Anatomy of Melancholy, by Robert Burton

The Second Partition.

The Cure of Melancholy.

The First Section.

The First Member.

The First Subsection.

Unlawful Cures rejected.

Inveterate Melancholy, howsoever it may seem to be a continuate, inexorable disease, hard to be cured, accompanying them to their graves, most part, as 2789Montanus observes, yet many times it may be helped, even that which is most violent, or at least, according to the same 2790author, “it may be mitigated and much eased.” Nil desperandum. It may be hard to cure, but not impossible for him that is most grievously affected, if he but willing to be helped.

Upon this good hope I will proceed, using the same method in the cure, which I have formerly used in the rehearsing of the causes; first general, then particular; and those according to their several species. Of these cures some be lawful, some again unlawful, which though frequent, familiar, and often used, yet justly censured, and to be controverted. As first, whether by these diabolical means, which are commonly practised by the devil and his ministers, sorcerers, witches, magicians, &c., by spells, cabilistical words, charms, characters, images, amulets, ligatures, philters, incantations, &c., this disease and the like may be cured? and if they may, whether it be lawful to make use of them, those magnetical cures, or for our good to seek after such means in any case? The first, whether they can do any such cures, is questioned amongst many writers, some affirming, some denying. Valesius, cont. med. lib. 5. cap. 6. Malleus Maleficar, Heurnius, lib. 3. pract. med. cap. 28. Caelius lib. 16. c. 16. Delrio Tom. 3. Wierus lib. 2. de praestig. daem. Libanius Lavater de spect. part. 2. cap. 7. Holbrenner the Lutheran in Pistorium, Polydore Virg. l. 1. de prodig. Tandlerus, Lemnius, (Hippocrates and Avicenna amongst the rest) deny that spirits or devils have any power over us, and refer all with Pomponatius of Padua to natural causes and humours. Of the other opinion are Bodinus Daemonamantiae, lib. 3, cap. 2. Arnoldus, Marcellus Empyricus, I. Pistorius, Paracelsus Apodix. Magic. Agrippa lib. 2. de occult. Philos. cap. 36. 69. 71. 72. et l. 3, c. 23, et 10. Marcilius Ficinus de vit. coelit. compar. cap. 13. 15. 18. 21. &c. Galeottus de promiscua doct. cap. 24. Jovianus Pontanus Tom. 2. Plin. lib. 28, c. 2. Strabo, lib. 15. Geog. Leo Suavius: Goclenius de ung. armar. Oswoldus Crollius, Ernestus Burgravius, Dr. Flud, &c. Cardan de subt. brings many proofs out of Ars Notoria, and Solomon's decayed works, old Hermes, Artefius, Costaben Luca, Picatrix, &c. that such cures may be done. They can make fire it shall not burn, fetch back thieves or stolen goods, show their absent faces in a glass, make serpents lie still, stanch blood, salve gouts, epilepsies, biting of mad dogs, toothache, melancholy, et omnia mundi mala, make men immortal, young again as the 2791Spanish marquis is said to have done by one of his slaves, and some, which jugglers in 2792China maintain still (as Tragaltius writes) that they can do by their extraordinary skill in physic, and some of our modern chemists by their strange limbecks, by their spells, philosopher's stones and charms. 2793“Many doubt,” saith Nicholas Taurellus, “whether the devil can cure such diseases he hath not made, and some flatly deny it, howsoever common experience confirms to our astonishment, that magicians can work such feats, and that the devil without impediment can penetrate through all the parts of our bodies, and cure such maladies by means to us unknown.” Daneus in his tract de Sortiariis subscribes to this of Taurellus; Erastus de lamiis, maintaineth as much, and so do most divines, out of their excellent knowledge and long experience they can commit 2794agentes cum patientibus, colligere semina rerum, eaque materiae applicare, as Austin infers de Civ. Dei et de Trinit. lib. 3. cap. 7. et 8. they can work stupendous and admirable conclusions; we see the effects only, but not the causes of them. Nothing so familiar as to hear of such cures. Sorcerers are too common; cunning men, wizards, and white-witches, as they call them, in every village, which if they be sought unto, will help almost all infirmities of body and mind, Servatores in Latin, and they have commonly St. Catherine's wheel printed in the roof of their mouth, or in some other part about them, resistunt incantatorum praestigiis (2795Boissardus writes) morbos a sagis motos propulsant &c., that to doubt of it any longer, 2796“or not to believe, were to run into that other sceptical extreme of incredulity,” saith Taurellus. Leo Suavius in his comment upon Paracelsus seems to make it an art, which ought to be approved; Pistorius and others stiffly maintain the use of charms, words, characters, &c. Ars vera est, sed pauci artifices reperiuntur; the art is true, but there be but a few that have skill in it. Marcellius Donatus lib. 2. de hist, mir. cap. 1. proves out of Josephus' eight books of antiquities, that 2797“Solomon so cured all the diseases of the mind by spells, charms, and drove away devils, and that Eleazer did as much before Vespasian.” Langius in his med. epist. holds Jupiter Menecrates, that did so many stupendous cures in his time, to have used this art, and that he was no other than a magician. Many famous cures are daily done in this kind, the devil is an expert physician, as Godelman calls him, lib. 1. cap. 18. and God permits oftentimes these witches and magicians to produce such effects, as Lavater cap. 3. lib. 8. part. 3. cap. 1. Polid. Virg. lib. 1. de prodigiis, Delrio and others admit. Such cures may be done, and as Paracels. Tom. 4. de morb. ament. stiffly maintains, 2798“they cannot otherwise be cured but by spells, seals, and spiritual physic.” 2799Arnoldus, lib. de sigillis, sets down the making of them, so doth Rulandus and many others.

