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all other countries! For, in order to secure to themselves universal and undisputed lordship, to overcome all hindrances, and to stupify all minds alike, it was necessary to have a complete book, which demonstrated from the sacred Scriptures, from the fathers of the church, from philosophical and theological writings and authorities, not only the possibility, but the actuality of sorcery, should demonstrate it far beyond all doubt; the dogmas of these works must become law; and must receive the highest sanction of both spiritual and secular princedoms, in order that the witchprosecutions should stand as a most momentous affair of God and of Christianity, and should thus bring the whole human race into subjection.
The Hexenhammer was, in fact, the codex, in which everything was clearly and fully set forth which belonged. to witchcraft. Sprenger and his assistants have reduced witchcraft into a regular system, which raised on the foundation of the papal command, and placed under the legal protection of the secular magistracy, must be carried into execution by a few cunning with-judges, against whom neither reason nor innocence, neither honour nor rank, may utter a syllable of disapprobation; nay, was not allowed any appeal to the keys of St. Peter at Rome, so that all rescue should be utterly impossible, and no bounds be set to the career of destruction.
In the Hexenhammer, the idea of witchcraft is systematically determined. Witches, sorcerers, and sorceresses, are people who deny God, and renounce him and his grace; who have made a league with the devil; have given themselves up to him body and soul: who attend his assemblies and sabbaths, and receive from him poison-powder, and, as his subjects, receive command from him to injure and to destroy men and animals; who, through devilish arts, stir up storms, damage the corn, the meadows, and the fields, and confound the powers of nature. The sorcerers were called Malefici, according to Isidorus, on account of their malignity, because they, with the help of the devil, bring even the elements into confusion. As the witches are more especially the objects of his attention, and as they carry on more feminine avocations, such as milking the neighbours' cows, making witch-butter, fortune-telling, etc., they are the
more numerous offenders; yet are the wizards not to be overlooked in the Hexenhammer; for these have it in their nature to be more engaged in maiming, stabbing, striking and shooting dead.
The Hexenhammer is, according to the prefixed apology, divided into three principal parts, containing various chapters and episodes, but very confused and full of contradictions. I can here only give a cursory view of it, referring for a more extended one to Horst's " Dæmonomagie.'
The first division contains eighteen queries on all that presents itself under the head of sorcery; namely, 1st. the devil; 2nd. the sorcerer or witch; and 3rd. the divine permission. The devil is the chief person, through whose aid sorcery takes place by the divine permission. The belief in this is orthodox; the assertion of the contrary is heresy. This is the great principle, which is fortified by a multitude of quotations: to show the power of the devil in natural and bodily things, yet with the profound addition, that it is heresy to believe that God is not the stronger, and that nature is his own proper work. The devil has only power through God's permission; and he works either directly or by delusion. Sprenger admits, too, in his way, deceptions of the imagination, but asserts that they are more frequently the devil's work, though heresy is often to be attributed rather to the imagination than to the devil. If the witches believe that they are making their excursions through the air with Diana or Herodias, it is properly with the devil that they do it, who operates on the imagination, and then the witch, when she is in her trance, believes in the devil and in the excursion.
The second division contains the query respecting the essential characteristics of witchcraft over station and knowledge. Ignorance is not wholly excusable, because people should conquer their ignorance.
On the question, how the devil acts in witches, it is answered: The devil operates, in fact, alone, as in the case of Job; but the witches are necessary instruments for his corporal actions, because the devil being a spiritual being, needs a vehicle through which to exercise his power. Many have greenish eyes, the glance of which injures. Natural things have all sorts of secret properties, which the witches
know, and therewith perform various wonders; for instance, they lay something under the door-sills and bewitch men and beasts-nay, even destroy them, the devil being actually present on the occasions. The witches bewitch; and sometimes by their bleared eyes. These bleared eyes are inflamed eyes; these inflame the air, and even sound eyes, but especially when these bleared eyes fix themselves in a direct line with the healthy ones."
The third most beautiful and highly important question is, whether in the connections with the devil real children are begotten? This question is often asked in the witchtrials. The question is answered succinctly in the affirmative; to doubt it were heresy.
The fifth question treats of the influence of stars on plants, animals, and men, of course by the help of the devil, whose names, as Diabolus, Belial, Beelzebub, the god of flies, are etymologically thence derived.
