History of the devil, ancient and modern (1)

History of the devil, ancient and modern  (1817) 



of the


Ancient and Modern.


Bad as he is, the Devil may be abus'd,
Be falsely charg'd, and causelessly accus'd
When men, unwillingly to be blam'd alone,
Shift off those crimes on him which are their own.

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of the


THE subject of this work is singular, and is has been handled after a singular manner: the wise part of the world has been pleased with it, the merry part has been diverted with it, and the ignorant part has been taught by it; none but the malicious part of the world has been offended at; who can wonder then, that when the Devil is not pleased, his friends should be angry?

The strangest thing of all is, to hear Satan complain that the story is handled profanely: but who can think it strange, that his advocates should be what he was from the beginning?

It is evident the Devil, as subtile and as frightful as he is, has acted the ridiculous and foolish part, and much as most of God's creatures, and daily does so. And he cannot believe it is any sin to expose him for a foolish Devil, as he is, or shew him to the world that he may be laughed at.

Those who think the subject not handled with gravity enough, have all the room given them in the world to handle it better; and as the author professes he is far from thinking his piece perfect, they ought not to be angry, that he gives them leave to mend it.

I doubt not but the title of this book will amuse some of my reading friends a little at first; they will make a pause, perhaps, as they do at a witch's prayer, and be some time a resolving whether they had best look into it or no, least they should really raise the Devil, by reading his story.

Children and old women have told themselves so many frightful things of the Devil, and have formed ideas of him in their minds, in so many horrible and monstrous shapes, that really it was enough to fright the Devil himself to meet himself in the dark, dressed up in the several, figures which imagination has formed for him in the minds of men; and; as for themselves, (illegible text) cannot think by any means that the Devil would terrify them half so much, if they would converse face to face with him.

It must therefore be a most useful undertaking, to give the true history of this tyrant of the air, this god of this world, this terror and aversion of mankind, which we call Devil: to shew what he is, and what he is not; where he is, and where he is not ; when he is in us, and when he is not; for I cannot doubt but that the Devil is really, and bona fide, in a great many of our honest weak headed friends, when they themselves know nothing of the matter.

Nor is the work so difficult as some may imagine. The devil's history is not so hard to come at, as it seems to be; his original and the first rise of his family is upon record; and as for his conduct, he has acted indeed in the dark, as to his method, in many things; but in general, as cunning as he is, he has been fool enough to expose himself in some of the most considerable transactions of his life, and has not shewn himself a politician at all. Our old friend Machiavelo utdid him in many things, and I may in the process of this work give an account of several of the sons of Adam, and some societies of them too, who have outwitted the Devil, nay, who have outsinned the Devil, and that I think may be called out-shooting him in his own bow.

It may perhaps be expected of me in this history, that since I seem inclined to speak favourably of Satan, to do him justice, and to write his story impartially, I should take some pains to tell you what religion he is of; and even this part may not be so much a jest, as at first sight you may take it to be ; for Satan has something of religion in him, I assure you; nor is he such an unprofitable Devil that way as some may suppose him to be; for though. in reverence, to my brethren, I will not reckon him among the clergy: no, not so much as a gifted brother; yet I cannot deny but that he often preaches, and if it be not profitable to his hearers, it is as much their fault, as it is out of his design.

But to speak to the point, and a nice point it is I acknowledge; namely, what religion the Devil is of; my answer will indeed be general, yet not at all ambiguous; for I love to speak positively, and with undoubted evidence.

1. He is a believer. And if in saying to it should follow that even the Devil has more religion than some of our men of fame can at this time be charged with, I hope my Lord———, and his Grace the———, of———, and some of the upper class in the red hot club, will not wear the coat, however well it may fit to their shapes; or challenge the satire, as if it were pointed at them, because it is due to them: In a word, whatever their Lordships are, I can assure them that the Devil is no infidel.

2. He fears God. We have such abundant evidence of this in sacred history, that if I were not at present, in common with a few others, talking to an infidel sort of gentlemen, with whom these remote things called Scriptures are not allowed in evidence, I might say it was sufficiently proved; but I doubt not in the process of this undertaking to shew, that the Devil really fears God, and that after another manner than ever he feared Saint Frances or Saint Dunstan; and if that be proved, as I take upon me to advance, I shall leave it to judgment, who is the better christain, the Devil who believes and trembles, or our modern gentry of——— who believe neither God nor Devil.

