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NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS.
...the infamy of his nature.-p. 2.
I suspect that Sir Thomas Brown wrote infimy, a word which, though not regularly formed, would be more in his manner, and more in place.
Anthony Wood speaks in his own Life (p. 190) of “ a young heir who put his father's papers to infimous uses."
Question of apparitions.-p. 7. In contradiction to the view of this important question which I have taken, and in which there is the opinion of Johnson to support me, Dean Sherlock, who has brought forward with irrefragable force the Natural Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul and a Future State, has shown “ of what dangerous consequence it is to want any other arguments, or to build our Faith upon any other arguments than the Gospel Revelation.” And he alludes to the indiscrete stress which Glanville, and other writers of his stamp, laid upon supernatural stories. “ For,” says he, “in the first place, this is a spice of infidelity; it is an inclination towards it; and such men are disposed to be Infidels, or at least to be practised on by Infidels. For did we heartily believe the Gospel, we could want no other arguments of a future state, and should be satis
fied we could have no better. And would men then so greedily catch at every story of an apparition, and contend as zealously for it, as if the belief of another world depended on it? As if they wanted some better evidence, or some more credible story than the Resurrection of our Saviour ?"-Of the Immortality of the Soul, p. 7. And again.
“ Now Abraham was certainly in the right, that though Moses and the Prophets have not given us the highest evidence that can be given of Immortal Life, yet they have given us much better evidence of it than the apparitions of Ghosts and Spirits could do; and that those who would not believe Moses and the Prophets, would much less believe an apparition of Lazarus, whatever he should tell them of the other world, and of the state of their brother Dives in it. For what authority hath a Ghost or Apparition ? Who knows what it is ? Whether it be the person it represents, or some deluding and counterfeit spirit? And then who can tell whether it speaks true or false? And is this to be compared to the authority of a standing Revelation, which, though it do not speak so plainly as the Gospel does, or give such undeniable proofs of immortality, yet is certainly to be credited beyond any apparitions, which have no authority at all; which may a little awaken and terrify men at present; but the fright will soon be over, and they will believe and live just as they did before ?"-Ibid. p. 371.
Burnet the Theorist, in expressing his disbelief of such apparitions, admits an hypothesis which is surely less credible. “ Fateor mihi,” he says, “ nondum constare, nec persuaderi posse, animas mortuorum apparere unquam, aut apparituras esse, ante diem Judicii. Genii forsan, aut dæmones, vim illam habent, compingendi aërem, aut propria vehicula, in speciem humanam aut brutam; eamque exercent aliquando, maximè apud gentes barbaras aut semibarbaras : sed hæc rariùs apud nos fieri existimo, et è sexcentis narratiunculis de spectris, vix unam reperiri historiam veram. His pascitur utcunque vulgus, vitæque future renovatur memoria, et confirmatur fides."-De Statu Mortuorum, p. 91.
“ That there are such finite, incorporeal beings,” says South, as we call Spirits, I take to be a point of that moment, that the belief of it ought to be established upon much surer proofs than such as are commonly taken from visions and apparitions, and the reports which use to go of them: it having never hitherto been held for solid reasoning, to argue from what seems to what exists, or, in other words, from appearances to things; especially since it has been found so frequent, for the working of a strong fancy and a weak judgment to pass with many for apparitions."-South, vol. iii. p. 451.
In that very curious work the Recognitions of Clement, which one should think no person except Whiston could ever have supposed to have been any thing but a Romance, Clement, in whose name it is written, relates at the commencement his own feelings upon this subject, before he had received the light of the Gospel.
“ I will go to Egypt, and there will I enter into familiarity with the Hierophantæ or Prophets, who are the Presidents of the sacred Recesses : and when for money they have procured me a Magician, I will intreat him to bring me up a Soul from the infernal Regions, by the art of Necromancy as they call it; as though I would inquire about some particular affair. But my inquiry shall be this ; Whether the Soul be Immortal? Now the proof for this Immortality of the Soul shall by me be esteemed certain, not from the Ghost's saying so, and my hearing him say it, but from my seeing this Soul itself; that beholding it with my own eyes, I may ever afterwards entertain an undoubted belief of its Immortality. For after that, the fallacy of Words or uncertainty of Hearing can no more disturb me, as to what I have seen with my Eyes.
Yet, after all this, when I gave a philosopher of my acquaintance an account of this design of mine, he advised me by no means to venture upon it. • For,' says he, if the Soul does not come up at the Command of the Magician, you will afterwards suppose there is nothing after Death, and so live. more dissolutely than before; as having also ventured upon unlawful arts. But if you seem to see somewhat, what sort of religion or of piety will that be, which has its foundation from unlawful and impious practices ?'”
Witches.-p. 8. “ As for witches,” says Hobbes, (Leviathan, p. 7,) “ I think not that their witchcraft is any real power, but yet that they are justly punished for the false belief they have that they can do such mischief, joined with their purpose to do it if they can : their trade being nearer to a new religion, than to a craft or science.”
Supernatural tales attested by judicious and credible
men.-p. 9. “Que penser de la Magie et du Sortilege ? La theorie en est obscure, les principes vagues, incertains, et qui approchent du visionnaire : mais il y a des faits embarrassans, affirmés par des hommes graves qui les ont vus, ou qui les ont appris de personnes qui leur ressemblent. Les admettre tous, ou les nier tous paroît un égal inconvénient, et j'ose dire qu'en cela, comme dans toutes choses extraordinaires et qui sortent des communes règles, il y a un parti à trouver entre les ames credules et les esprits forts.”—La Bruyere, vol. ii. p. 242.
In the scale of existences there may be as many orders
above us as below.-p. 9.
Burnet, of the Charter House, (the greatest of the name;) has a fine passage upon this subject.
“Sæpe autem ex ipsá aviditate augendæ scientiæ, in errores delabimur ; vel ob præcipitem animi assensum ante examen peractum, vel earum rerum cognitioni inhiando, in quibus nullum examen locum habere potest : nempe quæ viribus nostris attingi nequeunt, neque ullo lumine, vel a naturd nobis dato, vel cælitus admisso. Hujusmodi sunt speculationes illæ de Mundo Angelico, ipsiusque apparatu ; in quot summa genera, et subalternas classes distribuitur hierarchia cælestis : quid agunt, quæ loca habitant. Facilè credo plures esse naturas invisibiles quam visibiles in rerum universitate ; pluresque Angelorum ordines in cælo, quam sunt pisces in mari. Sed horum omnium familiam quis nobis enarrabit ? et gradus, et cognationes, et discrimina, et singulorum munera ? Harum rerum notitiam semper ambivit ingenium humanum, nunquam attigit.-Juvat utique, non diffiteor, quandoque in animo, tanquam in tabuld, majoris et melioris mundi imaginem contemplari; ne mens assuefacta hodiernæ vitæ minutiis, se contrahat nimis, et tota subsidat in pusillas cogitationes. Sed veritati interea invigilandum est, modusque servandus, ut certa ab incertis, diem a nocte, distinguamus. Sapientis enim est, non tantùm ea quæ sciri possunt, scire; sed etiam, quæ sciri non possunt, discernere et discriminare."--Archæologiæ Philosophicæ, p. 67.
Ordeals.-p. 10. John Gavan, a Jesuit, who was one of Oates and Dugdale's victims in the Popish Plot, and who defended himself on his trial with remarkable eloquence and presence of mind, "of