One of the most entertaining chapters is the answer to the sixth query, why women are more given to sorcery than men. Here there is no lack of merry monkish wit. "The holy fathers of the church," it says, "always assert that three things, whether for good or for evil, know no bounds; namely, the tongue, a priest, and a woman. As to the tongue, it is quite clear that the Holy Ghost conferred fiery tongues on the apostles: amongst preachers the tongue is like the tongues of the dogs which licked the sores of Lazarus. So there are amongst all men, amongst the clergy as well as others, wicked and unwholesome tongues; for as the holy Bernard says::-'Nostri prælati facti sunt Pilati, nostri pastores facti sunt tonsores.' (Our shepherds are become sheep-shearers.) As to women, it is also very clear; for the wise Solomon gives his experience of them, and what St. Chrysostom says does not sound very flattering:Marriage is a very doubtful thing; for what is a woman but an enemy to friendship, an unavoidable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable misfortune, a domestic danger, a perpetual fountain of tears, a mischief of nature.overlaid with a glittering varnish?' Seneca says: 'A woman loves or hates; there is no third course. If she weeps there is deceit afloat, for two sorts of tears bedew the eyes of women: the one kind are evidences of their
pain, the other of their deceit and their cunning.' But of good wives the fame also is unbounded; and men, and indeed whole countries, have been saved by them." But the Witch-hammer turns quickly from this subject, and draws this immediate conclusion-that women are more addicted to sorcery than men-from these causes: 1st. from their easiness of faith; 2nd. from the weakness of their constitutions, by which they become more susceptible to revelations (thus, a weakness and yet a higher endowment from God are attributed to them); 3rd. on account of their slippery tongues, and their inquisitive wits, by which they tempt the devil, i. e., put questions to him,-get too far with him to get back again. A whole host of crimes are then enumerated against the female sex, as squabbling, envy, stiffneckedness (because they were made out of Adam's crooked rib). Already in Paradise Eve practised deceit, and showed a want of faith, for femina comes from fefaith, and minus-less.
The eighth and ninth queries are a sort of continuation; the tenth query is, whether it be deception or reality when inen appear to be turned into beasts by the witches? Here truth precedes falsehood in order to make the apparent more imposing. "An actual metamorphosis," it says, appears impossible, for two creatures of different natures cannot exist in the same subject, as St. Augustin says. But the devil can so dispose the imagination, that a man may seem, both to himself and others, to be a beast. In this case a bodily change does take place, namely, that of the countenance; which the pagan Circe accomplished on the comrades of Ulysses, which, was, however, only a change to the eye. A brave girl rejected the advances of a dissipated young man steadfast and he went away, highly excited, to a Jew, and had her itched, and the poor thing was turned into a horse; but it was no real change, but only a jugglery of the devil, who so blinded the eyes of the maiden and of others that she seemed to be a horse. They took her to St. Macarius, over whose eyes the devil had no power. He immediately knew her for a real maiden, and not a horse, and relieved her happily from the witchcraft." (How naïve and pious!)
When wolves sometimes fall on men and carry children
away out of their cradles (wehrwolf, lykanthropy, kynanthropy-possession and metamorphosis into the nature of dogs and wolves), they sometimes are real wolves, but in others they are only delusions of the devil. The Lord God formerly menaced the people with wild beasts, through Moses. The devil also disposes the imagination to a wolfmania; and in the first case the devil can enter into real wolves as into real swine; in the other case it is only appearance. (The Witch-hammer becomes philosophical
The twelfth question treats of witch-midwives, who injure the fruits, produce untimely births, and carry children under the chimneys or into the open air, and dedicate them to the devil. The twelfth and thirteenth questions treat of the permission of God-an edifying argument! The fourteenth question is, "What must we think of witches, and what shall we preach about them ?" The witches are fallen from God, are heretics and apostates, and thus deserve condign punishment more than all other criminals whatever. As heretics, they are deserving the ban of the church, confiscation of goods, and death. Is the heretic a layman, and declines to abjure his error, he must be burnt. If a coiner is punishable with death, how much more a coiner of false faith! Ecclesiastics were either condemned to death, or cast for life into prison. But the witches, as apostates, were not to escape with life, even if they confessed their sins, and repented of them. (Very full of Christian love!)
The fifteenth query or chapter: Innocent, and otherwise not dangerous people, were sometimes bewitched, partly through their own sins, and partly through the sins of the sorcerer. The sixteenth chapter: Explanation and comparison of the preceding with oth inds of crimes and superstition.
Seventeenth chapter: Comparison of the devil's works with witches' works. The witches are worse than the devil himself. Eighteenth chapter: How you are to preach against the five proofs that God does not allow the devil so great power to bewitch men. Here the fifth objection gave the inquisitors a good deal to do; namely, why the judges, who prosecuted and burnt witches, were not bewitched by them before all other men ?-a question which the second