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looks exceeding solemn and venerable. These objects naturally raise seriousness and attention; and when night heightens the awfulness of the place, and pours out her supernumerary horrors upon everything in it, I do not at all wonder that 5 weak minds fill it with specters and apparitions.
Mr. Locke, in his chapter of the Association of Ideas, has very curious remarks to show how, by the prejudice of education, one idea often introduces into the mind a whole set that bear no resemblance 10 to one another in the nature of things. Among several examples of this kind, he produces the following instance: “The ideas of goblins and sprites have really no more to do with darkness than light: yet let but a foolish maid inculcate these often on 15 the mind of a child, and raise them there together, possibly he shall never be able to separate them again so long as he lives; but darkness shall ever afterwards bring with it those frightful ideas, and they shall be so joined, that he can no more bear 20 the one than the other."
As I was walking in this solitude, where the dusk of the evening conspired with so many other occasions of terror, I observed a cow grazing not far from me, which an imagination that was apt to 25 startle might easily have construed into a black horse without an head: and I dare say the
footman lost his wits upon some such trivial occasion.
My friend Sir Roger has often told me with a
great deal of mirth, that at his first coming to his estate he found three parts of his house altogether useless; that the best room in it had the reputation
of being haunted, and by that means was locked up; 5 that noises had been heard in his long gallery, so
that he could not get a servant to enter it after eight o'clock at night; that the door of one of his chambers was nailed up, because there went a story
in the family that a butler had formerly hanged him10 self in it; and that his mother, who lived to a great
age, had shut up half the rooms in the house, in which either her husband, a son, or daughter had died. The knight seeing his habitation reduced to so small a
compass, and himself in a manner shut out of his 15 own house, upon the death of his mother ordered
all the apartments to be flung open, and exorcised by his chaplain, who lay in every room one after another, and by that means dissipated the fears which had so long reigned in the family.
I should not have been thus particular upon these ridiculous horrors, did not I find them so very much prevail in all parts of the country. At the same time I think a person who is thus terrified with the
imagination of ghosts and specters much more 25 reasonable than one who, contrary to the reports of
all historians, sacred and profane, ancient and modern, and to the traditions of all nations, thinks the appearance of spirits fabulous and groundless. Could not I give myself up to this general testimony
of mankind, I should to the relations of particular persons who are now living, and whom I cannot distrust in other matters of fact. I might here add, that not only the historians, to whom we may join the poets, but likewise the philosophers of antiquity, 5 have favored this opinion. Lucretius 4 himself, though by the course of his philosophy he was obliged to maintain that the soul did not exist separate from the body, makes no doubt of the reality of apparitions, and that men have often 10 appeared after their death. This I think very remarkable: he was so pressed with the matter of fact, which he could not have the confidence to deny, that he was forced to account for it by one of the most absurd unphilosophical notions that 15 was ever started. He tells us, that the surfaces of all bodies are perpetually flying off from their respective bodies, one after another; and that these surfaces or thin cases that included each other whilst they were joined in the body like the coats of an 20 onion, are sometimes seen entire when they are separated from it; by which means we often behold the shapes and shadows of persons who are either dead or absent.
I shall dismiss this paper with a story out of 25 Josephus, not so much for the sake of the story itself as for the moral reflections with which the author concludes it, and which I shall here set down in his own words. "Glaphyra, the daughter of
king Archelaus, after the death of her two first husbands (being married to a third, who was brother to her first husband, and so passionately in love
with her, that he turned off his former wife to make 5 room for this marriage) had a very odd kind of
dream. She fancied that she saw her first husband coming towards her, and that she embraced him with great tenderness; when in the midst of the
pleasure which she expressed at the sight of him, 10 he reproached her after the following manner;
Glaphyra,' says he, thou hast made good the old saying, that women are not to be trusted.
Was not I the husband of thy virginity? Have I not
children by thee? How couldst thou forget our 15 loves so far as to enter into a second marriage, and
after that into a third? However, for the sake of our passed loves, I shall free thee from thy present reproach, and make thee mine for ever. Glaphyra told this dream to several women of her acquaintance,
and died soon after. I thought this story might not be impertinent in this place, wherein I speak of those kings. Besides that the example deserves to be taken notice of, as it contains a most
certain proof of the immortality of the soul, and of 25 Divine Providence. If any man thinks these facts
incredible, let him enjoy his own opinion to himself, but let him not endeavor to disturb the belief of others, who by instances of this nature are excited to the study of virtue."
No. 11. A Sunday in the Country
'Αθανάτους μεν πρώτα θεούς, νόμω ως διάκειται,
I AM always very well pleased with a country Sunday, and think, if keeping holy the seventh day were only a human institution, it would be the best method that could have been thought of for the polishing and civilizing of mankind. It is certain 5 the country people would soon degenerate into a kind of savages and barbarians, were there not such frequent returns of a stated time, in which the whole village meet together with their best faces, and in their cleanliest habits, to converse with one another 10 upon indifferent subjects, hear their duties explained to them, and join together in adoration of the Supreme Being. Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week, not only as it refreshes in their minds the notions of religion, but as it puts both 15 the sexes upon appearing in their most agreeable forms, and exerting all such qualities as are apt to give them a figure in the eye of the village. A country fellow distinguishes himself as much in the churchyard, as a citizen does upon the 'Change, the 20 whole parish-politics being generally discussed in that place either after sermon or before the bell rings.