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Broadside story concerning a man who became possessed by an evil spirit


An account of the strange and wonderful manner in which John Fox, who some time ago lived
near Nottingham, was sorely afficted with an Evil Spirit, that threw him into fits, de-
prived him of the power of speech, spoke within him, and endeavoured to baffle the efforts of
the Ministers who attended him, whose names are here mentioned; also an account how he was
at length relieved, after remaining three years dumb, and lived a virtuous and religious life.

IN the life of Mr. Richard Rothwell (a famous
Preacher at Mansfield, in the county of Nothing-
ham) we have this remarkable account, as it was
drawn up by Mr. Stanly GOWER of Dorchester:
There was one John Fox, living about Nottingham,
who had no more learning than enabled   him to Write:
and read. This man was possessed with a devil,
who would violently throw him down; and take
away the use of every member of his body, which
was changed as black as pitch, while those fits were
upon him; and then spoke with an audible voice
within him, which seemed sometimes to sound out
of his belly, sometimes out of his throat, and some-
times out of his mouth, his lips not moving; and
thus he continued for a considerable time; many
prayers were put up to God for him and great re-
sort was made to him, especially by several famous
ministers, as Mr. Bernard of Batcomb, Mr. Lanly
of Traswell, and others, betwixt whom and John
Fox there passed many papers, in writing, he dis-
covering his temptations, and they writing him an-
swers because he was struck dumb, as will be af-
terwards seen.                                                   

Among the rest, Mr. Rothwell went to see him,
and, before he came, the devil told all that were in
the house of it, saying, 'Yonder comes Rothwell,
but I will make a fool of him before he goes; where-
upon the people looked out, and saw him coming,
about a quarter of a mile from the house; as soon as
he entered the room, the devil said, ' Now, Roth-
well is come,' and, as some say, added,' Thou sayest
there is no possession; what thinkest thou now? here
is a man opens not his lips, and yet he speaketh;'
and, after a while, he said, ' Say nothing to me of
this man, for I tell thee he is damned,' and he ad-
ded thereto many fearful blasphemies.

Rothwell? Thou art a liar, and the father of lies;
nor art thou so well acquainted with the mind of
God concerning this man, which makes thee thus to
torment him; therefore I believe thee not; I believe
he shall be saved by Jesus Christ.

Davi'r?He is a murderer, and thou knowest no
murderer must come inio heaven

Rothwell? Thou liest, for David murdered, and
Is in heaven; and the Jews, with wicked hands,
crucified the Lord of Glory, yet Christ prayed for
them; and St. Peter exhorted them to repentance,
that their fins might be blotted out

Devil?But this man hath not repented, cannot,
shall not repent

Rothwell?If he had not repented, thou would it
not have told him so; but if he has not, I believe
God will give him repentance, and thou shall not
be able to hinder it.

Devil?Thou art a murderer thyself, and yet
talkest thou thus?

Rothwell? Thou liest again; I have only fought
the Lord's battles against his known enemies.

Then the devil swore and blasphemed, saying,
Thou didst murder one this day, as thou camest
hither, and there is one behind thee who will testity
it;' upon which Mr. Rothwell looking over his
shoulder, the devil set up an hideous laugther, that
nothing could be heard tor a great while, and then
said, ' Look you now, did not I tell you that I
would make Rothwell a fool? and yet it is trne,
thou didst murder one this day, for as thou camest
along such a bridge (which he named) there I would
have killed thee, and there thy horse trod upon a
fly, and killed it.'    It seems Mr. Rothwell's hoese
stumbled at that place, the devil having power to
cause it, though   without hurt to either horse or
man?Mr.R. then said, ' Thou hast often be-
guiled me, but I hope God will in time give me
wisdom to discern, and power to withstand all me
delusions, and he it is that hath devlivered me out of
thy hands, and, I doube not, will also deliver this
poor man;'   the devil   then blasphemed fearfully,
and quoted many scriptures out of the Old and New
Testament, both in Hebrew and Greek,cavilling
and playing the critic therewith, and backing his
allegations out of the fathers and poets, in their
own language, which he quoted very readily, so
that the company trembled to hear such things from
one that understood no learining, and neither moved
tongue nor lip all the while; but Mr. Rothwell was
wonderfully enabled, by divine power, to detect the
devil's sophistry; upon which the devil said,' What
need I stand talking with thee, all men know thou
art bold Rothwell; and thou fearest nobody, nor
carest for word,therefore I'll talk to thee no thore,
Mr. R.turning to the people, said, 'Good people.
you see the goodness of our God, and his great
power, though the devil made a fool of me even
now, through my weakness, God hath made the
devil dumb now; do but observe how the man lies,
therefore Let us go to prayer, and that God who
hath made him dumb, will,I doubt not, drive him
out of this poor man.'    The devil hereupon raged,
blasphemed, and said, ' If thou go to prayer, I will
make such a noise that thy prayer shall be distracted,
and thou knowest God will not hear a distracted
prayer; but thou hast got a device, because thou
wilt not be distracted, thou shuttest thy eyes in
prayer (for so he always did) but if thou pray, I
will pull out thy eyes!'    Mr. R. replied,I look
to find thee as great an enemy in this duty now, as
I have done heretofore, but I fear not thy threats,
I know thou   art limited, aad   God heareth the
prayers of the upright, therefore, in the name of
his Son, Jesus Christ, we will go to prayer;' and
accordingly they did so, Mr. Rothwell kneeling by
the bed-side where the poor man lay.    The devil
made a most horrible noise; however. Mr, R,'s
voice was louder than his, and in a thort time the
divil roared at the very face of Mr. R. wherewith
the body of the man moved, and the hand was held
up which was the first time he stirred; Mr. Roth-
well took the hand, and held it down with much
ease, two men being scarcely able to hold the other
hand;yet prayers were still continued, and at length
the devil lay silent in the man, and soon after de-
parted out of him; the man then fetched many deep
sighs, insomuch that they belived he was dying,
but his colour suddenly returned, and the use of all
his members, senses, and understanding; and at the
next petition, to the glory of God, and amazement
of all the company, he cried out, Amen! where-
upon they all returned thanks to the Almighty, and
departed to their homes.

Mr Rothwell now desired the man to take some
food, but he refused, saying, the devil told him he
would be choaked with the first bit he should eat;
but Mr. R. forced him to eat, after which he grew
quite well.    Mr. R then left him, when he was in-
stantly \struck dumb, and remained so for three years,
after which he recovered his speech, and lived re-
ligiously and virtuously till the day of his death.
Printed by T.Duncan, Glasgow.

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Probable period of publication: 1810-1830   shelfmark: APS.3.83.18
Broadside story concerning a man who became possessed by an evil spirit
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