THE Reformation, although in many respects a great advance did not introduce a sudden change in the belief in the Devil. Nevertheless, the tendency becomes more and more apparent to interpret Satan in psychological terms, and instead of expecting him in the horrors of nature or in the objective reality of our surroundings, to find. him in our own hearts where he appears as temptation in all forms, as allurement, ambition, vanity, as the vain pursuit of fortune, power, and worldly pleasures.
Christianity was split up into two parties, the conservatives who remained faithful to Rome's spiritual supremacy and the progressive Protestants who opposed the traditional authorities of the Church and clamored for reform in the various ways of life. Restless times of this kind are favorable for satire and sarcasm, and the Devil therefore naturally played an important part in the polemics on either side.
At the same time, the moral earnestness of the reformers forced the authorities of the Church to abandon many of the worst misuses, and thus the reform of the
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SATANIC TEMPTATIONS AND THE LADDER OF LIFE. 1
Reproduced from Heradis von Lansperg's Hortus Deliciarum.
[paragraph continues] Reformation did not remain limited to the reformed Churches, but extended its blessings to the Roman Church itself. The anti-reformation, whose backbone was the Jesuits, was a most serious and rigorously pure movement born of a deep religious piety; but it was darkened in its very start by a mysticism verging on coarse superstition, and lacked that love of freedom, of
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CALVINISM TEARING DOWN THE ROMAN EMPIRE. Roman Catholic burlesque of the seventeenth century. 1
progress, of Scientific investigation, and the desire to learn the truth which characterises the exponents of Protestantism.
It is noticeable, however, that the moral element is pushed into the foreground, and both parties begin to agree in this that morality is the ultimate test of religion.
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THE KINGDOM OF SATAN OR THE SEVEN-HEADED BEAST OF THE REVELATION.
A Protestant caricature of the papal trade in dispensations. (From a Flugblatt of the sixteenth century. Henne am Rhyn.)
The idea of conceiving Satan as sin and temptation is not new (think only of the illustrations in the Hortus Deliciarum), but the conception of sin and temptation
begins now to be better understood as a psychological condition of subjective states.
Luther was, in his demonology, a real child of his time; he saw the Devil everywhere, he struggled with him constantly, and overcame him by his confidence in God. He regarded the Pope as an incarnation of Satan, or as the Anti-Christ, and the Roman Church as the kingdom of the Devil. He sang of him:
"And were this world with devils filled
That threaten to undo its;
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
Our ancient vicious foe
Still seeks to work his woe.
His craft and power are great
And armed with cruel hate.
On earth is not his equal.
. . . . . .
"The Prince of this world
His banner has unfurled
And yet he will harm none
For he is all undone;
One little word defeats him."
The Devil was to Luther a real, living power, a concrete personality, and he used to characterise him as the good Lord's hangman, and the instrument of his anger and punishment. 1 God needs the Devil for a servant and utilises his malignity for the procreation of the good (x, 1259).
Luther's belief in the Devil was not only very realistic but also almost childishly ingenuous. When at work he was prepared for his incessant interference, and when going to rest he expected to be disturbed by him. Luther was not afraid of him, yet the efforts he made in conquering the Evil One are sufficient evidence that he regarded him as very powerful. He protested he would go to Worms though every tile on the roofs of the city were a Devil; he saw the fiend grinning at him while he translated the Bible, and threw his inkstand at his Satanic Majesty. 1
By and by the familiarity between Luther and the Devil increased: "Early this morning," Luther tells us in his Tischreden, "when I awoke the fiend came and began disputing with me. 'Thou art a great sinner,' said he. I replied, 'Canst not tell me something new, Satan?'"
