An Antidote Against Atheism/Book III/Chapter XII
1. The Coldness of those Bodies that Spirits appear in, witnessed by the experience of Cardan and Bourgotus. 2. The natural reason of this Coldness. 3 . That the Devil does really lie with Witches. 4. That the very Substance of Spirits is not Fire. 5. The Spectre at Ephesus. 6. Spirits skirmishing on the ground. 7, 8. Field-fights and Sea-fights seen in the Aire.
1.But to return into the way, I might adde other Stories of your , your Guardian Genii, such as that of Socrates, and that other of which Bodinus tells an ample Relation, which he received from him who had the society and assistance of such an Angel or Genius, which for my own part I give as much credit to as to any Story in Livy or Plutarch; your Lares familiares, as also those that haunt and vex Families, appearing to many, and leaving very sensible effects of their appearings. But I will not so far tire either my self or my Reader. I will onely name one or two more, rather then recite them. As that of Facius Cardanus, who relates, as you may see in * See Cardan De rerum varietate, lib. 16. cap. 93.* Cardan, how a Spirit that familiarly was seen in the house of a friend of his, one night laid his hand upon his brow, which felt intolerably cold. And so *Wier. De præstig. Dæmon. lib. 6. c. 13. Petrus Bourgotus confessed, that when the Devil gave him his hand to kiss, it felt cold. And many more examples there be to this purpose.
2. And indeed it stands to very good reason that the Bodies of Devils, being nothing, but coagulated Aire, should be cold, as well as coagulated Water, which is Snow or Ice; and that it should have a more keen and piercing cold, it consisting of more subtile particles then those of Water, and therefore more fit to insinuate, and more accurately and stingingly to affect and touch the nerves.
3. Wherefore Witches confessing so frequently as they do, that the Devil lies with them, and withall complaining of his tedious and offensive coldness, it is a shrewd presumption that he doth lie with them indeed, and that it is not a mere Dream, as their friend Wierus would have it.
4. Hence we may also discover the folly of that opinion that makes the very Essence of Spirits to be Fire: for how unfit that would be to coagulate the Aire is plain at first sight. It would rather melt and dissolve these consistences, then constringe them and freez them in a manner. But it is rather manifest that the Essence of Spirits is a substance specifically distinct from all corporeal matter whatsoever. But my intent is not to Philosophize concerning the nature of Spirits, but onely to prove their Existence.
5. Which the Spectre at Ephesus may be a further argument of. For that old man which Apollonius told the Ephesians was the walking plague of the City, when they stoned him and uncovered the heap, appear'd in the shape of an huge black Dog as big as the biggest Lion. This could be no imposture of Melancholy, nor Fraud of any Priest. And the learned Grotius, a man far from all Levity and vain Credulity, is so secure of the truth of Tyaneus his Miracles, that he does not stick to term him impudent that has the face to deny them.
6. Our English ChroniclesSee Mystery of Godliness, Book 6. ch. 2. sect. 5. also tell us of Apparitions, armed men, foot and horse, fighting upon the ground in the North part of England and in Ireland for many Evenings together, seen by many hundreds of men at once, and that the grass was troden down in the places where they were seen to fight their Battails: which agreeth with Nicolea Langbernhard her Relation of the cloven-footed Dancers, that left the print of their hoofs in the ring they trod down for a long time after.
7. But this skirmishing upon the Earth puts me in mind of the last part of this argument, and bids me look up into the Aire. Where, omitting all other Prodigies, I shall onely take notice of what is most notorious, and of which there can by no means be given any other account then that it is the effect of Spirits. And this is the Appearance of armed men fighting and encountring one another in the Sky. There are so many examples of these Prodigies in Historians, that it were superfluous to instance in any. That before the great slaughter of no less then fourscore thousand made by Antiochus in Jerusalem, recorded in the second of Maccabees chap. 5. is famous. The Historian there writes, "That through all the City for the space almost of fourty daies there were seen Horsemen running in the Aire in cloth of Gold, and arm'd with Lances, like a band of Souldiers, and Troops of Horsemen in array encountring and running one against another, with shaking of shields and multitudes of pikes, and drawing of swords, and casting of darts, and glittering of golden ornaments, and harness of all sorts. And Josephus writes also concerning the like Prodigies that hapned before the destruction of the City by Titus, prefacing first, that they were incredible, were it not that they were recorded by those that were Eye-witnesses of them.
8. The like Apparitions were seen before the Civil wars of Marius and Sylla. And Melanchthon affirms that a world of such Prodigies were seen all over Germany from 1524 to 1548. Snellius amongst other places doth particularize in Amortsfort, where these sightings were seen not much higher then the house tops; as also in Amsterdam, where there was a Sea-fight appearing in the Aire for an hour or two together, many thousands of men looking on. And to say nothing of what hath been seen in England not long agoe, there is lately a punctual narration of such a Sea-fight seen by certain Hollanders, and sent over hither into England; but a Lion appearing alone at the end of that Apparition, though it may be true for ought I know, yet it makes it obnoxious to Suspicion and evasion, and so unprofitable for my purpose. But the Phænomena of this kind; whose reports cannot be suspected to be in subserviency to any Politick design, ought in reason to be held true, when there have been many profest Eye-witnesses of them. And they being resolvable into no natural causes, it is evident that we must acknowledge supernatural ones, such as Spirits, Intelligences or Angels, term them what you please.