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Ngr

SAMUEL WEISER

GR. 7-8453

845B'way(bet. 13 & 14 St.) N.

:

A SYSTEM OF

MAGIC.

IN OXE VOLUME.

OXFORD

PRINTED BY D. A. TALBOYS,

FOR THOMAS TEGG, 73, CHEAPSIDE, LONDON.

1840.

1840*

*RL

A

SYSTEM

OF

M A G I

O R, A

C K ;

HISTORY

OF THE

BLACK ART.

BEING AN

Historical Account of Mankind's most early-

Dealing with the Devil ; and how the Ac-

quaintance on both Sides first begun.

Our Magic, Now, commands the Troops of Hell,

The Devil himself submits to Charm and Spell.

The Confrer in his Circles and his Rounds

Just ivhistles up his Spirits, as Men do Hounds.

Th y obsequious Devil obeys the Sorcerer's Skill, The Mill turns round the Horse, that first turns round the Mill.

LONDON, Printed: And Sold by Andrew

Millar, at Buchanan's Head, against St.

Clement's Church in the Strand, mdccxxviii.

PREFACE.

To remove a difficulty in my title, and that we may

not stumble at the threshold, some preface to this

new undertaking may be necessary, but it will be

very short.

If by a system of this terrible thing called magic,

my readers should expect a body of the black art as

a science, a book of rules for instruction in the practice, or a magical grammar for introduction to

young beginners, all I can say to such is, that they will be mistaken.

The world has perhaps been imposed upon in

nothing more than in their notions of this dark

practice, as well its ancient,

as its modern state.

Most people, when they read of the ancient magi-

cians, think they are reading of old necromancers

and conjurers, when really at first they were very

honest men ; and now, when they read of them in

their modern practice, they take them for honest

fellows, when they are, generally speaking, mere

jugglers, cheats, mountebanks, and posture-masters ;

or else, real wizards, and downright dealers with

the Devil.

There is one sort would fain be called cunning

men, than which nothing can be a grosser piece of

delusion ; and it is not their cunning, but their

X

PREFACE.

;

clients' want of cunning, that gives them the least

appearance of common sense in all their practice.

It is a strange piece of art where fools cheat fools,

and the blind and the ignorant are imposed upon by the blind and the ignorant. All the discovery I can make by it is, to note

what a visible difference there is between cunning

and wit ; between sleight of hand, as I may call it,

and understanding.

It is evident the pretenders

to magic at this time are so far from dealing with

the Devil, that they must certainly be dealt with by

the Devil, that have anything to do with them.

In the first ages they were wise men ; in the

middle age, madmen ; in these latter ages, cunning

men : in the earliest time they were honest ; in the

middle time, rogues ; in these last times, fools : at

first they dealt with nature ; then with the Devil

and now not with the Devil, or with nature either :

in the first ages the magicians were wiser than the

people ; in the second age, wickeder than the peo-

ple ; and in our age, the people are both wiser and wickeder than the magicians.

I see no great harm in our present pretenders to magic, if the poor people could but keep their money in their pockets ; and that they should have their pockets picked by such an unperforming, un- meaning, ignorant crew as these are, is the only

magic that I can find in the whole science.

The best course that I can think of to cure the

people of this itch of their brain, the tarantula of

the present age, in running to cunning men, as you

PREFACE.

XI

call them, and the most likely to have success, is

this, of laughing at them : the satire has reformed

the age of many a folly, which the solid and the

solemn could never reach :

even general vice,

would the men of wit and men of quality join in the attempt, might be hissed out of the world, though

all the preaching and all the preachers should prove

fruitless and exhausted : men are to be ridiculed

into good manners, when they will not be cudgelled

into it.

Your modern harlequins, especially so exquisitely contrived, and so perfectly well performed as those

of late by Mr. Rich, (in which, not to flatter him,

we must acknowledge he has outdone all that was before him,) have gone further to expose and run

down the magic I am speaking of, and cure the world of the hippo, and the vapours, than the whole

stage could do before ; nay, than all the brightest

dramatic performances of the last age could pretend

to.

Never was the popular frenzy better exposed ;

the ignorance on one side, and the impudence on

the other, more accurately laid open ; the mimicry

is mimicked to the life ; the magician made a fool,

the fool tickled into more wit, and the Devil himself laughed out of countenance.

We leave the remainder to be completed by the

while the

same hand ;

the success cannot fail,

senses and the passions are to be wrought upon by

the eyesight : our method looks the same way, only that we bring it up from its original, and pursue

Xll

PREFACE.

