It was still less wonderful that those mysterious phenomena which sometimes occur in the human trame, such as spontaneous combustion, delusions arising from the state of the brain and nerves, and optical deceptions, should appear to the sufferer to be the work of the devil, whose good offices they might very probably have invoked under some fit of despondency or misanthropy, little expecting, like the poor man in the fable who called on Death, to be taken at their word. "What a " Thesaurus of Horror" would the spectres of Nicolai have afforded in the sixteenth century or the commencement of the seventeenth, if embodied in the pages of the 6 Malleus' or the c Flagellum Dsemo-num/ instead of being quietly published by the patients as optical and medical phenomena in the 'Berlinische Monatschrift' for 1799, and the 15th volume of the ' Philosophical Journal V What a fearful glimpse into the infernal world would have been afforded by the still more frightful illusions which haunted poor Backzko of Konigsberg* during his political labours in 1806; the grinning negro who seated himself opposite to him, the owl-headed tormentor that used to stare at him every night through his curtains, the snakes twisting and turning about his knees as he turned his periods ! If we go back to 1651, we find our English Jacob Bôhme, Pordagef, giving an account of visions which must have been exactly of the same kind, arising from an excited state of the brain, with the most thorough conviction of their reality. His Philadelphian disciples, Jane Leade, Thomas Bromley, Hooker, Sapperton, and others, were indulged, on the first meeting of their society, with a vision of unparalleled splendour. The princes and powers of the infernal world passed in review before them, sitting in coaches, surrounded with dark clouds and drawn by a cortege of lions, clragons, tigers, and bears; then followed the lower spirits arranged in squadrons with cats' ears, claws, twisted limbs, etc. ; whether they shut their eyes or kept them open, the appearances were equally distinct ; " for we saw," says the master-spirit Por-dage, " with the eyes of the mind, not with those of the body".
* Cobbett's State Trials.
+ Trial of Bartie Paterson. Records of Scottish Justiciar}'. Dec. 18,1607.
X In Wenhani's case, Mr. Chauncy deposed that a cat belonging to Jane Wenham had come and knocked at his door at night, and that he had killed it. This was founded on evidence at the-trial.
§ Eec. of Just. 1613, Dec. 1.
* See the c Neue Necrologie der Deutschen, 1823,' for an account of these remarkable appearances, f Divina et Vera Metaphysica.
<c And shapes that come not at a mortal call Will not depart when mortal voices bid. Lords of the visionary eve, whose hd Once raised remains aghast, and will not fell*".
Thus, while phenomena which experience has since shown to be perfectly natural were universally attributed to supernatural causes, men had come to be on the most familiar footing with spiritual beings of all kinds. In the close of the sixteenth century, Dr. Dee was, according to his own account, and we verily believe his own conviction, on terms of intimacy with most of the angels. His brother physician, Dr. Richard Napier, a relation of the inventor of the logarithms, got almost all his medical prescriptions from the angel Raphael. Elias Ashmole had a MS. volume of these receipts, filling about a quire and a half of paper t- In fact, one would almost suppose that few persons at that time condescended to perform a cure by natural means. Witness the sympathetic nostrums of Valentine Greatrakes and Sir Kenelm Digby; or the case of Arise Evans, reported by Aubrey, who " had a fungous nose, and to whom it was revealed that the king's hand would cure him; and at the first coming of King Charles II. into St. James's Park he kissed the king's hand and rubbed his nose with it, which troubled the king, but cured him" In Aubrey's time, too, the visits of ghosts had become so frequent, that they had their exits and their entrances without exciting the least sensation. Aubrey makes an entry in his journal of the appearance of a ghost as coolly as a merchant now-a-days makes an entry in his ledger. " Anno 1670. Not far from Cirencester was an apparition. Being demanded whether good spirit or bad, returned no answer, but disappeared with a curious perfume and a melodious twang".
* Wordsworth's 'Dion'.
+ The prefixed characters which Ashmole interprets to mean Responsum Raphaelis seem remarkably to resemble that cabalistic-looking initial which hi medical prescriptions is commonly interpreted " Recipe".
Is it to be wondered at then, that, surrounded on all hands with such superstitious fancies, the weak and depraved were early brought to believe that all the wild chimeras of the demonologists were true, and that they had really concluded that covenant with Satan, the possibility of which was universally inculcated as an article of faith, and the idea of which was constantly present to their minds ? or that, under the influence of this frightful delusion, they should voluntarily come forward to confess their imaginary crime, as in the Amsterdain case of the poor girl who accused herself of bewitching cattle by the words Shurius, Turius, Tiiius^ or in another still more remarkable case in 1687, mentioned in Reichard's ' Beytrâge/ where a young woman accused herself, her friend, and the mother of her friend, of a long course of witchcraft, with all the usual traditional and impossible horrors of Sprenger and his brethren?