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Creation, and who, in the beautiful Language of the Psalms, feedeth the young Ravens that call upon him. I like this Retirement the better, because of an ill Report it lies under of being haunted; for which Reason (as I have been told in the Family) no living Creature ever walks in it besides the Chaplain. My good friend the Butler desired me with a very grave Face not to venture my self in it after Sun-set, for that one of the Footmen had been almost frighted out of his Wits by a Spirit that appeared to him in the Shape of a black Horse without an Head; to which he added, that about a Month ago one of the Maids coming home late that way with a Pail of Milk upon her Head, heard such a Rustling among the Bushes that she let it fall.
I was taking a Walk in this place last Night between the Hours of Nine and Ten, and could not but fancy it one of the most proper Scenes in the World for a Ghost to appear in. The Ruins of the Abby are scattered up and down on every Side, and half covered with Ivy and Elder Bushes, the Harbours of several solitary Birds which seldom make their Appearance till the Dusk of the Evening. The Place was formerly a Church-yard, and has still several Marks in it of Graves and Burying Places. There is such an Eccho among the old Ruins and Vaults that if you stamp but a little louder than ordinary you hear the Sound repeated. At the same time the Walk of Elms, with the croaking of the Ravens which from time to time are heard from the Tops of them, looks exceeding solemn and venerable. These Objects naturally raise Seriousness and Attention; and when Night heightens the Awfulness of the Place, and pours out her supernumerary Horrors upon every thing in it, I do not at all wonder that weak Minds fill it with Spectres and Apparitions,
Mr. LOCKE, in his Chapter of the Association of Ideas, has very curious Remarks to Thew how by the Prejudice of Education one Idea often introduces into the Mind a whole Set that bear no Resemblance to one ano. ther in the Nature of things. Among several Examples of this Kind, he produces the following Instance. The Ideas of Goblins and Sprights have really no more to do with Darkness than Light : Yet let but a foolim Maid inculcate' these often on the Mind of a Child, and raise them there toge
ther, possibly he mall never be able to separate them again ro long as he lives; but Darkness shall ever afterward bring with it those frightful Ideas, and they shall be so joined, thai he can no more bear the one than the other.
AS I was walking in this Solitude, where the Dusk of the Evening conspired with so many other Occasions of Terrour, lobserved a Cow grazing not far from me, which an Imagination that is apt to Jiartte might easily have construed into a black Horse without an Head: And I dare say the poor Footman lost his Wits upon some such trivial Occasion.
MY Friend Sir ROGER has often told me with a great deal of Mirth, that at his first coming to his Estate he found three Parts of his House altogether useless; that the best Room in it had the Reputation of being haunted, and by that means was locked up; that Noises had been heard in his long Gallery, so that he could not get a Servant to enter it after Eight a Clock at Night; that the Door of one of his Chambers was nailed up, because there went a Story in the Family that a Butler had formerly hanged himself in it; and that his Mother, who lived to a great Age, had shut up half the Rooms in the House, in which either a Husband, a Son, or Daughter had died. The Knight seeing his Habitation reduced to so small a Compass, and himself in a manner shut out of his own House, upon the Death of his Mother ordered all the Apartments to be flung open, and exorcised by his Chaplain, who lay in every room one after another, and by that Means dissipated the Fears which had so long reigned in the Family.
I should not have been thus particular upon these ridic culous Horrours, did not I find them so very much prevail in all parts of the Country. At the same Time I think a Person who is thus terrified with the Imagina. tion of Ghosts and Spectres much more reasonable, than one who contrary to the Reports of all Historians sacred and prophane, ancient and modern, and to the Traditi, ons of all Nations, thinks the Appearance of Spirits fabulous and groundless: Could not I give my self up to this general Testimony of Mankind, I hould to the Relations of particular Perfons who are now living, and whom I cannot diftrust in other Matters of Fact. I might here
add, that not only the Historians, to whom we may join the Poets, but likewise the Philosophers of Antiquity have favoured this Opinion. Lucretius, himself, though by the Course of his Philosophy he was obliged to maintain that the Soul did not exist separate from the Body, makes no Doubt of the Reality of Apparitions, and that Men have often appeared after their Death. This I think very remarkable; he was so pressed with the Matter of Fact which he could not haye the Confidence to deny, that he was forced to account for it by one of the most absurd unphilosophical Notions that was ever started. He tells us, That the Surfaces of all Bodies are perpetually flying off from their respective Bodies, one after another, and that there Surfaces or thin Cases that included each other whilst they were joined in the Body like the Coats of an Onion, are sometimes seen entire when they are separated from it; by which means we often behold the Shapes and Shadows of Persons who are either dead
I shall dismiss this Paper with a Story out of Josephus, not so much for the sake of the Story it self, as for the moral Reflections with which the Author concludes it, and which I shall here set down in his own Words. • Glaphyra the Daughter of King Archelaus, after the • Death of her two first Husbands (being married to "a third, who was Brother to her firft Husband, and so
paffionately in Love with her that he turned off his « former Wife to make Room for this Marriage) had a « very odd kind of Dreain. She fancied that she saw her • first Husband coming towards her, and that she embra'ced him with great Tenderness; when in the midst of 6 the Pleasure which she expressed at the Sight of him, • he reproached her after the following manner : Gla• phyra, says he, thou haft made good the old Saying, • That Women are not to be trufted. Was not I the • Husband of thy Virginity? Have I not Children by • thee? How couldst thou forget our Loves so far as to • enter into a second Marriage, and after that into a third, • nay to take for thy Husband a Man who has so shame.