Luther was inclined to believe in the Devil's power of assisting wizards and witches in their evil designs. Following St. Augustine's authority he conceded the possibility of incubi and succubi, because Satan, in the shape of a handsome young man, loves to decoy young girls. He also accepted the superstition of changelings and declared that witches should suffer death; but when once confronted with a real case, he insisted, when his counsel was sought, on the most scrupulous circumspection. He wrote to the judge:
"I request you to explore everything with exactness so as to leave no trace of fraud . . . for I have experienced so many deceits,
frauds, artifices, lies, treacheries, etc., that I can scarcely make up my mind to believe. Therefore see and convince yourself to your own satisfaction, lest you be mistaken and I may be mistaken through you." 1
Although it is true that Luther's views of the Devil were as childish as those of his contemporaries, it would be rash to denounce the Reformation for having accomplished no progress and having done nothing to suppress the barbarous superstitions of demonology. Luther's God-conception was purer and nobler than the God-conception of the leading churchmen and popes of his time, and thus his faith, in spite of its crudities, led, after all, to purer conceptions, which were destined gradually to overcome the old traditional dualism.
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TEMPTATION. A PROTESTANT CONCEPTION OF EVIL.
German woodcut of the time of Luther.
Luther demanded that Christ should not only be recognised as the Saviour of mankind, but that every man should be able to say, "He has come to save me personally and individually." Luther thus carried the religious life into the very hearts of men and declared that there was no salvation in ceremonies, absolutions, or sacraments;
unless one had individually, in one's own nature and being, vanquished the temptations of Satan. The most dangerous idols are, according to Luther, the pulpit and the altar, for sacraments and ceremonies cannot save. They are symbols instituted to assist us. Those who believe that ceremonies possess any power of their own are still under the influence of the pagan notion that evils can be averted by sacrifices and exorcisms.
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THE RACE FOR FORTUNE.
A modern illustration of the conception of evil. A development of the idea represented in the woodcut on the opposite page. (After Henneberg's oil painting.)
While Luther instinctively abhorred persecutions of any kind, he still retained those beliefs which were the ultimate cause of witch prosecution. We must, therefore, not be astonished to see even in Protestant countries a revival of the horrors which had been inaugurated by the Inquisition.
The most curious work of Protestant demonology is the Theatrum Diabolorum by Sigmund Feyerabend, a
voluminous collection of the orthodox views of Luther's followers concerning the existence, power, nature, and demeanor of devils.
Luther's belief in the Devil was crude, but he was even here morally great, strong in his religious sentiment, and serious in his demand that every one personally should honestly wage a war with the powers of evil, and that no church, no intercession of saints, no formulas or rituals had any saving power. Luther's followers retain all the crudities of their master and to some extent his moral seriousness, but they fall below the manliness of his spirit.
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THE DEVIL OF UNCHASTITY.
German woodcut, illustrating the subjectivity of the conception of Satan. (Time of the Reformation.)
Feyerabend's Theatrum Diabolorum, "which," as the title says, "is a useful and sensible book," contains a great number of essays written by such prominent little authorities as Jodocus Hockerus Osnaburgensis, Hermannus Hamelmannus, Andreas Musculus, Andreas Fabricius Chemnicensis, Ludovicus Milichius, and others. The Reverend Hocker explains in forty-eight chapters almost all possible problems connected with devils whose number in Chapter VIII. is, according to Borrhaus, calculated to be not less than 2,665,866,746,664.
[paragraph continues] Others describe special kinds of devils, such as the devil of blasphemy, VI; the dance-devil, VII; the servant's devil, VIII; the hunting devil, IX; the drink-devil, X; the wedlock-devil, XI; the devil of unchastity, XII; the miser's devil, XIII; the devil of tyranny, XIV; the laziness devil, XV; the pride devil, XVI; the pantaloon devil, XVII; the gambling devil, XVIII; the courtier's devil (represented in a drama of five acts, the scene being
at the court of Darius), XIX; and the pestilence devil, XX. The author of this last chapter, the Rev. Hermann Strack, concludes by saying: "When we can obtain medicine let us not have a contempt for God's valuable gifts, but withal let us always and all the time rest our confidence and main comfort upon the only God."
