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But even then, that we may be easy in the matter of apparition, they do not disguise themselves or conceal their commission: as Manoah's wife said to him when the angel appeared to her: If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt-offering and a meat-offering at our hands; neither would he have shewed us all these things, Judges xiii. 23. So here, the apparition of a good spirit would not betray us, would not act by stratagem with us, would not appear in peace when he means war; come like a friend when he was sent for an enemy; give good counsel, when he meant death and destruction : but if it appears in peace, its design and its message is certainly peace.

Upon the whole, you have no way any occasion to be disturbed at an appearance, but to regard the power sending, not the agent sent; looking beyond the apparition itself, and with a resolved mind, and a steady calm courage, speak to it, and demand its business ; I do not mean by demand, a demand of insult and arrogance, but an humble, yet resolved inquiry, why, and on what occasion it comes to you?

I have done counselling. If this part is too grave for you, as I said before, it is not very tedious; you may make it a parenthesis, and the work will read without it; for why should I desire you to do any good thing against your will ?

If you don't think there is anything in it all, if it is not worth your notice, go on without it; and when you see anything, be not surprised and confused, covered with horror and fright, as is usually the case of those who laugh loudest at such things before they come.

W- Gmous for that particular virtue called impudence, and for that more than ordinary perfection of it, which some people call blasphemy; how merry did

-, esq., fahe use to make himself about the ordinary notions of seeing apparitions, and hearing people talk of spirits and the Devil.

How witty would he be upon the poor ladies, when they seemed a little disordered at frightful stories of people's walking, and of the Devil's appearing in horrible shapes, and such-like things, as the old women perhaps had weakly enough filled their heads with! Nothing pleased the young hero like making a jest of those things; and the truth was, that

many of them deserved it: but the jest of all jests was, to see the esquire come home frighted out of more wits than any one ever thought him master of, when riding home in the dark one night, he met, that is, his fancy met, the Devil in some monstrous shape or other; but such as his terrors could not leave him room to describe, only by two great saucer eyes glaring in the dark, and by puffing and blowing most frightfully. (It seems the Devil had been upon such hasty business, and was out of breath.)

In this terror he is become such a convert to the doctrine of the reality of apparitions, that he dares not be a moment in the dark, dares not lie alone, or go up stairs by himself: when upon full examination, the Devil he met was only a hunted bullock that some butchers had made half mad, and had pursued till they lost him in the night, and he passed the esquire in the dark, and was found the next morning half dead, near the place where his worship was scared with him. Yet the fright has got such possession of his soul, that all the laughing at him, and all the fools and children's mocking him in the very streets, cannot beat that fit of trembling out of his joints, nor fortify his soul against the vision but of a cat, if it be in the dark.

So eminently silly does that needless passion fear bring us to be, when it has once gotten possession of the mind; how foolish, how inconsistent, are the operations of it! Hence really the saying, to be frighted out of our wits, or such a one is frighted out of his wits, is not so out of the way as some may imagine; and the esquire mentioned just now is as effectually so frighted out of his wits, even in the letter of it, as is possible ; for nothing ever acted more like a fool than he does now; except it was himself, when he made a jest of the reality of that very thing of which now he is so disordered with the shadow.

CHAP. XIV.

Of sham apparitions, and apparitions which have

been the effect either of fraud or fear. By sham apparitions I am to be understood such as have been put upon people by the fraud and craft of subtle knaves, in order to bring about their wicked designs, or such as fear and weak apprehension have presented to, and imposed upon the imagination. In short,

First, Apparitions with which people are cheated by others.

Secondly, Apparitions with which they cheat themselves.

First, Apparitions formed by the knavery of others, to cheat, abuse, and impose upon the credulity of the people. Such was the fable of Jupiter descending in a golden shower, and falling into the lap of Danae, whom he had a mind to debauch. And indeed, whose virtue could we think would in those days, (not to say a word of our more modest and sanctified ladies,) resist a shower of gold, falling into their lap? with a god in the middle of it too ; but that by the way.

The like apparition that immortal ravisher of virgins, called Jupiter, made, when he stole the lady Europa, in the shape of a milk-white bull, inviting the lady to get up upon his back, and immediately jumps into the sea with her, and swims over the Hellespont; from whence the other side where she landed is called Europe to this day. Indeed when ladies come to ride upon bulls, what can they expect? Such was the horrid cheat put upon that poor, virtuous, but bigoted Roman lady, persuading her that the god desired to enjoy her, which she in blind devotion submitted to with raptures of divine joy and elevation; caused her bed to be laid in the sacristy of the temple, decked it with flowers and perfumes, and caused the debauched priest to be dressed up with robes of state, and offering rich odours all the night; when at length, instead of the god, instead of the apparition which she expected, she was betrayed, and was violated by the traitor that lay in wait for her in the temple. Such again was the apparition of Apollo, which Lucian speaks of, which was seen suspended in the air, and carried or moved about from place to place in the temple of Apollo, at Hierapolis.—Lucian. de Dea Syria.

Such was the sordid imposture of Mahomet, who having brought up a tame pigeon to come to his ear, where he fed her always with pease or tares, so that she constantly came thither at his call, persuaded his followers that it was an apparition of the angel Gabriel, sent from God, to whisper divine oracles into his soul, and that he received the heavenly inspirations by that means.

Such was the voice which pronounced him to be the prophet of the most high God, which voice sounding in the air, no person appearing to speak, was concluded to be the voice of an angel appearing to him, hereas it was spoken by his own di

ction by a poor fellow whom he had placed on purpose at the bottom of a well ; and when he found the imposture take with the people, he sent a detachment of his followers to fill up the well with stones, pretending it was that it should no more be profaned by any man or cattle drinking of its holy waters, from whence the voice of an angel had been heard ; but really to bury the poor wretch at the bottom of it, that he might not betray the secret, and discover the contrived delusion.

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