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Gods according to law' possess, and which is necessary in order to make a thing EXISTENTIAL (arorov.]
The Gods according to law,' signify, without any doubt, the purely spiritual Divinities, * immediate emanations from the Deity; in contradiction to the mundane Gods, who were subjects of a Theogonal generation, and, to a certain extent, were soul and body, like men. To those entirely spiritual Divinities, alone, could the term EXISTENTIAL [aiøvios] be properly applied; as it seems from what Plato says. Generated beings might endure for ever; but being compounded, they could not possess a fixed and changeless existence in an unity. They, therefore, could change; and might be made better or worse by alteration, although they were indestructible. But that quality called aiavios (existential] was something totally different from enduring ; and was something appropriate to unmingled, spiritual beings alone, like the Gods according to law.
How far this goes towards maintaining the sense spiritual in aidvios, I leave to the reader's judgment. But it certainly bears that way, with no little weight. And, in truth, no violence would be done to the sentence, should it be translated,- • When our king saw all works being animate and that which was generated being soul and body, indestructible but not SPIRITUAL, as the Gods according to law are.' - I would not translate it so, lest it might seem like being desirous of forcing evidence. But after the foregoing comment, I deem it no more than fair, to present this latter view of the sentence ; which can be compared with the former, by any so disposed: And it is willingly submitted to their judgment whether this aiørios [eristential] does not sustain a spiritual sense.
The above are all the instances of either word in Plato, excepting what occur in the Timæus ; which, requiring comment at some length, I reserve for a future communication. Yours in good will,
E. S. G. Sandwich, Dec. 1, 1831.
* They are called by this name, likewise, in the 'Golden Verses' of Pythagoras. VOL. XII. N. S. VOL. VII. NO. I.
Art. IX. — An Essay on Demonology, Ghosts, and Appari
. tions, and Popular Superstitions ; also an Account of the Witchcraft Delusion at Salem in 1692. By JAMES THACHER, M. D., A. A. S. Boston. Carter & Hendee. 1831. 24mo.
Whilst all Christians agree in the future existence of the soul, they differ materially in the views which they take of the manner of this existence; and, without concerning ourselves about minute differences, we may observe, that there are two views of a general nature, which divide their opinions. One class hold that the spirit after death remains inactive till the period of a general judgment, when all the dead, awakening at once, shall meet before the throne of the Ruler of the universe, to receive the sentence, whether for good or evil, which has been merited by the deeds done in the body. The opinion of others is, that the soul after the decease of the body continues still in action in another sphere; that death, in short, is a mere change of state, an immediate removal of the spirit from its earthly integument to some other locality of action, and not a long sleep, to be broken only by the sound of the last trumpet.
Of the latter, some imagine that ihe spirits of the dead have no longer any connexion with or interest in those, which still remain in the flesh; while others believe, that they are still interested in the weal or woe of those whom they have left behind them, and that the spirits of our de parted friends still mingle to a certain degree in our joys and sorrows, sympathize in our exertions to become wiser and better, and mourn over our aberrations from the paths of virtue and peace. This
. notion has probably always been the most common. It is agreeable to the kindlier affections of our nature, and when it cannot recommend itself to any one's reason, makes a strong appeal to his heart.
With one class of Christians indeed, the Swedenborgians,* it is an important article in their peculiar system of religion. The numerous saints of the Roman Catholic world imply also this form of belief. To this persuasion also is to be traced the readiness of mankind to place credit in the accounts of ghosts and apparitions, which have at all times excited the interest, if they have not always commanded the faith, of their hearers. Tales of this sort, notwithstanding all attempts to confine them to the nursery, have kept their ground even in the parlours of the gay and the studies of the grave; very often affecting the nerves, and sometimes confounding the judgment and shaking the skepticism, of the most philosophic.
* We use this term as the most convenient designation of the members of the New Jerusalem church. We know not whether they admit its propriety, but we trust that no offence will be taken, when none is intended.
The evidence of many of these accounts is so strong, while the reasons for so important a deviation from the order of nature seem so trivial, that the wisest have been at a loss how to decide concerning them. To the physiologist there is little difficulty in these cases; but physiology, which one would naturally suppose likely to be the most interesting of all the sciences to the man of general knowledge, seems to have been strangely confined to that most industrious and philosophic class, the physicians; the rest of mankind have appeared to take it for granted, that faith, and not reason or knowledge, was concerned about the operations of living bodies, and have depended for any explanation of a particular result upon the ipse dixit of any one, who chose to pro
? nounce it, rather than upon any attention to the general laws which regulate the operations of this class of the objects of the material world.