Mr. Rich shows you

it to the end of its prospect.

what foolish things you are just now doing ; we show you what your ancestors did before you, and

what still worse things the ages to come are like

to do after you.

Let no man be disgusted at the good account we give of the original and wisdom of the magi, and

then call them magicians : if we will debauch the word with a degeneracy of practice, the fault is our own. Their magic was truly science, whereas ours

is neither magic or science, but a kind of devilism, a practice carried on, by men that would be wicked

if they did not want wit, and are no otherwise

harmless, than as they happen to be fools.

Even at its best, it is a Babel-like confusion, that

speaks several languages, and none to be under-

stood ; a complete degeneracy of, or deviation from ?

common sense ; a complication of negatives, that

how many soever you put together, will not make

up one affirmative.

Now, to bring this nothing from the something it

derived from, though it seems a little difficult, yet

it is very necessary, and this is the reason why I

call it a history.

I have traced it as far back as antiquity gives us

any clue to discover it by ; it seems to have its be-

ginning in the ignorance and

curiosity of the

darkest ages of the world, when miracle, and some-

thing wonderful, was expected to confirm every

advanced notion ; and when the wise men, having

racked their invention to the utmost, called in the

PREFACE.

;

Xlll

Devil to their assistance, for -want of better help

and those that did not run into Satan's measures,

and give themselves up to the infernal, yet trod so

near, and upon the very edge of Hell, that it was

hard to distinguish between the magician and the Devil ; and there they have gone on ever since : so

that almost all the dispute between us and the ma- gicians is, that they say they converse with good

spirits, and we say if they deal with any spirits, it is

with the Devil : let the following sheets determine

the matter.

Hail ! dangerous science, falsely called sublime,

Which treads upon the very brink of crime.

Hell's mimic, Satan's mountebank of state, Deals with more devils than Heav'n did e'er create. The infernal juggling-box, by Hell design'd,

To put the grand parade upon mankind. The Devil's first game, which he in Eden play'd, When he harangu'd to Eve in masquerade.

In the first ages men mistook thy face,

Thy conj'ring past for wit, thy gravity for grace. By thee the junior world in witchcraft grew. That witchcraft still the senior worlds pursue. Nature's first usher, to induct mankind,

Prompting wise arts to his inquiring mind.

To Jubal thou, and Tubal, science brought,

To this his metals, that his music taught. But born a cheat, under the cloak of grave,

First made him a mechanic, then a knave,

BOSTON

PUBLIC

LIBRARY

CONTENTS.

Part I.

Introductiox. Of the meaning of the terms ; who

and what kind of people the magicians were,

and how the words Magic or Magician were

originally understood.

Chap. II. How wisdom and learning advanced men

in the first ages to royalty and government,

and how many of the magicians were made

kings on that account ; as Zoroaster, Cad- mus, and man}*- others.

-

-

-

-

Chap. III.

Of the reason

and occasion which

Page

I

37

brought the ancient honest magi, whose original study was philosophy, astronomy,

and the works of nature, to turn sorcerers and wizards, and deal with the Devil ; and

how their conversation began.

-

-

Chap. IV.

Of what shapes the Devil assumed in

60

his first appearances to the magicians, and

others, in the first ages of the world ; and

whether he is, or has been allowed to as-

sume, a human shape or no.

-

-

-

91

Chap. V. A further account of the Devil's conduct

in imitating divine inspirations ; something

of the difference between them ; and particu-

larly of signs and wonders, false as well as true, and the cheats of the former.

-

- 123

XVI

CONTENTS.

Page

Chap. VI.

Of who were the first practisers of ma-

gic, as a diabolical art, and how it was

handed on to the Egyptians and Phoeni- cians, where it was first openly encouraged. 139

Chap. VII.

Of the

practice and progress of ma-

gic, as it is now explained to be a diaboli-

cal art, how it spread itself in the world, and by what degrees it grew up to the

 

height which it has since arrived to.

 

-

182

Part II.

Introduction.

Of the black

art

itself; what it

 
 

really is, why there are several differing practices of it in the several parts of the

world, and what those practices are ; as

also, what is contained in it in general.

-

215

Chap. I.

Of modern magic, or the black art as

now in its practice and perfection.

-

-

225

Chap. II.

The scene changed ; that as the Devil acted at first with his black art without the

magicians, so the magicians seem to carry it on now without the Devil.

-

244

Chap. III.

Of the present pretences of the magi-

cians : how they defend themselves ; and

some examples of their practice.

-

-280

Chap. IV.

Of the doctrine of spirits as it is under-

stood by the magicians ; how far it may be

supposed there may be an intercourse with superior beings, without any familiarity with the Devil, or evil spirits ; with a trans- ition to the present times.

