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I do not by this affirm that it is so, and that a spirit may thus assume a real case of flesh and blood; for I resolve to affirm nothing that will not bear a proof, and to suggest nothing without probability, in all this work.

But it is enough to the present purpose if these invisible inhabitants can assume an appearance, a form, sufficient to make them perceptible to us; at the same time not being at all vested with any substance, much less of the species which they represent.

If they can assume a visible form, as I see no reason to say they cannot, there is no room then to doubt of the reality of their appearing; because what may be we cannot but believe sometimes bas heen, as what has been, we are sure may be.

To say that the unembodied spirits can have nothing to do with us, and that we have reason to

lieve they are not at all acquainted with human affairs, is to say what no man can be assured of, and therefore is begging the question in the grossest


I shall therefore spend but very little time to prove or to argue for the reality of apparition. Let Mr. Glanville and his antagonists, the Hobbists and Sadducees of those times, be your disputants upon that subject; nor shall I trouble you with much antiquity or history: a little that is most unexceptionable may be necessary. If there is an invisible world, and if spirits residing or inhabiting are allowed to be there, or placed there by the supreme governing power of the universe, it will be hard to prove that it is impossible they should come hither, or that they should not have liberty to show themselves here, and converse in this globe, as well as in all the other globes or worlds, which, for aught we know, are to be found in that immense space; reason does not exclude them, nature yields to the possibility, and experience with a cloud of witnesses in all ages confirm the reality of the affirmative.

The question therefore before me is not so much whether there are any such things as apparitions of spirits; but who, and what, and from whence they are; what business they come about, who sends them or directs them, and how and in what manner we ought to think and act, and behave about them, and to them; and this is the substance of this undertaking.

The angels are said to be ministering spirits, and we know they have been made use of (as such) on many occasions, by the superior appointment of him that created them ; why then it may not be thought fit by the same power, to make or substitute a ministration of these unembodied spirits to the service of the embodied souls of men, which are also God's creatures, we cannot tell.

Upon what foot, and to what end, either on their side or on ours, and from what appointment, is very difficult to ascertain ; and yet some probable guesses might be made at it too, if it was the proper work before me; but I am rather adjusting the fact, and ascertaining the reality of apparitions in general, than inquiring into the reasons of them ; either the reasons in nature, or in providence, which are perhaps further out of our reach than some people imagine.

It is as difficult too to determine whether the spirits that appear are good or evil, or both; the only conclusion

upon that point is to be made from the errand they come about; and it is a very just conclusion I think; for if a spirit or apparition comes to or haunts us only to terrify and affright, to fill the mind with horror, and the house with disorder, we cannot reasonably suppose that to be a good spirit; and on the other hand, if it comes to direct to any

good, or to forewarn and preserve from any approaching evil, it cannot then be reasonable to suppose it is an evil spirit.

The story of an apparition disturbing a young gentleman, at or near Cambridge, is remarkable to this purpose: he set up, it seems, for a kind of professed atheism; but hearing a voice, supposed it was the Devil spoke to him, and yet owned that the voice assured him there was a God, and bid him repent. It was a most incongruous suggestion, that the Devil should come volunteer to an atheist, and bid him repent; or that the Devil should, with a like freedom, assert the being of a God.

If then it was a real apparition of, or a voice from, an invisible spirit; (I say if, because it might be a phantom of his own imagination,) it must be from a good spirit, or from an evil spirit overruled by a superior and beneficent power; and if that were to be supposed, then it would justify our taking further notice of those things called voices and apparitions, than I shall venture to advise.

The possibility, however, of apparitions, and the certainty of a world of spirits, as I can by no means doubt, so I shall take up none of your time to answer the objections and cavils of other people about it; because I think the evidence will amount to a demonstration of the facts, and demonstration puts an end to argument.


Of apparitions in particular, the reality of them,

their antiquity, and the difference between the apparitions of former times, and those which we may call modern, with something of the reason and oc

casion of that difference. NOTHING can be a stronger testimony of the reality of apparitions in general, than to descend to the particular appearances which we are assured have been seen and conversed with from the superior world. And first I begin with such as have been evidently from heaven itself, and by the sovereign appointment of providence upon extraordinary occasions. And though I shall trouble my readers. with as little as possible out of Scripture, especially at the beginning of my work, because I am unwilling they should throw it by before they read it out, which there would be some danger of, if I should begin too grave; yet, as I cannot go back to originals, or begin at the beginning, without a little history out of those ancient times, you must bear with my just naming the sacred historians. I will be as short as I can.

Nothing is more certain, if the Scripture is at all to be believed among us, than that God himself was pleased, in the infancy of things; to appear visibly, and in form, to several persons, and on several occasions, upon earth, assuming or taking up the shape of his creature man, when he thought fit to converse with him, that he might not be a terror to him.

Thús Adam was frequently visited in Eden, and we have no room to doubt but it was in a visible form, because Adam both heard him speak, and as the text says, They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Gen. iii. 8.

By all the history of the antediluvian world, we have reason to believe as God did frequently speak to men, so he as frequently appeared to them; for we find they conversed with God face to face; Cain, though wicked, talked with God, and God with him, when he was charged with the murder of his brother Abel; and the text is express, Gen. iv. 16, that after it, Cain went out from the presence of the Lord. So that God not only spoke to him by a voice, but was visible and present to him.

And as I must carry the Devil along with me, hand in hand, in every period of time, so even in Paradise the Devil assumed a shape.

For we must allow Satan to be a spirit, and indeed we have good reason to say he is a spirit, free to choose what case of flesh and blood he pleases to put on, or at least seemingly to put on.

Thus he without doubt spoke in the mouth of the serpent in the garden, or else took upon himself that shape, though the former is the most probable; hecause the

serpent was cursed for being but the instrument, however passive he might be.

Mr. Milton makes no doubt of the Devil's assuming a shape of any kind, beast as well as man, when he brings him in whispering to Eve in her sleep, and placing himself close at her ear, in the shape of a toad, which he expresses in his sublime poem, and with that inimitable manner, peculiar to himself.

First he brings Satan leaping over the mound or fence, which God had placed round the garden, as a wolf leaps over the hurdles into a sheepfold; and

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