Having thus breught the devil within the pale, I shall leave him among you for the present; not but that I may examine in its order, who has the best claim to his brotherhood, the Papists or the Protestants; and among the latter the Lutherans or the Calvinists: and so descending to all the several demonstrations of the churches, see who has less of the devil in them, and who more; and whether less or more, the Devil has not a seat in every synagogue, a pew in every church, a place in every pulpit, and a vote in every synod; even from the sanhedrin of the Jews, to our friends at the Bull and Mouth, &c. from the greatest to the least. As to his propagating religion, it is a little hard indeed at first sight; For example.

I think it no injury at all to the Devil, to say that he had a great hand in the old holy war, as it was ignorantly and enthusiastically called; stirring up the Christian princes and powers of Europe to run a mading after the Turks and Saracens; and make war with those innocent people above a thousand miles off, only because they entered into God's heritage when he had forsaken it; grazed upon his ground when he had fairly turned it into a common, and laid open for the next comer: spending their nation's treasure, and embarking their Kings and people (I say) in a war above a thousand miles off, filling their heads with that religious madness, called in those days, Holy Zeal, to recover the Terra sancta, the sepulchres of Christ and the saints, and as they called falsely the Holy City, though true religion says it was the accursed city, and not worth spending one drop of blood for.

This religious bubble was certainly of Satan, who, as he craftily drew them in, so like a true devil, he left them in the lurch when they came there, faced about to the Saracens, animated the immortal Sladin against them, and managed so dextrously, that he left the bones of about thirteen or fourteen hundred thousand Christians there, as a trophy of his infernal politics: And after the Christian world had run al a sante terra, or in English, a sauntering about a hundred years, he dropt it to play another game less foolish, but ten times more wicked than that which went before it: namely, turning the crusadoes of the Christians one against another; and, as Hudibrass said in another case,

"Make them fight like mad or drunk,
“For Dame Religion, as for punk."

Of this you have a complete account in the history of the Popes decrees against the Count de Thoulouse, and the Waldenses and Albigences, with the crusadoes and massacres, which followed upon them; wherein, to do the Devil's politics some justice, he met with all the success he could desire. The zealots of that day executed his infernal orders most punctually, and planted religion in those countries in a glorious and triumphant manner, upon the destruction of an infinite number of innocent people, whose blood has fattened the soil for the growth of the Catholic faith, in a manner very particular, and to satan's full satisfaction.

I might, to complete this part of the history, give you the detail of his progress in these first steps of his alliances with Rome, and add a list of massacres, wars, and expeditions in behalf of religion, which he had the honour to have a visible hand in; such as the Parisian massacre, the Flemish war under the Duke d'Alva, the Smithfield fires in the Marian days in England, and the massacres in Ireland. And even some old women, within these 20 years, thought he lent a little help among the Catholics and the Orange boys, when they met at fairs; some think he was not far from the seat of war on the Continent of Europe, and he has puffed up his Holiness the Pope, to issued a Bull, against British and Foreign Bible Societies, and those persons, noble or ignoble, who are found countenancing that unjust translation——evidently intended to spread divison in the Church of Rome.

But the greatest piece of management which we find the Devil has concerned himself in of late, in the matter of religion, seems to be that of the mission into China; and here indeed Satan has acted his masterpiece. It was, no doubt, much for his service, that the Chinese should have no insight into matters of religion, I mean that we call Christian; and therefore, though Popery and the Devil are not at so much variance as some may imagine, yet he did not think it safe to let the general system of Christianity be heard of among them in China. Hence, when the name of the Christian religion had but been received with some seeming approbation, in the country of Japan, Satan immediately, as if alarmed at the thing, and dreading what the consequence of it might be, armed the Japanese against it with such fury, that they expelled it at once.

It was much safer to his designs, when, if the story be not a fiction, he puts that Dutch witticism into the mouths of the State commanders, when they came to Japan; who, having more wit thau to own themselves christians in such a place as that, when the question was put to them, answered negatively, that they were not; but that they were of another religion, called Hollanders.

However, it seems the Jesuits outwitted the Devil in China, and, as I said above, overshot him in his own bow; for the mission being in danger, by the Devil and the Chinese Emperors joining together, of being wholly expelled there too, as they had been in Japan, they cunningly fell in with the ecclesiastics of the country, and joining the priestcraft of both religions together, they brought Jesus Christ and Confucius to be so reconcilable, that the Chinese and Roman Idolatry, appeared capable of a confederacy, of going on hand in hand together; and consequently of being very good friends.

