LET a witch therefore be granted, who can strongly torment an absent man by an image of wax, by imprecation or cursing, by enchantment, or also by a foregoing touch alone, (for here we speak nothing of Sorceries, because they are those which kill only by poison, inasmuch as every common apothecary can imitate those things) that this act is diabolical, no man doubts: however, it is profitable to discern how much Satan and how much the witch can contribute hereunto.
The First Supposition.
First of all, thou shalt take notice, that Satan is the sworn and irreconcileable enemy of man, and to be so accounted by all, unless any one had rather have him to be his friend; and therefore he most readily procures whatsoever mischief he is able to cause or wish unto us, and that without doubt and neglect.
The Second Supposition.
And then although he be an enemy to witches themselves, forasmuch as he is also a most malicious enemy to all mankind in general; yet, in regard they are his bond-slaves, and those of his kingdom, he never, unless against his will betrays them, or discovers them to judges, &c.
From the former supposition I conclude, that if Satan were able of himself to kill a man who is guilty of deadly sin, he would never delay it; but he doth not kill him, therefore he cannot.
Notwithstanding, the witch doth oftentimes kill; hence also she can kill the same man, no otherwise than as a privy murderer at the liberty of his own will slays any one with a sword.
There is therefore a certain power of the witch in this action, which belongs not to Satan, and consequently Satan is not the principal efficient and executor of that murder; for otherwise if he were the executioner thereof, he would in nowise stand in need of the witch as his assistant; but he alone had soon taken the greatest part of men out of the way.
Surely most miserable were the conditions of mortals who should be subject to such a tyrant, and stand liable to his commands; we have too faithful a God, than that he should subject the work of his own hands to the arbitrary dominion of Satan.
Therefore in this act, there is a certain power plainly proper and natural to the witch which belongs not to Satan.
Moreover, of what nature, extent, and quality that power may be, we must more exactly sift out.
In the first place, it is manifest that it is no corporeal strength of the male sex; for neither doth there concur any strong touching of the extreme parts of the body, and witches are for the most part feeble, impotent, and malicious old women, therefore there must needs be some other power, far superior to a corporeal attempt, yet natural to man.
This power therefore was to be seated in that part wherein we most nearly resemble the image of God; and although all things do also, after some sort, represent that venerable image, yet because man doth most elegantly, properly, and nearly do that, therefore the image of God in man doth far outshine, bear rifle over, and command the images of God in all other creatures; for, peradventure, by this prerogative, all things are put under his feet.
Wherefore if God act, per nutum, or by a beck, namely by his word, so ought man to act some things only by his beck or will, if he ought to be called his true image: for neither is that new, is that troublesome, is that proper to God alone: for Satan, the most vile abject of creatures, doth also locally move bodies per nutum, or by his beck alone, seeing he hath not extremities or corporeal organs, whereby to touch, move, or also to snatch a new body to himself
That privilege therefore ought no less to belong to the inward man, as he is a spirit, if he ought to represent the image of God, and that indeed not all idle one; if we call this faculty magical, and thou being badly instructed, art terrified at this word, thou mayest, for me, call it a spiritual strength or efficacy: for, truly, we are nothing solicitous about names. I always, as immediately as I can, cast an eye upon the thing itself.
That magical power, therefore, is in the inward man, whether thou, by this etymology, or true word, understandest the soul or the vital spirit thereof, it is now indifferent to us; since there is a certain proportion of the internal man towards the external in all things, glowing or growing after its own manner, which is an appropriated disposition, and proportioned property.
Wherefore the power or faculty must needs be dispersed throughout the whole man; in the soul, indeed, more vigorous, but in the flesh and blood far more remiss.