The same conception of the Devil is presented with somewhat more poetical skill by Jacob Ruffs who dramatised
the story of Job and the parable of the vineyard. The latter, which was performed at Zürich, Switzerland, in 1539, May 26, introduces Satan as he sows the seeds of sedition in the minds of the servants of the vineyard and induces them to slay the son of their master.
SCENES FROM M. JACOB RUFF'S RELIGIOUS DRAMA "VON DESS HERREN WINGARTEN EIN HUIPSCH NUIW SPIL GEZOGEN USZ MATHEO AM 21, MARCO AM 12, LUCA AM 20 CAPITEL." (Performed at Zurich, 1539 A. D., on May 26.) 1
Almost all these treatises, poor though they may be as literary, theological, or pastoral exhortations, yet show the rationalistic tendency of discovering the Devil in the vices of man, and this method became more and more
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MACBETH CONSULTING THE WITCHES.
established until in these latter days Satan himself was boldly and directly by Protestant theologians declared to be a mere abstract idea and a personification of evil. Yet this step was not taken at once, and mankind had to pass first through a long period o wavering opinions, of conflicting propositions, uncertainties, venomous controversies, and anxious research for the truth.
The Protestant Devil became somewhat more cultured than the Catholic Devil, for the advancement noticeable in the civilisation of Protestant countries extended also to him. Says Mephistopheles in Faust:
"Culture which smooth the whole world licks
Also unto the Devil sticks."
To note the progress, let us compare Wyntoun who wrote early in the fifteenth century and Shakespeare. Wyntoun's witches are ugly, old hags; Shakespeare's, although by no means beautiful, are yet interesting and poetical; they are "so withered and so wild in their attire that look not like the inhabitants o' th' earth and yet are on it." It is a poetical fiction representing temptation. And in this same sense the very word Devil is frequently used by Shakespeare. We are told, "'tis the eye of childhood that fears a painted Devil," and one fiend, as we read in Shakespeare, is the invisible spirit of wine. "The Devil," we read in Hamlet, "hath power to assume a pleasing shape." And the meaning of this sentence is plainly psychological, as we learn from another passage in which Polonius says to his daughter:
"With devotion's visage
And pious action we do sugar o'er
The Devil himself."
The Protestant Devil, as a poetical figure, received his finishing touches from Milton. And Milton's Devil acquires a nobility of soul, moral strength, independence, and manliness which none of his ancestors possessed, neither Satan, nor Azazel, nor his proud cousins the Egyptian Typhon and the Persian Ahriman. The best characterisation of Milton's Satan is given by Taine. He ridicules Milton's description of Adam and Eve, who talk like a married couple of the poet's days. "I listen, and hear an English household, two reasoners of the period--Colonel Hutchinson and his wife. Heavens! Dress them! Folk so cultivated should have invented first of all a pair of trousers." The picture of the Good Lord is still more severely criticised. He says: "What a contrast between God and Satan!" Taine continues:
"Milton's Jehovah is a grave king who maintains a suitable state, something like Charles I.
"Goethe's God, half abstraction, half legend, source of calm oracles, a vision just beheld after a pyramid of ecstatic strophes, greatly excels this Miltonic God, a business man, a schoolmaster, a man for show! I honor him too much in giving him these titles. He deserves a worse name.
"He also talks like a drill-sergeant. 'Vanguard to right and left the front unfold.' He makes quips as clumsy as those of Harrison, the former butcher turned officer. What a heaven! It is enough to disgust one with Paradise; one would rather enter Charles the First's troop of lackeys, or Cromwell's Ironsides. We
have orders of the day, a hierarchy, exact submission, extra duties, disputes, regulated ceremonials, prostrations, etiquette, furbished arms, arsenals, depots of chariots and ammunition."
How different is the abode of Satan. Taine says:
"The finest thing in connexion with this Paradise is Hell.