This was a masterpiece indeed, and, as they say, almost frightened Satan out of his wits ; but he, being a ready manager, and particularly famous for serving himself of the rogueries of the priests, faced about immediately to the mission, and making a virtue of necessity, clapt in, with all possible alacrity, with the proposal; so the Jesuits and he formed a hotch potch of religion, made up of Popery and Paganism, and calculated to leave the latter rather worse than they found it, blending the faith of Christ and the Philosophy or morals of Confucius together, and formally christening them by the name of religion; by which means the politic interest of the mission was preserved: and yet Satan lost not one inch of ground with the Chinese, no, not by the planting the gospel itself, such as it was among them.

The influence the Devil has in the politics of mankind, is another especial part of his history and would require, if it were possible, a very exact description; but here we shall be necessarily obliged to inquire so nicely into the arcana of circumstances, and unlock the cabinets of state in so many courts canvass the councils of ministers, and the conduct of princes so fully, and expose them so much, that it may perhaps make a combustion among the great politicians abroad; and in doing that, we may come so near home, too, that though personal safety and prudentials forbid our meddling with our own country we may be taken in by double intendre, and fall unpitied, for being only suspected of touching truths that are so tender, whether we are guilty or no. On these accounts, I must meddle the less with that part, at least for the present.

Be it that the Devil has had a share in some of the late councils of Europe, influencing them this way or that way, to his own advantage :—— What is it to us? For example, What if he had any concern in the affair of Thorn? or in the late councils held at Vienna, placing on the thrones of France and Spain, those whose profession is eternal hatred to the protestants?—— Or placing his Holiness the Pope and the Inquisition in full powers? What is it to us if he influenced Ferdinand of Spain to embroider a petty coat to the Virgin Mary?

It occurs next to inquire from the premises, Whether the Devil has more influence or less in the affairs of the world now than he had in former ages? and this will depend upon comparing, as we go along, his methods and way of working in past times, and the modern politics by which he acts in our days, with the different reception which he has met with among the men of such distant ages. But there is so much to enquire of about the Devil, before we can bring his story down to our modern times, that we must for the present let them drop, and look a little back to the remote parts of this history? drawing his picture, that people may know him when they met him, and see who and what he is, and what he has been doing ever since he got leave to act in the high station he now appears in. Were Satan to be brought under the least obligation to write truth, and that the matters of fact which he should write might be depended upon, he is certainly qualified by his knowledge of things to be a complete historian; nor could the bishop himself, who, by the way, has given us already the Devil of an history, come up to him; Milton's Pandæmonium, though an excellent dramatic performance, would appear a mere trifling sing song business, beneath the dignity of Chevy chase; the Devil could give us a true account of all the civil wars in heaven; how, and by whom, and in what manner, he lost the day there, and was obliged to quit the field: the fiction of his refusing to acknowledge and submit to the Messiah, upon his being declared generalissimo of the heavenly forces, which Satan expected himself, as the eldest officer; and his not being able to brook another to be put in over his head; and I say, that fine spun thought of Mr. Milton would appear to be strained too far, and only serve to convince us that he (Milton) knew nothing of the matter. Satan knows very well that the Messiah was not declared to be the son of God with power, till by and after the resurrection from the dead; and all that power was then given him in heaven and earth, and not before; so that Satan's rebellion must derive from other causes, and upon other occasions, as he himself can doubtless give us an account if he thinks fit, and of which we shall speak further in this work.

He could give us a true relation how he wheeled the people of the next world into the absurd, ridiculous undertaking of building a Babel; how far that stupendous stair case which was in imagination to reach up to heaven, was carried before it was interrupted, and the builders confounded; how their speech was altered, how many tongues it was divided into; or whether they were divided at all; and how many subdivisions or dialects have been since that, by which means very few of God's creatures, except the brutes, understand one another, or care one farthing whether they do or no.

In all these things, Satan who no doubt would make a very good chronologist, could settle every epocha, correct every calendar, and bring all our accounts of time to a general agreement; as well as the Grecian Olympiades, the Turkish Heghira, the Chinese fictitious account of the world's duration, as our blind Julian and Gregorgian accounts, which have put the world to this day, into such confusion, that we neither agree in our holy days or working days or feasts, nor keep the same Sabbaths in any part of the same globe.

