THOMAS AQUINAS saith [in 4 dist. 23. sent.], that anie bodie, though he be of an inferior or superior order, yea though of none order at all (and as Gulielmus Durandus glossator Raimundi affirmeth, a woman so she blesse not the girdle or the garment, but the person of the bewitched) hath power to exercise the order of an exorcist or conjuror, even as well as any preest may saie masse in a house unconsecrated. But that is (saith M. Mal.) rather through the goodnesse and licence of the pope, than through the grace of the sacrament. Naie, there are examples set downe, where some being bewitched were cured (as M. Mal. taketh it) without any conjuration at all. Marrie there were certeine Pater nosters, Aves, and Credos said, and crosses made, but they are charmes, they saie, and no conjurations. For they saie that such charmes are lawful], bicause there is no superstition in them, &c.
And it is woorth my labour, to shew you how papists define superstition, and how they expound the definition thereofi Superstition (saie they) is a religion observed beyond measure, a religion practised with evill and unperfect circumstances. Also, whatsoever usurpeth the name of religion, through humane tradition, without the popes authoritie, is superstitious: as to adde to joine anie hymnes to the masse, to interrupt anie diriges, to abridge anie part of the creed in the singing thereof, or to sing when the organs go, and not when the quier singeth, not to have one to helpe the priest to masse: and such like, &c.
These popish exorcists doo manie times forget their owne rules. For they should not directlie in their conjurations call upon the divell (as they doo) with intreatie, but with authoritie and commandement. Neither should they have in their charmes and conjurations anie unknowne names. Neither should there be (as alwaies there is) anie falshood conteined in the matter of the charme of conjuration, as (saie they) old women have in theirs, when they saie; The blessed virgine passed over Jordan, and then S. Steven met hir, and asked hir, &c. Neither should they have anie other vaine characters, but the crosse (for those are the words:) and manie other such cautions have they, which they observe not, for they have made it lawfull elsewhere.
But Thomas their cheefe piller prooveth their conjuring and charmes lawfull by S. Marke, who saith [Mk. 16, 17]; Signa eos qui credidaerunt; And, In nomine meo d^monia ejicient, &c; whereby he also prooveth that they maie conjure serpents. And there he taketh paines to proove, that the words of God are of as great holinesse as relikes of saints, whereas (in such respect as they meane) they are both alike, and indeed nothing woorth. And I can tell them further, that so they maie be carried, as either of them maie doo a man much harme either in bodie or soule.
But they proove this by S. Augustine, saieng; Non est minus verbum Dei, quam corpus Christi: whereupon they conclude thus; By all mens opinions it is lawfull to carrie about reverentlie the relikes of saints; Ergo it is lawfull against evill spirits, to invocate the name of God everie waie; by the Pater noster, the Ave, the nativitie, the passion, the five wounds, the title triumphant, by the seven words spoken on the crosse, by the nailes, &c: and there maie be hope reposed in them. Yea, they saie [Mal. malef. par. 3. qu.x 2] it is lawfull to conjure all things, bicause the divell maie have power in all things. And first, alwaies the person or thing, wherein the divell is, must be exorcised, and then the divell must be conjured. Also they affirme, that it is as expedient to consecrate and conjure porrage and meate, as water and salt, or such like things.
The right order of exorcisme in rebaptisme of a person possessed or bewitched, requireth that exsufflation and abrenunciation be doone toward the west. Item, there must be erection of hands, confession, profession, oration, benediction, imposition of hands, denudation and unction, with holie oile after baptisme, communion, and induition of the surplis. But they saie that this needeth not, where the bewitched is exorcised: but that the bewitched be first confessed, and then to hold a candle in his hand, and in steed of a surplise to tie about his bare bodie a holie candle of the length of Christ, or of the crosse whereupon he died, which for monie maie be had at Rome. Ergo (saith M. Mal) this maie be said; I conjure thee Peter or Barbara being sicke, but regenerate in the holie water of baptisme, by the living God, by the true God, by the holie God, by the God which redeemed thee with his pretious bloud, that thou maiest be made a conjured man, that everie fantasie and wickednesse of diabolicall deceipt doo avoid and depart from thee, and that everie uncleane spirit be conjured through him that shall come to judge the quicke and the dead, and the world by fier, Amen: Oremus, &c. And this conjuration, with Oremus, and a praier, must be thrise repeated, and at the end alwaies must be said; Ergo maledicte diabole recognosce sententiam tuam, &c. And this order must alwaies be followed. And finallie, there must be diligent search made, in everie corner, and under everie coverlet and pallet, and under everie threshhold of the doores, for instruments of witchcraft. And if anie be found, they must streightwaie be throwne into the fier. Also they must change all their bedding, their clothing, and their habitation. And if nothing be found, the partie that is to be exorcised or conjured, must come to the church rath in the morning: and the holier the daie is, the better, speciallie our Ladie daie. And the preest, if he be shriven himselfe and in perfect state, shall doo the better therein. And let him that is exorcised hold a holie candle in his hand, &c. Alwaies provided, that the holie water be throwne upon him, and a stoale put about his necke, with Deus in adjutorium, and the Letanie, with invocation of saints. And this order maie continue thrise a weeke, so as (saie they) through multiplication of intercessors, or rather intercessions, grace maie be obteined, and favor procured.
There is also some question in the Romish church, whether the sacrament of the altar is to be received before or after the exorcisme. Item in shrift, the confessor must learne whether the partie be not excommunicate, and so for want of absolution, endure this vexation. Thomas sheweth the difference betwixt holie water and conjuration, saieng that holie water driveth the divell awaie from the externall and outward parts; but conjurations from the internall and inward parts; and therefore unto the bewitched partie both are to be applied.
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