"Dante's hell is but a hall of tortures, whose cells, one below another, descend to the deepest wells."
Milton's hell is the asylum of independence; it may be dreary but it is the home of liberty that scorns abject servility. Milton describes the place as follows:
"'Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,'
Said then the last Archangel, 'this the seat
That we must change for heaven? this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he,
Who now is Sovran, can dispose and bid
What shall be right: farthest from him is best,
Whom reason has equal'd, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields,
Where joy for ever dwells! Hail, horrors, hail,
Infernal world! and thou, profoundest hell
Receive thy new possessor; one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less than he
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy; will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure; and in my choice
To reign is worth ambition, though in hell:
Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven."'
It has been frequently remarked that Milton's Satan
is the hero of Paradise Lost, and, indeed, he appears as the most sympathetic figure in the greatest religious epic of English literature. His pride is not without self-respect which we cannot help admiring; Satan exclaims:
"Is there no place
Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
None left but by submission: and
That word disdain forbids me. . . ."
And how noble appears Milton's Satan! Milton personifies in Satan the spirit of the English Revolution; Milton's Satan represents the honor and independence of the nation asserted in the face of an incapable government. Satan's appearance shows strength and dignity:
"He above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent
Stood like a tower."
And his character is distinguished by love of liberty. Taine describes him as follows:
"The ridiculous Devil of the Middle Ages, a horned enchanter, a dirty jester, a petty and mischievous ape, band-leader to a rabble of old women, has become a giant and a hero.
"Though feebler in force, he remains superior in nobility, since he prefers suffering independence to happy servility, and welcomes his defeat and his torments as a glory, a liberty, and a joy."
The Devil naturally acquires noble features which make him less diabolical and more divine in the measure that the God-conception of all age becomes the embodiment of the conservatism of the ruling classes. When the name and idea of God are misapplied to represent stagnation, Satan might change places with God. A new sect of Devil-worshippers who aspire for advancement
and progress in the name of Satan might have arisen had not Protestantism, decried centuries ago as the work of the Devil, gained so much influence that in time it became itself a great conservative power in the world; and that its noble aspirations were first attributed to the influence of the Devil is only preserved in verse and fable.
The Devil in the Human Heart.
The common people in Protestant countries knew nothing of the mighty hero of Paradise Lost; they knew Satan only through the New Testament, and, being little affected by the progress of the natural sciences, took him as seriously as did the early Christians and the Dominicans of the Inquisition. But there is this difference; the spirit of the Reformation rested upon them with both its
moral earnestness and its subjectivism. The middle classes as a rule did not fall a prey to the aberrations of former times; they practised no exorcisms and showed no inclination to prosecute, but confined their endeavors to the salvation of their own souls
The classical productions of the literature of this type are Pilgrim's Progress and The Heart of Man, both
highly interesting from a psychological standpoint, for both exhibit the subjective methods of introspection in a high degree, and will, as instances of a naive but extraordinary self -observation and analysis, retain a lasting value.
While the author of Pilgrim's Progress, his name and the vicissitudes of his life, are well known, The Heart
of Man appeared anonymously, first in French and then in German. The French original seems to be lost and with it the date of its first appearance. The first German translation was published in Würzburg, in the year 1732, under the title Geistlicher Sittenspiegel. It was reprinted once more in 1815 under the more appropriate title Das Herz des Menschen, exhibiting a series of illustrations
which represent the human heart as the battlefield of the powers of good and evil.
The first picture shows the human heart in its natural perversity, but the sinner repents in the second picture, and the Holy Ghost takes possession of his soul, ill the third picture. The fourth picture shows us a contemplation of the sufferings of the Saviour and the Holy
Trinity resides in the soul as is illustrated in the fifth picture. But worldly temptations and prosecutions, represented the former by a man with a goblet and the latter by another man with a dagger, prevail upon the heart and shake its good resolutions, which is seen in the sixth picture; until at last, in the seventh picture, Satan with seven other spirits more wicked than himself re-enters,
and the last state of that man is worse than the first. The practical application of this analysis of the human heart is given in two illustrations picturing the death of the pious and impious man. The former, whose heart is depicted in the ninth picture, is portrayed in the tenth picture, as being called by the Saviour to enjoy the eternal
bliss of Heaven; while the eighth picture exhibits the doom of the latter who is lost forever in Hell.