The glorious figure which Satan is supposed to make, among the thrones and dominions in heaven, is such as we might dispose the highest angel in that exalted train could make.

Hence that notion (and not ill founded); namely that the first cause of his disgrace, and on which ensued his rebellion, was occasioned upon God's proclaiming his son generalissimo, and with himself supreme ruler in heaven: giving the dominions of all his works of creation, as well already finished, as not then begun, to him; which post of honour (say they) Satan expected to be conferred on himself, as next in honour, majesty and power, to God the supreme. Now, as we go to the Scripture for much of his history, so we must go there also for some of his names: and as he has a great variety of names indeed, as his several mischevious doings guide us to conceive of him. The truth is; all the ancient names given him, of which the Scripture is full, seem to be originals derived from, and adapted to the several steps he has taken, and the several shapes he has appeared. in, to do mischiefs in the world.

Here he is called the Serpent, Gen. iii. 1. The old Serpent, Rev. xii. 9.——The great Red Dragon, Rev. xii. 3.——The Accuser of the Brethren, Rev. xii. 10.-The enemy, Matth. xii. 39.—Satan, Job i. Zech. in. 1, 2.——Belial, 2 Cor. vi. 15. ——Belzebub, Matth. xii. 24.——Mammon, Matth. vi. 24.——The Angel of Light, 2 Cor. xi. 14.—— The Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Rev. ix. 11.—— The Prince of the Power of the Air, Eph. ii. 2.-Lucifer, Isa. xiv. 12——Abaddon or Appollyon, Rev. ix. ll.——Legion, Mark. v.9.——The God of this World, 2 Cor. iv. 4.——The Foul Spirit, Mark ix. 25.——The Lying Spirit, 2 Chron. XXX.——The Tempter, Matth. iv. 3.——The Son of the Morning, Isa. xiv. 12.

But to sum them all up in one, he is called in the New Testament plain Devil. All his other names are varied according to the custom of speech an dialects of the several nations where he is spoken of: but, in a word, Devil is the common name of the Devil in all the known languages of the earth. Nay, all the mischiefs he is empowered to do, are in Scripture placed to his account, under the particular title of the Devil, not of Devils in the plural number, though: they are sometimes mentioned two, but in the singular, it is the identical individual Devil, in and under whom all the little Devils, and all the great Devils, if such there be, are supposed to act; nay, they are supposed to be governed and directed by him. Thus we are told in Scripture of the works of the Devil, 1 John i. 8.; of casting out of the Devil, Mark i. 34; of resisting the Devil, James iv. 7.; of our Saviour being tempted of the Devil, Matth. iv. 1.; of Simon Magus, a child of the Devil, Acts xiii. 10. The Devil came down in great wrath, Rev. xii 12. and the like. According to this usage of speech we go on to this day, and in all the infernal things we converse with in the world are fathered upon the Devil, as one undivided simple essence, by how many agents soever working. Every think evil is frightful in appearance, wicked in its actings, horrible in its manner, monstrous in its effects, is called the Devil; in a word, Devil is the common name for all devils, that is to say, for all evil spirits, all evil powers, all evil works, and even all evil things; yet it is remarkable, the Devil is no Old Testament word; and we never find it used in all that part of the Bible but four times, and then not once in the singular number: and not once, to signify Satan as it is now understood.

Nor, upon the whole, is any wrong done to the Devil by this kind of treatment: it only gives him the sovereignty of the whole army of hell; and, making all the numberless legions of the bottomless pit servants, or, as the scriptures calls them, angels to Satan the grand Devil, all their actions, performances, and achievements, are justly attributed to him, not as Prince of Devils only, but the Emperor of Devils——the Prince of all the Princes of Devils. This being premised: and my authority being so good Satan must not take it ill, if I treat him after the manner of men, and give him those titles which he is best known by among us; for indeed, having so many, it is not very easy to call him out of his name.

But who is he? What is his original? Whence came he? And what is his present station and condition? For these things, and these inquiries, are very necessary to his history; nor indeed can any part of his history be complete without them.

Thus the Devil, as mean thoughts as ye may have of him, is of a better family than any of you; nay, than the best gentleman of you all. What ye may be fallen to, is one thing; but what he is fallen from is another; and therefore, I must tell my learned and reverend friend J. W. L. L. D. when he spoke so rudely of the Devil lately that in my opinion he abused his betters.

