[Page] [Page] THE ASTROLOGER ANATOMIZ'D: Or, the Vanity of Star-Gazing Art DISCOVERED, BY Benedictus Pererius.

And rendered into English by Percy Enderbie, Gent.

London, Printed by Ralph Wood, and are to be sold by M. Wright, at the Kings Head in the Old Bailey, 1661.

To the Honourably Extracted, and truly Noble, Sir FRANCIS PETRE, Baronet.


SƲch hath been the sad Distractions of these our unfortunate times, that Learning hath in a manner been trodden under foot, Arts and Liberal Sciences contemned and villified: amongst the rest, Astrology hath had a grand Ec­clipse; many Scioli and illiterate persons like mush­roms have sprung up, and arm'd with Ignorance and Impudence, mistake themselves for great Rabbies in that most profound Science. And this scum of the many, undertakes to tell Fortunes, predict future Contingents, inform silly Girles who shall be their Husbands, with thousands of such like fopperies. This Grave, Judicious, and Learned Author, Bene­dictus Pererius, comming by accident into my hands, after I had seriously perused him, I esteemed it not [Page] amiss to dress him in English habit, and teach him to speak our Language, to undeceive such as have been inveigled and misled by pernicious Star gazers. I know there will not be wanting those who will carp at my Labours, and therefore, Noble Sir, knowing your Education to be above the ordinary strain even of Persons of Quality; your Judgement excellent; your Skill in Mathematicall Conclusions transcen­dent; your knowledge in Tongues and Sciences ad­mirable; and your Extraction Honourable; I hum­bly beseech you to patronize these my weak Endea­vours, and give them leave to appear in Publick un­der the Wings of your auspicious Protection: which if you vouchsafe, I shall neither fear Momus nor Aristarchus, but rest secure, and subscribe my self,

Your most Humble, and Faithful Servant, Percy Enderbie.

The Preface.

SO great is the impudency and madness of those (whom fools call Judgement-giving, or Ju­diciary Astrologers) that they will needs perswade the vulgar and illi­terate, that the most holy and sacred Scripture (as they boast and brag it) not onely winks at, but gives full power and authority to their Art of Astronomy; and therefore, for­sooth, God created the great Lights and Luminaries of the Heavens, the Sun, Moon, and Stars, and said to them, Let them be for signs, &c.

[Page] Which words they will needs wrest to speak thus; that by Astrological divination, and observing the moti­on of the Stars, they can prognosti­cate things to come, and future e­vents: This grand error hath caused St. Ambrose, St. Basil, and divers other Fathers, upon the true exposition of those words to enlarge themselves; and upon sound Fundamentals, not onely to impugne and disprove, but also to lay open the vanities and fop­peries of Astrological Predictions. By the example of which Fathers, but more especially by the heavy and several Sentences in holy Scri­pture against those kinde of Astrolo­gers, being moved, and also by a just hatred against them, by reason of [Page] their fraudulent cheating, and perni­cious lyes and couzenage, this Book is undertaken to confute and refell those fantastick Divinations: which is hoped will be accepted by all; as being for the utility and good of all. Johannes Picus Mirandulanus hath written very largely and learnedly upon this subject, but his prolixity retards his Readers from perusing his whole works; therefore in this Tract (though the field be large and spaci­ous) such method shall be used, that nothing shall be brought upon the stage (yet many curious Questions offer themselves) but onely such as shall be succinct, and most condu­cing to the purpose. In this Trea­tise against the vanity of this sort of [Page] Astrologers, I will reduce all into five Chapters.

In the first shall be demonstrated, that Divination is opposite and con­trary to Sacred and Ecclesiasticall Doctrine.

Secondly, That Astrologers are totally ignorant of Celestiall and Heavenly things.

Thirdly, That this Divining and Fore-telling Art is contrary to Rea­son and Philosophy.

Fourthly, That the Stars are so far from being the Efficient Causes of things to come, that they are not so much as evident Signs.

Lastly, Reason shall make it ap­pear, that no Predictions of Astro­logers can be infallible and true.

[Page 1]The Astrologer Anatomiz'd: OR, The vanity of Star-gazing, &c.

Chap. 1. Astrologicall Divination contrary to Divine Scripture, Ecclesiasticall Discipline, and Theologicall Do­ctrine.
Astrologers confuted, by Sentences and Texts of ho­ly Scripture; Examples and Institutions of the Church, and Theological Reasons.

THe most holy and sacred Scripture, cryes out, and tells us, that the certain pre­science and prediction of things to come and happen, belongs neither to Man nor Devils themselves, but is onely and solely to Al­mighty God himself; read the Prophet Isaiah, [Page 2] chap. 41. and you shall hear him say, Shew what things are to come hereafter, and we shall know that ye are gods: and in the 44. chap. I am the Lord that make the signs of Diviners void, and turn the Southsayers into fury. And in chap. 47. God de­riding the Babylonians and Chaldaeans confiding in their Siderial and Astrological Predictions, thus speaketh unto them; Stand with thine Inchanters, and with the multitude of thy Sorceries in which thou hast travelled from thy youth, if perhaps it may profit thee any thing, or if thou mayest become stron­ger, thou hast failed in the multiude of thy councels; let the Astrologers of Heaven stand and save thee, which contemplate the stars, and count the moneths, that by them they might tell things that shall come to thee, Isa. 47. 12. And a little before he had said, thy wisdom and thy science, this hath deceived thee; and Jeremiah in his tenth Chapter admo­nisheth the Jews to contemn and set light by Astro­logical Predictions and Observations, for that by no influence of stars any thing was either to be feared or hoped for; these are his words: Accord­ing to the wayes of the Gentiles learn not, and the signs of the Heavens, which the Heathen fear, be not afraid, because the laws of the people are vain. And Solomon in Eccles. 10. denieth man to have the knowledge and foresight of things to come, or contingent; A man is ignorant what hath been be­fore him, and what shall be after him who can tell, &c. [Page 3] A man is ignorant of things past, and things to come he can know by no messenger. Thus we may plain­ly perceive, the vain Astrological Predictions in holy Writ, to be contemned, derided, and op­posed.

And with the sacred Text in this as in all things else, the Judgement of the holy Church walks hand in hand, for ever from the very infancy and first beginning, she cryes out against, detests, and condemns Judicial Astrology, and the vain fooleries thereof, how many and several, yea, and those most severe and checking Decrees, and Ful­minations hath she enacted to that purpose against those brain-sick Fortune tellers and Cal­culators of future events, read in thé second part of her Decrees throughout the first five Questi­ons: and you shall easily discover her just anger against her perverse (if so I may call them) chil­dren; or if such spurious may be stiled the issue of so holy a Mother: Read the ninth and tenth Chapter of the Council called Bracarense, cast your eyes upon the Toletane Council, in the Asser­tion of Faith, against the Priscillianists, and you shall finde how much that fantastick seeming Sci­ence, is exploded and detested. Did not Pope Alexander the Fourth of that name, as the rest of his Successors I suppose would do, suspend a cer­tain Priest a whole year, from the exercise of his Function, for the onely going to an Astrologer [Page 4] to ask his advice concerning a Robbery committed in his Church: And do we not finde variety of disputations in the writings of ancient and learn­ed Fathers against those Astrologers, whom some­times they call Ironically Chaldaeans, or Nativity-Casters; other while Mathematicians, and Pla­netarians, (this is as I suppose, men Planet-struck, or in plain English, mad men) by which it most plainly appears, how odious and detestable these kinde of Fellows was to our vertuous and godly Fore-fathers: Basilius in his sixth Homily upon Genesis, disputeth admirably against these people; so doth St. Chrysostome, and Gregory the Great on the second Chapter of St. Matthew; but above all, St. Augustine lib. 2. upon Genesis, cap. 17. as also in his second book of Christian Doctrine, cap. 21. and some Chapters following; and in his learned Treatise of the City of God, in some of the Chapters of the first book, he most copiously and quaintly handles this subject; unto the very same purpose tend those most excellent discussions and arguments against Mathematicians; and in the the same nature disputeth Eusebius in his 6. Book Chap. 9. concerning Evangelical preparation.

And most absurd and ridiculous, or rather infa­tuated and mad was that grand Apostata, Juli­anus the Emperour, who would needs in his Pam­phlets, which he scribbled out against Christians, prove even out of Scripture, Gen. 15. that Abra­ham [Page 5] was addicted to, and honoured Divination and Astrology, which he will needs inferr out of these words, And he brought him forth abroad and said to him, look up to heaven, and number the stars if thou canst; and he said to him, so shall thy seed be▪ And as for his skill and practice in Divination, he thinks he hath hit the nail on the head, to prove it out of these words, Take me a Cow of three years old, and a she-goat of three years, and a ram of three years, a Turtle also and a Pigeon; who taking all these, divided them by the midst, and laid each two pieces arow one against the other; but the Birds he divided not, and the Fowls lighted upon the car­cases, and Abraham drove them away. Then the foreshewing of his travels, and the captivity of his posterity for forty years space is added; but this errour, or rather madnesse of Julianus is suf­ficiently and excellently confuted by Cycillus, in the end of the tenth book of that Treatise, which he set forth against that Apostata. Others and as foolishly will ground the faith and credit of A­strology upon that miraculous Star, which appear­ed at the Nativity of our most blessed Saviour, whose aspect incited the three wise Men, and whose conduct guided them to finde out and adore the worlds Redeemer, God and Man Christ Jesus. But these sopperies and dreams are to the full evicted and convinc't by the undeniable argu­ments of the two learned Fathers St. Chrysostome [Page 6] and St. Gregory in their pithy Homilies upon that part of the Gospel.

It is also no great matter to confute the grand errour of Astrologers, by reasons and arguments assumed even from Theological Doctrine it self; for first of all St. Paul, 1 Cor. 2. But man knows not what himself shall do after certain (be they more or lesse) years, nay even dayes: For as the Scripture tells us, Prov. 27. Boast not for to mor­row, being ignorant what the day to come may bring forth; the way of man is not in his own hand; man proposeth, God disposeth.

For not onely the heart of every private man, but even of Kings and greatest Potentates them­selves, is in the hand of God, who inclines, bends, and directs it which way he best pleaseth; if there­fore man be ignorant what is to befall him for the future, much lesse can the babling Astrologer know it: In conclusion, it is most certain, that the Devil himself, certain or infallibly, (if at all) knows not things to come, or future contingents; for if he had known what would have followed, he would never have egged on or pricked forward the Jews to have crucified and put to death our blessed Lord and Saviour; for certain he was, that by the death of the worlds Redeemer, Christ Jesus, the vaste Empire and Power which he had over mankinde, was to be quasht, shaken, and quite overthrown: Neither would that inveterate [Page 7] and malicious enemy of mankinde (knew he what would happen) so vehemently assault the Saints and Servants of God with his strong temptations and allurements to sin, well knowing that their victory in overcoming his suggestions and illusi­ons are his utter confusion, and highest check that may be to his unlimited pride and malice.

Of the vanity of Apollo's Oracles.

THis truth may very well be asserted, and made most apparent, from the very Oracles which the Devils gave and uttered; such as were the Ora­cles and answers (so highly celebrated, and most famous amongst the Grecians) of the Delphian Deity Apollo; which Porphirius a copious Author, and sufficient witness in his book concerning Ora­cles, averreth had their whole reflection upon Astrologicall Divination: where he saith, That whatsoever the Gods foretell as decreed and de­fined by fate, that they imagined would come to pass by the very motion and influence of the stars; This Eusebius tells us in the sixth book of Evan­gelicall Preparation: and the same Porphirius avoucheth, that Apollo in these his Oracles oft­times proves a liar; for that the punctual and ex­quisite knowledge of future things is not onely in­comprehensible to mankinde, but even unto many of the Gods themselves; insomuch, that when [Page 8] they are implored to answer requests, they some­times lye though not willingly; and ofttimes they do pre-admonish their suppliants, not to ask que­stions, for that they cannot answer truly; yet such is the madness of men, that they insist, and as it were, urge and compel them to speak: The Del­phine God, seeing that by the position of the Hea­vens, and inferiour Bodies, he could not give a positive and satisfactory answer, cries out to his Priest, to bridle that fury which had possest him, and not to use such charming and enforcing lan­guage; but if thou compel me to speak, quoth the Oracle, I will tell thee nothing but lies: and in another Oracle the same Apollo said, The Stars afford me nothing to speak this day. In con­clusion, Porphyrius tells us, we have now disco­vered from whence the falsity and leasings of the Oracles of our Gods proceed.

Eusebius in sixth Book of Evang. Prep. takes this out of Porphyrius his Book concerning Ora­cles, and thus delivers it to the publick view; There was, saith he, in former time, a man whose name was Oenomaus, famous amongst the Grecians, both for his singular Eloquence and prosound Philoso­phy, who often deceived and abused by the Del­phine Oracle, with great curiosity gathered toge­ther all the Oracles he could gleane and lay hands on, and with exquisite knowledge and skill confuted them as falacious, ridiculous, and vain.

Why the Devils in foretelling future things so often erre.

THere are four reasons why the Devils in fore­telling future events so often and much mistake.

First, they positively and peremptorily affirm things [which have their sole dependance upon mans free will] which being both mutable and flexible unto all things as really free; doth some­times operate after a certain extraordinary man­ner: and again, being other while divinely in­spired, we do and act things contrary to what we formerly had intended, and by our own judge­ment and imagination thought expedient? Nay, ofttimes it falls out, that what the Devil had foretold and determined to bring to pass (Almighty God forbidding and hindering it) he cannot make it his desired Catastrophe. To conclude, the su­preme Deity not unfrequently useth to effect things in a way, different from the common course and ordinary providence; and by this means the Devil is very many times deceived and mistaken: And pray then, what rational soul will believe Astrologers infallibly to speak truth, when we see the Devil himself cannot do it? what do I thus trouble my self with this infernal fiend, when the most learned Divines and School-men affirm, that [Page 10] the Beatified Spirits and Celestial Intelligen­ces, who clearly and face to face behold the Di­vine Essence, know the nature of the Stars and Heaven, and all other Natural causes, yet cannot prophesie of things to come, which have their de­pendency upon mans free-will, unless it shall please the Heavenly Majesty to give unto them a particu­lar revelation thereof, if it be not ridiculous to give more power to Star-gazing Astrologers then Beatified Spirits and Celestial Intelligences, I know not what we shall call madness.

The Truth and Verity of Christian Religion, can­not cohere with the Truth of Judicial Astrology.

THis discourse and argumentation questionless is most valid and convincing, if Christian Discipline and Religion be exact, perfect, and true as no doubt but it is; then of necessity must that vain and impertinent Astrological Science or Prognostication, be false and erroneous, as ha­ving been several times taxed, censured, and con­demned of vanity and falsity by that Religion but if Christian Faith be false and deceitful, which is spread in a manner over the superficies of the whole universe, and hath brought almost all Na­tions under its sweet yoke and obedience, and hath now flourished and been resplendent these 1661 years compleat; if all the actions of mortal and [Page 11] humane creatures proceed from the motions of the heavens, then must it undeniably follow, that the great study and propension which men have to imbrace, maintain, and defend the Law and Faith of Christ, must have its dependency upon some unresistible and most powerfull constellation; and therefore the heavens should encline and in­duce men to evil; for if the Faith of Christ should be false, questionless it would be more false and detestable then any other sect, or opinion what­soever; for it teacheth, informeth, and illumi­nateth our souls concerning God and Divine Af­fairs, which should they be false, would palliate and contain of necessity most damnable supersti­tion and execrable impiety: but seeing that that life which is squared, directed, and guided by the modal frame and rule of Christian Faith, deser­veth all praise and admiration; hence it would ne­cessarily follow, that from the self-same Constel­lation both good and bad should be produced: bad in respect of Christian Doctrine, its falsity; and good for the admirableness and excellent per­fection of that life which is directed and confor­mable to the rule and dictamen in that Doctrine.

