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diate act of the devil, and is termed poffeffion. The third is the product of natural causes, the effect of strong imagination, spleen, violent anger, fear, grief, pain, and the like. These three have been abundantly treated on by authors, and therefore shall not employ my enquiry. But the fourth method of religious enthufiasm, or launching out of the soul, as it is purely an effect of artifice and mechanic operation, has been sparingly handled, or not at all, by any writer; because, though it is an art of great antiquity, yet, having been confined to few persons, it long wanted those advancements and refinements which it afterwards met with, since it has grown so epidemic, and fallen into fo many cultivating hands.
It is therefore upon this mechanical operation of the spirit that I mean to treat, as it is at present performed by our British workmen. I shall deliver to the reader the result of many judicious observations upon the matter; tracing, as near as I can, the whole course and method of this trade ; producing parallel instances, and relating certain discoveries that have luckily fallen in my way.
I have said, that there is one branch of religious enthupasm, which is purely an effect of nature; whereas the part I mean to handle, is wholly an effect of art, which, however, is inclined to work upon certain natures and constitutions, more than others. Besides, there is many an operation, which, in its original, was purely an artifice; but, though a long succession of ages, hath growni
to be natural. Hippocrates tells us, that among our ancestors the Scythians, there was a nation called Longheads, *, which at first began by a custom among midwives and nurses, of moulding, and squeezing, and bracing up the heads of infants ; by which means, nature, shut out at one passage, was forced to seek another, and, finding room above, shot upwards in the form of a sugarloaf; and being diverted that way, for some generations, at last found it out of herself, needing no assistance from the nurse's hand. This was the original of the Scythian Longheads ; and thus did
custom, from being a second nature, proceed to · be a first. To all which there is something very
analogous among us of this nation, who are the undoubted posterity of that refined people. For, in the age of our fathers, there arose a generation of men in this island, called Roundheads, + whose race is now spread over three kingdoms; yet, in its beginning, was merely an operation of art, produced by a pair of fciffars, a squeeze of the face, and a black cap. These heads, thus formed into a perfect sphere in all assemblies, were most exposed to the view of the female fort ;
which Macrocephali. of The Fanatics in the time of Charles I. ignorantly applying the text, re know that it is a mame for men to have long hair, cut theirş very short. It is said, that the Queen, once seeing Pym, a celebrated patriot, thus cropped, enquired who that round-headed man was; and that from this incident the distinction became general, and the party were called Round-beads. Hawkeri
pair of merely an
rmed in and a
which did influence their conceptions fo effectually, that nature at last took the hint, and did it of herself; fo that a Round-head has been, ever fince, as familiar a fight among us, as a Longhead among the Scythians. · Upon these examples, and others easy to produce, I desire the curious reader to distinguish, first, between an effect grown from art into nature, and one that is natural from its beginning; secondly, between an effect wholly natural, and one which has only a natural foundation, but where the superstructure is entirely artificial. For the first and the last of these, I understand to come within the districts of my subject. And having obtained these allowances, they will serve to remove any objection that may be raised hereafter against what I shall advance.
The practitioners of this famous art proceed in general upon the following fundamental, That the corruption of the senses is the generation of the fpirit; because the senses in men are so many avenues to the fort of reason, which in this operation is wholly blocked up. All endeavours must be therefore used, either to divert, bind up, ftupify, fluster, and amuse the senses, or else to justle them out of their stations; and, while they are either absent, or otherwise employed, or engaged in a civil war against each other, the spirit enters, and performs its part.
Now, the usual methods of managing the senses upon such conjunctures, are what I shall be ve
objecTe I can no pari
ry particular in delivering, as far as it is lawful for me to do; but having had the honour to be initiated into the mysteries of every society, I defire to be excused from divulging any rites, wherein the profane must have no part.
But here, before I can proceed farther, a very dangerous objection must, if possible, be removed. For it is positively denied by certain critics, that the spirit can by any means be introduced into an assembly of modern faints; the disparity being so great, in many material circumstances, between the primitive way of inspiration, and that which is practised in the present age. This they pretend to prove from the ad chapter of the Acts, where, comparing both, it appears, first, that the apostles were gathered together with one accord in one place ; by which is meant an universal agreement in opinion and form of worship ; a harmony, say they, fo far from being found between any two conventicles among us, that it is in vain to expect it between any two heads in the same. Secondly, The spirit instructed the apostles in the gift of speaking several languages; a knowledge fo remote from our dealers in this art, that they nei. ther understand propriety of words, or phrafes, in their own. Lastly, say these objectors, The modern artists do utterly exclude all approaches of the spirit, and bar up its ancient way of entering, by covering themselves so close, and so industriously a-top. For they will needs have it as a point clearly gained, that the cloven tongues never fat upon the apostles heads, while there. hats were on.
Now, the force of these objections seems to conGift in the different acceptation of the word spirit; · which, if it be understood for a supernatural aslif
tance, approaching from without, the objectors have reason, and their assertions may be allowed: but the spirit we treat of here, proceeding entire. ly from within, the argument of these adversaries wholly is eluded. And, upon the same account, our modern artificers find it an expedient, of absolute necessity to cover their heads as close as they can, in order to prevent perspiration ; than which, nothing is observed to be a greater spender of mechanic light, as we may perhaps farther shew in convenient place.
To proceed therefore upon the phenomenon of fpiritual mechanism, it is here to be noted, that in forming and working up the spirit, the assembly has a considerable share, as well as the preacher. The method of this arcanum is as follows. They violently strain their eye-balls inward, half closing the lids; then, as they fit, they are in a perpetual motion of see-saw, making long hums at proper periods, and continuing the found at equal height; chusing their time in those intermissions, while the preacher is at ebb. Neither is this practice, in any part of it, so singular and improbable, as not to be traced, in distant regions, from reading and observation. For, first, VOL. II.