How long he remained thus, it is true, we have no light into from history. and but little from tradition, Rabb Judah says, the Jews were of opinion, that he remained twenty thousand years in that condition; and that the world would continue twenty thousand more, in which he shall find work enough to satisfy his mischievous desires: but he shews no authority for his opinion. Indeed let the Devil have been as idle as they think he was before, it must be acknowledged, that now he is the most busy, vigilant, and diligeat of all God's creatures, and very full of employment too, such as it is.

Scripture indeed gives us light into the enmity there is between the two natures, the diabolical and the human: the reason of it, and how and by what means the power of the Devil is restrained by the Messiah; and to those who are willing to trust to gospel light, and believe what the scripture says of the Devil, there may much of his history be discovered: and therefore those that list, may go there for a fuller account of the matter.

It might take up a great deal of our time here to inquire whether the Devil has any particular shape, or personality of substance, which can be visible to us, felt, heard, or understood, and which he cannot alter; and then, what shapes or appearances the Devil has at any time taken upon him; and whether he can really appear in a body which might be handled and seen, and yet so as to know it to have been the Devil at the time of his appearing: but this also I defer, as not of weight in the present inquiry.

We have divers accounts of witches conversing with the Devil; the Devil in a real body, with all the appearances of a body of a man or woman appearing to them: also of having a familiar, as they call it, an incubus or little Devil, which sucks their bodies, runs away with then into the air, and the like. Much of this is said; but much more than it is easy to prove; and we ought to give but a just proportion of credit to those things.

How glorious is the Wisdom and goodness of the great Creator of the world! in thus restraining these seraphic outcasts from the power of assuming human or organic bodies! which, could they do, invigorating them with the supernatural powers, which as seraphs and angels, they now possess, and might exert, they would be able even to fright mankind from the face of the earth, and to destroy and confound God's creation. Nay, even as they are, were not their power limited, they might destroy the creation itself, reverse and overturn nature, and put the world into a general conflagation. But were those immortal spirits embodied, though they were not permitted to confound nature, they would be able to harass poor, weak and defenceless man out of his wits, and render him useless, either to his Maker or himself.

But let his power be what it will there, we are sure it is limited here, and that in two particulars: First, He is limited as above, from assuming a body, or bodily shapes, with substance; and Secondly, From exerting seraphic powers, and acting with that supernatural force, which as an angel, he was certainly vested with before the fall, and which we are not certain as yet taken from him; or, at most, we do not know how much it may or may not be diminished, by his degeneracy, and by the blow given him at his expulsion. This we are certain that be his power greater or less, he is retrained from exercise of it in this world; and he, who was once equal to the angel who killed 180,000 in one night, is not able now, without new a commission, to take away the life of one (illegible text)ob nor touch any thing he had.

But let us consider him then limited and restrained as he is, yet he remains a mighty, a terrible, an immortal being; infinitely superior to man, as well in the dignity of his nature as the dreadful powers he retains still about him. It is true the brain-sick heads of our ehthusiastics paint him blacker than he is; and I have said, wickedly represent him clothed with terrors that do not really belong to him; as if the power of good and evil was wholly vested in him, and that he was placed in the throne of his Maker, to destribute both punishments and rewards: in this they are much wrong, terrifying and deluding fanciful people about him, till they turn their heads, and fright them into a belief that the Devil will let them alone, if they do such and such things; or carry them away with him they know not whether, if they do not; as if the Devil, whose proper business is mischief, seducing and deluding mankind, and drawing them in to be rebels like himself, should threaten to seize upon them, carry them away, and in a word, fall upon them to hurt them, if they did evil: and on the contrary, be favourable and civil to them, if they did well.

Thus a poor deluded country fellow in our town, that had lived a wicked, abominable, debauch'd life, was frighted with an apparition, as he called it, of the Devil: He fancied that he spoke to him, and telling his tale to a good honest Christian gentleman his neighbour, that had a little more sense than himself: the gentleman asked him if he was sure he really saw the Devil? Yes, yes, Sir, says he. I saw him very plain. And so they began the following discourse:

Gent. See him! see the Devil! art thou sure of it Thomas?
Thos. Yes, yes, I am sure enough of it master: to be sure 'twas the Devil.
Gent. And how do you know it was the Devil, Thomas Had you ever seen the Devil before?
Tho. No, no, I had never seen him before,
to be sure: but, for all that I know 'twas the Devil. Gent. Well, if you're sure, Thomas, there's no contradicting you; pray what cloaths had he on?

