That we must pray to God, no man doubts; but whether we should pray to saints in such cases, or whether they can do us any good, it may be lawfully controverted. Whether their images, shrines, relics, consecrated things, holy water, medals, benedictions, those divine amulets, holy exorcisms, and the sign of the cross, be available in this disease? The papists on the one side stiffly maintain how many melancholy, mad, demoniacal persons are daily cured at St. Anthony's Church in Padua, at St. Vitus' in Germany, by our Lady of Loretto in Italy, our Lady of Sichem in the Low Countries: Quæ et cæcis lumen, ægris salutem, mortuis vitam, claudis gressum reddit, omnes morbos corporis, animi, curat, et in ipsos dæmones imperium exercet; she cures halt, lame, blind, all diseases of body and mind, and commands the devil himself, saith Lipsius. "twenty-five thousand in a day come thither," quis nisi numen in illum locum sic induxit; who brought them? in auribus, in oculis omnium gesta, novæ novitia; new news lately done, our eyes and ears are full of her cures, and who can relate them all? They have a proper saint almost for every peculiar infirmity: for poison, gouts, agues, Petronella: St. Romanus for such as are possessed; Valentine for the falling sickness; St. Vitus for madmen, &c. and as of old Pliny reckons up Gods for all diseases, (Febri fanum dicalum est) Lilius Giraldus repeats many of her ceremonies: all affections of the mind were heretofore accounted gods, love, and sorrow, virtue, honour, liberty, contumely, impudency, had their temples, tempests, seasons, Crepitus Ventris, dea Vacuna, dea Cloacina, there was a goddess of idleness, a goddess of the draught, or jakes, Prema, Premunda, Priapus, bawdy gods, and gods for all offices. Varro reckons up 30,000 gods: Lucian makes Podagra the gout a goddess, and assigns her priests and ministers: and melancholy comes not behind; for as Austin mentioneth, lib. 4. de Civit. Dei, cap. 9. there was of old Angerona dea, and she had her chapel and feasts, to whom (saith Macrobius) they did offer sacrifice yearly, that she might be pacified as well as the rest. 'Tis no new thing, you see this of papists; and in my judgment, that old doting Lipsius might have fitter dedicated his pen after all his labours, to this our goddess of melancholy, than to his Virgo Halensis, and been her chaplain, it would have become him better: but he, poor man, thought no harm in that which he did, and will not be persuaded but that he doth well, he hath so many patrons, and honourable precedents in the like kind, that justify as much, as eagerly, and more than he there saith of his lady and mistress: read but superstitious Coster and Gretser's Tract de Cruce, Laur. Arcturus Fanteus de Invoc. Sanct. Bellarmine, Delrio dis. mag. tom. 3. l. 6. quæst. 2. sect. 3. Greg. Tolosanus tom. 2. lib. 8. cap. 24. Syntax. Strozius Cicogna lib. 4. cap. 9. Tyreus, Hieronymus Mengus, and you shall find infinite examples of cures done in this kind, by holy waters, relics, crosses, exorcisms, amulets, images, consecrated beads, &c. Barradius the Jesuit boldly gives it out, that Christ's countenance, and the Virgin Mary's, would cure melancholy, if one had looked steadfastly on them. P. Morales the Spaniard in his book de pulch. Jes. et Mar. confirms the same out of Carthusianus, and I know not whom, that it was a common proverb in those days, for such as were troubled in mind to say, eamus ad videndum filium Mariæ, let us see the son of Mary, as they now do post to St. Anthony's in Padua, or to St. Hilary's at Poitiers in France. In a closet of that church, there is at this day St. Hilary's bed to be seen, "to which they bring all the madmen in the country, and after some prayers and other ceremonies, they lay them down there to sleep, and so they recover." It is an ordinary thing in those parts, to send all their madmen to St. Hilary's cradle. They say the like of St. Tubery in another place. Giraldus Cambrensis Itin. Camb. c. 1. tells strange stories of St. Ciricius' staff, that would cure this and all other diseases. Others say as much (as Hospinian observes) of the three kings of Cologne; their names written in parchment, and hung about a patient's neck, with the sign of the cross, will produce like effects. Read Lippomanus, or that golden legend of Jacobus de Voragine, you shall have infinite stories, or those new relations of our Jesuits in Japan and China, of Mat. Riccius, Acosta, Loyola, Xaverius's life, &c. Jasper Belga, a Jesuit, cured a mad woman by hanging St. John's gospel about her neck, and many such. Holy water did as much in Japan, &c. Nothing so familiar in their works, as such examples.
But we on the other side seek to God alone. We say with David, Psal. xlvi. 1. "God is our hope and strength, and help in trouble, ready to be found." For their catalogue of examples, we make no other answer, but that they are false fictions, or diabolical illusions, counterfeit miracles. We cannot deny but that it is an ordinary thing on St. Anthony's day in Padua, to bring diverse madmen and demoniacal persons to be cured: yet we make a doubt whether such parties be so affected indeed, but prepared by their priests, by certain ointments and drachms , to cozen the commonalty, as Hildesheim well saith; the like is commonly practised in Bohemia as Mathiolus gives us to understand in his preface to his comment upon Dioscorides. But we need not run so far for examples in this kind, we have a just volume published at home to this purpose. "A declaration of egregious popish impostures, to withdraw the hearts of religious men under the pretence of casting out of devils, practised by Father Edmunds, alias Weston, a Jesuit, and divers Romish priests, his wicked associates," with the several parties' names, confessions, examinations, &c. which were pretended to be possessed. But these are ordinary tricks only to get opinion and money, mere impostures. Aesculapius of old, that counterfeit God, did as many famous cures; his temple (as Strabo relates) was daily full of patients, and as many several tables, inscriptions, pendants, donories, &c. to be seen in his church, as at this day our Lady of Loretto's in Italy. It was a custom long since,
Vestimenta maris deo."
("To offer the sailors' garments to the deity of the deep.")
Hor. Od. 1. lib. 5. Od.
To do the like, in former times they were seduced and deluded as they are now. 'Tis the same devil still, called heretofore Apollo, Mars, Neptune, Venus, Aesculapius, &c. as Lactantius lib. 2. de orig. erroris, c. 17. observes. The same Jupiter and those bad angels are now worshipped and adored by the name of St. Sebastian, Barbara, &c. Christopher and George are come in their places. Our lady succeeds Venus (as they use her in many offices), the rest are otherwise supplied, as Lavater writes, and so they are deluded. "And God often winks at these impostures, because they forsake his word, and betake themselves to the devil, as they do that seek after holy water, crosses," &c. Wierus, lib. 4. cap. 3. What can these men plead for themselves more than those heathen gods, the same cures done by both, the same spirit that seduceth; but read more of the Pagan god's effects in Austin de Civitate Dei, l. 10. cap. 6. and of Aesculapius especially in Cicogna l. 3. cap. 8. or put case they could help, why should we rather seek to them, than to Christ himself, since that he so kindly invites us unto him, "Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden, and I will ease you," Mat. xi. and we know that there is one God, "one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ," (1 Tim. ii. 5) "who gave himself a ransom for all men." We know that "we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ" (1 Joh. ii. 1.) that there is no "other name under heaven, by which we can be saved, but by his," who is always ready to hear us, and sits at the right hand of God, and from whom we can have no repulse, solus vult, solus potest, curat universos tanquam singulos, et unumquemque nostrum et solum, we are all as one to him, he cares for us all as one, and why should we then seek to any other but to him.