Page:Books Condemned to be Burnt - James Anson Farrer.djvu/67

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Book-Fires under James I.

Scotland, wrote his Demonologie against Scot's ideas (1597). James's mind was strictly Bible-boimd, and for him the disbelief in witches savoured of Sadduceeism, or the denial of spirits. Yet Scot had taken care to guard himself, for he wrote:

"I deny not that there are witches or images; but I detest the idolatrous opinions conceived of them." Nor can James have carefully read Scot, for tacked on to the Discoverie is a Discourse of Devils and Spirits, which to the simplest Sadducee would have been the veriest trash. Scot, for instance, says of the devil that "God created him purposely to destroy. I take his substance to be such as no man can by learning deifine, nor by wisdom search out"; a conclusion surely as wise as the theology is curious. Anyhow it is the very reverse of Sadduceean. It is said that one of the first proceedings of James's reign was to have all the copies of Scot's book burnt that could be seized, and undoubtedly one of the first of his Acts of Parliament was the statute that made all the devices of witchcraft punishable with death, as felony, without benefit of clergy.

But about the burning there is room for doubt. For there is no English contemporary testimony of the fact. Voet, a professor