Adde also that the greatest proof of our Chri­an Faith is, and the most perspicuous and clear ar­gument of Divine Providence, that whatsoever hath hapned either concerning our Lord and Savi­our or his Church, all that (I say) whatsoever [Page 12] hath many ages since been predicted and foretold by the holy Prophets uniformly, exactly, distinct­ly, and most clearly: but if such a prediction could possibly be made by Astrology, that most sound and firm foundation of our Religion would utterly be shaken, totally ruined, and brought to nothing and infallibly this Doctrine of Astrolo­logical divination is not onely destructive to mo­ral Philosophy, but verily even strikes at the root of sacred Scripture and all Theology, as much as lieth in its power; for he who holds all the acts and transactions of men to depend on the Hea­vens, the events, chances, and the like, to be fore­seen, foretold, and made manifest by the obser­vation of the Stars or Heaven, this man must al­so without question, think mans soul to be mortal and material; and that there is neither free will nor any such providence in Almighty God as our Faith teacheth us; and also that the mysteries of our Christian Faith have their dependence and be­ing from the Heavens, and that all the miracles as well in the old as new Testament, although they have been ever esteemed (as indeed really they are) supernatural, must notwithstanding be re­duced to Celestial causes, vertues, and influences. This dangerous opinion begets a more dangerous effect, viz. neglect and pretermission of good works, a freedom and liberty to all lusts, appetites, and sensuality; an excusing and palliating of all [Page 13] vices whatsoever, taxing both humane and divine Laws of severity and cruelty. Cajetan in his Sum­mula, where he treats of the observation of Stars, though not altogether in so eloquent and polite a phrase, yet most pithily and truly thus writes; The observation of Stars concerning nativities of men, and humane occurances may three wayes come into the compass of sin: First, if we reduce such things as are mysteries of Christian Faith to that pass, as to be subject to Celestial causes and constellations. Secondly, if we look after fu­ture contingents, as things certain by reason of Celestial causes. Thirdly, if any one tye his electi­ons or intentions so to the law and guidance of Ce­lestial influences, that he regulate and conform his life and actions according to the position of the heavens or influences thereof; each of these three is a mortal sin: First, because it is against the spi­ritualness or spirituality of Christian Religion, which mounts above the Heavens, and is of power to change the course and motions thereof, accord­ing as it is written in the 148. Psalm, The confes­sion of him above heaven and earth, which is mani­fest by experience. Secondly, because it is against the verity of Christian Religion, and free will, whereby we become controlers and masters over all our actions. Thirdly, it is against the dignity of Grace, and divine Law, and humane Understand­ing, whereby we are elevated and placed above [Page 14] things corporeal, and as we should much mistake and erre to make our selves subject to the passion of hate, fear, hope, and the like, making the impetuousness and violence of our passions, a rule to guide our actions; so should we in a most high degree, undervalue our selves, if we should pro­pose the motion and influences celestial to ourselves, as a rule to order and regulate our actions by: for they are bodies, and incline us according to the sway and inclination of our own pas­sions.

St Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, chap. 19 tells us, that many who were converted at Ephe­sus, by the preaching and Sermons of St. Paul, and formerly had followed curious Arts, brought their books and burnt them in publick. St. Augustine, a profound and grave Authour, averres, that those books treated of Astrology, and matters belong­ing to Divination: Neither did St. Paul recon­cile a certain Mathematician, that is, one who ad­dicted himself to the study of this kinde of Astro­logy, nor receive him into the bosome of the Church, (although repenting himself of his for­mer profession) till first he had performed most solemn penance. For as much as concerns this matter I will set down compendiously and suc­cinctly the words of St. Augustine; therefore after the enarration or explanation of the sixty Psalm, when that Mathematician publickly desi­ring [Page 15] pardon was brought before the publick assem­bly; thus writes that holy Doctor: This man became a good Christian, and a zealous Penitent; affrighted at the power of our Lord, humbly threw himself prostrate before his mercies; for being seduced by the Enemy, during the time of his seducement he seduced others; being himself de­ceived, he deceived others, inticed and cunningly drew them on, speaking many falsities and un­truths against God, giving power to men to do good, but not power of not doing evil; he affirm­ed, that to commit adultery, was not done by mans own proper will, but by the power of Venus; that our own proper will committed not murther, but Mars; that Jupiter made man just, and not God; these besides many other detestable and sacrilegi­ous Tenets, by this means from how many Chri­stians think you did he worm and screw forth mo­ney; how many simple fools bought lies and for­geries of him; of whom it is said, Ye sons of men, how long are you of heavy heart, and seek after lies, and love vanity: We may now believe that this man abhorred lying, and the ruine and destructi­on of so many; and perceiving him seduced, mis­led, and couzened by the Fiend, being humbly pe­nitent and contrite is ingratiated and reconciled unto Almighty God. You are not ignorant that it is written in the Acts of the Apostles, Chap. 19. that many lost and forlorn persons, viz. men con­fiding [Page 16] in such vain Arts, and followers of that pe­stiferous Doctrine, brought all their books unto the Apostles, and so many were burnt before the open assembly, and they cast up the accompts of them, and found the price to be fifty thousand pie­ces of silver; and was all done for the greate [...] glory of God, lest such men esteeming themselve [...] lost and cast away, should despair of his mercy who knows how to reduce and bring back what soever is gone astray. This man had as it were perished, was sought after, was found, was re­claimed, was reduc'd, he brings with him now his Books, whose doctrine if he had followed would have cast him into the flames of eternal destructi­on; these he casts into the devouring flames, ob­taining himself a most sweet refreshment of grace and mercy. Before the high and solemn Feast o [...] the Pasche, (which we commonly call Easter) thi [...] penitent sought a remedy for his wounded soul from the indulgent Spouse and Church of Christ but because the Art in which he was so delighted and lulled up, was fallacious, lying, and destructive; he was put off and remitted to another time, but at length after trial, he was reconciled, lest he might be more dangerously tempted.

How severe the Church hath been in former times in her censure against this kinde of Astrologers.

IN the Primitive Church this kinde of Astrology was reproved, forbidden, and condemned, as much as Art-Magick, or Necromancy it self. Epi­phanius in his Book of Weights and Measures, tells us, that Aquilla Ponticus, an expositer of Scri­pture, was rejected and cast out of the Church, for that he spent great part of his time in casting and observation of Nativities, and other like Astro­logical observations. It is not to be passed over in silence in this discourse (it being worthy our notice) what Euseb. in his sixth Book of Evangelical Pre­peration, Chap. 9. relates out of Origen in his Com­mentaries upon Genesis, of this kinde of Astro­logy: The Gentiles from the Aspects and Conjuncti­on of the Stars, believe all things upon earth by ur­gent necessity to chance and fall out, which strange force and power they stile Fate; yea, and many among the faithful stagger hereat, thinking it almost impos­sible that things should otherwayes happen then as de­creed by the constellations of the Planets: from whence it followeth, that there is no liberty or free­dom in us, no act of ours can either merit praise or dispraise; and consequently the just judgement of Al­mighty God foretold in the Scripture, whereby some are predestinated to everlasting and endless torments▪ [Page 18] others to eternal and perpetual felicity and beatitude, should be predicated as false; what needs more, faith it self, the coming of our Saviour, all the travel and labour of the Prophets, the Apostles preaching and laying the foundation of the Church, should all be vain, unless we should say, that Christ himself by the constellation of the Planets was necessitated and impell'd by their power and force to do those thing which he did; far be it from any Christian to har­bour such a thought, much more to utter such blas­phemy; and that, what he suffered was not by the po­tency and power of his deity or divinity, but by the force and vertue of the Stars; and out of this impi­ous ground and fundamental it also must be conclu­ded, that the faithful are forced by fate to believe in Christ, that no distinction can be made betwixt good and bad, that God must be the authour of sin, that no reward is due to men for what they have done, whether good or evil: to conclude, by this unsavory Doctrine, there is no need of prayers, obsecrations or vows, to implore the aid and assistance of Almigh­ty God: Thus Origen.

Let Peter Destliaco hug himself in his conceit of the (by him) so admired Astrology, let him Idolize it, and defend it, tooth and nail, let him beat his working brain to yoke it, and make it walk hand in hand with Philosophy; and (yea for­sooth which Theology also) all which he shall ne­ver bring to pass, unless he can familiarize and [Page 19] make a league betwixt Falsity and Truth, Light and Darkness, God and the Devil; and his impu­dency blusheth not to assert, that the Deluge, or (as we call it) Noahs Flood, the Incarnation and Birth of our Saviour, and other high and admira­ble mysteries and miracles might have been prog­nosticated and foretold by the constellations and conjunctions of the Stars and Planets.

Concerning many most false and evidently impious Assertions.

BUt that it may the more manifestly appear how impious and execrable this doctrine is, I will here set before your eyes some Assertions and Decrees of those men, whereby the impiety and wickedness of that Art may the more easily be discovered: Some of those subtil Doctors affirm, that Mars being seated benignly and prosperously in the ninth Region of the Heavens, he is of such power, that by his very presence there, we may cast out devils from bodies posses­sed; others (as wise or rather prophane as the former) make their boasts and brags, that by this their adored Art, they can infallibly lay open the most obstruse and hidden secrets of the con­science, of any mortal creature breathing: but this is a vulgate and common assertion (I do not say a Mathematical conclusion) that there are two [Page 20] Planets which are the authours and procurers of all humane felicity; Venus of what is here present, Jupiter of what is to follow in the life future, or world to come. Maternus, a man higly confident and curious, and a great Patron of those lies and feignments, after he had disgorged himself of many things which happen to mortals, when Saturn is constitute in Leo; he addes what follows. Men born under such a constellation shall be long-liv'd, and after their passage out of this sublunary universe, by the application and additional help of wings, shall soar and mount aloft to the highest heaven: And his reason is, for that Saturn being placed in Leo, re­duceth souls from the bodies of persons so born, uncaged from innumerable cares and troubles in this mortal being, to the very Empyrium, the fountain of their origen. Albumazar will needs perswade us, that he whosoever shall ask any thing of Almighty God, the Essence of all good­ness, when the Moon is conjoyned with Jupiter in the Dragons head, questionless his Orations and Supplications obtain not onely audience, but a full and plenary grant and confirmation of whatsoever he imploreth; and this honest Petrus Aponensis averreth, that he found experimentally true in himself, because that he (when that conjunction was in its full power and vigour) had humbly sup­plicated to the highest for the gift and spirit of science and knowledge of things; and from that [Page 21] very moment (if you will believe him) he felt an incredible exuberance and superabundant acces­sion of knowledge. By these and many such like fopperies, wicked, detestable, and perni­cious to Christian Religion; which although they would gladly seem to elevate and extol, yet do they absolutely take away the faith and belief of those things which the holy Scripture teacheth to be done, supernaturally, immediately, and miraculously by God himself. There is no man so very much a blocus, or stupid in his intel­lectual part, but may very well undeceive him­self, if his judgement have gone astray and erred herein. He that desires more accurate sa­tisfaction in this point, let him read Picus Mi­randulanus, who largely and learnedly handleth this subject, in several places, especially Lib. 2. Cap. 5. and in the fifth Book, Chap. the 11. and so to the end thereof.

Chap. 2. Judiciary Astrology Arraigned and Convinc't by Philosophy, and the Professors proved altogether igno­rant of Celestial Things.

CRave and learned Philosophers, to demon­strate Astrological Divination, to be ridiculous and grounded upon no firm and solid basis or foundation, assert their Theses and Conclusions after this manner: Astro­logers cannot certainly know, the vigour, power, defluxions, or effects of the Stars; nay, had they that knowledge which they have not, yet were it not sufficient, for a full and certain foretelling of things hereafter to be contingent; and there­fore it follows by necessary consequence, and evi­dently, that Astrological predictions are frivolous, vain, and fallacious. Two things are included in this argument, which are to be more at large elu­cidated and explained, before further progress herein: The first is, that Astrologers are igno­rant of Celestial things: The other, that although they were really and undeniably most expert and skilful, yet were not that sufficient, to divine in­fallibly [Page 23] of future events; we will speak of the first in this ensuing Paragraph.

Judiciary Astrologers ignorant of Celestial things.

Out of this which I shall now produce before your eyes, I will plainly make it manifest, that Judiciary Astrologers are ignornt of heaven­ly things and causes; first therefore, it is very in­tricate, hard, and laborious, to know those things perfectly concerning the Heavens, which to us seem more obvious and facile: as for instance; The Nature of the Heavens, the Magnitude, the Number of the Orbs, the order within them­selves; the difference of dignity, the variety of motions; and to proceed a little further, the num­ber of the Stars, the comparison of them a­mongst themselves, concerning their greatnesse, brightnesse, power, and effects. The grand dis­crepance and variety of opinions of the best Phi­losophers herein, which we finde gives a most clear and perfect notion of this difficulty. Aristotle, whom the world acknowledgeth the Prince of Philosophers, candidly and ingenuously confessed, that concerning many Celestial things he had no certain or exquisite knowledge, but onely an ima­ginary and conjectural skill, and being destitute of real and manifest reasons, he was compelled to make use of probable arguments and conjectures; [Page 24] peruse and read over Aristotle himself in his se­cond Book de Coelo, Text 17. 34. 60, & 61. which if it be so, who will give credit unto Astrologers, (who as all must grant, being as perspicuous as the fun at noon-day) are not to be compared with those great Masters in Philosophy) that those things in the Heavens by the judgement of Philo­sophers are most obstruse, and to mortals, incom­prehensible; I say, the vertue and foretelling cer­tainly of things to come, should be so clear, and experimentally known.

Let us now a little make bold with these all-di­vining Astrologers, and something entrench upon their patience, that they will be pleased, out of their profound knowledge to enucleate and enode unto us some of the more easie questions and doubts concerning the Heavens: As first, whe­ther the Heavens be of a simple and uncompound­ed, or a compounded matter and form? and then whether the matter of the Heavens be such as is that of sublunary things, or different, and divers from it? whether Heaven be animate or inanimate? whether it be moved by its own proper strength, and by it self, or extrinsically by an Angel? by what means the dignity and excellency of the Heavens one from another shall be estimated, judged, and made manifest? What the reason may be, why all the Orbes are not circumagitated and wheeled about by one onely motion; but that some are [Page 25] forced by one, some by more, and others by fewer motions? Let these Grandees discover unto us what force and power properly belonging unto it each star hath upon Mettals, Vegitables, and such as have fruition of vital spirits and life. Put these Questions and Interrogatories unto them, or such like, and we shall finde these Astrologers igno­rant, weak, and altogether unskilful to return an answer; how then can any man with reason think it possible, or worthy belief, that men who know not such things as are more obvious and triviall, should give an account or judgement of things more remote and hidden from the knowledge of mortals. After this let them instruct and teach us the defluxions and effects which flow, and have Influence over the several and dissipated Regions of the world, and then perchance we may believe them, when they sooth us up with the future ef­fects of the stars; for who knows not that it is far more easie to apprehend and know things pre­sent, then those which are to come and future, especially things subject to mutability, where the Contingents are various, and therefore uncertain. Let them likewise make manifest and express unto us the occult properties and power which subluna­ry things have (which we rather admire then un­derstand) in Stones, Herbs, and Animals; for these seeing they are in a manner obvious and conjunct unto us, and subjected almost to all our senses, [Page 26] and which by daily experiments may be found out and discovered, certainly must have a more ex­press motion and plain discovery: But the intelli­gence of heavenly things must needs be of a far greater difficulty and labour, Heaven being so far remote and distant from us, and onely discoverable by the sole sense of the eye, which ofttimes is de­ceived, and brought into errour through the lon­ginquity of Intervals, or the violent and swift whirling about of the Heavens, the depraved and indisposed affection of the medium, or of the sight; the fault and imperfection of the Astro­labe, Tables, or other Astronomical Instruments; and this we finde attested in the sacred Scripture, Wisdom, Chap. 9. For the body that is corrupted burtheneth the soul, and the earthly habitation pres­seth down the understanding that thinketh many things; and we do hardly conjecture the things that are in the earth; and the things that are in sight we finde with labour; but the things that are in the Heavens who shall search out, and thy sense who shall know, unless thou give wisdom, and send thine holy Spirit from on high? This sufficiently confutes Astrologers, who pretend to discover all humane events, of which most have their depen­dency upon the most inscrutible will and councel of the most High and Mighty God.

Against the fictitious Antiquity which these men vainly boast to have concerning observations.

ABove all, our Astrologers boast and brag, that they have observations attested and confirm­ed by their events of I know not how many, yea innumerable years, beyond the limits of compu­tation almost, out of which their art hath its ra­dix, original, and perfection; for seeing that in the revolution of time elapsed, divers things have been produced and come to pass, the same signs preceding, by the due minding and observation whereof, their Art was conflate and compleated, and therefore they endeavour to perswade us, that the Chaldeans through their diligent Astrological observations, during the space of four hundred and seventy thousand years, have brought forth this admirable birth, I mean the profound Art of Divination, to its full maturity and perfection: But how childish, fictitious, and improbable this is, is thus easily discovered. Astrologers (let them brag what they please) could not so many thou­sand times collect and gather, no not twice or thrice, those observations and experiments; for the face and aspect of the Heavens, and the posi­tion of all the Celestial Signs, which was once, shall scarcely or never, or at least not till immense revolutions of years, return and be the same: For [Page 28] the eighth Orbe, in which the wandering Stars have their being, compleats and finisheth not its course before the expiration of thirty and six thou­sand years; and the most learned Mathematicians demonstrate by convincing arguments, that the motions of the Heavens are incommensurable; and therefore the same Aspect of the Heavens, and po­sition of the Stars cannot frequently happen.

