IT is affirmed by sundrie authors, that Salomon was the first inventor of those conjurations; and thereof Josephus is the first reporter, who in his fift booke De Judxorum antiquitatibus, cap. 22. rehearseth soberlie this stone following; which Polydore Virgil, and manie other repeat verbatim, in this wise, and seeme to credit the fable, whereof there is skant a true word.
Salomon was the greatest philosopher, and did philosophic about all things, and had the full and perfect knowlege of all their proprieties: but he had that gift given from above to him, for the profit and health of mankind: which is effectuall against divels. He made also inchantments, wherewith diseases are driven awaie; and left diverse maners of conjurations written, whereunto the divels giving place are so driven awaie, that they never returne. And this kind of healing is very common among my countrimen: for I sawe a neighbour of mine, one Eleazer, that in the presence of Vespasian and his sonnes, and the rest of the souldiers, cured many that were possessed with spirits. The maner and order of his cure was this. He did put unto the nose of the possessed a ring, under the scale wherof was inclosed a kind of roote, whose verture Salomon declared, and the savour thereof drewe the divell out at his nose; so as downe fell the man, and then Eleazer conjured the divell to depart, & to return no more to him. In the meane time he made mention of Salomon, reciting incantations of Salomons owne making. And then Eleazer being willing to shew to standers by his cunning, and the wonderfull efficacie of his art, did set not faire from thence, a pot or basen full of water, & commanded the divell that went out of the man, that by the overthrowing thereof, he would give a signe to the beholders, that he had utterlie forsaken and leaft the man. Which thing being doone, none there doubted how great Salomons knowledge and wisedome was. Wherin a jugling knacke was produced, to confirme a cogging cast of knaverie or cousenage.
Another stone of Salomons conjuration I find cited in the sixt lesson, read in the church of Rome upon S. Margarets daie, far more ridiculous than this. Also Peter Lombard maister of the sentences, and Gratian his brother, the compiler of the golden decrees; and Durandus in his Rationale divinorum, doo all soberlie affirme Salomons cunning in this behalfe; and speciallie this tale; to wit, that Salomon inclosed certeine thousand divels in a brasen bowle, and left it in a deepe hole or lake, so as afterwards the Babylonians found it, and supposing there had beene gold or silver therein, brake it, and out flew all the divels, &c. And that this fable is of credit, you shall perceive, in that it is thought woorthie to be read in the Romish church as parcell of their divine service [Lect. 5. & 6.]. Looke in the lessons of S. Margarets daie the virgine, and you shall find these words verbatim: which I the rather recite, bicause it serveth me for divers turnes; to wit, for Salomons conjurations, for the tale of the brasen vessell, and for the popes conjurations, which extended both to faith and doctrine, and to shew of what credit their religion is, that so shamefullie is stained with lies and fables.
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