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ther valuable for the pomp and beauty of the impression, or for the notes with which the text is accompanied, or for any controversy or persecution that it produced, or for the peculiarity of any single passage. With the samne care have the various editions of the book of common-prayer been selected, from which all the alterations which have been made in it may be eality remarked.
Ainongít a great number of Roman missals and breviaries, remarkable for the beauty of their cuts and illuminations, will be found the Mocorabic miffal and breviary, that raised such commotions is the kingdom of Spain.
The controversial treatises written in England, about the time of the Reformation, have been die ligently collected, with a multitude of remarkable tracts, fingie fermons, and finall treatises; which, however worthy to be preserved, are, perhaps, to be found in no other place.
The regard which was always paid, by the collectors of this library, to that remarkable period of time, in which the art of printing was invented, vletermined thein to accumulate the ancient imprelions of the fathers of the church; to which the iater additions are added, left antiquity should have feemed more worthy of esteem chan accuracy. · History has been considered with the regard due to that study by which the manners are most easily formed, and from which the most efficacious initruction is received ; nor will the most extensive curiosity fail of gratification in this library; from which no writers have been excluded, that relate either to the religious or civil affairs of any nation.
Nat Not only those authors of ecclesiastical history have been procured, that treat of the state of religion in general, or deliver accounts of sects or nations, but those likewise who have confined themselves to particular orders of men in every church; who have related the original, and the rules of every fociety, or recounted the lives of its founder and its members; those who have deduced in every country the succession of bishops, and those who have employed their abilities in celebrating the piety of particular saints, or martyrs, or monks, or nuns.
The civil history of all nations has been amassed together; nor is it eafy to determine which has been thought most worthy of curiosity.
Of France, not only the general histories and ancient chronicles, the accounts of celebrated reigns, and narratives of remarkable events, but even the memorials of single families, the lives of private men, the antiquities of particular cities, churches, and monafteries, the topography of provinces, and the accounts of laws, customs, and prescriptions, are here to be found.
The several states of Italy have, in this treasury, their particular historians, whose accounts are, perhaps, generally more exact, by being less extensive; and more interesting, by being more particular.
Nor has less regard been paid to the different nations of the Germanic empire, of which neither , the Bohemians, nor Hungarians, nor Austrians, nor Bavarians, have been neglected; nor have their antiquities, however generally disregarded, been less Atudiously searched, than their present state. 2 of
be banished from the theatre to the nursery, and condemned to write fairy tales instead of tragedies; but a survey of the notions that prevailed at the tire when this play was written, will prove that Slut:Speare was in no danger of such censures, since he only turned the system that was then universally aj. mitted, to his advantage, and was far from overbur. thening the credulity of his audience.
The reality of witchcraft or enchantment, wirich, though not strictly the same, are confounded in this play, has in all ages and countries been credited by the common people, and in most, by the learned themselves. The phantoms have indeed appeared more frequently, in proportion as the darkness of ignorance has been more gross; but it cannot be shown, that the brightest gleams of knowledge have at any time been sufficient to drive them out of the world. The cime in which this kind of credulity was at its height, seems to have been that of the holy war, in which the Christians imputed all their defears to enchantments or diabolical opposition, as they ascribed their success to the aliistance of their mili. tary saints; and the learned Dr. Warburton appears to believe (Steppl. io the Introduction to Don Quixote) that the first accounts of enchantments were brou, he into this part of the world by those who returned froin their eastern expeditions. But there is always foinc diflance between the birth and maturity of folly as of wickedness: this opinion had long existed, though perhaps the application of it had in no foregoing age been to frequent, nor the reception fo general. Oiinipicdsr!!, in Pichius's extracts, tells us of one Lillvis, who practiicd this kind of military ma
gick, and having promifed χωρις οπλιτών κατα βαρβάρων Evepgeñv, to perform great things against the Barbarians without foldiers, was, at the instances of the empress Placidia, put to death, when he was about to have given proofs of his abilities. The empress shewed some kindness in her anger, by cutting him off at a time so convenient for his reputation.
But a more remarkable proof of the antiquity of this notiori may be found in St. Chryfoftom's book de Sacerdotio, which exhibits a scene of enchantments not exceeded by any romance of the middle age: he fupposes a spectator overlooking a field of battle attended by one that points out all the various objects of horror, the engines of destruction, and the arts of Daughter. AEIXvÚTO MI TO wapoi tois évarriors xai Tetouéves ίππας διά τινος μαίγανείας, και οπλίτας δι' αέρος φερομένες, και weonu yontsías dúvopsy xai idéav. Let him then proceed to shew him in the opposite armies borses flying by enchant. ment, armed men transported through the air, and every power and form of magick. Whether St. Chryfoftom believed that such performances were really to be seen in a day of battle, or only endeavoured to enliven his description, by adopting the notions of the vulgar, it is equally certain, that such notions were in his time received, and that therefore they were not imported from the Saracens in a later age; the wars with the Saracens however gave occasion to their propagation, not only as bigotry naturally discovers prodigies, but as the scene of action was removed to a great distance.
The Reformation did not immediately arrive at its meridian, and though day was gradually increasing upon us, the goblins of witchcraft ftill continued to
hover in the twilight. In the time of queen Eize. beth was the remarkable trial of the witches of B'ar. bois, whose conviction is ftill commemorated in za annual sermon at Huntingdon. But in the reign of king James, in which this tragedy was written, many circumstances concurred to propagate and confirm this opinion. The king, who was much celebrated for his knowledge, had, before his arrival in Eng' not only examined in perfon a woman accused of witchcraft, but had given a very formal account of the practices and illusions of evil spirits, the compacts of witches, the ceremonies used by them, the manner of detecting them, and the justice of punithing them, in his dialogues of Demonologie, written in the Scottish dialect, and published at Edinburgb. This book was, foon after his accession, reprinted at Losdon, and as the ready way to gain king James's favour was to fatter his speculations, the System of Densnologie was immediately adopted by all who desired either to gain preferinent or not to lose it. Thus the doctrine of witchcraft was very powerfully inculcated; and as the greatest part of mankind have no other reason for their opinions than that they are in fashion, it cannot be doubted but this perfuafion made a rapid progress, since vanity and credulity cooperated in its favour. The infection soon reached the parliament, who, in the first year of king James, made a law, by which it was enacted, chap. xii. That " if any, person shall use any invocation or conjuration of any evil or wicked spirit; 2. or ihall confuit, covenant with, entertain, employ, fced or reward any cvil or curfed fpirit to or for any intent or purpole; z. or take up any dead man, woman or child, out of