The Philosopher Phavorinus in his fourteenth Book, Apud Gellium, and first Chapter, confirms this reason with admirable perspicuity, elo­quence, and clearness: If (saith this learned Au­thour) the Chaldeans observations were grounded after this manner, to wit, to make a strict observa­tion, under what habit, form, and posture of Stars a childe should be born, and then from his non-age and very cradle, even to the Catastrophe and last period of his life, to register and record his fortunes, condi­tion, qualities, and inclinations, together with the circumstances of his affairs and transactions, and then (as they suppose the manner was) put all those col­lections upon a File, and enrol them upon Record; and afterwards when the same Stars should meet in the same manner, and have the same position, que­stionless they must needs tell the same fortune to any one born under such a constellation. If this was the way, and out of this principle they grounded the foun­dation of that Discipline, it is altogether weak and slippery; for let them tell me in how many years, nay [Page 29] ages, this Orbe or Circle of Observation may be per­fected; there is no Astrologer but must know, that those Stars which are called erratical, or wandering, and the fatal efficients of all those things, do not, unless in an innumerable and almost infinite number of years, return to the same posture, and with the same habit from whence they wheeled and wandered; so that, no order or tenor of observation, no memory whatsoever, no nor the very character of such Letters and Monuments could be preserved or endure so long a time: Thus Phavorinus.

And if it should be granted that Astrologers should dive into the secret force and defluxion of every Star seperately, and alone by it self; what force and power Stars have when they meet, and conjoyn, and are mingled, either in the Heaven, Air, Earth, in sublunary things or their actions; this is not to be discovered. Reader observe what Origen writes upon Genesis, cited by Eusebius, to­wards the end of his sixth Book of Evang. Prep. Such things as they affirm (Astrologers) to come to pass by the commixture, composition, and temperature of several Aspects, this very thing shews their igno­rance; for who can tell the harm pretended by a ma­lign Aspect, the Constellation of the benign and pro­pitious concurring; and whether the malign detards that which the benign bestows, because it points at the others location; and whether it change or re­change, or what commixture is made, what man can [Page 30] judge or perceive; he whosoever shall seriously pe­netrate into those mysteries, shall finde that they are not to be comprehended by humane wit and capacity, whosoever shall make experiment o [...] these things, shall finde Fortune-tellers and Na­tivity-casters, oftner to erre then speak the truth wherefore Isaiah, as if these things were totally impossible, hath this saying to the daughter of the Chaldeans, the grand professors of this mystery▪ Let the Astrologers come and make thee whole, let the Southsayers tell what is to betide thee; by which we are admonished, that even the most expert Cal­dean in this Art, cannot foretell what will alot un­to every Nation.

Again there are many Stars, which are either not clearly or not at all to be seen; and if those Astrologers confess there are many not known to them, and more not perfectly discovered; where­fore then presume they so confidently to predict events to ensue out of those few Stars, whose pow­er they know, since through the influxions of the other Stars, which they know not, the effects may be either hindred or become various: unless they will impudently and absurdly say, that the Stars which they know not have no power or influence at all: It is manifest amongst the Astrologers themselves, that in the eighth Heaven there are 1022 Stars, of which each exceeds the earth in bigness, and therefore must needs have great force [Page 31] and power; but of all these, Astrologers have little or no knowledge for that their prognostica­ting skill consists chiefly in the observation of the Planets; in which they altogether trifle away their time and spend their dayes. Seneca, a man of a perspicacious judgement well perceived this, when in his second Book of Natur. Quest. Cap. 32. he expresseth himself both eloquently and learned­ly in these words. What other thing is it (saith he) which leadeth Nativity-casters into error, but that they content themselves with the notion of a few Stars in calculating of Nativities, when all which are above us, arrogate and challenge a power and in­fluence over us; those which are lower and nearer have power over us, and those which are more fre­quently moved reflect otherwayes upon us and other animals: Furthermore those Stars which are im­moveable or by their inperceptible volocity seem so to be, challenge a right and dominion over us.

Of the strange Star which some years past appeared.

CErtain years past we beheld a new and strange Star, never before that time conspicious in the Heavens; which Astrologers affirm had its po­sition in the same place where the fixed Stars have their being. This Star (whereas for a time it ap­peared visible to our view) on a sudden disappeared totally and vanished from our sight; this was ei­ther [Page 32] generated in the Heavens, and afterwards corrupted (and 'tis like the same may happen to other through long intervals of time) or else it had its being above the Planets and wandering Stars, which have their proper passages although unknown to us; or above in conclusion in the eighth Heaven, which we esteem wandering and un­fixed, which also hath its proper motions and operations; of which Hypparchus famous for his knowledge in Astrology seems to doubt, as Pliny in the 27. Chap. Book 2. testifieth: Hypparchus, saith he, a man never sufficiently praised, disco­vered in his time that a strange Star was produced, by the motion whereof, upon the day of its appea­rance, he made a great doubt whether this might be usual, or whether those Stars which we deem fixed, were moveable: Great Astrologers think it much to concern their Art, to understand cer­tainly the concordance and discrepancy betwixt the two Zodiacs, the one of the eighth, the other of the ninth Heaven; which nevertheless they shall never finde out, for that the ninth Heaven hath nei­ther Star nor light▪ neither can any thing concern­ing it be discovered, except motion, and that one­ly from the motion of the eighth Heaven: And certain it is, that Astrologers can give no account of what condition these two Zodiacs were at the creation of the world; because a certain and exact account of the time of the worlds creation, [Page 33] to this day cannot be acquired; some account and number of years since that time may be had and aimed at, but of dayes and hours very difficile, if not impossible; and yet notwithstanding such a computation is very necessary and requisite to the doctrine of Astrology.

What a difficult thing it is punctually to observe what force the Aspects of the Stars have in every mans Nativity.

THe position of the Stars in the very moment in which one is born, without a manner of errour or mistake can scarcely be attained unto: It is a matter of difficulty to discover the very point of time in which any one is born, and rightly to observe the Aspect of the Sars which then reign and have influence in that very moment, or as I may say Attome, for ofttimes vapours and clouds being interposed, do either quite take away, obfus­cate, or shut from us the sight and aspect both of Heaven and Stars: and above all, the most rapid and swift wheeling of the Heavens brings it so about, that it is fleeted and flown away before we can take perfect cognizance thereof; for in almost every moment the face of the Heavens, and a di­verse posture of the Stars is existant. Astrolo­gers confidently profess that they will exactly tell you the fortunes and events of any man, so that [Page 34] he may but know the certain time of his birth; but such an exact, subtil, and punctual knowledge (as is necessary for an Astrologer) is very hard to be come by; let us suppose for example, that Oliver was born the 56 year from this time, the 7 of September, at ten of the clock, either at the beginning, middle, or end thereof: but that mo­ment, or almost nothing, or little something of time, wherein Oliver fell from his Mothers womb, and came into this world, neither the Midwife, Parents, or Assistants can directly and exactly as­sure you of, as it is necessarily requisite for the Astrologer if he intend to divine aright.

I cannot by any means in this place pass away without setting down the words of Saint Basil, who treated of this subject accurately and pres­sing, which I onely have glanced at by the way, and slightly touched: his words are these, which he left written in an Homily upon a part of Genesis. The inventors of calculating Nativities, perceiving that in a long interval of time many Figures and Aspects slipt by and escaped the reach of their Sci­ence, contracted their measures intoa very com­pendious and strait limit of time, and as the Apo­stle calls it, a moment of time, or twinkling of an eye; and in this very moment of time, there is very great difference and desparity betwixt nativity and nativity; for he that is even now born, shall be invested with regal dignity, wear the Diadem per­adventure [Page 35] of an Empire, give Laws to several Na­tions, and abound in all worldly prosperity; when he that comes into the world, even imme­diately after, shall be poor, despicable, a Va­gabond, Jugler, Hocus Pocus, and it may be, beg his bread from door to door: that Orb therefore which is called the Signifer, being divided into twelve parts when the Sun in the space of thirty dayes hath past the twelfth part thereof, which is stiled by Astrologers, inerrans, or wandering; every of these twelve parts they divided into thirty par­cels, and then those parcels, each being divided into sixty minutes; these minutes again they sub­divided after the same manner into sixty more. The birth therefore of one newly come into the world being determined, let us observe whether these skilful masters with all their Art, can keep this so exact division of time. The woman is de­livered of her burthen, the Midwife looks whether it be male or female, next she hearkens to hear it cry, as a presage of the life and strength of the childe; after she brings the infant to the Astrolo­ger, and when she prattles with him as gossips use to do, during all these petty transactions since the little one was an inhabitant of this world, how many minutes as we may conjecture have past away; especially if the Artist were not in the Chamber, but in some other remote place expect­ing the news? Again, whilst he is accommodating [Page 36] his Instruments of Art, to investigate the exact and precise time, whether nocturnal or diurnal, how many minutes fly away: and here again when the Star is discovered which denotes the time and minute, then comes the twelve parts, the thirty parcels, into which each of those is to be divided; then the subdivision of those parcels into sixty mi­nutes to be examined and canvased over; and al­though they can never attain to so precise and punctual a finding out of the exact time, yet they affirm this must necessarily be done in the wander­ing and unfixed Stars to know what disposition and habitude they have with those which are fixed, and what like figure is amongst them, when the infant was born; things standing in this sort, that by reason of the variation of that most short time a certain knowledge without errour is impossible to be had, not by the vain and foolish students of this Art, who gape after a thing impossible to be attainded; but also thus silly creatures who run after them as Prophets, and Wise men, deserve the fools coat, cap, bauble and all.

Chap. 3. Supposing Astrologers to know the very Depth and Cognition of Hea­venly Matters, yet by eight Rea­sons it shall be made manifest, that they are not able to tell future Events.

LEt it pass with a Transeat, as School-men say, that Astrologers (as they impu­dently and foolishly arrogate unto themselves) have the perfect knowledge and science of the Heavens and Stars; yet all this, notwithstanding I will make good that they can­not divine and fortel future contingents, and that by undeniable and convincing reasons; and thus by many and valid arguments I confirm it.

Eight Reasons, by which it is proved, that even out of a perfect cognition of the Stars, future events cannot be foretold.

The first Reason.

IT is a vulgate and well known principle in the Schools of Philosophers, as every thing is [Page 38] concerning its esse or being, so it is concerning its cognition, viz. by reason of the causes for which every thing is made and hath its being; by the same it ought to be known, if we intend to have a perfect knowledge thereof: but to the ge­neration and production of future particular events, not onely heaven concurreth but also a particular cause; heaven is an universal cause, by which it is manifest, that this vigour and efficience must also be universal and indeterminate to pro­duce particular effects; but the power and force of Heaven is determinated by particular causes, in which respect Aristotles saying is most true: The Sun and Moon generate man; particular ef­fects although forasmuch as belongeth to the ef­fection and conservation, they have their depen­dance on causes universal; yet for what belongeth to their proper nature and natural proprieties, as well specifical as individual, they rather emulate and imitate a particular then an universal cause.

Besides Celestial Causes, the knowledge of particu­lar Causes is most requisite to know their effects.

IF therefore over and above Celestial Causes for the producing of future effects, it be necessary to have a particular efficient cause and matter apt­ly prepared, of which if the one be wanting no effect can be produced, from which we must of [Page 39] necessity conclude, that for the prenotion of future effects the knowledge of Celestial Causes is not sufficient: and this is in daily experimentals mani­fested unto us; we behold the painful Husband­man at the same time, and under the same aspect of the Stars to sowe several sorts of Grain, from which also several and distinct succreases accrew, which diversity cannot proceed from the Stars, but from the several seeds themselves; with which St. Augustine agrees saying: When many bodies of se­veral kindes, whether animate, herbs, or shrubs, are seminated in the same punctilio of time, and at the same instant; afterwards innumerable increase is produced, and not in several, but in the same regi­ons and places of the earth, and of such admirable variety, in the springing, growth, flourishing, ver­tues and fassions; and will not men (as the old adage is) laugh at their own folly if they consider these things? and what I pray can be more foolish and sot­tish, then being convinced by these daily experiments to say, that man and onely man is subjected to the fa­tal decree and influence of the Stars: These last words of St. Aug. Phavorinus the Philosopher expresseth more amply saying: If the period, time, destiny, and cause of mans life had its dependance up­on Heaven and the Stars; what will they say of flyes, worms, and many other animal culums, as well volant and ceptible, as najant, are these tyed to the same laws of production and expiration as man; have [Page 40] Frogs and Flies their production, being, and fate, from the influence and motions of the Stars; if you Astrologers will not grant this, why affirm you that the power of the Stars hath such prevalent power over mankinde, and yet prove defective in other creatures?

Of the equal Birth and unequal Fortune and Events of Twins. The second Reason.

WEre it true as Astrologers would perswade us, it must necessarily follow, that twins who are conceived and born about the same time, must needs in all things sympathize and be alike; yet daily experience shews the contrary: but to wave all other dissimilitudes, it often hap­pens, that the one twin proves a male, the other a female: 'Tis true, Cicero in his Book of Divi­nation tells us of Proclus and Euristhenes Lacede­monian Kings and twins, yet their ends were un­like, and the glory of their actions much discre­pant: but above all, that which we read in the sa­cred Text is an all satisfying example; Jacob and Esau proceeded from the same Concubitus, as Paul, Rom. 9. sufficiently tells us, and at the same time born, were notwithstanding severally inclin­ed disagreeing in conditions, unlike in manners, [Page 41] dissenting in judgement, and differing in other habits and qualities; neither availeth that lurking hole or after game which Astrologers keep as a reserve to recruit them when the day is almost lost, saying, that that small parcel of time which inter­ceded betwixt the nativity of the two twins, though it appear little, or nothing to us; yet in the Heavens, by reason of the vastness thereof, and the inconceptible wheeling and most quick mo­tion, maketh a wonderful difference and va­riation,

Nigidius Figulus goes about to demonstrate this in a wheel, circumagitated with all possible celerity, who with ink or some other material apt to make impression perspicable, twice endeavour­ed to hit the same mark, and at the stopping of the wheel, found the two several impressions, not far remote one from another: This signifies nothing, and gives as little shelter to the Astrologer, as an uncovered Barn to a weary Passenger in a great showre of rain: for although in the nativity of twins their might be some demurr or interval; yet in their conception there was not any: and if the condition of the constellation under which a man is born, be so immediately variated, the proper and exact time of any nativity must needs be to Astrologers incomprehensible. To conclude, we will produce St. Gregories argument to make this good. If (saith he) Jacob and Esau are not to be [Page 42] thought born under the same constellation because not born together, but the one after the other; by the same reason we may infer, that no individual man is born under the same constellation, because he is not totally produced together, but piecemeal and joynt after joynt; as first the head, the [...] shoulders, next back, and so till he come to the feet; and Jacob was so near to his Brother, that he held his foot in his hand.

Phavorinus disputing against the Chaldeans up­on this point, handles the matter exactly, and with singular accuteness: I would have them (quoth he) to answer me in this; If the moment of time in which man at his birth hath his fate alotted, be so exiguous and fleeting, that in the same instant, and under the same Circle of Hea­ven many cannot have their being, after the same competency; and that therefore Twins have not the same fortune, because not produced at the same moment of time; let them make it, I say appear, by what means they themselves can disco­ver, or attain unto the exact knowledge of the course of that swift flying and vanishing time, which by the cognition of our intellectual part can scarce be comprehended; and yet notwith­standing they averr, that in the headlong tumb­ling, and wheeling about of dayes and nights, even the least moments produce immense and ad­mirable changes: Hitherto Phavorinus. [Page 43] St. Aug. also gives great light to this discourse of Twins, and handles it learnedly in his fifth Book of the City of God: in some of his first Chapters, and in the second Book of Christ. Doct. where he puts Astrologers to their wits end, if not to a non­plus; for if in so short a moment of time all things admit a change, that not onely several, but for the most part contrary things may happen, who can predict or foretel in the nativity of a childe any certainty; since it is most certain, that the very moment of time, in which he was conceived and born, is impossible to be exactly known by any; suppose it granted that the Stars have great power, influence, and vertue over mankinde in ge­neral; yet mans capacity to this very hour could never reach unto what vigour and force they have in the individuals, because the aspect of Heaven, and position of the Stars in every particular nati­vity cannot be attained unto, and this by reason of the incomprehensible swift motion of the Hea­vens and Stars out-strips and prevents the dull slowness of our apprehension and observation.

The third Reason.