Works on withcraft, demonology, and spectres have accordingly in most cases been little better than collections of these accounts, with some examination of the evidence of each, and perhaps an attempt to select those, which are best entitled to credit. Or one author, in the plentitude of his skepticism, scouts the whole, while another in the fulness of faith, 'holds each strange tale devoutly true.' The subject of late seems to have received considerable attention, and several works, intended for general reading, have made their appearance. The one, of which we have placed the title at the head of this article, contains a full detail of many of the most remarkable stories of this kind. Most of them are interesting, and one particularly so, since it is one of the most unexceptionable accounts for our purpose, of a spectral illısion, which we have ever met with. Our limits will not permit us to extract the whole narration, for which we refer
our readers to the book itself. The following portion is sufficient for our present purpose.
The following article is contained in the Edinburgh Journal of Science, conducted by Dr. Brewster, who says of the narrator of the case, that“ his station in society and as a man of science, would authenticate the minutest particulars in his narrative, and satisfy the most scrupulous reader that the case has been philosophically as well as faithfully described.” The narrator is in fact the husband of the lady who was the subject of the disease.
""On the twenty-sixth of December, 1829, about half past four o'clock in the afternoon, Mrs. B. was standing near the fire in the hall, and on the point of going up stairs to dress, when she heard, as she supposed, my voice calling her by name, - Come here, come to me! She imagined that I was calling at the door to have it opened, went to it, and was surprised on opening it to find no one. She returned towards the fire, and again heard the same voice, calling very distinctly and loud, — Come, come here.' She then opened two other doors of the same room, but seeing no one, she returned to the fire-place. After a few minutes, she heard the same voice, still calling, 'Come to me, come, come away;' this time in a loud, plaintive, and somewhat impatient tone.
She answered as loudly Where are you? I don't know where you are'- still imagining that I was somewhere in search of her; but receiving no answer, she shortly went up stairs. On my return to the house about half an hour afterwards, she inquired why I had called to her so often, and where I was; and was of course surprised to hear I had not been near the house at the time.
«« On the 30th of the same month, at about four o'clock. P. M., Mrs. B. came down stairs into the drawing-room, which she had quitted a few minutes before, and on entering the room, saw me, as she supposed, standing with my back to the fire. She addressed me, asking how it was I had returned so soon. (I had left the house for a walk half an hour before.) She said I looked fixedly at her with a serious and thoughtful expression of countenance, but did not speak. She supposed I was busied in thought, and sat down in an arm-chair near the fire, and within a couple of feet at most of the figure she still saw standing before her. As, however, the eyes still continued to be fixed upon her, after a few moments she said — Why don't you speak —?' The figure upon this moved off towards the window at the farther end of the room. ... and disappeared there. The lady followed, shook the curtains, and tried the windows, being still loth to believe it was not a reality, so distinct and forcible was the impression. Finding, however, that there was no natural means
of egress, she became convinced of having seen a spectral apparition, such as are recorded in Dr. Hibbert's work, and consequently felt no alarm or agitation. The appearance lasted four or five minutes. It was bright daylight, and Mrs. B. is confident that the apparition was fully as vivid as the reality; and when standing close to her, it concealed, of course, the real objects behind it. Upon being told of this my visible appearance in the spirit, having been only audible a few days before, I was, as you may imagine, more alarmed for the health of the lady, than for my own approaching death, or any other fatality the vision might be supposed to forebode. Still both the stories were so very much en règle as ghost stories, the three calls of the plaintive voice, each one louder than the preceding, the fixed
and mournful expression of the phantom, its noiseless step and spiritlike vanishing, were so characteristic of the wraith, that I might have been unable to shake off some disagreeable fancies, such as a mind once deeply saturated with the poison of nursery-tales cannot altogether banish, had it not been for a third apparition, at whose visit I myself assisted, a few days afterwards, and which I think is the key-stone of the case, rendering it as complete as could be wished.
""On the 4th of this month, January, 1830, five days after the last apparition, at about ten o'clock at night, I was sitting in the drawing-room with Mrs. B. and in the act of stirring
the fire, when she exclaimed “Why, there's the cat in the room!' I asked, 'Where?' She replied, "There, close to you.' 'Where?' I repeated. “Why, on the rug, to be sure, between yourself and the coal-scuttle.' I had the poker in my hand, and I pushed in the direction mentioned. “Take care,' she cried out, “take care, you are hitting her with the poker.' I again asked her to point out exactly where she saw the cat. plied, 'Why, sitting up there close to your feet, on the rug :she is looking at me. It is Kitty; come here, Kitty. There are two cats in the house, one of which went by this name. They are rarely, if ever, in the drawing-room. At this time Mrs. B. had certainly no idea that the sight of the cat was an illusion. I asked her to touch it. She got up for the purpose,
and seemed, too, as if she was pursuing something which moved away. She followed a few steps, and then said, — 'It has gone
under that chair.' I told her it was an illusion. She would not believe it. I lifted up the chair; there was nothing there, nor did Mrs. B. see any thing more of it. I searched the room all over and found nothing. There was a dog lying on the hearth, who would have betrayed great uneasiness had a cat been in the
He was perfectly quiet. In order to be quite certain,