Tho. Nay, Sir, don't jest with me; he had no cloaths on: he was cloathed with fire and brimstone.

Gent. Was it dark or day light when you saw him?

Tho O ! it was very dark, for it was midnight.

Gent. How could you see him then ? did you see by the light of the fire you speak of? Tho. No, no, he gave no light himself; but I saw him for all that.

Gent. But was it within doors, or out in the street?

Tho. It was within, it was in my own chamber when I was just going into bed, that I saw him. Gent. Well then, you had a candle, had'nt you?

Tho. Yes I had a candle; but it burnt as blue ! and as dim!

Gent. Well, but if the Devil was cloathed with fire and brimstone: he must give you some light; there can't be such a fire as you speak of, but it must gave a light with it.

Tho. No, no, he gave no light, but I smelt his fire and brimstone: he left a smell of it behind him, when he was gone.

Gent. Well, so you say he had fire, but gave no light: it was a devilish fire indeed ; did it feel warm ? was the room hot while he was in it ?

Tho. No, no, but I was hot enough without it, for it put me into a great sweat with the fright.

Gent. Very well, he was all in fire, you say, but without light or heat; only, it seems, he stunk of brimstone; pray what shape was he in? what was he like? for you say you saw him.

Tho. O! Sir, I saw two staring saucer-eyes, enough to fright any body out of their wits.

Gent. And was that all you saw?

Tho. No, I saw his cloven foot very plain, 'twas as big as one of your bullock's that goes to plough.

Gent. So you saw none of his body, but his eyes and his feet? a fine vision indeed! Tho. Sir, that was enough to send me going.

Gent. Going! what did you run away from him?

Tho. No, but I fled into bed at one jump, and sunk down, and pulled the bed-cloaths quite over me.

Gent. And what did you that for?

Tho. To hide myself from such a frightful creature.

Gent. Why, if it had really been the Devil do you think the bed-cloathes would have secured you from him?

Tho. Nay, I don't know; but in a fright it was all I could do.

Gent. Nay, 'twas as wise as all the rest ; but come, Thomas, to be a little serious, pray did he speak to you?

Tho. Yes, yes, I heard a voice; but who it was the Lord knows.

Gent. What kind of voice was it? Was is like a man's voice?

Tho. No, it was a hoarse ugly noise, like the croaking of a frog; and it called me by name, twice, Thomas Dawson, Thomas Dawson?

Gent. Well, did you answer?

Tho. No, not I, I could not have spoke a word for my life; why, I was frighted to death.

Gent. Did it say any thing else?

Tho. Yes, when it saw that I did not speak. It said, " Thomas Dawson, Thomas Dawson! you are a wicked wretch; you lay with Jenny ———— last night; if you don't repent, I will take you away alive and carry you to hell, and you shall be dam'd, you wretch."

Gent. And was it true, Thomas? did you lie with Jenny ———— the night before?

Tho. Indeed, master, why, yes it was true: but I was very sorry afterwards.

Gent. But how should the Devil know it, Thomas?

Tho. Nay, he knows it to be sure; why they say he knows every thing.

Gent. Well, but why should he be angry at that? He would rather bid you lie with her again, and encourage you to lie with forty whores, than hinder you: this can't be the Devil, Thomas.

Tho. Yes, yes, Sir 'twas the Devil to be sure.

Gent. But he bid you repent too, you say?

Tho. Yes, he threatened me if I did not.

Gent. Why Thomas, did you think the Devil would have you to repent?

Tho. Why no, that's true too; I don't know what to say to that; but what could it be?—— 'Twas the Devil to be sure, it could be nobody else.

Gent. No, no 'twas neither the Devil, Thos. nor any other body else, but your own frighted imagination; you had lain with that wench, and being a young sinner of that kind, your conscience terrified you, told you the Devil would fetch you away, and you would be damn'd: and you were so persuaded it would be so, that you at last imagined he was come for you indeed: that you saw him, and heard him; whereas, you may depend upon it, if Jenny---will let you lie with her every night, the Devil will hold the candle, or do any thing to forward it, but will never disturb you; he's too much a friend to your wickedness; it could never be the Devil, Thomas; 'twas only your own guilt frighted you, and that was Devil enough too, if you knew the worst of it, you need no other enemy.

Tho. Why, that's true master; one would think the Devil should not bid me repent, that's true; but certainly 'twas the Devil for all that.