Let us lay aside the discourse of Twins, whose interrupt birth may well puzzle Star gazers, and behold and take into consideration, thousands of nativities, at the very same time, and in the same [Page 44] Kingdome, under the same aspect and position of Heaven and Stars, and the Children begot by di­vers Parents; Astrologers must needs give the same judgement, and pronounce the same fortune to all those being born under the same constellati­on, and daily experience shews the contrary; for how many throughout the whole world, are conceived in the same moment, and at the same time born; and yet in their capacities, wits, manners, yea religion, life and death, there is a vaste dissimilitude and disproportion. In the great Battle which Hannibal fought against the Romans, how many, both great Commanden and ordinary Souldiers perisht and lost their lives and yet no man is so destitute of reason, or desti­tute of judgement, as to think all those men born under the same constellation and aspect of the Stars; and in that admirable Sea fight, and glori­ous Victory obtained against the Turks in these lat­ter times, to the immortal glory of Christians; will any man be so foolish as to think and affirm, that all those miscreants who perished there and were swallowed up by the merciless Waves of the all-devouring Ocean, were born under the same as­pect of Heaven and constellation? When Homer, Hippocrates, Aristotle, and Alexander the Great were born, were not also many others born, in the very same times and moments; yet in the se­veral excellencies proved equal to them: Phavo­rinus [Page 45] tells us yet further, saying, How many of both sexes of all ages, born under several constella­tions, either by earthquakes, falling of houses, taking of Towns, shipwrack, or the like, have come to the same sad end, and in the same mo­ment of time, which could never have come to pass if the same fortune and destiny attributed to every one at his nativity, and the power of that moment had had its proper force and vertue, or laws pre­scribed; and if some things and events concerning the life and death of men born at several times, by a likeness of constellations hapning after, may seem to acquire a near or like success and contingency, why cannot the parity bring it to pass, that many Socrates, Antisthenes, and Plato's shall have their existence, and being, in form, feature, wit, qualities, through their whole life and death all alike and semblable, which yet is impossible; and therefore Star-gazers have but a silly shift by this argumentation, to make us believe that men born under several and distinct constellations may have the same final end and Ca­tastrophe.

The exquisite Argumentation of Bardesanes against Astrologers.The Fourth Reason.

BArdesanes a Syrian, exquisitely skilful in Ce­lestial Doctrine, in a Dialogue (which by the [Page 46] intreaty of some friends) he writ against the Chal­deans concerning Fate, demonstrates the observa­tions of the Astrologers to be vain and childish and their predictions to be full of leasings and fal­sities; Euseb. in his sixth Book of Evang. Prep. Ch. 9. writes his words thus: Amongst the Seres was a law, which prohibited to commit murder, fornica­tion, or to adore Idols; from whence it was effected, that in all that Region there was no prophane Temple to be seen, no woman laciviously addicted, or whorish, no adultress, thief or homicide; neither had that scorching Star of Mars (though in its full vigour or placed in the midst of Heaven) power to enforce the will of any man to perpetrate a murder; neither had wanton Venus, though never so conjoyned with Mars▪ power to induce any man to attempt his neighbours bed, or violate his consorts chastity; and yet did Mars every day by necessity of his course come through the middle of that Heaven; neither is it to be questi­oned, but that children were born, every hour in that so large a region or territory. Amongst the Indi­ans and Bactrians are many thousands of men called Brachmanes, who as well by tradition os their Fore­thers as their laws and constitutions, avoid the ado­ration of Idols, eat not any thing animate; neither drink they or ingurgitate wine or other strong liquors, men free from all malignant indispositions, imploy­ing their whole time in the Service and Honour of the most High and Great God. There are other Indians [Page 47] in the same Region who contaminate themselves with the adoration of false Gods, with adulteries; mur­ders, and drunkenness; nay, there is yet another sort of Indians, inhabiting in the same Climate, who assassinate men as they are at their sports of hunting or offering sacrifice, and devour and feed upon them; neither can any of those Stars, which they esteem benign or propitious, deterr or hinder those people from such like villanies; nor yet the malignant enforce or compel the Brachmanes to act such black and hideous crimes. Amongst the Persi­ans there was a law, whereby it was enacted, that men might contract matrimony and cohibit with their Daughters, Sisters, or Mother; and this Edict those people observed not onely in their own Countrey, but in what Climate soever they inhabited, or Regions co­lonized, which they polluted with incestuous Nupti­als and horrid Marriages; which other Nations loathing and abhorring, branded them with the no­menclation of Magussees; and even at this day in the very heart and centre of Egypt, Phrygia, and Galatia, are many of those Magussees, who by a long continued practice from former ages, commaculate and defile themselves with such obscene and detestable villanies; and yet we cannot in positive terms affirm, that those bruits rather then rational creatures were generated and produced under the house of Saturn, Mars being an assisting spectator. ‘The Amazons lived without Husbands, onely in Spring time, [Page 48] they conglomerated and passed the bands and li­mits of their native soil, made bold with their neighbours Husbands, and such other lusty sparks, as seemed to be active in propagation; and as they all enjoyed the company of men and convenied, so by necessary consequence they must be delivered and brought to bed, at or much about the same time and instant. The males they unnaturally murdered and destroyed, reserving the females, whom they trained up in Martial Discipline, and they proved for the most part undaunted Virago's, and the true Daughters of Belona; yet it were ridiculous to opinionate, that all these masculine females were born under the same natalitial Stars. This veri­ty is yet made more manifest by the example of the Jews, who wheresoever they have their be­ings, in what Region or Kingdome, under what King, Prince, or Emperour, or in what Climate soever they are born, by an invio­lable observation, upon the eighth day they circumcise their Infants, keep their Sab­bath high and holy, reverence and honour the Feast, yet all Jews are not born under the same constellation; neither can these pretended in­fluences or vertues of the Celestial Bodies draw them from the Rites and Customs of their Pro­genitors: much more may it be said of Christi­ans, who dispersed over the whole superficies of [Page 49] the Christian world, observe the same tenour of doctrine and form of life; yet neither by force, fair words, large promises, glorious pre­tences, nor thundering minaces, torments al­most insupportable, Tortures, Racks, and other strange and unheard of punishments, can or could be seduced or drawn one hairs breadth (as the saying is) from those principles which Christ our Lord and Saviour left unto them; are or were all those Christians born under the same Planet? These happy souls before the re­ceiving of Christian Faith, followed with an ardent Superstition the Laws and Precepts of their Ancestors, but after the sacred Lavacre of sin-remitting Baptism, they forsook all those soul destroying Ceremonies, invested their bet­ter parts with a pure faith, cloathed themselves with the new man, and followed a perfect rule of living, leading upon earth a life Angelical: upon that score, the baptized Parthians wedded not many wives; the Medes cast not their dead bodies to the dogs; the Indians committed not the corpses of their deceased to the con­suming flames of fire. The Persians contract not matrimony with their sisters, daughters or mothers; the Egyptians abhor the worship of their Apis, Goat, Dog, or Cat; but whereso­ever they inhabit, observe the same form of life and doctrine. What needs more to be said, each [Page 50] hour men are born in all Nations, and we see, that through free-will and power in man, those Laws and Customs are punctually kept and ob­served; neither can these all-powerful Stars (as Astrologers dream) compel and force the Seres to Homicide; the Brachmanes to eat flesh; neither can they hinder the Persians from their incestuous copulations; the Medes from giving to their dogs their friends dead carkas­ses; nor the Parthians from wedding many wives; all nations when they will and how they will use the fredom of their Liberty, obedi­ent to their Laws and Customs.’ Thus much out of Bardesanes against the vanity of Astro­logers.

The fifth Reason.

The free-will of man, and the immortality of the soul granted, this Art cannot subsist; for if the the one must stand, the other must fall. Judge then courteous Reader, is not this Art highly to be disesteemed and slighted, which cannot have an existence, or shew any feats, unless the liberty of mans will and immortality of the soul be overthrown and demolisht: But if our soul be mortal, and have not freedom in its actions, yet Astrologicall Predictions cannot subsist, as shall be concluded by these ensuing Arguments.

[Page 51] First of all, Astrologers profess and brag, that by the profundity of their Art and observations, they can foretell future things and events; fu­ture things which have their dependency upon free-will, cannot possibly be discovered by these Artists; for so they should know future things as they are in themselves, or per se, in act, and a thing which is not in as much as it is not, cannot be understood; & therefore it must be after some kinde of manner, to wit, in the powerfulness or potestaty in its causes: neither can future things be known in their causes, which are three; God, Heaven and humane will; but such things as are to have their being from the decree, counsel, and absolute will of Almighty God, what mortal Creature either by the Heavens, or any other means can dive into them, unless they be such un­to whom the Almighty will have them by him­self made known and revealed; for who, saith the holy Scripture, knows the sense and meaning of God, or who hath been of his counsel? And as it is written in Wisdom 9. The things that are in sight we finde with labour, but the things that are in heaven who shall search out; and thy sense who shall know unless thou give wisdom, and send thine Holy Spirit from on high? Such things as depend upon mans free-will cannot by the Heavens be discovered, because Heaven is an universal cause; and future particular contingents cannot have [Page 52] their dependency on the Heavens, or be known, unless it be universally and indeterminately. And again, Heaven is a corporeall and materiall cause; wherefore the soul which of it self is in­corporeal, not composed of matter, and free in acting, necessarily and directly cannot be subject to the efficiency and operation of the Heavens. Again, humane will is the very immedate cause of humane actions, in respect of future events, which are to be produced from thence, which is of it self indifferent and indeterminate, for we shall do things which we have not thought or deliberated; how then can an indifferent, and indeterminate cause produce a certain know­ledge of a future effect; and this may be thus confirmed: The exterior actions of man depend upon the interior, that is to say, either by deli­beration, or choice and election; and therefore the exterior future action of man cannot be foretold, unless the election of his future will be known from whence it must necessarily proceed; but the future election of man cannot be known to any other; for if the resolves and deliberati­on of the minde and understanding which man hath in present cannot be discovered by another, how can those purposes, deliberations, and de­crees of mans understanding be manifested and made known by another, which are to happen af­ter the revolution of many years?

Whether it be easier to Prognosticate, what a good or a bad man shall do.

MAn is to be looked upon and considered either as he leads a life and operates ac­cording to the dictamen of reason, or according to sense and appetite; if according to reason, man hath no dependance upon the Heavens; for the soul and intellectual part is immateriall and incorporeal; and nothing corporate can by it self act upon a thing incorporate; mans will is free, and mistriss of all her own actions, and can by her own instinct and disposition, apply her self to do or not do this or that; for although from the influence of the Heavens, or composi­tion and temper of the body, man by the insti­gation and subtlety of the Devil, (or otherwise) may be tempted and seduced to do evil, yet may he by his own power, assisted by Gods Grace, ani­hilate all those temptations, and overcomming and trampling them under his feet, do the quite contrary to what he was provoked and allured; and this is apparent in the very example of So­crates, who by the natural constitution and com­position of his body was both a bard and much addicted to women, and the delights of Venus; yet by the strength of his better part, a vigilant watch over himself, as chastising of evil propen­sions, [Page 54] and nipping them in the bud, he triumphed over his passions and was esteemed the most grave, prudent, chaste, and continent man of all that age.

A man who spins out his time according to sensuality and carnal appetites, leads a life so wandering and mutable, that it is impossible to divine what will become of him; and Solomon saith, that amongst many things which he hardly understood, he was altogether ignorant how youngsters in the flower of their youth steered their course; for that age is so slippery, incon­stant, fickle, and wandering, that it seldom abides any long time in the same state and conditi­on; to day disliking what yesterday extreamly pleased; having no Analogy in its actions, not squared by any dictamen of reason, but rashly and headlong impelled and hurried away whi­thersoever cupidity and lust courts and invites it: from whence it proceeds, that with far less difficulty an Astrologer may prognosticate the actions of him who spends his dayes, according to the model of Intelligence, then his who neg­lecting both reason and vertue, trifles away his time according to the vanity of his own affecti­ons and desires. More facile it is by much to di­vine the transactions and events of a King who ruleth civilly, and according to reasons behests and prescriptions, then of a Tyrant, whose will is [Page 55] his law; how then can these seeming skilful Artists foretell events, in which there is so much uncer­tainty and ambiguousness, and where nothing can be had firm and certain.

The effects of contingents which befall man by celestial fate, and power of the stars, may or may not be hindered: if the effect may be so hinder­ed, that it come not to pass, then is it uncertain, and consequently the Prediction cannot be cer­tain and infallible: If it cannot be hindered, then free-will is taken away, and our soul made mortal and material, as being necessarily subjected to the power and influence of the stars: If this be so, what benefit can Astrological predictions bring to mankinde? for what good will it be to know things so long before-hand, if they cannot be declined and avoided? nay rather it were an inconvenience to be by all means shunn'd: for what can be more grievous, then not onely to be oppressed with present calamities, but also to be rackt and tormented with an inevitable expecta­tion of miseries to fall upon us hereafter? This Seneca lib. 3. epist. 80. understood right well, though he attribute almost, if not altogether, as much power and dominion to stars over men, as do the Astrologers themselves: These are his words. I come to-him who boasts his great knowledge in the stars.

[Page 56]
Whither cold Saturns Star, it felf betakes;
Or in what Orbes Cyllenius progress makes.

‘What avails it to know this? Forsooth to make me startle when Saturn and Mars stand in op­position, or when Mercury declines Westward, Saturn looking on; I am rather of this opi­nion, that wheresoever they are, they are pro­pitious and benign, and not subject to change or mutability, and this is brought to pass by the inevitable course and continuall order of the Fates: They return at set times, and the effects of all things are either moved or denoted by the stars; if they absolutely cause the thing, what will the immutable knowledge thereof profit thee; if they onely signifie it, what will it help thee to provide against that which thou canst not avoid; for know thou, or know thou not, those things will come to pass.’ Thus Se­neca. But Phavorinus handles this point in few words acutely and Philosophically: ‘Astrolo­gers (saith he) foretell either good or bad for­tunes: if good, and miss in their aim, thou art, deluded and made miserable by a long and fru­strated expectation: If bad, and yet lye, thou art also made sollicitous and afflicted by fear­ing in vain; if they speak truth, but foretell thee hard hap; then, even then in thy thoughts and imagination thou art tormented and vext before thy bad fortune fall upon thee; if they [Page 57] promise that the things which they foretell shall be good, and much to thy advantage; notwithstanding two discommodities will fol­low; first thy greedy expectation will weary thee, being held so long in hope, expectation, and suspence; and again the hope of thy fu­ture joy by little and little will wither away: In no case therefore have recourse unto those men to be satisfied in the curiosity of knowing future Contingents.’

How vain a thing it is to believe, that Astrologers can tell any man that he shall be chose chief Bishop or Pontifex.

THis thing amongst many others discovers the vanity of this Art; Astrologers for exam­ple will perswade some one, that he shall be elected chief Bishop; but the promotion of any one to this high degree of honour depends not upon the will and power of the party himself, or any other particular person, but upon the de­cree and suffrages of the whole Conclave, whose charge it is to elect the chief Bishop; and there­fore it is not onely necessary (suppose I affirme Peter to be the man) to know the constellation of his Nativity; but I must also know exactly the Constellations and Position of the Stars in the several births of all those whose joynt suffrages [Page 58] vote and elect Peter to that high preferment. If it be true which Swetonius relates concerning Au­gustus, that Nigidius Figulus, a man eminent amongst the Romans for his rare knowedge in Astrology, having taken the hour of his Nativi­ty, and rightly considered the stars predominant at his birth, cry'd out aloud, The Lord of the whole world is now born: We must conclude that this was not spoken by Art, and grounded upon Reason, but casually and rashly, and that it was meer chance that it came to pass as he had foretold. For the advancement of Augustus to that height of Command and Monarchy, was effected by rising unto several degrees of ho­nour, and depended upon the favour, study, and procurement of many men; so that to know and pronounce the advancement of Augustus to so eminent a degree of Sovereignty and Empire, it was not sufficient to Calculate the Nativity of him alone; for the stars which were prevalent at his birth could not have power upon the nativi­ties of others who were his Abettors, Sticklers, and Coadjutors to obtain the Imperiall Dia­dem and Dignity; of whom many were born before, and many severall years after Au­gustus.

That the Art and Science of Astrology is none, or not considerable. The sixth Reason.

EVery Art and Science is versant in things which alwayes, or for the most part, fall out as that Art teacheth; and yet it is manifest, that things shewed by Astrology very seldom & rare­ly come to pass as she foretelleth, as having no stable or grounded foundation; and therefore cannot constitute a formal Art or Science: Being therefore as it is most certainly true, that Astro­logical Predictions are most commonly false, and very seldom true and veridical; it is most clear, that they proceed not from any Art, or certain observations, but are spoken temerariously and at randome: For which cause Phavorinus gives us a Caveat, not to be over confiding in Chalde­ans, though at some times by great chance they stumble upon a truth and verity; and his reason is, because they speak not things certain, defined and known, but fallible, and grounded onely up­on ambiguous conjectures; and so betwixt truth and falshood, they steal hood-winkt along poco poco in a mist of obscurity, and so trying many conclusions by hap hazzard, and before they be aware, they unknowingly stumble upon a truth; [Page 60] and sometimes also by the credulity and infor­mations of those who come foolishly to ask their counsel, they seem to meet with a verity; and this presently cries them up to have knowledge in things both past and future; but such truths as they discover either hab nab, or covered with the cloak of subtle knavery, compared with their lyes and falsities, amount not to the thousand pan thereof. Cicero in his 2. book of Divination hath these words, what need we desire more: ‘The Chaldeans are daily confuted; how many things have these Chaldeans told Pompey, Crassus, and Cesar himself, as that they should die in their own habitations aged and full of years, and in the very height and top of honour and re­nown: It seems strange to me that any man will follow and give credit to these Fellows whose Predictions and Prognostications, which daily experience make manifest to be meer lea­sings and fopperies.’