Hoc posito, they can effect such cures, the main question is, whether it be lawful in a desperate case to crave their help, or ask a wizard's advice. 'Tis a common practice of some men to go first to a witch, and then to a physician, if one cannot the other shall, Flectere si nequeant superos Acheronta movebunt. 2800“It matters not,” saith Paracelsus, “whether it be God or the devil, angels, or unclean spirits cure him, so that he be eased.” If a man fall into a ditch, as he prosecutes it, what matter is it whether a friend or an enemy help him out? and if I be troubled with such a malady, what care I whether the devil himself, or any of his ministers by God's permission, redeem me? He calls a 2801 magician, God's minister and his vicar, applying that of vos estis dii profanely to them, for which he is lashed by T. Erastus part. 1. fol. 45. And elsewhere he encourageth his patients to have a good faith, 2802 “a strong imagination, and they shall find the effects: let divines say to the contrary what they will.” He proves and contends that many diseases cannot otherwise be cured. Incantatione orti incantatione curari debent; if they be caused by incantation, 2803they must be cured by incantation. Constantinus lib. 4. approves of such remedies: Bartolus the lawyer, Peter Aerodius rerum Judic. lib. 3. tit. 7. Salicetus Godefridus, with others of that sect, allow of them; modo sint ad sanitatem quae a magis fiunt, secus non, so they be for the parties good, or not at all. But these men are confuted by Remigius, Bodinus, daem. lib. 3. cap 2. Godelmanus lib. 1. cap. 8, Wierus, Delrio lib. 6. quaest. 2. tom. 3. mag. inquis. Erastus de Lamiis; all our 2804divines, schoolmen, and such as write cases of conscience are against it, the scripture itself absolutely forbids it as a mortal sin, Levit. cap. xviii. xix. xx. Deut. xviii. &c. Rom. viii. 19. “Evil is not to be done, that good may come of it.” Much better it were for such patients that are so troubled, to endure a little misery in this life, than to hazard their souls' health for ever, and as Delrio counselleth, 2805“much better die, than be so cured.” Some take upon them to expel devils by natural remedies, and magical exorcisms, which they seem to approve out of the practice of the primitive church, as that above cited of Josephus, Eleazer, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Austin. Eusebius makes mention of such, and magic itself hath been publicly professed in some universities, as of old in Salamanca in Spain, and Krakow in Poland: but condemned anno 1318, by the chancellor and university of 2806Paris. Our pontifical writers retain many of these adjurations and forms of exorcisms still in the church; besides those in baptism used, they exorcise meats, and such as are possessed, as they hold, in Christ's name. Read Hieron. Mengus cap. 3. Pet. Tyreus, part. 3. cap. 8. What exorcisms they prescribe, besides those ordinary means of 2807“fire suffumigations, lights, cutting the air with swords,” cap. 57. herbs, odours: of which Tostatus treats, 2. Reg. cap. 16. quaest. 43, you shall find many vain and frivolous superstitious forms of exorcisms among them, not to be tolerated, or endured.

2789. Consil. 234. pro Abbate Italo.

2790. Consil. 23. aut curabitur, aut certe minus afficietur, si volet.

2791. Vide Renatum Morey Animad. in scholam Salernit, c. 38. si ad 40. annos possent producere vitam, cur non ad centum? si ad centum, cur non ad mille?

2792. Hist. Chinensum.

2793. Alii dubitant an daemon possit morbus curare quos non fecit, alii negant, sed quotidiana experientia confirmat, magos magno multorum stupore morbos curare, singulas corporis parte citra impedimentum permeare, et mediis nobis ignotis curare.

2794. Agentia cum patientibus conjugant.

2795. Cap. 11. de Servat.

2796. Haec alii rident, sed vereor ne dum nolumus esse creduli, vitium non efugiamus incredulitatis.

2797. Refert Solomonem mentis morbos curasse, et daemones abegisse ipsos carminibus, quod et coram Vespasiano fecit Eleazar.

2798. Spirituales morbi spiritualiter curari debent.

2799. Sigillum ex auro peculiari ad Melancholiam, &c.

2800. Lib. 1. de occult. Philos. nihil refert an Deus an diabolus, angeli an immundi spiritus aegro opem ferant, morbus curetur.

2801. Magus minister et Vicarius Dei.

2802. Utere forti imaginatione et experieris effectum, dicant in adversum quicquid volunt Theologi.

2803. Idem Plinius contendit quosdam esse morbos qui incantationibus solum curentur.

2804. Qui talibus credunt, aut ad eorum domos euntes, aut suis domibus introducunt, aut interrogant, sciant se fidem Christianam et baptismum praevaricasse, et Apostatas esse. Austin de superstit. observ. hoc pacto a Deo deficitur ad diabolum, P. Mart.

2805. Mori praestat quam superstitiose sanari, Disquis. mag. l. 2. c. 2. sect. 1. quaest. 1. Tom. 3.

2806. P. Lumbard.

2807. Suffitus, gladiorum ictus, &c.

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