-

-

- 316

;

:

CONTENTS.

XYli

Page

Chap. V.

Of the magic of the present time, as it stands stripped in the last chapter, from all the pretences of the magicians, and the de- lusions of hell ; of what length it has gone,

or is like to go, in deluding mankind ; what

the magicians can do, and that they really have now no converse with the Devil at all

so that the art being at an end, the history comes to an end of course.

-

-

- 35

Chap. VI. Of raising the Devil by magical opera-

tions ; whether the magicians really have

such a power or no, and if they have, whe-

ther it is performed as an art, and by the consequence of magical experiments, or whether it is by concert and mutual consent,

between Satan and the magicians.

-

- 373

Chap. VII. Seeing, as the magicians pretend, they do

not deal with the Devil, or raise the Devil

who it is they do deal with, how their cor-

respondence is managed, and why do they

deal with good spirits, by conjurings and

the black art ?

-

-

-

-

_ 386

A SYSTEM OF MAGIC.

INTRODUCTION.

Of the meaning of the terms ; who and what kind

of people the magicians were, and how the words

'magic' or 'magician' were originally tinder-

stood.

Before I come to the main end of this undertak-

ing, which is plainly laid down in my title, it is ne-

cessary to explain the terms, and to determine fully

what is and is not to be understood by Magic, the Black Art, and such-like hard words as we shall

be obliged to make frequent use of as we go along.

I am willing to suppose my readers not so unac-

quainted with the ancient usage, as not to know

that the word magic had a quite different signifi- cation in former times, from what it is now applied

to ; and that the people who studied or professed

that which we now call ' magic,' were quite another

sort of folk, than those worthy gentlemen who now

apply themselves to that profession.

In a word, a magician was no more or less in the ancient Chaldean times, than a mathematician, a

man of science, who, stored with knowledge and

learning, as learning went in those days, was a kind

of walking dictionary to other people, and instructed

the rest of mankind in any niceties and difficulties

which occurred to them, and which they wanted to

be informed about ; and in this sense we are to be

A SYSTEM OF MAGIC.

understood when we speak of the magicians in Egypt, in Persia, in Babylon, &c.

Thus when any omens, ill signs,

and tokens,

dreams, or other strange things, happened in those

times, whether publicly in the air, or particular to

persons and families, we find not only the ordinary

people, but even kings and princes sent immedi-

ately for the magicians and the wise men, the south-

sayers, &c, to tell them what the meaning of such

things was.

These magicians are explained on many occasions

by the term of wise men, and that term again by

men of knowledge, and more than ordinary under-

standing.

looked up into, and made observations from, the

motions of the stars and other heavenly bodies, and

who, as it is said in the Scriptures, understood the

signs of the times, the face of the heavens, and the

influences of the superior luminaries there; who

arcana of nature, and were

Men, in a word, who

studied nature,

searched into the

masters of perhaps a little experimental philosophy;

I say a little, for reasons which I shall repeat pre-

sently.

It was no impropriety in speech to call such as

these wise men at that time, though perhaps the ut-

most of their knowledge might arrive to no more than what we would now justly call superficial. Be-

cause at that time the knowledge of nature was very green and young in the world ; and the philo-

sopher of those times, if he was to be rated by the

rules men are pleased to judge by at this time,

would be something like our learned friend sir Tho.

., whose particular honour it was to be a doctor

J

among fools, and a fool among doctors.

To these magicians men went, on the several oc-

casions hinted as above, for the solution of doubtful

questions ; to be resolved and directed in difficult

and intricate undertakings ; to be advised in things

A SYSTEM OF MAGIC.

3

of moment ; and these were therefore called sages

first, and

for a long time;

and afterwards magi,

from the greatness of their wisdom. Hence the wise statesmen to whom the government of the

Median interregnum was committed were called

magi ; as wise men to whom alone it was fit to in-

trust so important an article as that of the govern-

ment of an empire.

Thus afterwards, in the Israelites' times, their

wise men were called by another but very signifi- cant name or term, viz., seers, a word afterwards

held in such veneration, that they thought fit to

bestow it upon their prophets, who also were called

seers, though afterwards they obtained a superior

title, namely, that of man of God.

But before

that, I say the wiser men were called seers ; and this is most expressly signified in that eminent text,

1 Sam. ix. 9, where it is said that beforetime they

used to say when they wanted to inquire of God,

that is, to inquire about anything difficult, Come and

to the seer, that is, to the magician, the

let us go

wise man, the prophet, or what else you please to call him.

