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cerned that the family would be uneasy, and that they were so, and that there was great danger they might lose the estate ; but did not pretend he could not rest in peace, or, as the other, that he could not go to heaven till it was discovered.

I cannot but wonder a little at the ignorance of the ancients, in that notion of the soul's wandering in the air all the while the body was without a funeral obsequy; for, according to their doctrine, those souls who had no such funeral pyre prepared for them, must have been wandering in the air to this day, and will be so for ever ; not being able to get admittance either into one place or other.

No wonder the air is said to be so filled with wandering spirits, with demons, and ghosts, as some are of the opinion it is; for where must all the millions of spirits be gone who have lain without burial, or been cast into the sea, or been overwhelmed with earthquakes and storms, or died by plagues, where the living have not been sufficient to bury the dead ? and the like in many public calamities.

I know the Roman Catholics have a way of performing a service for the dead by thousands; and, in particular, for the souls of the dead slain in such and such a battle : whether that has any relation to this old pagan notion or not, I will not say. I know popery has pretty much of the pagan in their original, I mean of their worship; but will saying one service for the dead answer the end, whether they have

any burial or no ? and though their bodies are left, as Achilles says of Hector, for greedy or hungry dogs to rend?

This they do not answer, and, I doubt, cannot ; so that, perhaps, all those souls killed in fight are wandering still in the air, and cannot have admittance, no, not to the shades below.

On the other hand, if the poor soldiers believed that if they were killed in fight they were to wander for ever, and not be prayed out of purgatory, nay, not be admitted into it, few of them but would choose to be hanged, provided they might be admitted to be buried under the gallows, rather than go to the war and die in the bed of honour.

They tell us (who pretend to know that the corpses of the deceased princes of France, as well kings as princes of the blood, are not buried, but deposited in the abbey of St. Dennis near Paris, till the immediate successor is dead; and that then the predecessor is buried, and the next is deposited ; so that there is always one kept above ground,

I do not take upon me to determine the matter, or to say whether it is really so or not: but if so, and it should be as in the case of Patroclus, that those heroes are then to be out of the happy regions, I must say their kings are but little beholden to that custom, and Lewis XIII. had a hard time of it, to have his son hold it seventy years, and keep him all that while even out of purgatory; and how long he has to stay there, who knows? but it is certain he might have been forty or fifty years onward of his way by this time, if he had not been so many years unburied.

But enough of this pagan and popish frippery: our business is to talk to the more rational world ; their fate is before them; all men die, and after death, to judgment, nothing can interrupt it; and what their sons do or suffer behind them they know not.


Of the consequence of this doctrine ; and seeing that

apparitions are real, and may be expected upon many occasions, and that we are sure they are not the souls of our departed friends, how are we to act, and how to behave to them, when they come among us, and when they pretend to be such and such, and speak in the first person of those departed friends, as if they were really themselves ?

Having thus settled the main point, and determined what apparition is not ; namely, not an angel immediately from heaven, not a returned, unembodied soul; and having advanced, in essay at least, what we are to suppose them to be, namely, a good or evil spirit from the invisible world ; and having settled the rule of judging whether of the two, whether a good or an evil, according to the apparent good or evil of their design; it is time now to bring the matter into practice, to settle the grand preliminary, and determine, since this is their behaviour to us, how we are to behave to them.

Nor is this a needless inquiry, for we find the world at a great loss on such occasions. exceedingly terrified and disordered upon the very apprehensions of seeing anything, as they call it, from the invisible world ; even the great king Belshazzar, though in the midst of his whole court, the lords of one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, a full assembly of ladies and courtiers, yet when he saw but a piece of an apparition, (for it was but one

Men are

hand,) yet his countenance changed, and the joints of his knees were loosed, and his knees smote one against another, Dan. v. 6. Charles VIII. of France was not frighted only, but frighted out of his wits, with an apparition, in the forest of Mans, and never recovered his senses any more; and we have several instances in story of men, even of the greatest resolution, who have lost all their courage, and all their resolution, when they have had but a short visit of this kind, though without receiving any injury from them,

But whence is it that the mind is thus surprised? why is our aversion so great to any appearance

from the other world, without so much as inquiring into the particulars ?

There are many reasons, indeed, to be assigned to prove why it is so, but not one good reason, that I know of, to prove it should be so, or that we have any occasion to be so alarmed and disturbed at these appearances ; I mean, when the mind has any degree composure : it is true, they come from an invisible place, and that is one of the reasons of our fright, because, as we say, we know not whence they are, of what errand they come, with what commission, and with what power to execute that commission; all these uncertainties bring a terror upon the spirits, the soul receives a shock, the man is like one of those poor people where they are in an earthquake, they see the buildings totter and fall before them, and though they are not buried in the ruins, but are, perhaps, escaped out into the fields, yet they feel the earth roll and move under them, and they are doubtful and apprehensive lest they may be swallowed up every moment: and, according to the old poet, it is matter of real terror:


Fear chills the heart: what heart can fear dissemble, When steeples stagger, and when mountains tremble?

This uncertainty of the mind in the case of apparitions is the real ground of fear, viz., that we know not,

Whence their errand comes ;
What commission they have ;

What power to execute the commission. First ; we don't know whence they are, and from whom their errand; nor, indeed, can we be easy in the uncertainty: the reason is, there is a secret doubt of the mind, founded upon guilt. Here the atheist balks his assurance, and, though he pretends to believe neither God nor devil, staggers at a messenger that comes, for aught he knows, from one or both of them, to convince him by immediate demonstration; here his heart fails him, he turns pale, starts at the sight, and would be glad to be assured there were really both, that one might protect him from the other.

While he knows not whether the message comes from heaven or hell, whether the messenger may be angel or devil, the uncertainty, attended with the real danger of the worst, leaves him in horror, and he fears Hell, because he knows he has provoked Heaven; he fears the Devil, because he knows he that can command the Devil is his enemy.

In a word, a sense of God makes men afraid of the Devil ; as they say, fear of the Devil gives a sense of homage to God.

Secondly: we tremble at the messenger, because we don't know what his message may be ; we dread the officer, because we dread his commission, we are afraid of what he has to say, we know we have no reason to expect good news from the place which we suppose he comes from, and therefore we turn pale at his coming, nor is it possible to be otherwise.

There are but two principles that fortify the mind

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