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CHAP. V

Of the appearance of departed unembodied soul. I now come to the main and most disputed part of shadowy appearance, viz., the apparition of unembodied soul.

It is a material difficulty here, and ought to be considered with the utmost plainness, viz., what we mean by unembodied soul; whether we understand souls which have been encased in flesh, but being unhoused are now moving about, in what state we know not, and are to be spoken of as in their separate capacity: or whether there is any such thing as a mass of soul, as a learned but pretty much inconsistent writer calls it, which waits to be embodied, as the superior disposer of that affair (be that who or what he pleases) may direct.

This, I confess, is to me something unintelligible, looks a little Platonic, and as if it were akin to the transmigration-whimsey of the ancients; but if they would found it upon anything rational, it must be upon the suggestion mentioned above, viz., of a middle class of spirit, neither angelic-heavenly, or angelic-infernal: but spirits inhabiting the invisible spaces, and allowed to act and appear here, under express and greatly strained limitations, such as are already described, and of which much more may still be said.

But that I may clear up your doubt as to the part I am upon, I have added at the head of this section, the word departed, to intimate to you that I am orthodox in my notion; that I am none of the sect of soul-sleepers, or for imprisoning souls in a Limhus of the ancients; but that in a few words, by the

appearance of souls unembodied, I mean such as having been embodied or imprisoned in flesh, are discharged from that confinement, or as I call it, unhoused and turned out of possession. For I cannot agree that the soul is in the body, as in a prison ; but rather that, like a rich nobleman, he is pleased to inhabit a fine country-seat or palace of his own building, where he resolves to live and enjoy himself, and does so, till by the fate of things, his fine palace being overturned, whether by an earthquake or otherwise, is buried in its own ruins, and the noble owner turned out of possession, without a house.

This soul, we are told, and I concur in the opinion, has sometimes made a tour back into this world; whether earth, or the atmosphere of the earth, call it where you will, and express it how you will, it matters not much: whence it comes, how far the journey how, and why it came hither, and above all, how it goes back again, and what those various apparitions are which counterfeit these spirits: inquire within, and you shall know further.

That the unembodied souls of men dead, as we say, departed, have appeared, we have affirmed from the authority of the Scripture; which I must allow to be an authentic document, whatever the reader may please to do; till a history more authentic, and of better authority, may be produced in the room of it.

As to the appearance of Samuel, raised by the witch, I despise it, as it is offered in the capacity of a soul, much more as the unembodied soul of Samuel; which, though it might have been caused to appear, as the sovereign of all spirits, with whom the soul of Samuel is at rest, had thought fit; yet could no more be summoned from that rest, by the conjuration of an old witch, than the Devil could fetch it out of heaven by force. Nor was it likely that God, who refused so much as to speak to that abandoned prince whom he had so righteously rejected, and that would answer him neither by Urim or by Thummim, that would neither hear his prayer or accept his offering, would hear a witch, a creature likewise sentenced to death by his own righteous law, and send Samuel, at her infernal paw-wawing, from heaven, to tell Saul that to-morrow he should be cut in pieces by the Philistines; there seems to be no consistency at all in it, no, none at all.

The appearance of the thing called Samuel, was, in my opinion, neither more or less than a phantasm or spectre, which (as the Devil is allowed to do) might personate the old departed prophet, and who, at the witch's summons, and by Heaven's permission, came up to pronounce the dreadful sentence upon Saul, and let him see what was the effect of his forsaking God, and rejecting his prophet Samuel. And thus it might be allowed also to speak in the first person of the prophet, as it did ; nor do I say or think, as some do, that it was the Devil in Samuel's likeness; if it had, it is not likely the old woman would have been so frighted as to cry out, seeing she was better acquainted with the Devil than to be surprised, if it had been her old familiar.

But she saw something she did not expect, and perhaps had never seen before; for she tells the king she saw gods ascending out of the earth; by which I cannot but understand she saw some of those spirits which I have mentioned, which are not infernal, and who might foresee what the Devil himself cannot;

for I have no reason to believe that Satan knows anything of futurity.

If it be asked here, by what authority the witch could bring up one even of these spirits ? that indeed

may be difficult to answer, other than thus, that it might be, as Balaam was overruled to bless, when he intended

curse; and that

her call,

and to pronounce the approaching fate of Saul, and Israel with him, she might be overruled, and so called up, or called in, a good spirit instead of the Devil.

As for the spectre's speaking in the name of Samuel in the Scripture, and the text representing it as if it were really Samuel himself, 1 Sam. xxviii. 15. And Samuel said to Saul, why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? I take it to be an expression ad hominem, to the common understanding, and to be understood as all allegoric or figurative expressions are understood; and it no more proves that it was Samuel, and is no more to be taken literally, than the other words in the same verse are to be literally understood.

1. Why hast thou disquieted me? as if it was in Saul's power, by the conjurations of an abhorred condemned limb of the Devil, a proscribed witch, to disquiet the departed soul of Samuel; the meaning is no more than this, What is

your

business with me, what do you trouble me for? You that despised me, and acted contrary to all my directions, and would go on in your perverseness in spite of me, and of all I could say to you; what do you come to me for now I am dead?

2. To bring me up? intimating that Samuel was below, or was called ab inferis ; which is contrary to reason as well as religion and neither consists either with our notion, or anybody's else, except it be the soul-sleepers, who tell us, the soul sleeps with the body in the grave till the resurrection; and if so, then must the old woman have had power to awake him whenever she pleased.

Upon the whole, it seems this woman was a witch of some eminency, and had more than ordinary power in her way. For when Saul applies to her, she asks him, Whom shall I bring up? intimating that she was able to bring up who she would, either from heaven or hell.

This boldness plainly infers, that she had no power at all, but this; that being a witch, and one that had a familiar spirit, she could cause her familiar or devil, call it what we will, to appear and personate who she pleased to name. For why should not the Devil be as able to dress himself

up

like one dead person, as another? and why not appear as well in the shape of a dead man, as of a living one?

So that to me there is no more difficulty in his dressing himself like Samuel, than there was in calling himself so, or than speaking in the first person of Samuel, as above; why disquiet me, and why bring me up? All that seems inexplicable in it is, how he should be able to tell Saul what should happen, viz., that God would deliver Israel into the hands of the Philistines, and him (Saul) with them, and that to-morrow he should be with him ; that is, among the dead, should be killed in the battle. This indeed has something difficult in it, because the Devil is not allowed to be a prophet, or able to predict what is to come. But these things may be all answered by the story of Balaam, where the wicked creature, though a wizard, and a conjurer, yet was directed not only to bless Israel in spite of all the gifts and rewards that the king of Moab offered him, but was enabled to prophesy of Christ, and foretell the glorious appearing of the Messiah ; Numb. xxiv. 17. I shall see him, but not now; I shall behold him, but not nigh; there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel; and again, Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion. This was a plain and direct prophecy of Christ, who is called in the Revelations the morning-star; and yet this Balaam was a witch, a dealer with an evil spirit, and received the wages of unrighteousness.

The next testimony which we find in sacred history of the reality of apparitions, as it respects the

H. A.

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