Seneca in a small Pamphlet which he entitles, Ludus in mortem Claudii Caesaris, brings Mercury upon the stage, negotiating with the fatal sisters the procurement of Claudius his death; and by the way to put a jear and frump upon the Chaldeans, amongst other his Patheticall and Rhetoricall Arguments, (that Astrologers may not alwayes be taxt with lying) ‘Be pleased (quoth Mercu­ry) most dread and powerful Ladies, that For­tune-tellers [Page 61] may sometime speak the truth, who have so often told us, that this or that year, this or the next moneth Claudius should be ta­ken out of this world:’ And is not the like done in these our present times; do not our A­strologers prognosticate the death of Potentates as they finde the Peoples affections to wish their lives, prosperities, and preservation; or death, overthrow, and utter confusion.

St. Ambrose in his fourth book in Hexem. ch. 7. hath these words: ‘Some few dayes since when we fell into discourse how welcome and grate­ful rain would be, one in the company made answer, fear not, Neomenia will send some; truly though we wish for rain, yet wish we not such affections verified; for my part I am much pleased that no rain fall, till we obtain it by the prayers and supplications of the Church.’ Whereby it is manifest, that an hope and confi­dence, is not to confide in Changes and Moons, but to depend upon the providence and mercy of our most gracious and Omnipotent Creator: By which the vanity of Astrology is confuted, the efficacy of Christian Piety, and power of re­ligious and godly prayers made manifest.

The vanity and falsity of Astrological Predictions.

ALbumazar a prime Ring-leader of Super­stitious Astrology, or Astrological Super­stition, [Page 60] through the observation and precepts of this Art, divined that Christian Religion should continue onely 1460. years: but the years which have elapsed-since that prediction, prove the Predictor a liar. Abraham a Jew out of his Astrologicall observation, calculated that the Messias should be born 1464. after our Saviou [...]s Nativity, because (I know not what) the same Constellation and Position of the stars should then happen and be, as when Moses brought the Hebrew People out of Egypt; but how true this Prediction was, time hath discovered.

Petrus de Aliaco hath left recorded, that the Astrologers of that time (when the general Coun­cil of Constance was call'd, to extirpate and root out Heresie and Schism which so much troubled and disquieted the Church) fore-told, that the Church should enjoy no tranquility; but the Heavens threatned dissention and discord even to the ruine and overthrow of Christian Religion: and yet notwithstanding by that very Council, that long continued and pernicious Scisme was extinguished, and a settled peace and quietnesse established in the Church: And this happy event so contrary to their vain Predictions might have moved honest Peter, to shake hands and bid fare­wel to Astrology, especially seeing that he himself (either deluded by his own observations, or cir­cumvented and fool'd by other mens) was struck [Page 61] into a deadly fear, lest that most damnable Schism and horrid Heresie should be the fore-runner of Antichrist, immediately to follow and ensue.

Errors of Astrologers in Chronology.

ALbumazar the Grandfather of Astrologers admires (I wist not what) Revolutions of Saturn; for he affirms, that after Saturn hath perfected ten conversions or wheelings round of his Orb, which comes to pass in the space of 300. years, that then some rare and wonderfull things will be effected; for, saith he, 300. years af­ter Alexander, Arelasor the son of Bell appeared, who vanquished and overcame the Persians; and 300. years after that came into the world, Jesus the Master and Captain of the Christians. O in­tollerable and incredible ignorance in computa­tion of time! for neither was the sonne of Bell living at that time, which he sets down and no­minates; neither did there intervene 600. years betwixt Alexander and the birth of our Saviour; for his most happy and blessed Nativity happened 320. years after Alexanders decease, which is an­other of Albumazars feignments: But why should any man wonder at this mistake in Albumazar, since he will needs make Ptolomy the Mathemati­cian, to be one of those Ptolomies, who were Kings of Egypt, and reigned after Alexander; [Page 64] whereas Ptolomy the Mathematician was never in all his life honoured with such a stile; nor did he ever King it, but lived under Hadrian the Em­perour above 160. years after the last of the Egyptian Ptolomies. Another grand vapour the Astrologers make, avouching that no mutation of Laws, the birth of no famous Prophet, the conversion of no Countrey how great soever, nor any remarkable passage ever happened, but that some great conjunction of Planets, especi­ally that of Jupiter and Saturn anteceded. That Conjunction (say they) began at the worlds Crea­tion, prognosticated the Deluge, brought into the world Abraham and Moses, fore-told the Incar­nation of mankindes Redeemer, and point out the origin of Mahomet; but how scandalous, lying, commenticious. and full of errour these brags are, shall be demonstrated by this Argu­ment,

Peter de Aliaco over confident in these feign­ments, and hugging himself in his own conceit, concerning the concord of History and Astrolo­gy to make good what hath been related, laying this foundation, from the beginning of the world to Noahs Flood were 2242. years; from the Flood to the Birth and Nativity of our blessed Saviour 3102. having laid this ground-work, he goes about to prove, that whatsoever in this uni­verse hath fallen out memorable and worthy of [Page 65] servation, to have happened when some notori­ous Constellation appeared in the Heavens: But to confute this, examine his Computation of Time which he makes the Basis whereon to ground his Argument and assertion; and if upon examination you finde that most false and untrue, then needs must the Doctrine which is under­propt with so weak a foundation be erroneous & fallible. But from the worlds first fabricating, and Adams Creation, and Noahs Floud, inter­ceded not above 1656. as is manifest by Holy Scripture, being fewer years in number then his computation by 600. and the Constellation which they imagine to have been in the origin of the world, must needs precede its Creation 600. years; and the number of years between the Flood and the coming of the Messias did not fully compleat 2400. years, and therefore that conjunction of stars could not appear till 684. years after the Floud. The other grand position of stars they would make you believe had its ex­istance 942. years after the immersion of the Universe, and 17. years before the birth of Abra­ham; and yet the sacred Text tells us, that he was born 292. years after the Inundation; and so by consequence that Constellation must exist 630. years after Abrahams Nativity. They observe that the sixth great Conjunction was 225. years before the Nativity of our Saviour, but most ab­surdly, [Page 66] as relying upon the former principles and computation, which was erroneous and false; for if we follow the exact Chronology, that great Conjunction should have happened almost 500. years after the Quires of Angelical Spirits sang that sacred Canticle, Glory to God on high, &c. To conclude, that this our learned Peter was altogether ignorant in Christian Chronogra­phy, by this observation it will easily appear; he affirms that in the year 700. after the birth of our Saviour, (in which he saith the seventh great Constellation fell out, that that great scourge of Christians, the Arian Heresie should breed di­straction in the holy Church; and yet that He­resie, that most viperous Heresie which had its origin about the 300. Yeare; before the 600. year was fully crusht and extinguish'd: Who is so half sighted, or purblinde, that will not see their Predictions relying upon most lying and unperfect Chronology, to be most vain, false, and pernicious?

But to what purpose spend we our time to collect examples of such frivolous Predictions, every History and Age being so full of them: For my part I conceive that it is hard to finde the Predictions of Astrologers true concerning future events, (although they happen sometimes casually, and by accident to be true and veraci­ous) by reason that there are so many of them, [Page 67] even past number so perspicuously false; and in the very things themselves and events confuted. Cato pleasantly saith, That he wonders that one Southsayer laughs not at another, by reason that very few of their presagings come to pass; and if any did, it seems meerly by chance. What Ca­to said of Southsayers, the same may we of our Astrologers; for seeing we will not believe a known and common liar, though he speak truth; why should we give credit to an Astrologer, for one true Prediction, who tells so many which are quite contrary to verity; and amongst so many false predictions, it is better to believe one that may be true, then by reason of one which may prove so by chance, give credit to all the rest? Some will say Astrologers now and then guess aright, and predict things which the event proves to be true, but this ignorantly, rashly, and without judgement: He who shoots all the day long may hit the mark. We may justly say of Astrologers, as was formerly said of Apollo's Oracles; such as happened true were recorded, but those which proved false were laid aside and buried in oblivion: men who defended and maintained the certainty of those Oracles, di­vulged and spread abroad the true ones, with great applause and specious Encomiums, but the false ones they husht up in silence; those who contemned them all, neither regarded false [Page 68] ortrue. The causes why the Predictions of the Chaldeans are reproved, in this ensuing discourse shall be manifested.

Astronomancy in all ages hath been exploded and condemned by prudent and knowing men. The seventh Reason.

IF this divining Astrology were true and cer­tain, it would appear without all doubt, to be the most noble part of Philosophy, and most set by, and wisht for by mankinde; first by reason of the worthy and excellency of the subject which it treats of, to wit, the Heavens and Stars; and then especially for the knowledge of the events and casualties of mans life and death, be­ginning and ending, which all sorts of people are most curious to know; but seeing that that Doctrine in all ages hath been contemned and rejected by the most eminent Philosophers, and many Astrologers themselves, it must needs be a convincing argument, that the Art of Divining was accounted frivolous, impertinent, and void of all probability. Xenophon in his book de Sectis Socrat. as Eusebius relates, lib. 4. of Evangelical Preparation, hath these words; The cognition and knowledge of future things, which are in the power of God, cannot be obtained by mor­tal [Page 69] industry; neither is it pleasing to the Divine Majesty, nor possible to screw into those secrets which his heavenly pleasure will have occult, and mortals must not dive into. Pithagoras, Demo­critus, and Plato after long and wearisome jour­neys, came unto the Persian Magicans, the Sages amongst the Chaldeans, and Priests of the Egypti­ans; from whom they suckt some things more occult and obstruse concerning Mathematicall Discipline, the Religion and Worship of the Gods; but the Art of Divining they either alto­gether neglected, or if they brought any smat­tering or fragments thereof, they made no use of it, as it may appear through the whole context of their writings.

Aristotle a man cry'd up in all Universities and Schools of Literature, a man most copious in the Doctrine of heavenly things, which he expres­seth in several of his books, maketh no mention or speaketh the least word concerning this kinde of Astrology; when in his books of Meteors, and concerning the parts and generation of Ani­mals, but especially in his books of Problems, he investigates the causes of many admirable and obscure things, to unriddle or enode any of the curious queries, he troubles not his brain, or makes any use at all of the help and assistance of Astrology; nay, there are many parcels in his Works which do altogether oppose and contra­dict [Page 70] this Art of Astrology; as this for example: Of future contingents there is no certain or de­finite verity; things which chance and happen by accident, cannot be comprehended by any knowledge to judge of the fortunes and casu­alties of humane affairs, which are not in mans capacity, the immediate, proper, particular, and corruptible causes of particular and corruptible effects; to have a perfect and exact knowledge of these is is not sufficient to contemplate celestiall and universal causes; the Heavens operate no otherwise upon those things which are sublunary, then by motion and light: neither doth he ap­prove the force or efficiency of any other Stars besides the Sun and Moon, quite contray to Astrological Decretalls, and the Influences of Celestiall Signs, and corporeall and sensible effects may be prevented and hindered by other causes.

Cicero in his second book of Divination high­ly commends Eudoxus, the most eminent man amongst the Astrologers in the time of Plato and Aristotle; as also Pinetius the Stoick, Archilaus, Cassandra, and Saleyces Halicar, men applauded and renowned amongst the Astrologers, for that they abandon and cast off the vain Science of Astrology. Avicenna, who next after Galen and Hipocrates, bears away the bell amongst Physici­ans, adviseth to give no credit to Astrologers in [Page 71] divination of future things, because they neither know the Celestial Points, nor the nature of in­ferior things, which not withstanding are exactly necessary to give a judgement of future events; neither do they ground upon Demonstration ei­ther Probable, Rhetoricall, or Poeticall. Ptolo­my, whom these men profess to follow as a grand Master in their Art, in his first book de Judiciis, tells us: It is not to be imagined that all things are upon necessity derived from supernatuall causes; that no other power can impede or hin­der their operation: And in his Treatise which is vulgarly called Centiloquium, a book of an hun­dred Sentences; the first sentence is this, Men onely inspired by God can foretell future particu­lars: And his fifth sentence is, A knowing man may prevent many effects of the Stars, if he be ver­sed in the notion of them, and dispose of himself be­fore the event fall upon him; from whence comes the Proverb, A wise man shall command the stars. Porphirius in his book concerning Oracles, con­fesseth that the exquisite knowledge of future things by gazing upon the stars, is not onely in­comprehensible to mortals, but even to the Gods themselves. And again, in the life of Plotinus, he saith, That after he had spent and consumed much time in the study of Astrology, he discover­ed at last, that no faith or credit was to be given to the judgement and divinations of Astrolo­gers [Page 72] concerning things to come, and therefore af­terward, both by word and writing he confuted this vain Art of Divination, as may appear to those who will read his book, de Fato & Provi­dentiâ; but especially in that book where he disputes, whether the stars have any power or influence to produce such effects.

What sort of men delight in these Astrologicall Predictions, whom St. Ambrose compares to a Spiders web.

WEre this kinde of Astrology veridicall and infallible, the conveniences and commodities arising from thence would be held in high esteem; for by the fore-knowledge of future things, what advantage would it be to Monarchs and Potentates for the well regulating and go­verning their Territories and Principalities, and so consequently the professors and masters of this Art would deserve immortal Laurels, and be ad­vanced to sit at the Helm of the best governed Republicks. But experience shews the quite con­trary: For we see that by most strict and severe Edicts, by Decrees and Proclamations this un­necessary and vain Art hath been exploded, con­demned, and exiled by many well deserving Princes. How oft was it banisht Rome, with the Astrologers and Chaldeans professors thereof, [Page 73] by Tiberius, Vitellius, Dioclesian, Constantine, Theodosius, Valentinian, but especially by Justini­an, by all whom the study, practice, and exercise of this Art, was not onely adjudged vain, false, and lying, but also obnoxious and ruinous to Ci­ties and Societies of men, and in it self pestilent and detestable. But to what purpose were it to conglomerate a cloud of witnesses, or to use Rhetorical circumlocutions in a case so mani­fest? I dare be bold to say, that in the memory of man, nay in all ages sift them never so purely, you shall not name a man, the acumen of whose wit surpast vulgar capacities, whose doctrine was admired, whose prudence in civil affairs excel­led, or who was conspicuous and eminent, for in­tegrity of life and manners, or admirable in any noble quality of the intellectual part, but he vi­lified, derided, and accounted all the Calculati­ons of Nativities, and the vain Predictions of Astrologers, as false, ridiculous, and to be explo­ded from amongst Christians, and well ordered Communities. True, the vulgar who have ordi­narily dull and gross intellects, apt to believe any thing which tickles their fancy; men credulous and itching to hear novelties, are much taken with these chymera's, and give confident belief to such fopperies, and many shallow and giddy brain'd fools are taken with this vanity, rather for lucre sake then truth. Amongst Schollars [Page 74] there is a self-conceited Pack, who like nothing be it never so profitable and commodious, that is familiarly known to all men; they commonly are haunted with the spirit of contradiction; and rather then not be contentious and in op­position with the greatest masters of wisdom, they beat their brains to be delivered of strange Novelties and Incomprehensibilities; the height of the ambition of these Opinionists is not so much to know verity, as to seem to the vulgar to know that which the ablest of Philosophers confess they could never attain unto.

I will put a period to this discourse with a notable saying of St. Ambrose, in his fourth book of Hexam. c. 4. The wisdom of the Chaldeans is rightly compared to the spiders web, in which if a flye chance to be entrapped, there is no eva­sion or enlargement; but if a Creature of vali­dity and limbs pass that way, it dissipateth and beareth away all those slender machins, and in­firm and feeble gins: Such are the nets and tack­lings of Astrologers, in which fools and weak judgements are entangled and captived, but men of strong sense and reason pass by them with­out any retention or impediment. Thou there­fore, whosoever thou art, when thou beholdest these feignments of Astrologers, tell them, their frail gins and spiders webs have no power to en­snare thee, unlesse like a feeble and silly flye [Page 75] through thy own imbecillity thou suffer thy self to be entangled therein; whereas a strong judge­ment, like a Sparrow or swift flying Dove, break­eth through, and carrieth all before it.

An Argument against three Fundamentals of Astrology Judiciary.

