and, although Luther was extremely fond of children, yet he advised with great earnestness the family of a boy to throw him into the river because he was possessed with a devil.
And thus, by Protestants as well as by Romanists, witches were tortured and put to death in numbers so vast as to seem to us now utterly incredible, the total number of persons who suffered death in Europe and America being at least four millions. In most cases there was a regular judicial trial; in many cases, however, there were various processes for testing the reality of the witchcraft. These methods resembled the ordeals of the olden time. A favorite method was to throw the accused into water. Then, if she did not drown, that was a sign of possession. For how could she be saved except by Satan's aid? if she did drown, that was not conclusive proof of innocence, because God might have taken the punishment into His own hands. However, at that stage of the case, the trial did not possess any further interest to the accused: it was simply a question of clearing her memory.
I have used the feminine pronouns she and her. This brings up the question why it was that women were supposed to be almost always the ones who entered into this compact with Satan. The answer is, not so much because of the sensibility of their nervous constitution and their consequent liability to religious monomania, as because, from various causes (for example, that Eve tempted Adam, and that women in olden times held an inferior position as to legal rights), women were considered as inherently more wicked than men. In Roman times Cato had said, "If the world were only free from women, men would not be without the converse of the gods." And Chrysostom, the great father, the golden-mouthed orator, had declared woman to be "a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic peril, a deadly fascination." When celibacy was introduced into the Church, it was regarded as the highest form of virtue, and theologians exhausted all the resources of their eloquence in describing the iniquity of that sex whose charms had rendered celibacy so rare. So it came to pass that women were believed to be especially prone to enter into compacts with the Evil One. These and hundreds of other matters connected with witchcraft are to be found in the literature of the subject which has come down to us from those far-off days. Endless discussions upon all phases and aspects of the question, the volumes stand now in the great libraries of Europe a monument to human credulity and superstition. All phases and aspects of the question, I have said. For example, there was the point whether a witch felt torture or not. The general belief was that she did feel it, but not so acutely as do others, and that therefore the torture ought to be more severe. Then there was another point, that of self-confession. As all know, a confession of