MANIE thorough melancholic doo imagine, that they see or heare visions, spirits, ghosts, strange noises, &c: as I have alreadie prooved before, at large. Manie againe thorough feare proceeding from a cowardlie nature and complexion, or from an effeminate and fond bringing up, are timerous and afraid of spirits, and bugs, &c. Some through imperfection of sight also are afraid of their owne shadowes, and (as Aristotle saith) see themselves sometimes as it were in a glasse. And some through weakenesse of bodie have such unperfect imaginations. Droonken men also sometimes suppose they see trees walke, &c: according to that which Salomon saith to the droonkards; Thine eies shall see strange visions, and mervellous appearances.
In all ages moonks and preests have abused and bewitched the world with counterfet visions; which proceeded through idlenes, and restraint of marriage, wherby they grew hot and lecherous, and therefore devised such meanes to compasse and obteine their loves. And the simple people being then so superstitious, would never seeme to mistrust, that such holie men would make them cuckholds, but forsooke their beds in that case, and gave roome to the cleargie. Item, little children have beene so scared with their mothers maids, that they could never after endure to be in the darke alone, for feare of bugs. Manie are deceived by glasses through art perspective. Manie hearkening unto false reports, conceive and beleeve that which is nothing so. Manie give credit to that which they read in authors. But how manie stories and bookes are written of walking spirits and soules of men, contrarie to the word of God; a reasonable volume cannot conteine. How common an opinion was it among the papists, that all soules walked on the earth, after they departed from their bodies? In so much as it was in the time of poperie a usuall matter, to desire sicke people in their death beds, to appeare to them after their death, and to reveale their estate. The fathers and ancient doctors of the church were too credulous herein, &c. Therefore no mervell, though the common simple sort of men, and least of all, that women be deceived herein. God in times past did send downe visible angels and appearances to men; but now he dooth not so. Through ignorance of late in religion, it was thought, that everie churchyard swarmed with soules and spirits: but now the word of God being more free, open, and knowne, those conceipts and illusions are made more manifest and apparent, &c.
The doctors, councels, and popes, which (they saie) cannot erre, have confirmed the walking, appearing, & raising of soules. But where find they in the scriptures anie such doctrine? And who certified them, that those appearances were true? Trulie all they cannot bring to passe, that the lies which have beene spread abroad herein, should now beginne to be true, though the pope himselfe subscribe, seale, and sweare thereunto never so much. Where are the soules that swarmed in times past? Where are the spirits? Who heareth their noises? Who seeth their visions? Where are the soules that made such mone for trentals, whereby to be eased of the paines in purgatorie? Are they all gone into Italie, bicause masses are growne deere here in England? Marke well this illusion, and see how contrarie it is unto the word of God. Consider how all papists beleeve this illusion to be true, and how all protestants are driven to saie it is and was popish illusion. Where be the spirits that wandered to have buriall for their bodies? For manie of those walking soules went about that busines. Doo you not thinke, that the papists shew not themselves godlie divines, to preach and teach the people such doctrine; and to insert into their divine service such fables as are read in the Romish church, all scripture giving place thereto for the time? You shall see in the lessons read there upon S. Stevens daie, that Gamaliel Nichodemus his kinsman, and Abdias his sonne, with his freend S. Steven, appeared to a certeine preest, called Sir Lucian, requesting him to remove their bodies, and to burie them in some better place (for they had lien from the time of their death, untill then, being in the reigne of Honorius the emperor; to wit, foure hundred yeeres buried in the field of Gamaliel, who in that respect said to Sir Lucian; Non mei solummodo causa solicitus sum, sedpotius pro illis qui mecum sunt; that is, I am not onlie carefull for my selfe, but cheefelie for those my friends that are with me. Whereby the whole course may be perceived to be a false practise, and a counterfet vision, or rather a lewd invention. For in heaven mens soules remaine not in sorow and care; neither studie they there how to compasse and get a worshipfull buriall here in earth. If they did, they would not have foreslowed it so long. Now therefore let us not suffer our selves to be abused anie longer, either with conjuring preests, or melancholicall witches; but be thankfull to God that hath delivered us from such blindness and error.
Was this article helpful?