Reginald Scot, The Discoverie of Witchcraft (London: William Brome, 1584. Great Britain: John Rodker, 1930) 3.


  
Credulity                                             of Witchcraft                                              CHAP. 2  

  
   
CHAPTER II.  
   
The inconvenience growing by mens credulitie herein, with a reproofe of some churchmen,  
     which are inclined to the common conceived opinion of witches omnipotencie, and a  
     familiar example thereof.  
   
BUT the world is now so bewitched and over-run with this fond* error,  
that even where a man shuld seeke comfort and counsell, there shall hee be  
sent (in case of necessitie) from God to the divell; and from the Physician, to  
the coosening* witch, who will not sticke* to take upon hir, by wordes to heale the  
lame (which was proper onelie to Christ; and to them whom he assisted with  
his divine power) yea, with hir familiar* & charmes she will take upon hir to  
cure the blind: though in the tenth of St. Johns Gospell it be written, that the Joh. 10, 21
divell cannot open the eies of the blind. And they attaine such credit as I have  
heard (to my greefe) some of the ministerie affirme, that they have had in their  
parish at one instant, xvii. or xviii. witches: meaning such as could worke  
miracles supernaturallie. Whereby they manifested as well their infidelitie and  
ignorance, in conceiving Gods word; as their negligence and error in instructing  
their flocks. For they themselves might understand, and also teach their parish-  
oners, that God onelie worketh great woonders; and that it is he which sendeth Psal. 72, &
such punishments to the wicked, and such trials to the elect: according to the 136.
saieng of the Prophet Haggai, I smote you with blasting and mildeaw, and with Jeremie, 5.
haile, in all the labours of your hands; and yet you turned not unto me, saith Hag. 2, 28
the Lord. And therefore saith the same Prophet in another place; You have Idem. cap. I,
sowen much, and bring in little. And both in Joel and Leviticus, the like phrases 6.
and proofes are used and made. But more shalbe said of this hereafter. Joel. I.
     S. Paule fore-sawe the blindnesse and obstinacie, both of these blind shep- Leviti. 26.
heards, and also of their scabbed sheepe, when he said; They will not suffer* 2 Tim. 4, 34.
wholsome doctrine, but having their eares itching, shall get them a heape of  
teachers after their own lusts*; and shall turne their eares from the truth, and  
shall be given to fables. And in the latter time some shall depart from the faith, I Tim. 4. 1.
and shall give heed to spirits of errors, and doctrines of divels, which speake  
lies (as witches and conjurers doo) but cast thou awaie such prophane and old  
wives fables. In which sense Basil saith; Who so giveth heed to inchanters,  
hearkeneth to a fabulous and frivolous thing. But I will rehearse an example  
whereof I my selfe am not onelie Oculatus testis,* but have examined the cause,  
and am to justifie the truth of my report: not bicause I would disgrace the  
ministers that are godlie, but to confirme my former assertion, that this absurd  
error is growne into the place, which should be able to expell all such ridiculous  
follie and impietie.  
     At the assises* holden at Rochester, Anno 1581, one Margaret Simons, the wife of A storie of
John Simons, of Brenchlie in Kent, was araigned for witchcraft, at the instigation Margaret
and complaint of divers fond and malicious persons; and speciallie by the Simons, a
means of one John Ferrall vicar of that parish: with whom I talked about that supposed
and found him both fondlie assotted* in the cause, and enviouslie bent witch.
towards hir: and (which is worse) as unable to make a good account of his faith,*   
as she whom he accused. That which he, for his part, laid to the poore womans  
charge, was this.  
     His sonne (being an ungratious boie, and prentise* to one Robert Scotchford  
clothier, dwelling in that parish of Brenchlie) passed on a daie by hir house; at  
whom by chance hir little dog barked. Which thing the boie taking in evill  
part, drewe his knife, & pursued him therewith even to hir doore: whom she  
rebuked with some such words as the boie disdained, & yet neverthelesse would  
not be persuaded to depart in a long time. At the last he returned to his maisters  
house, and within five or sixe daies fell sicke. Then was called to mind the  
fraie* betwixt the dog and the boie: insomuch as the vicar (who thought himselfe   
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