The Description of the Rudiments and School, which are the entrees to the art of Magic: And in special the differences betwixt Astronomy and Astrology: Division of Astrology in divers parts.
Phi. But I pray you likewise forget not to tell what are the Devils rudiments.
Epi. His rudiments, I call first in general, all that which is called vulgarly the virtue of words, herb, and stone: which is used by unlawful charms, without natural causes. As likewise all kind of practices, fates, or other like extraordinaries actions, which cannot abide the true touch of natural reason.
Phi. I would have you to make that plainer, by some particular examples;for your proposition is very general.
Epi. I mean either by such kind of Charms as commonly daft wives uses, for healing of forspoken goods, for preserving them from evil eyes, by knitting roun trees, or sundries kind of herbs, to the hair or tails of he goods: By curing the Worm, by stemming of blood, by healing of Horse-crookes, by turning of the riddle, or doing of such like innumerable things by words, without applying any thing, meet to the part offended, as Medicines doe; Or else by staying married folks, to have naturally ado with other, (by knitting so many knots upon a point at the time of their marriage) And such like things, which men uses to practise in their merriness. For unlearned men (being naturally curious, and lacking the true knowledge of God) finds these practises to prove true, as sundry of them will doe, by the power of the Devil for deceiving men, and not by any inherent virtue in these vain words and fates; and being desirous to win a reputation to themselves in such-like turns, they either (if they be of the shame-faster sort) seek to be learned by some that are experimented in that Art, (not knowing it to be evil at the first) or else being of the grosser sort, runs directly to the Devil for ambition of desire of gain, and plainly contracts with him thereupon.
Phi. But me thinks these mean which you call the School and rudimentary of the Devil, are things lawful, and have been approved for such in all times and ages: As in special, this science of Astrology, which is one of the special members of the Mathematics.
Epi. There are two things which the learned have observed from the beginning, in the science of the Heavenly Creatures, the Planets, Stars, and such like: The one is their course and ordinary motions, which for that cause is called Astronomy: Which word is a compound of (nomos) and (asteron) that is to say, the law of the Stars: And this art indeed is one of the members of the Mathematics, and not only lawful, but most necessaries and commendable. The other is called Astrology, being compounded of (asteron) and (logos) which is to say, the word, and preaching of the stars: Which is divided in two parts: The first by knowing thereby the powers of simples, and sicknesses, the course of the seasons and the weather, being ruled by their influence: which part depending upon the former, although it be not of it self a part of Mathematics: yet it is not unlawful, being moderately used, suppose not so necessary and commendable as the former. The second part is to trust so much to their influences, as thereby to fore-tell what common-wells shall flourish or decay: what persons shall be fortunate or unfortunate: what side shall win in any battle: What man shall obtain victories at singular combat: What way, and of what age shall men die: What horse shall win at match-running; and diverse others have more curiously then profitably written at large. Of this root last spoken of, springs innumerable branches; such as the knowledge by the nativities; the Clairvoyancy, Geomancy, Hydromancy, Arithmetic, Physiognomy: and a thousand others: which were much practised, and holden in great reverence by the Gentles of old. And this last part of Astrology whereof I have spoken, which is the root of their branches, was called by them luck (pars fortunae). This part now is utterly unlawful to be trusted in, or practised amongst christians, as leaning to no ground of natural reason: and it is this part which I called before the devils school.
Phi. But yet many of the learned are of the contrary opinion.
Epi. I grant, yet I could give my reasons to fortify and maintain my opinion, if to enter into this disputation it wold not draw me quite off the ground of our discourse; besides the mis-spending of the whole day thereupon: One word only I will answer to them, and that in the Scriptures (which must be an infallible true ground to all true Christians) That in the Prophet Jeremie it is plainly forbidden, to believe or hearken unto them that Prophecies and fore-speaks by the course of the Planets and Stars.