Now Thomas was not the only man that, having committed a flagitous crime, had been deluded by his own imagination, and the power of fancy, to think the Devil was come for him; whereas the Devil, to gave him his due, is too honest to pretend to such things; 'tis his business to persuade men to offend, not to repent; and he professes no other: He may press men to this or that action, by telling them 'tis no sin, no offence no breach of God's law, and the like, when really 'tis both; but to press them to repent, when they have offended, that's quite out of the way; 'tis none of his business, nor does he pretend to it: therefore, let no man charge the Devil with what he is not concerned in.

But to return to his person; he is, as I have said, notwithstanding his lost glory, a mighty, a terrible, and an immortal spirit; he is himself called a Prince, the Prince of the Power of the Air, the Prince of darkness, the Prince of Devils, and the like. Some think the Devil is in our company visible or invisible. The following was sent in a letter to me lately.


WE had one day, very early in the morning, and for the most part of the day, a great deal of rain with a high wind, and the clouds very thick and dark all day.

In the evening, the cloudy thick weather continued. though not the rain; when, being in a friend's house in ————lane, London and several ladies and some gentlemen in the room, besides two or three servants, (for we had been eating) the following interlude happened for our entertainment:—— When the cloth was taken away, two large candles were brought upon the table, and placed there, with some bottles and glasses for the gentlemen, who it seems were intending to drink and be very merry. Two large wax candles were also set on another table, the ladies (illegible text)ing going to cards, there were also two large candles sconces over or near the chimney; and one more in a looking-glass scone on a pier by the window.

With all this apparatus, the company separating, sat down; the gentlemen at their table, and the ladies at theirs, to play as above; when, after some time, the gentleman of the house said hastily to the servant, "What a p——— (illegible text)s the candles?" and turning to the servant, raps out an (illegible text)th or two, and bids him snuff the candles, for they burnt as if the Devil was in them.

The fellow going to snuff one of the candles snuffs it out; at which his master being in a passion, the fellow lights it again immediately at the other candle; and then being in a little hurry, going to snuff the other candle, (illegible text)fed that out too.

The first candle that was re-lighted (as is usual in such (illegible text)es) burned dim and dull for a good while, and the other being out, the room was much darker than before; (illegible text)n a wench that stood by the ladies table, bawls out to her mistress, La! Madam, the candles burn blue!" An (illegible text) Lady that sat by, says, "Aye, Betty, so they do. Up(illegible text) this one of the ladies starts up; Mercy upon us! (says she) what is the matter?" In this unlucky moment, another servant without orders, went to the great pier scone and because, as he thought he would be sure to snuff the candle well, he offers to take it down: but very unhappily, I say, the hook came, down falls the scone, candle and all and the looking-glass broke all to pieces with a horrible noise. However, the candle falling out of the scone, did not go out, but lay on the floor burning dully, and as is usual in such cases, all on one side. Betty cries out again, "La! Madam, that candle burns blue too!". The very moment she said this, the footman that had thrown down the scone, says to his fellow servant, that came to his assistance, I think the Devil is in the candles to night! and away he runs, out of the room for fear of his master.

The old lady, who, upon the maid Betty's notion of the candles burning blue, had her head just full of that old chimney corner story, the candles burn blue when the spirits are in the room, heard the footman say the word Devil! but heard nothing else of what he said. Upon this she rises up in a terrible fright, and cries out that the footman said the Devil was in the room! As she was indeed frightened out of her wits she frighted the ladies most terribly; and they all started up together, down goes the card table, and put the wax candles out.

Mrs. Betty, that had frighted them all, runs to the scone next the chimney, but that having a long snuff, she cried out it burnt blue too, and she durst not touch it! In short though there were three candles left still burning in the room, yet the ladies were all so frighted that they and the maids too, ran out of the parlour, screaming like mad folks. The master, in a rage, kicked his first man out of the room, and the second man ran out to avoid (as I said before) the like; so that no servant was to be had, but all was in confusion.

The two other gentlemen, who were sitting at the first table kept their seats composed and easy enough, only concerned to see all the house in such a fright. It was true, they said the candles turned dim and very odly; but they could not perceive they burnt blue, except one of those over the chimney, and that on the table, which was re-lighted after the fellow lad snuffed it out.

However, the maid, the old lady, and the footman that pulled down the scone all insist that the candles burned blue, and all pretended that the Devil was certainly in the room and was the occasion of it, and they now came to me with the story to desire my opinion of it.


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.