The interesting feature of these illustrations consists in the method of showing the elements of man's soul, his passions and aspirations as foreign powers which enter, pass out, and re-enter. The heart itself appears as an empty blank and its character is established by the tendencies
which dwell in it. The psychology which lies at the bottom of the author's belief, is not clearly pronounced; it may be either the Brahmanical theory of the self, as a being in itself, or the Buddhist doctrine of the illusoriness of the self, but it appears that the self, as represented in the head above the heart, is a mere reflex of the process that takes place within the human soul,
and should therefore be regarded merely as the principle of unity, the moral worth of which depends upon the nature of its elements. The author of these drawings has in his naive analysis of the human heart, approached a scientific conception of the soul more closely than presumably he was aware of himself.
A Revival of Witch Prosecution.
At the time of the Reformation witch prosecution ceased for a while. It made room for another mania not less ugly and condemnable. Its place was filled by heresy persecution. Not only did Roman Catholic governments worry their Protestant subjects almost to death by confiscating their property, chasing them with hounds to mass, exiling entire districts, and ignominiously executing their leaders; but Protestants in their turn, too, regarded it as their religious duty to do the same to all dissenters. Luther himself, be it said to his everlasting honor, did not persecute; and so long as he lived he succeeded in preventing among his followers all persecutions. Calvin, however, ordered Servetus to be burned alive, because his belief in the trinity differed from his own; and King Henry VIII. of England resolutely suppressed with a high hand all opposition to the religious views he happened to hold at the time; nor did he shrink from shedding blood, although we must grant that he exercised much judgment by confining his persecution to a comparatively few powerful opponents.
While the fear of witchcraft was thus set aside for a time, the dangerous belief in the power of Satan continued and lay bidden like burning coals under ashes. The
religions superstitions remained practically the same, and it is natural that the epidemic reappeared, although in a less virulent form. Even Protestant countries (North Germany, Sweden, England, Scotland, and the English colonies in North America) were visited by this spiritual plague, and a number of lay judges appeared who showed the same zeal as the Dominican inquisitors in Catholic countries.
With the waning of the zeal for burning witches the defenders of witchcraft grew rather more numerous than before. Among them are Dr. Thomas Erastus of Heidelberg, 1 and Jean Bodin, a Frenchman. 2 The Suffragan Bishop Peter Binsfeld 3 and Justice Nicolaus Remigius 4 defended in voluminous books with new arguments the policy of the Witch-Hammer, and King James I. of England wrote a demonology 5 filled with all the superstition of the Middle Ages; Martin Delrio, 6 a Jesuit, deems a revision of the belief in witchcraft in order, but comes to the conclusion that the evil exists and that there is no remedy save the use of relies, holy water, exorcisms, the holy sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church.
The National Museum of Germanic Antiquities at Nuremberg possesses a large poster which contains an account of three women who were burned as witches at Dernburg in the year 1555. Although they were not
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POSTER OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.
burned on the same day, the illustration represents them as standing on the fagots together and the statement is made that in one instance, when the fire was lit, Satan appeared and visibly carried away his paramour through the air.
The tragedy of Dernburg is one case only among many. Mayor Pheringer, of Nördlingen, swore to exterminate the whole brood of sorcerers, and Judge Benedict Carpzov, Jr. (1595-1666), of Leipsic, following in the footsteps of his father, condemned more than a hundred persons to die at the stake for witchcraft.