It is plain from the same text also that they sometimes went to those people called seers upon

meaner inquiries ; for they took it for granted that

those seers dealt in all secret matters ; thus Ahaziah

sent to Baal-zebub when he was sick, to know if he

should live or die, 2 Kings i. 2, 3 ; and so the king

of Syria's captains told their master, that Elisha

the prophet told the king of Israel what he did in his bed-chamber, 2 Kings vi. 12. And to bring it

down to a meaner case still ;

even when Saul

wanted but to find his father's lost asses or cattle,

his servants said to him, Let us go and inquire of

the seer; and so they did, and found news of

them.

Likewise it appears by the same text, that those

b2

4

A SYSTEM OF MAGIC.

seers, or prophets, or magi, made an employment of it, that it was their business to tell men of their

lost goods, direct them in their way, foretell of their health, and the like ; and that they made a liveli- hood or trade of it ; therefore when Saul's servant

proposed to him to go to the seer, Saul made a dif- ficulty of it because he had nothing to give him

as if he should have

said, I have no money in my

pocket, and not a loaf of bread to give the cunning man or seer, and how should I expect that he

should give

me

any account of

my

cattle for

nothing ? Then when the. servant told him he had

a fourth part of a shekel of silver in his purse,

(which, by the way, was not above seven-pence half-

penny, or thereabouts,) Saul was mighty glad, re-

solving to give the low-prized magician or prophet that vast fee, to tell him what was become of his

father's asses.

It seems the lawyers' fees were not so high in

those days as they have been since ; for if he had

not had that piece of silver, perhaps about as big as an English groat, I say, if he had not had that, a couple of half-penny barley loaves it seems would have been as good, and have done as well ; those loaves

being not usually bigger than our half-penny, or at

best than our penny wheaten brown bread loaves are now.

Again; you findwhenBen-hadadking of Damascus

sent to Elisha the prophet to know if he should live

or die, he sent the prophet a present, forty camels

loaden with all the

good things of Damascus,

But it is to be sup-

posed, the gift sent was not suited to the prophet

so much as to the sender ; he gave as a king ; but

still we- find the seers were supposed to make the

gain their business.

That it was the same thing with the magi, be-

fore that, we have no reason to doubt, though we

2 Kings viii. 9.

A large fee !

A SYSTEM OF MAGIC.

5

have no particular in story relating to that part.

But we find those southsayers, magicians, and wise

men, who were sent for by Pharaoh, king of Egypt,

to interpret his dream, were to have received great

rewards, if they had given satisfaction to the king ;

and Joseph, we see, did receive great rewards, as

well as honour, on that account.

Again afterwards, in the case of Nebuchadnez-

zar's dream, there is a sufficient testimony that

those wise men, astrologers, magicians, &c, were

esteemed not to be wizards and dealers with the

Devil, but only (as I have explained the word above)

mere philosophers, or wise men, men of learning and knowledge, men of science and of skill in the

works of nature ; for when the king demanded of

them to tell him not only the interpretation of the

dream, but the dream itself, and threatened them

with death in case they failed to perform it, they expostulate with the king upon the unreasonable-

ness of the proposal, as a thing that no king in the

world would expect from them, and that was not in

the power of nature to perform

As if they had said, Does your majesty think we deal with the Devil, that you should expect such a

piece of work as this from us ? It is not in the power of any, or of all the wise men, or philosophers in the world, and therefore it cannot be imagined we

should do it ; but let the king tell us the dream,

and then we will interpret it, and that's as much as

man can do.

It is plain from hence, not only that the magi

or magicians in those days were not really con-

jurers and dealers with the Devil, but that they

were [understood to be what we may call scholars,

men of learning, of wisdom, and of a superior un-

derstanding : so when the king calls for Daniel to prefer him, it is said he did it because an excellent

spirit was found in him; and in another place it is

6

A SYSTEM OF MAGIC.

said, that the spirit of the holy

Gods was in him

whereas at the same time it is certain that the king esteemed him as one of the magicians ; nay, and he

was set over them as the chief and governor of all

the rest.

Certainly then they did not take those

magicians to be what we have since understood of

ours, viz., dealers with the Devil, and sorcerers,

such as ought to be punished for having or using

unlawful arts and practices with evil spirits and the

like.

Had this been the common opinion of them, they

would have been treated after another manner,

both then and in after-ages ; for not only among

the Jews, but in other nations, such as we call now

magicians were punished as criminals.

But to go back a little to originals, and to fetch

up knowledge from the fountain : man, born igno-

rant, arrives to very little knowledge but what comes

by one of these two channels. First, Long experience, study, and application.

Secondly, Teaching and instruction from those