Domenicus van Wijnen, De heksenmeester
Domenicus van Wijnen, De heksenmeester (late 17th c.)

Sed cum haec a spiritibus circa homines fiant, eam solam rerum imaginem fidelis anima non aspernatur, quae innocentiam relinquit incolumem. quod si materiam vitiis afferat, libidinem forte accendens aut avaritiam aut dominandi ingerens appetitum aut quicquid huiusmodi est ad subversionem animae, proculdubio aut caro aut spiritus malignus immittit, qui in quosdam exigentibus culpis, Domino permittente, tanta malitiae suae licentia debaccatur ut quod in spiritu patiuntur, miserrime et mendacissime credant in corporibus evenire. quale est quod noctilucam quandam vel Herodiadem vel praesidem noctis dominam concilia et conventus de nocte asserunt convocare, varia celebrari convivia, ministeriorum species diversis occupationibus exerceri, et nunc istos ad penam trahi pro meritis, nunc illos ad gloriam sullimari. praeterea infantes exponi lamiis et nunc frustratim discerptos edaci ingluvie in ventrem traiectos congeri, nunc praesidentis miseratione reiectos in cunas reponi. quis vel cecus hoc ludificantium demonum non videat esse nequitiam? quod vel ex eo patet, quod mulierculis et viris simplicioribus et infirmioribus in fide ista proveniunt. si vero quisquam eorum qui hac illusione laborat ab aliquo constanter et ex signis aliquibus arguatur, demonium statim aut superatur aut cedit et, ut dicitur, ex quo quis in luce arguitur, cessant opera tenebrarum. huius autem pestis cura efficacissima est ut fidem quis amplexus his mendaciis subtrahat mentis auditum et nequaquam respiciat ad huiusmodi vanitates et insanias falsas.
(John of Salisbury, Policraticus 2.17)

When spirits act thus in the case of human beings the devout soul should reject every image except that which leaves its innocence unimpaired. For should the dream add fuel to vice, perchance by inducing lust and avarice or by inspiring greed for dominion or anything of the sort to destroy the soul, undoubtedly it is the flesh or the evil spirit that sends it. This spirit, with the permission of the Lord because of their sins, wreaks its unbridled wickedness upon some men so violently that what they suffer in the spirit they wretchedly but falsely believe comes to pass in the flesh. For example it is said that some Moon or Herodias or Mistress of the Night calls together councils and assemblies, that banquets are held, that different kinds of rites are performed, and that some are dragged to punishment for their deeds and others raised to glory. Moreover babes are exposed to witches and at one time their mangled limbs are eagerly devoured, at another are flung back and restored to their cradles if the pity of her who presides is aroused. Cannot even the blind see that this is but the wickedness of mocking demons? This is quite apparent from the fact that it is for the weaker sex and for men of little strength or sense that they disport themselves in such a cult. If in fact anyone who suffers from such illusion is firmly censured by someone or by some sign the malign influence is either overcome or yields, and, as the saying is, as soon as one is censured in the light the works of darkness cease. The most effective cure however for this bane is for one to embrace the true faith, refuse to listen to such lies, and never to give thought to follies and inanities of the sort. (tr. Joseph B. Pike)


Nicolas Poussin, Orion aveugle cherchant le soleil, 1658
Nicolas Poussin, Orion aveugle cherchant le soleil (1658)

Dicebat Bernardus Carnotensis nos esse quasi nanos, gigantium humeris insidentes, ut possimus plura eis et remotiora videre, non utique proprii visus acumine, aut eminentia corporis, sed quia in altum subvehimur et extollimur magnitudine gigantea. et his facile acquieverim, quia artis praeparatitia et multos articulos veritatis tradunt artium praeceptores, etiam in introductionibus suis, aeque bene antiquis, et forte commodius. quis enim contentus est iis, quae vel Aristoteles in Periermeniis docet? quis aliunde conquisita non adiicit? omnes enim totius artis summam colligunt, et verbis facilibus tradunt. vestiunt enim sensus auctorum quasi cultu quotidiano, qui quodammodo festivior est, cum antiquitatis gravitate clarius insignitur. sunt ergo memoriter tenenda verba auctorum, sed ea maxime quae plenas sententias explent, et quae commode possunt ad multa transferri, nam et haec integritatem scientiae servant, et praeter hoc a se ipsis tam latentis quam patentis energiae habent plurimum.
(John of Salisbury, Metalogicon 3.4)

Bernard of Chartres used to compare us to [puny] dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature. I readily agree with the foregoing. Teachers of the arts, even in their Introductions, explain the basic elements of the art and many truths of the science equally as well as, and perhaps even better than do the ancients. Who is content even with what Aristotle gives in his [book] On Interpretation? Who does not add points obtained from other sources? All are gathering together everything [they can] that pertains to the whole art, and explaining it in terms that may be easily understood. They, so to speak, dress the message of the authors in modern style, which becomes in a way even more splendescent when it is more brilliantly adorned with the jewels of antiquity. Accordingly the words of the authors should not be lost or forgotten, especially those which give [their] full opinions, and have wide applicability. Such words preserve scientific knowledge in its entirety, and contain tremendous hidden as well as apparent power. (tr. Daniel D. McGarry)