The Protestants of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were on the average perhaps more serious in their religious beliefs than the Roman Catholics of the same period, and thus it happened that some French prelates of the Roman Church, being more worldly wise and more deeply imbued with the advancing spirit of the age than many bigoted Protestants, displayed infinitely more common sense than their brethren of the Reformed Churches.
This became particularly patent in the famous case of Martha Brossier, a French peasant girl, who, in 1588, claimed to be possessed of a devil. The excitement was great, and the pulpits resounded with alarming denunciations apt to renew all the terrors of former witch prosecutions. But Bishop Miron of Angers, and Cardinal De Gondi, Archbishop of Paris, retained their tranquillity, and had the case investigated not only according to a truly rational method, but even in a spirit of humor.
When the never-failing tests with exorcisms through sacred books and holy water were administered, Bishop Miron so arranged matters that the possessed girl was induced to draw wrong conclusions, and lo! simple spring-water and the reading of a line from Virgil regularly brought on epileptic fits, while neither the old reliable exorcisms nor the holy water produced any effect when the girl did not apprehend the sacred texts.
Believers in Satanic possession were not satisfied with Bishop Miron's experiments, for they regarded them as a proof of the cunning of the Devil who thus slyly deceived his enemies. The case was brought before the Archbishop De Gondi, but he, too, proved sceptical and declared after some judicious experiments that the demeanor of the possessed girl was a mixed result of insanity and simulation.
In spite of the sound judgment shown by these and other prelates, the prosecutions of witches continued. In the case of Urban Grandier, a priest, who was accused by the Ursuline nuns at Loudun in Western France of having exercised Satanic powers upon their minds, the Archbishops of Bordeaux recognised the malicious hostility and hysterical bitterness with which the nuns bore witness against their preacher. Grandier was not innocent in other respects, but there were many priests whose morals were no better. Considering the innumerable contradictions in the statements of his enemies, the Archbishop dismissed the case and he was honorably reinstalled in his position. But that was not the end of it.
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FAC-SIMILE OF THE CONTRACT WHICH URBAN GRANDIER IS REPORTED TO HAVE MADE WITH THE DEVIL, AND WHICH WAS PRODUCED AND ACCEPTED AS EVIDENCE IN COURT.
It happened that M. de Laubordemont, a cousin of the prioress, while attending to some business of the French Government in Loudun, heard of the story and gave a highly colored report to Cardinal Richelieu, at whose instance the investigation was renewed. In the second trial Grandier had no chance; for Laubordemont was appointed judge. He accepted the most ridiculous evidence. The devils who spoke out of the mouths of the obsessed nuns were called upon as witnesses, and two documents were produced which purported to be the original pact of Grandier with Satan. One of them is signed by Grandier, the other bears the signature of six devils, the authenticity of which is vouched for by Baalbarith, the Secretary of his Satanic Majesty. The script is in mirror writing. Four expert Doctors of the Sorbonne, although they never doubted either the documents or the reality of the devils of the obsessed nuns, saw fit to caution the judges not to admit the testimony of Satan, because the slanderer and liar could not be a trustworthy witness. But the exorcising fathers, all of whom were Carmelite monks, laid down the principle that a properly exorcised devil cannot help confessing the truth. Grandier was cruelly tortured and executed on August 18; but Peter Lactantius, the chief exorcist whom the dying Grandier had challenged to appear before the tribunal of God, died a raving maniac exactly one month after the death of his victim, on September 18.
A Protestant Witch-Execution.
