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The conversion of St. Ignatius, they tell us, was brought to pass by an apparition of St. Peter to him, who came and touched his wounds received in battle, and healed them immediately; and yet it seems as if St. Peter was but a lame doctor, for that St. Ignatius halted, and that his leg was crooked as long as he lived, cannot be denied ; whereas when St. Peter healed the impotent man at Jerusalem, the text says He made him every whit whole, Acts iii. 7, 8.

St. Francis is said to have done innumerable cures for sick and diseased persons, by appearing to them after his death, and I could fill a volume with the history of them ; but it seems to be needless, all true catholics acknowledge it.

Pascal, Ignatius's chamber-fellow and companion, being reduced to great necessities after his death, implores the assistance of his colleague in the church of St. Lawrence, or some other church at Rome ; immediately he heard a melodious sound, and saw Ignatius appearing to him, attended with a numerous and beautiful train of the servants of God; but what relief the apparition gave him in his extreme necessity, this deponent sayeth not.

But I may close the discourse of imposed apparitions with that memorable story of Jetzer, a Dominican in the monastery or house of Dominicans at Berne, in Switzerland: the forgery is manifest, and the reason of it; it was an imposition upon the Franciscans, and contrived to carry on the contention which was between the two societies to a complete victory.

The Franciscans insist upon the blessed Virgin's being immaculate, and born without original sin, sanctified from the womb, and therefore they canonize blessed St. Ann, who was the Virgin's mother, and make her a triumphant saint; almost as glorious as her daughter, and have a service for her, called, “the Prerogatives of St. Ann, mother of the mother of God:' wherein they declare she conceived the blessed Virgin without the knowledge of a man, and that it was an apparition of two angels to her, which she relates to her husband Joachim. There's an apparition too for the confirmation of the Franciscans. (That's by the way.)

The Dominicans, on the other hand, deny that the Virgin is immaculate; they allow that she is conceived in sin, but that she continued under the culpa or defilement but three days; and they bring in an apparition of the blessed Virgin to this friar Jetzer, lamenting to him that they should go about to make her equal to her son in holiness, and confessing, in the words of the text, that she was shapen in iniquity, Ps. li. 5.

So here is one miracle to confute another, and perhaps both alike authentic.

But the story of Jetzer is full of miracles, all contrived by the prior, and three of the fathers: first, the apparition of a soul in purgatory comes to Jetzer with a box near his mouth, so contrived, that when he breathed upon it, it appeared to be all fire coming out of his mouth; he had also three dogs hanging upon him, and gnawing him as his tormentors.

In this posture he comes to the poor friar Jetzer in the dark, and when he was in his bed, tells him his deplorable condition, but that he might be taken out of purgatory by his means, and by his mortifications; and this story he backs with most horrible groans, as in the utmost misery by his sufferings.

(You are to understand that this friar Jetzer was a fellow picked out to make a proper tool for these impostures, being very silly, and very devout; and had they not overacted the thing, the design might have gone a great way.)

In consequence of the first apparition, they made the poor friar undergo severe discipline, whipping and mortifications, and then the apparition came and thanked him, and told him he was delivered out of purgatory by his means; so that part ended, to the infinite satisfaction of the poor macerated friar.

The next was the apparition of the same person, but in the habit of a nun, representing St. Barbara, and all in glory, telling him that the blessed Virgin was so delighted with his zeal and devotion, that she would visit him the next day in person, and give him her benediction for consolation in his sufferings and mortifications; at which the fool, the friar I mean, was ravished with joy, and prepared himself and the whole convent to receive her.

At the appointed time the expected delusion appeared: the blessed Virgin, clothed with the utmost magnificence, dressed up with jewels, as she used to be on occasion of the most solemn festivals, attended by angels, which were seen to be flying about her, as her pages.

(They were the little carved angels which were placed in the church upon extraordinary days, and now placed as machines about the apparition, and lifted up in the air with pulleys fastened in the room above.)

In this equipage the lady, queen of Heaven, mother of God, was brought in apparition to her poor, mortified, and humble servant; she caressed him with high expressions of affection to him, extolling the merit of his charity in suffering such severities for the mere love of delivering a poor tormented soul out of purgatory, owned to him that she was conceived in original sin, and told him pope Julius, who then held the chair, should put a final end to all those disputes, and should abolish the feast of her conception; after much more to the same purpose, she promised him a mission to go to the holy father in her name, to assure him of the truth of the vision, and that it was her pleasure it should be so; and, in

confirmation of it all, she gave him three drops of blood, which, she told him, were the tears Christ shed when he wept over Jerusalem; with abundance of such-like.

Here was a true sham apparition now, formed to establish a particular sect or society, and a particular profession, concerning the immaculate conception : here, could the impatient friars have set bounds to their revenge, they had had a complete victory over the Franciscans; nay, had St. Francis himself come up in apparition on the other side, it would not have balanced the cheat, for all the world began to give credit to the apparition.

But the priests knew no bounds; nothing would serve them but new apparitions to the friar, and new mortifications to the Franciscans ; till, in short, Jetzer himself, as foolish and simple as he was, saw through it, detected the cheat, and, escaping out of the monastery, discovered it all to the magistrates, having twice escaped being poisoned by them ; so the whole fraud ended at the gallows, or rather at the stake, for the four friars were condemned to be burnt, and were executed accordingly.

The history of the discovery is not to my purpose, it

may be seen in many authors, as also the trial, sentence, and execution of the criminals at Berne, May 31, 1509, where they were all burnt together. But this part is effectually to my purpose, viz., that there has been, and, I doubt not, still is, a great deal of sham apparition imposed upon the world by the delusions of others; and, as it lies chiefly among the clergy, where must we look for it but where it is to be found ?

Nor are the pagan clergy free from the same vile practices, namely, to forge apparitions to confirm their delusions; and the history of all countries is full of accounts of it, too many to repeat here.

The possessions and exorcisms in the dismal story of the devils of Loudon are full of apparitions and visions, by which the wretched fraud was carried on, and by which so much villany was practised, as is almost without example; a story which has already filled a book, and is extant in many languages; a fraud not outdone by the Brahmans and priests of the pagans in China or in Japan.

I might next entertain you with sham apparitions put in practice by the Devil himself, in those countries where he has made himself be worshipped as a god, and where he supports all the devil-worship by apparition ; showing himself now one way, now another, as he finds it for his purpose ; appearing one day in fire and flame, at another time in storm and tempest, at a third time in human and familiar shape; and, in all, the end is to keep up the dread of his person in the minds of his worshippers, and to preserve a reverence to his institutions, whatever they are.

If we may believe our writers of travels and observers of things, the Devil not only assumes human shape, but insinuates himself in the real person of a devil to the women, and so possesses them, to say no more of it, as to commit horrid nameless wickednesses with them, such as are not to be suggested without horror. In other places the apparition of the Devil is the fund of all their religious worship, and he has altars erected, and sacrifices, nay, which is worse, human sacrifices offered to him.

In these horrid performances he appears in terrible shapes, and the poor natives are so frighted at him, that the fear only excites the homage which they pay to him, and secures to him an entire sovereignty: for fear may, for aught I know, be the characteristic of a pagan worship, as love is that of a Christian.

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