lesly crept into the Bed of his Brother? However, for " the sake of our passed Loves, I fhall free thee from thy * present Reproach, and make thee mine for ever. Gla
(phyra told this Dream to several Women of her Ac
quaintance, and died foon after. I thought this Stóry "might not be impertinent in this place, wherein I speak " of those Kings : Besides that, the Example deferves to
be taken Notice of, as it contains a most certain Proof ' of the Immortality of the Soul, and of Divine Provi. idence. If any Mán thinks thefe Facts incredible, let **him enjoy his Opinion to himself, but let him not en
deavour to disturb the Belief of others, who' by In'stances of this Nature are excited to the Study of Vir:
Saturday, July 7.
- Inter Silvas Academi quærere Verum. Hor.
H E Course of my last Speculation led me insensibly 1 into a Subject upon which I always meditate with
great Delight, 1 mean the Immortality of the Soul. I was Yesterday walking alone in one of my Friend's Woods, and loft my felf in it very agreeably, as I was running over in my Mind the several Arguments that establish this great Point, which is the Balis of Morality, and the Source of all the pleasing Hopes and secret Joys that can arise in the Heart of a reafonable Creature. 'I considered those several Proofs drawn
FIRST, From the Nature of the Soul it felf, and particularly its Immateriality; which tho' not absolutely necelsary to the Eternity of its Duration, has, I think, been evinced to almost a Demonstration.
SECONDLY, From its Passions and Sentiments, as particularly from its Love of Existence, its Horrour of Annihilation, and its Hopes of Immortality, with that fecret Satisfaction which it finds in the Practice of Virtue, and that Uneasiness which follows in it upon the Commillion of Vice.
THIRDLY, From the Nature of the Supreme Being, whose Justice, Goodness, Wisdom and Veracity are all concerned in this great Point,
BUT among these and other excellent Arguments for the Immortality of the Soul, there is one drawn from the perpetual Progress of the Soul to its Perfection, with. out à Possibility of ever arriving at it; which is a Hint that I do not remember to have seen opened and improved by others who have written on this Subject, tho' it seems to me to carry a great Weight with it. How can it enter into the Thoughts of Man, that the Soul, which is capable of such immense Perfections, and of receiving new Improvements to all Eternity, shall fall away into nothing almost as soon as it is created? Are such Abilities made for no Purpose? A Brute arrives at a point of Perfection that he can never pass: In a few Years he has all the Endowments he is capable of; and were he to live ten thousand more, would be the same thing he is at present. Were a human Soul thus at a stand in her Accomplishments, were her Faculties to be full blown, and incapable of further Enlargements, I could imagine it might fall away insensibly, and drop at once into a State of Annihilation. But can we believe a thinking Being that is in a perpetual Progress of Improvements, and travelling on from Perfection to Perfection, after having just looked abroad into the Works of its Creator, and made a few Discoveries of his infinite Goodness, Wisdom and Power, must perilh at her first setting out, and in the very beginning of her Enquiries? .
A Man, considered in his present State, seems only sent into the World to propagate his Kind. He provides him. self with a Succeffor, and immediately quits his Post to make room for him.
hares, " Haredem alterius, velut unda supervenit undam, He does not seem born to enjoy Life, but to deliver it down to others. This is not surprizing to consider in A. nimals, which are formed for our Ure, and can finish their Bufiness in a short Life. The Silk-worm, after having Spun her Task, lays her Eggs and dies. But a Man can never have taken in his full measure of Knowledge, has not time to subdue his Passions, establish his Soul in Virtue, and come up to the Perfection of his Nature, before he is hurried off the Stage. Would an infinitely wise Be