THe basis and foundation of this Art is ei­ther very weak and infirm, or none at all; then by necessary consequence, so is the fabrick raised and constructed thereupon, and therefore ought not to gain any repute and credit amongst men of reason and capacity. There first princi­ple would make us believe that the Stars have all the same proprieties and qualities of the Ele­ments; they are partly cold, and partly humid and dry; if not formally, at least virtually, that is not in act but in effect; if not by having the qualities themselves, yet by having the effici­ent faculties of those qualities: Saturn by their opinion is too frigid, the Moon humid, Mars dry: But this both reason and experience con­futes. Reason thus; if all the stars be lucid and cast forth light, they must be all hot, and pro­duce heat; let us grant their Adage, that the Moon and the rest of the Stars shine by a light borrowed from the Sun; if then the reason and origin of the light and brightness of all the stars be one and the same, how then can the reason [Page 76] of acting and operating by them be so discre­pant, unlike, and different: Experience gives this a check, for when it is full Moon, and that Planet most resplendent, and replenished with light and lustre, Aristotle and experience tells us, that the nights are warmer then either before or after. Our Star-gazers besides this luminosity or light, have discovered in the Heavens and Stars strange power and vertue, differing both from the light, and jarring among themselves, yet causes of strange and wonderous effects; and these to the great credit of the business they stile Influences; an invention so modern and modish, that the Ancient and learned Philosophers were never ac­quainted with any such nomenclation; nay, the Astrologers as much as may be gathered out of their writings, in ancient time were altogether unacquainted with these niceties: But this Mon­ster-influences begotten by Fortune-tellers of a later brood, nurst by their Abettors, and defend­ed by their followers, have at all times been hist out of the Schools and Academies of Learning, as spurious and abortive; and one amongst the more accurate sort of Philosophers calls them, the Sanctuary and refuge of ignorance, and fools Paradice. And to these prodigious Influences the baffled Astrologer betakes himself as to his last lurking hole, being an Ambuscado to en­trap Simpletons, and cast a mist before their eyes [Page 77] who are not grounded in the true principles of Philosophy; and this they do when, and as oft as they cannot shew the proper and natural cau­ses of the wonderous effects of those things call'd Influences; which if they be admitted, farewell all Philosophy, her glory is eclipst, authority anihi­lated, and her high esteem quite abolished. What need great Wits and eminent Philosophers puz­zle and trouble themselves to finde out and dis­cover the occult and hidden causes of things, if in a trice, and as it were twinkling of an eye, by means of the Omnipotent Influences, the ob­struse and hidden secrets of nature may so easily be attained unto; ask by what undiscovered power the Load-stone attracts Iron, you shall not stay long for an answer; for you shall quickly hear an Oracle tell you, that its proper Celestiall Influence hath invested it with that vertue; from whence hath the little Fish call'd Remora such singular power, as for to retard and stop a ship under sail in her full career and height of speed? Oh the proper Celestial influence of that poor and silly fish hath given it that power. What needs more to be said, no probleme, nothing so reserv'd by nature from mans knowledge; no­thing so full of the difficulty which Philosophers have laboured to discover, but these ignorant Pedants, and vagabond Gipsies will quickly re­solve and enode, by telling you of the Celestiall Influences.

[Page 78] But to come a little closer to these youngsters, if Saturn, because he is lucid, by his light produ­ceth heat, how can the same by his Influence pro­duce cold; is it not absurd that in the same star, there should be two contrary faculties, the one of producing heat, the other cold; not onely di­vers, but opposite and contrary? We see that nature hath so provided that in all things, where there are two differencies and proprieties, (as Philosophers say) the one general, which is com­mon to one thing with many others: The other special, which is proper to a thing, (as in man to be knowing and rational) so that the specificall and proper difference and propriety is more no­ble and perfect then the general, as being that which doth contract and determine it, giving it a reason and degree of new perfection; as in the example of man, it is more noble to be rational, then to be knowing: but this happens quite contrary in this strange Doctrine of the Astro­logers; for they teach (for instance sake) that in Saturn there are two proprieties or faculties of operating▪ the one general and common to him with the rest of the stars, which is a power of Illuminating, and by that Illumination to pro­duce heat; another special and proper to Saturn, in respect of which he differs from other starres; which is a faculty of producing cold, or a cer­tain vertue of some other Influence: but it is [Page 79] most evident, that the Celestial Light is far more noble then any other Celestial Quality; and the faculty of producing heat far excells that of pro­ducing cold: furthermore in every thing there are two faculties or proprieties naturall to that thing; the one universal, the other particular, in themselves contrary; as in Saturn the producti­on of heat by light, cold by influence: But rea­son and nature it self saith this cannot be done: For as in a multiform body, which the Greeks call Hetrogeneal, according to the severall parts there may be several qualities and faculties, as it happens in the body of man in the head and heart; but it cannot happen in the star of Saturn, being for as much as concerns its parts of the same form and nature; the one part thereof is not beautified with light, the other with influ­ence; but as the whole is replenished with light, so also should it be with influence. It is need­less to make any other dispute against Astrolo­gers concerning Influences, for this one argu­ment is sufficient to take away the influence of all things which are produced in nature, seem they never so singular and wonderful, The true, pro­per, and natural causes of all things have their dependency from two Celestial Principles, Mo­tion, and Light; which is most manifest by daily experience, and all things most probably to be produced from them. Astrologers imagine and [Page 80] dream, that the figures and position of the stars▪ with the signs in the Zodizck, resembling the si­militude of men or animals, to have a great power and vertue in each mans nativity; when by themselves, and their own nature, they are no such thing, but have onely their existence and being in the Astrologers noddle, which represents such and such; for they may as well resemble them to Creatures, Houses, Castles, Towers, Tables, or the like; and therefore it is ridiculous to think, that in such like figures there is any thing of consequence to divine or foretell future events.

Whether the Birth-stars of any man can be the certain causes of things which shall befall him

THe second Fundemental of Astrologers is, that the birth-stars of every man are to be observed, for that from them all casualties and events of his life may be foreseen and progno­sticated; but who sees not this principle to be weak and infirm? For why do not Astrologers rather observe the time and condition of the stars, when man is conceived in the womb, form­ed and animated; for then by all probability there are more things considerable, and of mo­ment to predict good or bad fortune, by rea­son that then man hath his first existence, and [Page 81] then is the first celestiall force and power recei­ved and imprinted in him; and throughout the whole nine moneths that his mother goeth with him inclosed in her womb, all this while he is subject to the power and action of the Heavens. And why do not Astrologers consider other De­fluxions and Constellations which are contin­gent to man after his Nativity, in regard that they are far more prevalent and powerful, and more conspicuous in their effects then those which happened at his birth; for the effect and defluxion of the stars which happened at the birth is often changed and varied, the tempera­ture of mans body being variated; or by reason of some power of Constellations, by education, a several habit and custom of living; or by rea­son of some certain lawes, to the compliance whereunto, man is forced to regulate and square his life, manners, studies, and all other his acti­ons: and above all, peradventure there is no­thing of that first matter, which School-men call Materia prima, left in old and declining age, which was at the first entrance into this universe: This is the opinion of many and great learned Philosophers. Neither doth St. Tho. Aquinas, that illustrious School-man, seem to deny it, in 1. Part. Quest. ult. Art. 1. which being granted, the force of that first defluxion and celestial ef­fect, which was stamped and imprinted in man [Page 82] at his first being, must at last of necessity totally vanish and fade away; unless you will have it, that the same celestial vertue and power can pass from one subject to another, as it were flitting from house to house, by changing its habitation; or at least be so kinde, that when it perceives its own decay and feebleness, it will provide some neigh­bouring vertue of like condition and quality, to supply its place, and officiate in its room.

Whether the Conception or Nativity of man be more considerable to foretell Fortunes.

PTolomy the grand master of this Art affirms, that there is as much, if not more matter of weight and moment to be considered in the conception of man, as in his Nativity; these are his words: When the temporal begin­ning of man is set down according to nature, or as Schollars say, per se, or by its self, that will be the beginning, when the sperma, or seed, is ejected and ejaculated into the genital and apt place of con­ception; but in potency or accidentally when the in­fant falleth from his mothers womb, may be called his beginning also; he therefore that either by chance or observation obtains the knowledge, when the fit matter is aptly and duly received and inclosed in the vessel of conception, ought by all means to follow that exact time, to discover the proprieties of the [Page 83] minde and body of the then conceived Embrion, by observing the configurations & constellations at that very instant, &c. By which words he manifestly demonstrates, that the most efficacious, natural, and even the first beginning of man is when the seed is first received in the time of conception; upon which consideration the Astrologer ought principally to insist and reflect upon that mo­ment, and the then Constellation, to divine and foretell the future events, contingents, and af­fections, as well belonging to the body as the minde: But to give a salve to this sore, seeing it is almost impossible to know exactly the mo­ment before mentioned, either of conception, or the other, Ptolomy, lest their Art may seem to be eclipsed, who onely prognosticate from the na­tivity of man, addes these words: But he that cannot atttain to the knowledge of the seminal be­ginning, must of necessity content himself and make use of, and follow the time of the Nativity, to predict future events and fortunes.

Haly that so much admired and followed Astrologer, in his book which he writ concerning Elections candidly confesseth, that the efficacy and exactness of fore-telling the fate and for­tune of any man hath its greatest dependance upon the hour of conception: But because Astrologers cannot arrive at this height of knowledge, they are forced to flye for refuge [Page 84] to the hour of the nativity; and when this kinde of professors are put to't, and prest with the ar­gument of Twins, all that they have to say for themselves, and save their credit is, that the diver­sity of contingents and events in Twins, hap­pens by the diversity in Conception, and not in the Nativity.

The vanity of Astrologers in applying their Art not onely to Men, but also to walled Towns and Cities.

BEhold, courteous Reader, how great and shameless is the audacity and impudence of those fellows, who will not onely divine the for­tunes of Mortals, but Cities and Castles also; and tell you, that if you observe the Constella­tion when any City or the like hath its founda­tion laid, or is erected, you shall (if you will be­lieve them) calculate and divine the casualties, destinies, and events which hereafter shall befall and happen unto that place. Plutarch tells us in the life of Romulus, that Tarutius a certain Mathematician at the entreaty of Varro, made such a Calculation concerning the City of Rome. This story Cicero in the second book of his Divi­nation renders in these words: A certain man called L. Tarutius Firmanus, a familiar friend of mine, exquisitely fu [...]nisht and instructed in the Art [Page 85] and Discipline of the Chaldeans, dived into the foundation, or as I may call it birth time of our City, from these Configurations and Constellations of the Stars, under which he conceived it founded by Romulus; and finding it incohated in the wane of the Moon, made no scruple to prognosticate the fate and destiny thereof. O strange madness, and power­ful force of errour and blindenss! can possibly the foundation of Cities have any relation and depen­dency upon the force and power of the Moon and Stars? Suppose it possible to foretell events by Constellation of the Stars at the birth of a childe, will you thence infer, that it is easie and possible to de­clare and predict what will become of stone, brick, and mortar, with other materials, with which a City is constructed and built. Thus Cicero.

Why Astrological Observation may not be as pre­valent in Herbs and Animals, as in mankinde.

I Would gladly learn of those all-divining Masters, whether or no their Art have as much power over herbs and animals, as over man: If they answer negatively, they betray their own ignorance, the weakness, folly, and fallaciousness of their Art and Profession: For why should it not be as prevalent in such things as in men? nay, far more▪ for herbs and plants by a naturall necessity have greater dependance upon the [Page 86] power and efficience of the celestial bodies; and seeing that fewer (and those not so various and differing) Contingents happen to plants then men, by consequence it must be far more easie to predict their future events, then those of man­kinde: If they grant, that the stars have equi­volent dominion over plants, and mortals; I ask them calmly, and in a friendly way, if they ob­serve the position of the Heavens, and constella­tion in that very moment and season, when plums, cherries, or pears are grafted or inocula­ted; or in seed-time, when wheat or other grain is cast into the ground, and out of that prog­nostick observation they can foreshew what en­crease and multiplication all these trees and grain will produce; how many cherries on every tree, how many ears of wheat in every acre or couer, and how many wheat corns in every ear; if they grant me, that their skill cannot arrive at such a height or perfection, let them leave their babling to perswade me that they can foretell the future events of mortals.

Concerning the Antiquity of Astrology amongst the Egyptians and Chaldeans.

THe third basis and foundation of Astrolo­gers is, that their Art is backt and bolstered up with most certain experimentals, of I know [Page 87] not how many, even almost innumerable ages; and that the quintessence and marrow of that divine Art had its origin from the Chaldeans, and the Inhabitants of Babylon and Egypt, the very first and ancient possessors of this Universe; and Aristotle himself in his book concerning the Heavens, and in another, wherein he treats of Meteors, affirms, that the Egyptians are the most ancient Planters in the terrestrial Globe; and in the beginning of his Metaphysicks he saith, The Egyptians the most ancient amongst mortals first invented and digested the Mathematicall Art and Science. And the former and ancient Astro­logers were wont to boast, that the Chaldeans successively employed their time and endeavours for the space of 470. thousand years, in calcula­ting the Nativities, and carefully keeping and reserving the experimentals and observations of the children in that so long a time born: But this is so manifest an untruth, a lye so palpable, that it may almost be felt, and therefore not worth mentioning or confutation; for since the very first Creation of the world there have elapsed not much more then 6000. years, and from the first originall of that Nation of the the Chaldeans, viz. from the confusion of tongues at the subversion of Babels Tower, not more then 4000. years. Picus Mirand. in the second Chapter of his second Book against [Page 88] Astrologers, brings Hypparchus and Ptolomy, grand masters in this Mystery, to confute this imaginary and Chimerical Antiquity of Astro­logy; for these very Grandees when they la­bour any conclusion or dogmaticall precept, from the long and prolix observations of their Predecessors, they can ascend no higher then the Reign of Nebuchadnezzar that potent Mo­narch amongst the Egyptians and Babylonians; and since the first inauguration of that Prince, and beginning of his Empire to this present year of our blessed Saviours Incarnation, (saith mine Author when he writ this Treatise) 1588. there cannot be computed above 2232. years. And St. Augustine, that grave and learned Doctor, in chap. 4. book 18. of the City of God, checks and scoffs at this fantastick vanity, saying; Foolishly do these men babble and prate, who go about to make the world believe, that it is above an hundred thou­sand years since first the Egyptians found out the power and influences of the Stars; from whom I pray did they extract such collections, it being not above 2000. years, since first of all that Nation learnt the art of Letters from their first Mistris Isis? This Varro, who is no mean Author, delivers un­to us. And thus we conclude the eight reasons, by which it is demonstrated this kinde of Astro­logy or Divination to be opposite and contrary to the true and solid grounds of Philosophy.

CHAP. 4. The Stars are so far from being the Causes, that they are not as much as Signs of future things.

SAint Augustine in his fifth book of the Ci­ty of God saith, That there were some men, and those of esteem for their learn­ing and knowledge, who although they did not allow the stars to be the causes of hu­mane affairs, yet granted them to be certain and infallible signs thereof.

Whether or no if the Stars be not causes, they may be certain signs of future events.

ORigen in his Treatise upon Genesis (as Euse­bius tells us in his sixth book of Evangeli­cal Preparation) explaining these words, And they shall be for signs, in the first Chapter of Ge­nesis, (which words beget the argument of this present discourse) delivers unto us, that God placed the stars in the firmament, that by their several aspects and conjunctions they might pre­signifie unto us what things in future times, whe­ther universal or particular, shall happen, but not [Page 90] be the causes thereof; and therefore he com­pares the Heavens unto a book, in which the great God as with a pencil hath delineated and drawn forth all the contingents which shall hap­pen in future ages, so long as this fading world shall last; and to strengthen this assertion, he ci­teth a certain book, entituled, Josephs Narration, formerly highly esteemed, where the Patriarch Jacob is brought upon the stage, thus speaking to his sons: I have read in the tables of heaven what­soever shall befall to you and your sons. Plotinus a Coetanean and School-fellow of Origen, was of the same opinion, and asserts it in a Book which he entitles, Whether or no the Stars have any power; and in another book concerning Fate in the sixth chapter he saith, that this is the use and benefit of the stars, that whosoever beholds them and contemplates as books and letters, and is skilful in this kind of literature, shall know future things from those figures, if with a kind of anolo­gicall comparison he diligently search out their mysteries and signification: and Porphirius affirms, that being fully bent to kill and make away him­self, he was diverted from that wicked resoluti­on, by the means of Plotinus, who fore-saw the danger by the vertue of the stars.