Much has been said and written about the cruelty of the Roman Catholic methods of witch-prosecution, but
the Protestants were not a whit better, except perhaps that they added to the proceedings a good deal more of pious cant and accompanied executions with a religious unction which made their conduct the more detestable. As a typical case we quote an abbreviated report of the execution of three witches, Susanna, Ilse, and their mother Catharine, which took place at Arendsee, 1687, August 5: 1
"The case was submitted for another revision, during which time six clergymen attended daily upon the three prisoners and exhorted them to pray and sing and repent. Then they were cited before the court one after the other and the clergymen stood behind them. The president of the court asked them once more, first Susanna, whether she had received an incubus; (answer: Yes!) Secondly Ilse, whether her mother had given her an incubus; (answer: Yes!) and thirdly Catharine, whether she had given an incubus to Ilse; (answer: Yes!) Thereupon the Notary, Mr. Anton Werneccius, read the judgment, and the executioner went to the court and asked for mercy in case he should not succeed at once in decapitating Susanna and Ilse. The question was asked whether there was any additional grievance. Then the rod was broken, table and chairs of the court upset, and the procession moved out to the Köppenberg, the place of execution.
"Part of the guards opened the way. Each one of the three witches was accompanied on either side by a clergyman and led with a rope by a hangman. At the same time six armed citizens surrounded her. Another part of the guard closed the procession.
"On the way prayers alternated with exhortations and singing of hymns.
"Before the Seehausen gate a circle was made and Susanna was led round until the public had finished singing the hymn 'God our father, dwell with us.'
'When her head was taken off, the people sang, 'To thee we pray, O Holy Ghost.' 1
"Next came Ilse who was killed in the same way, accompanied by the singing of the same hymns.
"While the singing continued Catharine was placed upon the fagots and her neck fastened with an iron chain, which was drawn so tight that her face swelled and became suffused with a brown color. The fagots were lit and all present, clergy, school-children, and spectators sang until her body was consumed in the fire."
Witch-Prosecution in America.
Not less terrible fruit than in Europe did the belief in witchcraft bear on the free soil of Protestant America. Death-sentences for witchcraft occurred several times after the foundation of the New England colonies; but the last and most terrible outbreak took place in Salem, Massachusetts, as recorded in Upham's History of Salem Witchcraft, and in Drake's Witchcraft Delusion in New England. Under the baneful influence of the religious teachings of Increase Mather and his son, Cotton Mather, 2 two Boston clergymen, the Rev. Samuel Parris, minister of the Church in Salem, began to have a case of witchcraft investigated, which, as says President Andrew Dickson White, 3 "would have been the richest
of farces had they not led to events so tragical." The possessed behaved like maniacs in court and charged a poor old Indian woman with having bewitched them. Her husband, an ignorant fool, was induced to testify against her. This easy success emboldened the believers in witchcraft, among whom the Putnam family played a prominent part. They began to prosecute some of the foremost people of New England; several men and women were executed, many fled for their lives, and a reign of terror ensued. Any person once suspected and accused was doomed. As an instance we quote the case of Mr. Burroughs, a clergyman, who on account of petty parish quarrels with the Putnam family had been dismissed from the ministry. President White says:
"Mr. Burroughs had led a blameless life, the only thing ever charged against him by the Putnams being that he insisted strenuously that his wife should not go about the parish talking of her own family matters. He was charged with afflicting the children, convicted, and executed. At the last moment he repeated the Lord's Prayer solemnly and fully, which it was supposed no sorcerer could do, and this, together with his straightforward Christian utterances at the execution, shook the faith of many in the reality of diabolical possession."
President White continues:
"Ere long it was known that one of the girls had acknowledged that she had belied some persons who had been executed, and especially Mr. Burroughs, and that she had begged forgiveness; but this for a time availed nothing. Persons who would not confess were tied up and put to a sort of torture which was effective in securing new revelations.
"In the case of Giles Cory the horrors of the persecution culminated. Seeing that his doom was certain, and wishing to preserve
his family from attainder and their property from confiscation, he refused to plead. He was therefore pressed to death, and, when in his last agonies his tongue was pressed out of his mouth, the sheriff with his walking-stick thrust it back again."
Increase and Cotton Mather were the last defenders of diabolical possession and witchcraft on American soil; the latter saw in his later years a new era dawning upon his country. Vigorously and successfully censured by Robert Calef, a courageous Boston merchant, he bemoaned the decay of the religious spirit among the growing generation, and even to his dying hour regarded the mere unbelief in witchcraft as an attack upon the glory of the Lord.
