Ominasio is sometime taken in good part and then is it Euphemismus last spoken of, but it is more oft put for the contrary, and then it is a forme of speech, by which the Orator foretelleth the likeliest effect to follow of some evill cause.
An example of Cicero against Antony: If thou followest these purposes, beleeve me thou canst not long continue.
An example of holy Scripture: How long wilt thou sleep O sluggard, when wilt thou arise out of thy sleepe, & c. Therefore thy poverty commeth upon thee as one that travelleth by the way, & thy necessity like an armed amn. By this figure the Orator foresheweth beggery to the slothfull, shame to the proud, mischiefe to the quareller, and the gallowes to the thiefe.
The use of this figure.
This figure tendeth to the commination and warning of the
To forewarn by threatning likely effects.
hearer, whether it be applied against him, or against any other. The principall effect whereof is, that by the consideration of the evill end foreshewed, ye cause of that evil effect is oftentimes by grace and wisedome avoided.
This forme of speech is abused diverse wayes: first when it riseth
from anger and malice without any likely conjectures
1. Furious foretellings differ little from malitious
gathered from causes, such as men do commonly utter in thier rage, making malicious prognostications against the parties with whom they be angry, as that they wil be hanged, or that the Evill will one day fetch them, it would be a very wofull world if all such Prognostications should prove true: but for as much as they seldome take effect, the malicious planet is generally contemned, and the false Prognosticator is commonly derided.
Secondly, this figure is abused by prognosticating the infortunate
2. Fortelling destinies by the birth time.
life or death of men by the time of their birth: as collected by constellation, and influence fo some malicious Planet.
Thirdly it is abused by foretelling of ill fortunes, and that either
3. By Phisiognomy and Palmistry.
by Phisognomy, or Palmistrie, which are nothing else but meere illusions and vanities more worthy to be abhorred than to be beleeved.
Fourthly, by false prophesies, fained by the vanity and wickednesse
of men, foretelling the death of great men, the mutation of kingdomes, the great mortality of men, and the utter confusion of all the world with the preffred and forenamed times, as the yeare, the day, and sometime the houre, which have so often failed, and proved false, that wise men will beware how to beleeve them.
Fiftly, it is wont to be abused by foolish observations of certaine accidences, as to gather conjectures of some trouble, losse, death of some frendes, and such like, by dreames, by bleeding of
5. By accidences & dreams
the nose, by spots upon the hand, by the stumbling of a horse, by the death of beefe, by a hare crossing the way, and by an infinite number more of such like uncertaine signes and flase causes of conjectures.