This opinion Julius Severus in his ninth book of Fate will not have to be exploded or con­demned; and that he may make it appear pro­bable [Page 91] and plausible, he bringeth some sentences out of holy Writ to trim and deck it up withall; for, saith he to grace the matter, Isaiah chap. 34. not obscurely tells us, And the heavens shall be folded together like a book; by which it is meant, that after the day of judgement, the heavens like a book shall be claspt, and fast shut up, which now are laid open, and exposed for us to read and meditate; and to the same effect and pur­pose, that of Psalm 21. The Heavens shall de­clare his justice; and in Psalm 18. The Heavens shew forth the glory of God; and in the first book of Genesis speaking of the stars, And they shall be for signs; and in Psalm 88. The Heavens shall confesse thy marvellous works, O Lord. Neither, quoth Origin, doth this opinion take away free­will in man, no more then formerly did the Pro­phesies of the ancient Prophets, or the prescience of all future things, which is in Almighty God, and resteth in his divine bosome. Plotinus opi­nionates, that this power and skill to predict fu­ture things by vertue of the stars is given to man either by the singular favour of Almighty God, or through the excellent knowledge in Astrolo­gy; for the obtaining whereof we use all possi­ble diligence and acurate study.

And Julius Severus perswades himself, that St. Augustine was not much averse or alienated from this opinion, by reason that in his second [Page 92] book against the Manicheans, cap. 21. speaking of man, who whilst he is invested with mortallity, hath these words: Neither is it to be thought, that in the Celestial Bodies our thoughts are so conceal­ed, as in these our bodies; but as certain motions of the minde appear in the countenance, especially in the eyes, so in the perspicuity and pureness of the Celestial Bodies, our motions of the minde cannot be conceal­ed, as I imagine.

Whether according to St. Augustine the Stars are Signs of all humane affairs.

IF any man peruse attentively this place of St. Augustine, by these words Gelestial Bodies, he shall finde him not to understand the Celestiall Orbes, but the bodies of the blessed, who after the Resurrection shall be invested with celestiall glory and immortality; making a grand distincti­on betwixt men encaged in this fragile and pe­rishing body, and the beautified, who enjoy the fruition of Almighty God, and live a life Ange­lical: and whereas here on earth we can palliate and cloak our thoughts and cunning dissemblings, and thereby make our neighbours believe that which we never intend; in Heaven all thoughts are mutually discovered, all glossing couzening, and dissembling utterly laid aside and cast off. And that this is the meaning of that great [Page 93] Doctor, these his ensuing words demonstrate: These therefore deserve that blessed habitation, and happy change into Angelical forms and brightness; who when they had power in this mortal pilgrimage, under homely habits to palliate leasings and un­truths detested it, and onely with a most flagrant and ardent zeal of truth and verity shunned whatsoever might scandalize the hearer, abhorring upon what account soever to tell a lye; for the time will come, when nothing will be hid, and whatsoever is hid shall be made manifest. So that we see St. Augustine speaketh clearly and perspicuously of glorified bodies, and not of Celestial Orbes, Heavens, or Stars; so that I am in admiration, that Julius Severus should so inconsiderately and rashly read over this place, and through misunderstanding brand so eminent a man with an opinion, which he is so far from maintaining, that in the fifth book of the City of God, he utterly opposeth and confuteth.

Of the nature and variety of Signs.

THat the stars are signs of future events, I con­ceive not onely contradictory to solid Phi­losophy, but also opposite and repugnant to ho­ly Scripture; and although the reasons which I have alledged in the premises be sufficient to convince this infirm doctrine; yet in this place I [Page 94] will produce other forcible arguments to corro­borate what formerly I have maintained: First therefore whatsoever is a natural sign of another thing, that upon necessity must be either its cause or effect, or both, and proceed from the superior and common cause; for besides these, what fourth member can be imagined, to have the sign upon necessity joyned with the cause by it signi­fied; this is no way distinct from the third Mem­ber, for such a connexion and conjunction can no other wayes have a being, then that the cause should produce that out of it self, which is the Sign; and then that which is the thing signified, as the same thing which moves the cause to acti­on and excites it, must also applicate and apply that which is presignified; but each of these must necessarily be referred to the common cause, from whence this argument may be framed: If the Heavens and Stars be signs of all sublunary things, they are either their causes (which this opinion allows not) or the effects, which no man in his wits will grant, or presume to affirm; or else (which is all that can be said) as well celesti­al as sublunary things proceed from the common cause; as the Rain-bow is sign of fair weather, not that it is the cause or effect thereof, but one and the same is the common cause of both; up­on necessity the common cause of celestiall and sublunary bodies must either be corporeal or in­corporeal: [Page 95] I do not think they will say it is cor­poreal, for above the Heavens there is no body at all; therefore they must grant, that all things must be referred to an incorporeal cause; that is, ei­ther to God himself or Angels, who moves the Heavens: so that whilst Angels move the Hea­vens, in the very state, habit, position, and con­formation of those Heavens, as it were by cer­tain nods and becks of theirs like notes and signs described therein, they should point out and predict the events and contingents of humane affairs; but this in many respects is not credible, for whosoever grounds upon this foundation, must needs grant and say, that Angels induce mortals unto all, and whatsoever, even the great­est and most horrid fins and villanies.

In this point Philosophy doth inform us, and also Theology doth the like, that there is no acti­on of Angels, (as they call it) transeant, which immediately proceeds from them, other then lo­cal motion; and that the Angels who do circum­volve and wheel about the Celestial Orbes, these I say, those great masters averre to have no other operation concerning humane affairs, then what proceeds from motion and the light of the Hea­vens: For those I know not what insluences di­stinct from light, I have formerly sufficiently made null; and there is no man so brain-sick, who will affirm, if he will speak things probable [Page 96] and likely, that motion and the light of heaven can infallibly, clearly, and distinctly premon­strate all future effects of sublunary things; and again, when two effects of the same cause neces­sarily shew one the other, as they must proceed from the same cause, so must they also proceed after one and the same manner, otherwise it can­not be that they should indicate one another: Such things as are brough [...] to pass by God and his Angels in Celestial bodies must have their be­ings necessarily and invariably; whereas those which are beneath the Moon, have their contin­gency very mutably, and I may say defectively.

In like manner other arguments may be fra­med; if the stars who are confined to a set and certain number, and of a like condition, can be signs of future things, which are almost infinite both in number and variety, and in themselves discrepant and differing: How can the same posi­ture and conformity of stars, under which Twins and many others are born in in the same moment of time, be a certain sign properly and distinctly to presignifie so many several and distinct dis­positions, casualties, and events, as we daily dis­cover in them? therefore if we grant the stars to be signs of future things, we must also affirm them to be their causes; and if we deny them to be Causes, we must also deny them to be Signs.

Whether Comets or Blazing Stars be signs of humane affairs.

THou wilt perhaps avouch that Comets which are generated in the high and sublime air, are signs which predict strange and wonderfull events to ensue, and of those Contingents the Comets are neither the causes nor effects; and therefore probable it is, that the stars are in the like condition in respect of sublunary affairs: for my part I shall never grant Comets to be signs of humane chances and events, though this is as much believed amongst the vulgar, as exploded by wise men: Should I walk hand in hand with the vul­gar in this errour, and say that the Stars produ­ced the Comets as Poasts or Curriours to go be­fore them to foretell future events; if I should, I say, grant this, yet concerning the stars another account is to be given, for that they have no cor­poreal cause superiour unto them.

Whether those men who make the Stars signs of fu­ture things, do thereby upon necessity establish that thing call'd Fate.

WE will make no great business of this the Authors of this opinion although un­willingly engage themselves in a necessity of [Page 98] Fate, far more then those who will have the stars to be the causes of sublunary effects; for grant that the stars should be the causes of all things which are produced beneath the moon, yet for all this there is no necessity of bugg-bear fate; for what is to be done and effected upon earth by the in­fluences and defluxions of the stars that may be impeded and crost by contrary affections of the matter, or by the intervening of particular cau­ses as obstructions thereunto: But if stars be na­turally the signs of future Contingents, then up­on necessity whatsoever they signifie must come to pass, otherwise they are signs fallacious and deceitfull: and seeing that our great God hath ordained and instituted them to signifie and give notice of things, and hath engraven them in hea­ven as in some voluminous Tome, to point out and be as it were Indexes of things to come to pass; if the event of these things which they signifie should not prove answerable, you must either make God their author ignorant, or a great impostor and deceiver: If you say the starres presignific what is to be done in some particular causes, and onely in some and not in all, this is extreamly improbable and fable like; for why should the stars foretell the future chances and effects of some particular effects, rather then of others, and not rather of all alike, the reason be­ing indifferent and like in all; or else you must [Page 99] say, that the stars are the future effects of all par­ticular causes: If this be so, it must needs follow that there will be no causes left remaining to im­pede, obstruct, or hinder whatsoever is by the stars predicted, and it will necessarily come to pass, that whatsoever is sublunary must be tied to an absolute fate and necessity which the defen­ders of this opinion will not allow of, or should they, it were most wicked and impious.

As concerning that Text of Isaiah 54. The Heavens like a book shall be folded up; which a­mongst all the places of Scripture formerly set down seems to have the most of difficulty in it, I finde it diversly, and by divers and severall Expositors glossed and interpreted; yet no ex­position, if it be of an approved Authour, or at least probable, which makes for, or sides with that opinion. Justinus Martyr answering to the forty ninth interrogatory of the Orthodoxes, wherein the Querie was, how that place of Isaias was to be understood, when he saith; That the Heavens like a book shall be folded up: saith, as the divine word sometimes by a similitude compares hea­ven to a skin extended, saying, who extends the hea­ven like a skin; other times to smoak, other times to a chamber: and so on the contrary, speaking of the dissolution of the heavens, it is compared to a book and other things, and by David in his Psalms to a gar­ment waxing old. St. Hierom upon the same [Page 100] words saith; we must observe that he saith not the heavens to perish, but to be wrapped up like a book, that after all sins were detected and made manifest and read, they should no more be opened, never more to have the sins of men writ­ten in them. In the Scripture the Heavens are said to shew the justice of God, to reveal his an­ger, to prove and give testimony of mans wick­edness.

St. Thomas and Nicholas de Lyra expound these words after another manner; the Heavens, ac­cording to them, like a book shall be shut up, that is, henceforth Ethnicks shall make no use of their Astronomancy, nor dare to foretell the fu­ture events of mankinde, as if they were able to read from the stars future fortunes and contin­gents. Others interpret these words thus, there shall be no further entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, from henceforth the gates thereof shall be shut up: Others expound these words in this sense; the help, use, and ministery of the Hea­vens and Stars, which is bestowed upon man­kinde before the day of judgement, after shall cease, and have no more being; for although the Heavens shall not utterly perish and be anihila­ted, yet those good offices and favours which now they perform on the behalf of mortals and their sakes, shall after that day of dread and ter­rour cease, and shall have a long vacation, which [Page 101] by Isaiah is excellently exprest in the similitude of a book, which when we have made what use we can of it, and fully perus'd it, we clasp and shut it up, and lay it aside.

Another interpretation of this place is not to be rejected; some are of opinion, that in that terrible day by this similitude is meant the high indignation wrath and just anger of the supream Judge against those Nations of whom the Pro­phet speaketh: such a hurly-burly, confusion and consternation; such horrour, fear, and trembling amongst the reprobate; such remorse, grief, and anguish of minde, that through the very vehe­mency thereof, the very celestial luminaries will seem as it were to be extinguished, the starres to drop from the firmament, the motions of the Orbs to be in rebellion, and heaven it self to be wrapped up and foulded, and vanish away: and what is here said by the Prophet to be foulded up, by St. John in the Apocalyps, is said to recede and depart away.

But to make this more plain, if such as are not acquainted with Antiquities startle at this word folded up, speaking of the book, in the simili­tude, they must know that the Pebrews (as also the Romans and all civiliz'd people) had not their books bound up in Folio, Quarto, or Octavo, as the now mode and form is, but in a different manner▪ for they had skins of velome or parch­ment, [Page 102] or else the thin rindes of trees, tatched and fixed together (of one and the same breadth) in length, and being fastned at the one end to a Cylineer, or round piece of wood they resem­bled much our Pedegrees which are drawn by Heralds, or a web of cloth wrapt about a weavers beam, so that when they had a minde to peruse any parcel or passage, they did fold and unfold as occasion required; and this the Prophet used as a similitude: for as the Mem­branes encircle the round piece of wood, so do the Heavens environ and compass the Terrestrial Globe one above another, and wheeling round about it, as it were their Axle-tree. Thus have you heard many expositions of this seeming hard place of Esaias, and I am confident your own judgements will tell you, that not any one of them favours these grave masters of Astrology, Southsayers, Fortune-tellers, Star-gazers, Quacks, or what you will call them.

CHAP. 5. How it comes to pass, that Astrologers foretells many things true.

IT now remaineth (that we make an end of this disputation and draw to an period) that we lay open the reason why so many Astro­logicall predictions prove true and congru­ent with the events and contingents: Of this subject we spoke something formerly; but that it might be the more clearly handled, and for the better understanding of the Reader it is princi­pally reserved to this its proper place.

Although it be most certain & uncontroulably true, that Astrologicall predictions are most false, as we have already sufficiently demonstrated; but because in former ages, yea and in our present▪ all-knowing times it is almost believed, and that by grave and learned persons, as a granted funda­mental, that in a manner all predictions of skil­ful Astrologers have proved true, and attested by their events and issue thereof, and that very few or none have fallen out contrary to what they have divined. Well, let us also follow this torrent, lest we should be thought to swimme a­gainst the stream, and seem to be Joannes è con­trario, [Page 104] in opposing that which by publick saith and authority is cryed up and embraced, the veri­ty of those predictions being granted, let us ex­amine and look into the causes thereof; viz. by what means Astrologers can infallibly fore-tell future things, which seeing of themselves they are uncertain, they fall not within the power and notion of humane intellect; I will avoid prolixi­ty, and therefore do peremptorily affirm, that if any predictions of Astrologers have proved true, that truth proceeded not from the verity and fir­mity of that art of Astronomancy, but from other causes; and what these causes be I will tell you succinctly.

Four causes there are, by reason whereof Astrologers sometimes speak truth.
Sometimes by the very instinct of the Devil men are prick forwards to divine future things.

The first Cause.

SOmetimes the verity of those predictions proceeds from a clandestine contract betwixt the Devil and the Astrologer, otherwhiles by an implicite instinct or contract, and unperceptible instigation of the grand Impostor the generall enemy of mankinde; men though ignorant in [Page 105] themselves of the devils delusion, are impelled and egg'd on to divine and prophesie. This St. Augustine confirms in the fifth book of the City of God, chap. 7. saying, Not without cause do men be­lieve that when Astrologers miraculously almost, or at least strangely, foretell many things which prove true, that is done by the instinct and help of wicked spirits, whose sollicitous care it is to imprint and in­graft in the mindes of men the noxious and soul de­stroying doctrine and opinion concerning syderial Fate, which possibly cannot be discovered by the Art of in­specting or observing the Horoscope; which Art indeed is none at all. Thus St. Augustine.

By how many wayes the Devil by himself can fore­tell or teach others to do the like in future things.

THe Devil first perswades man and buzzeth in his ear, that he will teach him how to fore­tell future contingents and accidents, either by presenting himself unto him in a visible form and shape, making large promises; or else articula­ting and frame voices in the air, fore-shewing succeeding events without the assumption of any aerial body; or by dropping down some scroll or character which shall contain such like divinations; otherwhiles by dreams when we sleep, at other times to men perfectly awake, by working upon their fancy, by poisoning and pos­sessing [Page 106] it with strange chymericall imaginations, thereby to move the phantasie to apprehend strange phantasmaes, whilst by this deceit he moulds the party into an apt and fit disposition, to predict and prophesie that which the phantas­ma represented unto him: The devil may know some future things (which he imparteth) by di­vine revelation, disclosed unto him by a good Angel; for sometimes Almighty God to bring things to their allotted end useth the ministery of the devil: Other times the same Chapman will discover to man that which he himself is resolved to put in execution, and by reason of the incom­parable celerity of his motion, he informs his friends in a trice and moment of the transacti­ons of the most remote Regions in the world: yet more, this cunning enemy of our hop't for felicity, from cabinet councells, private confe­rences, letters writ in never so concealed and un­known cyphers and characters, from private marks which are either interiorly inherent, or ex­teriorly in mans body: By a too too vigilant and sollicitous investigation will shrewdly guesse at and discover mans occult and hidden cogita­tions and inclinings, and those discover to his best beloved favourites: Another way he goes to work, which is by the causes which necessarily must concurr to produce such an effect: and lastly, by reason of the extream subtlety and di­ligence [Page 107] of his understanding, his long experience of so many thousand years, his great and exact knowledge in all naturall things, he must needs have a strong advantage to search out and mani­fest future events.

