Book: A Dialogue Concerning Witches And Witchcraftes by George GiffordTo the Right Worshipfull Maister Robert Clarke, one of her Majesties Barons of her Highnes Court of Eschequer.
Certaine yeares now past, right Worshipfull, I published a small Treatise Concerning Witches, to lay open some of Sathans sleightes, and subtill practices, least the ignoranter sort should be carried awry and seduced more and more by them. The errors be farre more grosse, and the finnes much greater, into which by meanes of Witches he seduceth multitudes, then in common opinion they be esteemed. It falleth out in many places even of a suddaine, as it seemeth to me, and no doubt by the heavy judgement of God, that the Diuels as it were let loose, doe more prevail, then ever I have heard of. For when as men have set so light by the hearing of Gods voice to be instructed by him, they are justly given over to be taught by the Diuels, and to learn their waies. Sathan is now hearde speake, and beleeved. He speaketh by conjurors, by sorcerers, and by witches, and his word is taken. He deviseth a number of things to be done, and they are put in practice and followed. The high providence of God Almighty and soveraigne rule over all, is set forth so unto us in the Scriptures, as that without Him a Sparrow can not fall upon the ground. All the haires of our head are numbred. The devils would hurt and destroy with bodily harmes, both men and beastes and other creatures: but all the Devils in Hell are so chained up and brideled by this high providence that they can not plucke the wing from one poore little Wrenne, without special leave given them from the ruler of the whole earth.
And yet the Witches are made beleeve that at their request, and to pleasure them by fulfilling their wrath, their spirits do lame and kill both men and beastes. And then to spread this opinion among the people, these subtill spirites bewray them, and will have them openly confesse that they have done such great things, which all the Devils at any mans request could never doe. For if they could, they would not stay to be intreated. God giveth him power sometimes to afflict both men and beastes with bodily harmes: If he can, he will doe it, as intreated and sent by Witches, but for us to imagin either that their sending doth give him power, or that he would not doe That Which God hath given him leave to do, unless they should request and send him, is more absurd. There may be diseases in the bodies of men and beastes which he seeth will breake forth unto lameness or unto death, he beareth the witches in hand he doth them: He worketh by his other sort of Witches, whom the people call cunning men and wise women to confirme all his matters, and by them teacheth many remedies, that so he may be sought unto and honored as God. These things take root in the hearts of the people, and so making them afraide of the Witches, and raising up suspitions and rumors of sundry innocent persons, many giltles [guiltless] are upponmens othes [oaths] condemned to death, and much innocent blood is shed.
How subtilly he continueth these matters, I have to my smal skill laide open in this slender Treatise. I have done it in a way of a Dialogue, to make the fitter for the capacity of the simpler sort. I am bolde to offer it unto your Worship, not unto one as needeth to be taught in these thinges, being zealously affected to the Gospell, & so grounded in the faith of the high providence, that I have been delighted to heare and see the wise and godly course used uppon the seat of Justice by your Worship, when such have been arraigned. I offer it therefore as a testimony of a thankeful mind for favours and kindnesse shewed towardes me: and so intreat your Worshippe to accept of it. If it may doe good unto any of the weaker sort in Knowledge I shall be glad. If I erre in any thing being shewed it, I will be ready to correct it. Your Worships in all dueties to commaund. (George Giffard.)
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