« AnteriorContinuar »
felf fober, not by flow Degrees; but, in the Twinkling of an Eye, recovers from its Perturbation.Why does not the Numbness, that feizes the animal Powers continue; and chain the Limbs in a perpetually liftlefs Inability? Why does not the Stupor, that deadens all the nice Operations of the Senfes, hold faft its Poffeffion? When the Thoughts are once dif-adjusted, why are they not always in Confufion? How is it, that they are rallied in a Moment; and from the wildest Irregularity, reduced to the moft orderly Array?- -From an Inactivity refembling Death, and from Extravagancies little differing from Madnefs; how is the Body fo fuddenly restored to Vigour and Agility? How is the Understanding inftantaneously re-established in Sedateness and Harmony ?-Surely, this is the LORD's Doing, and it fhould be marvellous in our Eyes: fhould awaken our Gratitude, and inspirit our Praise.
THIS is the Time, in which Ghosts are fupposed to make their Appearance. Now the timorous Imagination teems with Phantoms, and creates numberless Terrors to itself. Now dreary Forms, in fullen State, stalk along the Gloom; or, fwifter than Lightening, glide across the Shades. Now, Voices more than mortal * are heard
*Vox quoque per lucos vulgo exaudita filentes
heard from the echoing Vaults, and Groans iffue from the hollow Tombs. Now, melancholy Spectres vifit the Ruins of ancient Monafteries, and frequent the folitary Dwellings of the Dead. They pafs and repass, in unsubstantial Images, along the forfaken Galleries; or take their determined. Stand over fome lamented Grave. How often has the School-Boy fetched a long Circuit, and trudged many a needlefs Step, in order to avoid the haunted Church-yard? Or, if Neceffity, fad Neceffity, has obliged him to cross the Spot, where human Skulls are lodged below, and the baleful Yews, fhed fupernumerary Horrors above; a thousand hideous Stories, rush into his Memory; Fear adds Wings to his Feet; he fcarce touches the Ground; dares not once look behind him; and bleffes his good Fortune, if no frightful Sound purred at his Heels, if no ghastly Shape bolted upon his Sight*.
'Tis ftrange, to obferve the exceffive Timidity that poffeffes many Peoples Minds, on this fanciful Occafion; while they are void of all Concern on others of the most tremendous Import. Thofe, who are startled, in any dark and lonely Walk, at the very Apprehenfion of a fingle Spectre; are nevertheless unimpressed at the fure Profpect
* See that valuable Poem ftiled The Grave, Line; 6.
Profpect of entering into a whole World of dif embodied Beings. Nay, are without any Emo tions of Awe, though they know themselves to be hafting into the Prefence of the great, infi pite, and eternal Spirit.-Should fome pale Meffenger from the Regions of the Dead, draw back our Curtains at the Hour of Midnight; and, appointing fome particular Place, fay, as the horrid Apparition to Brutus, I'll meet thee there*: I believe, the boldest Heart would feel fomething like a Panic; would feriously think upon the Adventure, and be in Pain for the Event. But when a Voice from Heaven cries, in the awakening Language of the Prophet, Prepare to meet thy GOD, O Ifrael; how little is the Warning regarded? How foon is it forgot? Prepofterous Stupidity! To be utterly unconcerned, where it is the trueft Wisdom to take the Alarm; and to be all Trepidation, where there is nothing really terrible.-Do Thou, my Soul, remember thy Saviour's Admonition ; " I will "forewarn you, whom you fhall fear. Fear
The Story of Brutus, and his evil Genius, is well known. Nor muft it be denied, that the precife Words of the Spectre to the Hero were, I'll meet Thee at Philippi. But as this would not answer my Purpose, I was obliged to make an Alteration in the Circumftance of Place.
† Amos iv. 12.
se not these imaginary Horrors of the Nights but fear that awful Being, whofe Revelation "" of Himself, though with Expreffions of pecu "liar Mercy, made Mofes, his favourite Servant, "tremble exceedingly: whofe Manifestation, "with Purposes of inexorable Vengeance, will "make mighty Conquerors; that were familiar
with Dangers, and estranged to Difmay; call "upon the Mountains to fall on them, and the "Rocks to cover them: The majestic Menace
of whofe Eye, when He comes attended with "thousand thousands of his immortal Hofts, will "make the very Heavens cleave afunder, and "the World flee away. O! dread his Dif"pleasure; fecure his Favour; and then Thou "may'ft commit all thy other Anxieties to the "Wind; Thou may'ft laugh at every other "Fear."
THIS brings to my Mind a memorable and amazing Occurence, recorded in the Book of Job which is, I think, no inconfiderable Proof of the real Existence of Apparitions †, on E 3 fome
Job iv, 12, 14, &c.
Proof of the real Exiftence of Apparitions.-If the Senfe, in which I have always understood this Paffage, be true.-Eliphaz, I apprehend, was neither in a Trance, nor in a Dream, but perfectly awake.Though He speaks of Sleep; He fpeaks of it, as fallen, not upon himself, but upon other Men, He does not
fome very extraordinary Emergencies; while it discountenances thofe Legions of idle Tales, which Superftition has raised, and Credulity received. Since it teaches us, that if, at any Time, thofe Vifitants from the unknown World render themfelves perceivable by Mortals, it is not upon any Errand of frivolous Confequence; but, to convey Intelligences of the utmoft Moment, or to work Impreffions of the highest Advantage.
TWAS in the Dead of Night. All Nature lay involved in Darkness. Every Creature was
buried mention Dreams, though Samnia, would have fuited the Verfe (if the Book be in Metre) alto gether as well as Vifiones.-It could not, I think, be a Wind, as fome tranflate the Word Becaufe, the Circumftance of standing fill, is not fo compatible with the Nature of a Wind; and a Wind would have paffed above Him, all around Him, as well as before Him; not to add, how low a Remark it is, and how unworthy of a Place in fo auguft a Defcription, that He could not difcern the Form of a Wind It feems, therefore, to have been a real Spirit; either Angelical, as were thofe, which prefented themfelves to Abraham refting at the Door of his Tent, or to Lot fitting in the Gate of Sodom; or elfe, the Spirit of fome departed Saint, as in the Cafe of Samuel's Apparition, or the famous Appearance of Mofes and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration.A Spirit, affuming fome Ve"bicle, in order to become vifible to the human Eye. Which, accordingly, Eliphaz faw, exhibiting itfelf as an Object of Sight. But faw fo obfcurely and ind ftinctly, as not to be able, either to defcribe its Apect, or to difcern whom it resembled.