The very thing of which we have now dis­coursed is by St. Augustine in his book upon Gen. chap. 7. most exactly and candily demonstrated, and therefore I judge it not amisse to set down his words: Concerning fates and subtil quirks of the stars, and documental experiments drawn as it were from the art of demonstrating, or Mathesis her self, which they call Apotelesmes, we utterly reject as being incoherent and opposite to Catholick and Christi­an Faith; for by such like disputations the force and necessity of prayer is taken away: Sin (which ought to be corrected) bolster'd up, the fault is ra­ther laid upon God the authour and creatour of the Stars, then upon sinful mans wickedness; and there­fore we must confess and say that when any truth or veracities are predicted, it is done by an occult and inperceptible Instinct, which our weak capacities unwittingly entertain; which since it is done to de­ceive and seduce poor man into errour, questionless it is no other then the work and operation of seducing spi­rits, unto whom it is permitted to know some certain truth concerning temporal affairs; partly by reason of the strong acumen of their most subtle intellect; and partly by reason of their long and cunning expe­rience, [Page 108] proceeding from the vaste longitude and time of their being and continuance; and lastly, revela­tion from the holy Angels, being appointed so to do by their Almighty Creator, who distributes and dispo­seth humane merits, according to the sincerity of his most secret and hidden justice; and sometimes those wicked spirits 'predict some things which they them­selves are resolved to bring to pass by the way of pro­phesie or divination; and good Christians ought to avoid and flye this sort of Mathematicians or any other whosoever professing to tell Fortunes, (although sometimes they tell the truth) lest they entangle and ensuare their deceived souls by some clandestine and implicite contract with this grand enemy the devill. Thus St. Augustine.

How many severall wayes and how grievously men sin, who either make use of the devil, or help of his Servants the Fortune-tellers, to know future things.

MAn plungeth himself in a gulf of sin, who­soever he is that hath recourse to the De­vil or Astrologers the Devils Instruments or Tra­panners, to dive into future contingents; in this case many and several are the wayes of falling in­to sin; first when he addresses himself to the de­vil or the Astrologer his decoy to know future events, confiding that the devil for certain knows [Page 109] whatsoever shall happen; for seeing that it is onely proper and peculiar to the highest and divine Majesty to know future contingents; he who so impiously attributes that knowledge to the devil, falls into the horrid sin of Impiety and Idolatry: and if it be accounted a sin to con­sociate and keep company with one excommuni­cated by the holy Church, how much more will it be to enter into league, drive bargain, and make contracts with the most malignant enemy of Gods Church, a blasphemer of the Deity, and most envious and implacable enemy of man­kinde, who God himself hath banished from the society both of men and Angels, unto the dark and hideous shades and infernall cloisters, and hath inflicted upon him eternall and everlasting plagues and torments: and will man be so mad as to take and make use of such an accursed feind for his master, friend, and guide? And whoso­ever he be that enters into this devillish famili­arity and combination, runs the extream hazzard of losing his soul, being lull'd asleep with the sweet incantations and syrenicall allurements of these divining Prognostications, which the devill layeth as an ambuscado to entrap and circumvent poor man: He again highly offends the divine Majesty who consults with Astrologers to know the secret and hidden sins of his neighbour; and lastly he is inexcusably to be blamed, who runs [Page 110] after those Miscreants, the Devil, and Astro­nomancers his Disciples, whereby to enable him­self to perpetrate some horrid villany and mis­chief.

These kinde of Astrologers are for most part of a wicked life and conversation.

THese Quacks are Imps of the devil, Famili­ars and Comrades of Satan, for no better are our Fortune-tellers, as may easily be demon­strated: First, by the impurity of their lives, and brutishness of their conversation; secondly, by the contempt they have of Christian Religion, and the true exercise of piety and practice of de­votion; thirdly, as Owls they hate the light, and shun the society of good and vertuous men, sel­dom appear in publick but lurk in holes and pri­vate corners, avoiding as much as in them lies, any over-seer of their exorbitant and unlawfull pro­ceedings; of whose faith and religion, and not without cause, the wiser sort of men make a groat scruple and question: And to conclude, in Spain, and where the Inquisition is in force, many of this sort of fellows having been secu­red and put in durance, and duly examined by the learned Judges of that Court and Tribunal, have openly confest their unchristian-like commerce and familiarity with the Devil.

The second Cause.

THe second Cause why Astrologers sometimes divine truly, happens through the occult and hidden disposing of Divine Providence; which (as St. Augustine in his fourth and seventh book of Confessions saith) doth so agitate by a private and unperceptible instinct, the blinde and wicked mindes of these Diviners, that though they themselves be ignorant thereof, yet they tell to their Clients and Customers such things as either through their own demerit or out of the inscrutible abysse of the just judge­ment of the Highest, are most fit for them to hear.

Of the use of casting Lots amongst the Ancients to discover future things.

AMongst the Ancients was a solemn custom to select certain verses out of Poets, and roll them up as we see in Lotteries of our age, or chusing of Valentines, and to draw them out of boxes, hats, or aprons, by which it often happen­ed that men drew verses, which contained that which was agreeable either to their present for­tune or future condition; as it happened in Alex­ander Severus being then but a youth or strip­ling, [Page 112] (and far from any hopes of aspiring to a Monarchal Diadem) who being amongst divers of his associates at this interlude and pastime, extracted out of the box or scrutiny some Verses of that illustrious Poet Publius Virgilius Maro, contained in the sixth book of his Aeneids, which predicted the Command of the whole Romane Empire.

Be carfull how to rule the Romane State.
'Twill be thy charge allotted out by Fate;
The humble cherish, and the proud cast down,
Cut Traytors off, and thou shalt keep thy Crown.

And it is no wonder that such things now and then come to passe through the permission of God, moving the mindes, moderating the tongue, and sorting and mingling the lots according as he will have things to evene and fall out; for not onely Balaam the South-sayer and false Prophet, but his Asse also foretold most certain veracities and future events.

By the permission of God those who so earnestly gape after the knowledge of future things, are catcht in Satans nets and toyles, and intangled in many per­nicious errours.

WE must not in this place omit the grave, good, and Christian admonition of St. [Page 113] Augustine in his book of Christian Doctrine, chap. 22, 23. wherein he averts, ‘That now and then even by the permission of our heavenly Creator it is so brought about, that the devils by the help of man forelleth many things which prove true, whereby many seduced by a va­rious superstition, destructive perswasion, and impious curiosity, in believing those vain Divi­nations, being left to themselves, or as it were by God forsaken, through the demerit of their fore past sins and transgressions, run head-long into most dangerous and execrable villanies and enormities: let us take St. Augustine along with us. Hence it is, saith he, that through a hidden and occult divine judgement men thirst­ing after the knowledge of unlawful things, are delivered over as their want on voluptuousness hath deserved to be deluded and deceived by the fraud and deceit of the prevaricating An­gels, unto whom the lowest part of the world, according to the admirable order of things by Institute of Divine Providence, is subjected; by which deceptions and delusions it falls out, that through the most damnable and superstitious divinations, many as well future as present con­tingents are discovered, and happen according­ly as by them predicted; and many things fall out through their observations, of the adorers of this art, that being intangled they become [Page 114] daily more and more curious, and so ensnare and involve themselves in the traps and tacklings of most pernicious errour; this kinde of soul-fornication the sacred Scripture disco­vers and also addes; if they fore-tell you things which really so fall out, yet give no faith or belief unto them: for though the Image of dead Samuel foretold unto Saul veracities, yet was the sacriledge by which that Image was effected the more to be execrated and detested. The woman in the Acts of the Apostles told things which were true and certain, did St. Paul therefore connive at that wicked spirit? no, he chastized him, and dispossessing and casting him forth, delivered and freed the poor creature from that vexation and thraldom: then needs must all these Apotelesmatical Arts and obnoxi­ous superstitions begotten and brought forth by pestiferous combination betwixt man and the devill, be odious and hateful to knowing mortals, and to be avoided and abhorted by all good Christians: Thus this great light of Gods Church.’

To these may be added two causes more, and although not so probable, yet as much in use and practice.

Many foretell future Events rather out of a pru­dence and experience in humane things, then by Astrological Art. The third Cause.

MAny there are who foretell future things not so much by their skill in Astrology, and Apotelesmaticals, as by a deep and searching reach of a pregnant intellect, and by a long knowledge in the practice of humane affaires, from whence they divine strange things to their Clients, from the observation and insight in their affairs and negotiations, employments, studies, and conditions; for some there are who taking a survey of the temper, affections, and inclinati­ons of other mens bodies and constitutions, and observing what kinde of course of life they lead, whether vertuously or viciously inclined, what company they frequent, what exercises they de­light in, they imagine and intimate what is like­ly to befall them; and from hence with a great deal of audacity and impudent confidence pre­dict what ensuing events shall befall them: And according to this rule and score when they see a Prince to tyrannize over his Subjects, and rack them with Contributions, Excize, Free quarter, and such like other extortions, presently they di­vine, [Page 116] that this Potentate shall be murthered, or unking'd: If any man spend his time in robbing by the high way, breaking up of houses, or the like, Oh he shall be hang'd; a blasphemer of God and Religion, a broacher of damnable Heresies, a murderesse of her Husband, questionlesse you shall be told, such an one must be bound at a stake, and round about it fire and fagots, and so be burnt to death. This kinde of divining crafty Hannibal made use of, who perceiving the temeri­ty, rashnesse, and ignorance in the Martial Disci­pline of the Romane Consuls and General, Te­rentius Varro and C. Flaminius foretold and pro­phesied unto his Africans a glorious victory, and to the Romans an ignominious overthrow and dismal slaughter; which confident assertion of Hannibal, the immediate overthrow of the Ro­mane Army, and destruction of the souldiers, made current and good.

The too much confidence and credulity of such as run after Astrologers oft times is the cause of their speaking truth. The fourth Cause.

OFt times the predictions of Astrologers prove true, through the foolish and light credulity of their Clients; for men for the most [Page 117] part give credit and belief unto such things as are foretold them either concerning the results they most vehemently desire and thirst after, or such as they most extreamly fear and abhor: for this vain and sottish credulity of persons gaping after that preknowledge of their fortunes doth distill and infuse into their thoughts, either a grand hope of the good which the Star-gazers promise; or contrariwise, an inavoidable fear and sadnesse, abhorring the deplorable and fatall events which they are made believe shall shortly fall upon them: These two passions of the minde Hope and Fear have such dominion and power over man, that they work strangely upon him, and oft are the efficients, that Contingents come so to passe as predicted by Astrologers; for a vehement and ardent hope and desire of the promised good fortunes, doth ofttimes so stir up and induce man to make himself fit to receive them, that he employeth all his endeavours; and useth his utmost sedulity to make himself a wor­thy subject fit to receive and entertain so great and wisht for fortunes and preferments; and by this careful disposition of man in himself it often comes to pass, that he hits the mark, and arrives at the port and haven of his so longingly lookt after promist happinesse and good for­tunes: and on the other side, the terror, fear, and horrour of calamities and evils foretold so work [Page 118] upon mens thoughts and imaginations, that when they are to undertake any matter of con­cernment, they hang in suspence, afflict them­selves, fear, doubt, and cast a thousand stumbling blocks and scare-crows before their apprehensi­ons, and thereby leave the business unattempted, or at least not brought to perfection, and so fall through their own folly into those miseries & sad catastrophe's which were predicted unto them. Of this we have an excellent and convincing ex­ample which happened in a Romane Army (as (Lucius writes) being ready to fight the enemy: The Commanders and Southsaying Priests (as the then custom was) beheld the Intrails of a sacrifi­ced Victim, thereby to conjecture of the future event of the battle; but alas they found all the Omens inauspicious, prefiguring nothing but ru­ine and destruction; yet wisely consulting among themselves, they laid a fair varnish on a rotten in­side, and by an officious or rather necessary and profitable Lye, made the Army believe that the Omens pretended Laurells, Victories, and Tri­umphs: The souldiers by this encouraging prog­nostication (though onely a time-service Lye) heartned and animated with courage and un­daunted bravery, joyn battle, and boldly engage the enemy, put to flight and rout those Squa­drons, Files, and Troops, which the Augurs and Diviners through their superstitious observations [Page 119] denounced Victors. Contrarily Misias, High Admirall of a great Armado of the Athenians, beholding a sudden Eclipse of the Moon, vainly imagined with himself, that if he weighed anchor that night, and set sail, some disaster or storm would scatter and confound his Navy; through foolish fear he stayes still in his supposed safe har­bour, but before morning, to chastise his folly, he together with his whole Fleet is surprized by the Syracusans. And here to make good my pro­mise made in the beginning to avoid prolixity, I conclude this Discourse concerning Astrologicall Divination.

To the Eternal Father Creator of all things: To our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: To the Holy Spirit, to whom onely things present, past, and future are perfectly known and manifest, be all Glory, Honour, and Praise for ever and ever. AMEN.


The Index of the Discourses contained in this short Treatise.

  • CHAP. 1.
    • 1. AStrological Divination contrary to Divine Scripture, Ecclesiastical Discipline, and Theological Doctrine, and by it confuted. Fol. 1
    • 2. Of the vanity of Apollo's Oracles. 7
    • 3. Why the Devils in foretelling future things so often erre. 9
    • 4. The Truth and Verity of Christian Religion, cannot cohere with the Truth of Judicial Astrology. 10
    • 5. How severe the Church hath been in former times in her censure against this kinde of Astrologers. 17
    • 6. Concerning many most false and evidently im­pious Assertions. 19
  • CHAP. 2.
    • 7. Judiciary Astrology arraigned and convinc't by [Page] Philosophy, and the Professors proved altogether igno­rant of Celestial Things. 22
    • 8. Against the fictitious Antiquity which these men vainly boast to have concerning observations 27
    • 9. Of the strange star which some years since ap­peared. 31
    • 10. What a difficult thing it is punctually to ob­serve what force the Aspects of the Stars have in every mans Nativity. 33
  • CHAP. 3.
    • 11. Supposing Astrologers to know the very depth and cognition of heavenly matters, yet by eight rea­sons it shall be made manifest, that they are not able to tell future Events. 37
    • 12. Besides Celestial Causes, the knowledge of par­ticular Causes is most requisite to know their effects. 38
    • 13. Of the equal birth and unequall fortune and events of Twins. 40
    • 14. The equisite Argumentation of Bardesanes against Astrologers. 45
    • 15. Whether it be easier to Prognosticate, what a good or a bad man shall do. 53
    • 16. How vain a thing it is to believe, that Astro­logers can tell any man that he shall be chosen chief Bishop or Pontifex. 57
    • 17. That the Art and Science of Astrology is [Page] none, or not considerable. 59
    • 18. The vanity and falsity of Astrological Pre­dictions. 61
    • 19. Errors of Astrologers in Chronology. 63
    • 20. Astronomancy in all ages hath been exploded and condemned by prudent and knowing men. 68
    • 21. What sort of men delight in these Astrologi­cal Predictions, whom St. Ambrose compares to a Spiders Web. 72
    • 22. An argument against three Fundamentals of Astrology Judiciary. 75
    • 23. Whether the birth-stars of any man can be the certain causes of things which shall befall him. 80
    • 24. Whether the Conception or Nativity of man be more considerable to foretell fortunes. 82
    • 25. The vanity of Astrologers in applying their Art not onely to men, but also to walled Towns and Cities. 84
    • 26. Why Astrological observations may not be as prevalent in Hearbs and Animals, as in mankinde. 85
    • 27. Concerning the Antiquity of Astrology a­mongst the Egyptians and Chaldeans. 86
  • CHAP. 4.
    • 28. Whether or no if the Stars be not causes, they may be certain signs of future events, 89
    • 29. Whether or no, according to St. Augustine, the [Page] Stars are Signs of all humane affairs. 9
    • 30. Of the nature and variety of Signs. 9
    • 31. Whether Comets or Blazing Stars be signs o [...] humane affairs. 9 [...]
    • 32. Whether those men who make the Stars signs of future things, do thereby upon necessity establist that thing call'd Fate. Ibid
  • CHAP. 5.
    • 33. How it comes to pass, that Astrologers fore­tell many things true. 103
    • 34. Sometimes by the very instinct of the Devil men are prickt forwards to divine future things 104
    • 35. By how many wayes the Devil by himself can foretell or teach others to do the like in future things 105
    • 36. How many severall wayes and how grievously men sin, who either make use of the devil, or help of his Servants the Fortune-tellers, to know future things. 108
    • 37. These kinde of Astrologers are for most part of a wicked life and conversation. 110
    • 38. Of the use of casting Lots amongst the An­cients to discover future things. 111
    • 39. By the permission of God those who so earnestly gape after the knowledge of future things, are catcht in Satans nets and toyles, and intangled in many per­nicious [Page] errours 112
    • 40. Many foretell future events rather out of prudence and experience in humane affairs, then by Art Astrological. 115
    • 41. The too much confidence and credulity of such as run after Astrologers oft times is the cause of their speaking truth. 116

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