The purpose of citation is not indicated; the formulæ are Christian, broken up by innumerable crosses and by names and terms which defy conjecture as to their significance. The hierarchy of the spirit is determined by the closing words: "I command thee, O Spirit Rumoar, even by Lucifer, thy mighty sovereign."
110:1 The modern reprint of Scheible reads Usiel throughout, as does also the MS. English translation. Supposing the latter to have followed the original edition, it would seem conclusive that the blunder--for such it evidently is--occurs also in that.
111:1 Cornelius Agrippa died in 1535
112:1 Part II. c. 9.