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THE HISTORY AND REALITY
IN ONE VOLUME.
PRINTED BY D. A. TALBOYS,
FOR THOMAS TEGG, 73, CHEAPSIDE, LONDON.
A VERY short preface may suffice to a work of this nature. Spectre and apparition make a great noise in the world; and have, at least formerly, had a great influence among us.
Between our ancestors’, laying too much stress upon them, and the present age endeavouring wholly to explode and despise them, the world seems hardly ever to have come at a right understanding about them.
Some despise them in such an extraordinary manner, that they pretend to wish for nothing more than to be convinced by demonstration; as if nothing but seeing the Devil could satisfy them there was such a person; and nothing is more wonderful to me, in the whole system of spirits, than that Satan does not think fit to justify the reality of his being, by appearing to such in some of his worst figures, and tell them in full grimace who he is, when I doubt not but they would be as full of the panic as other people.
Again, some people are so horribly frighted at the very mention of an apparition, that they cannot go two steps in the dark, or in the dusk of the evening, without looking behind them; and if they see but a bat fly, they think of the Devil, because of its wings; and as for a screech-owl, at its first appearance, they make no scruple of running into the house in a fright, and affirming they have seen the Devil.
How to bring the world to a right temper between these extremes is a difficulty we cannot answer for ; but if setting things in a true light, between imagination and solid foundation, will assist towards it, we hope this work may have some success.
Not that I expect to fortify my readers, and establish their minds against the fears of what they may see, so that they shall make an apparition of the Devil familiar to them; there is such a kind of aversion in the minds of men to the angel of light, that nobody cares to see him in imagination, much less to be forced to see him whether they will or
But now, on the other hand, if it is true that the Devil very rarely does appear, that almost all real apparitions are of friendly and assisting angels, and come of a kind and beneficent errand to us, and that therefore we need not be so terrified at them as we are ; if it be true that when any evil spirit does appear,
it is limited by a superior power, and can do us no harm without special license; methinks this should take off the terror from our minds, and cause us to arm our souls with resolution enough to meet the Devil, whatever shape he thinks fit to appear in : for I must tell you, good people, as was said in another case, he that is not