The present generation may well smile at his mistaken religious notions; but granting him that the old conception of God as a miracle-worker and an individual ego-being after the fashion of pagan personifications be right, his idea of the importance of a belief in witchcraft is logically correct. If witchcraft is impossible, then there can be no wizard-god who changes sticks into serpents, who stops the sun in his course, reverses the shadow of the dial, is jealous of other gods and of the familiar spirits of witches. The abandonment of the belief in witchcraft tacitly implied the abandonment of a belief in God as a miracle-worker, and prepared the way for a nobler religious faith which surrendered the idea of seeking God in the suppositions possibility of breaking the laws of nature, and finally found him in the cosmic order itself, i. e., in the unity, the harmony, the rightness of those eternal factors of existence which are the conditions of reason, of truth, and of justice.
339:1 The Hortus Deliciarum was written in the latter part of the twelfth century for the edification of monks, and the present picture illustrates the various temptations which lure them away from the crown of life: city life and precious garments; or the military power of abbots in monasteries with its worldly comforts; further money, the couch of laziness, the joy of gardening.
340:1 "The building representing the Empire bears the inscription "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The German princes of the Reformed Faith are pictured in effigy in the company of devils. The Count Palatine Frederick V, son-in-law of the King of England, who had just lost the crown of Bohemia, is seen falling down. On the right-hand the Prince Elector of Saxony, a Lutheran, and on the left hand the city of Venice are represented as refusing to join the Calvinists. The picture purports to elucidate to the common man what scholars can learn by studying scripture.
"Was Glerte durch die Schrift verstahn,
Das lehrt das Gmähl den gmainen Mann."
342:1 Walch, Tischreden, v, 839; v, 1109; viii, 1234, x, 1257; xii, 481, and 2043.
343:1 The story has been doubted, yet, considering the character of Luther, it is not only possible but probable. If Luther did not throw the inkstand at the Devil, the anecdote is, to say the least, ben trovato; it characterises excellently his attitude toward Satan.
344:1 Angeli Annales Marchiæ Brandenburgicæ, p. 326 (quoted by Soldan, p. 302), The original reads: "Rogo te, omnia velis certissime explorare, ne subit aliquid doli. . . . Nam ego tot fucis, dolis, technis, mendaciis, artibus, etc., hactenus sum exagitatus ut cogar difficilis esse ad credendum. . . . Quare vide et prospice tibi quoque ne fallare et ego per te fallar.
348:1 From Könnecke after contemporaneous illustrations.
360:1 De Lamiis et strigibus, 1577.
360:2 De Magorum dæmonomania seu detestando laminarum et Magorum cum Satana commercio, 1579.
360:3 Tractatus de confessionibus maleficorum et sagarum, 1589.
360:4 Dæmonolatria, which appeared in Latin and in German. See Soldan, p. 351.
360:5 Dæmonologie, 1597. See also the advice to suppress witchcraft, given to his son in the second book of his Basilicon Doron, 1599.
360:6 Disquisitiones magicæ, 1599.
366:1 See Horst, Zauberbibliothek, 2. pp. 411-413, quoted from Reichardt, Vol. I., pp. 100-126.
367:1 Especially the latter song, Nun bitten wir den Heilgen Geist, was believed to afford protection against witchcraft. When a pious superintendent in the University of Giessen was once surrounded by students dressed as devils he chanted in his anxiety this hymn in the hope of driving away thereby his tormentors.
367:2 Compare Cotton Mather, The Wonders of the Invisible World; being an Account of the Tryals of Several VVitches, lately Ex[e]cuted in New England (first London edition, 1693).
367:3 See his "New Chapters in the Warfare of Science," Popular Science Monthly, May, 1889, p. ii. Compare also König, Ausgeburten des Menschenwahns, pp. 488-494.