Page images
PDF
EPUB

shadows and emblems of the whole mystery, as well as trophies set up by the female conquerors. Lastly, in a certain town of Attica, the whole solemnity, stripped of all its types, * was performed in puris naturalibus ; the votaries not flying in covies, but sorted into couples. The same may be farther conjectured from the death of Orpheus, one of the institutors of these mysteries; who was torn in pieces by women, because he refused to communicate his orgies t to them ; which others explained, by telling us, he had castrated himself upon grief for the loss of his wife.

Omitting many others of less note, the next Fanatics we meet with of any eminence, were the numerous fects of heretics, appearing in the five, first centuries of the Christian ara, from Simon Magus and his followers, to those of Eutyches. I have collected their systems from infinite reading; and comparing them with those of their successors in the several ages since, I find there are certain bounds set even to the irregularity of human thought, and those a great deal narrower than is commonly apprehended. For as they all frequently interfere, even in their wildest ravings; so there is one fundamental point, wherein they are sure to meet, as lines in a centre, and that is, the community of women.. Great were their solicitudes in this matter; and C 3

they * Dionysia Brauronia. # Vid. Photium in excerptis è Conone..

they never failed of certain articles in their fchemies of worfhip, on purpose to establish it.

The last Fanatics of note, were those which started up in Germany, a little after the reformation of Luther; springing, as mushrooms do at the end of a harvest. Such were John of Leyden, David George, Adain Neuster, and many others; whose visions and revelations always terminated in leading about half a dozen Sijters apiece, and making that practice a fundamental part of their system. For, human life is a continual narigation; and if we expect our vefsels to pass with safety, through the waves and tempests of this fluctuating world, it is necessary to make a good provilion of the fligh, as feamen lay in store of beef for a long voyage.

Now, from this brief survey of fome principal fects among the Fanatics in all ages, (having omitted the Alahometans, and others, who might also help to confirm the argument I am about ;) to which I might add several among ourselves, such as the family of love, sweet singers of Israel, and the like ; and, from reflecting upon that fundamental point in their doctrines, about women, wherein they have so unanimously a. greed; I am apt to imagine, that the feed or principle, which has ever put men upon visions in things invisible; is of a corporeal nature. For, the profounder chemists inform us, that the strongest {pirits may be extracted from human feh. Befides, the spinal marrow, being nothing else but

a cone

te a continuation of the brain, must needs create a zit very free communication between the superior fawhich culties and those below : and thus, the thorn in fore the flefis ferves for a fpur to the spirit. I think it at efis agreed among physicians, that nothing affects order the head so much, as a tentiginous humour, re

pelled and elated to the upper region, found, by daily practice, to run frequently up into madness. A very eminent member of the faculty assured me, that when the Quakers first appeared, he feldom was without some female patients among them, for the furore- Persons of a visionary devotion, either men or women, are, in their complexion, of all others, the moft amorous.. For zeal is frequently kindled from the fame fpark with other fires; and, from inflaming brotherly love, will proceed to raise that of a gallant. If we inspect into the usual process of modern courtship, we shall find it to confift in a devout turn of the eyes, called ogling; an artificial form of canting and whining, by rote, every interval, for want of other matter, made up with a shrug, or a hum; a sigh or a groan; the style compact of insignificant words, incoherences, and repetition. These I take to be the most accomplished rules of address to a mistress, and where are these performed with more dexterity, than by the faints ? Nay, to bring this argument yet closer, I have been informed by certain fanguine bre. thren of the first class, that, in the height and

: orgasmus:

orgosinus of their spiritual exercise, it has been frequent with them ******; immediately after which, they found the spirit to relax and flag of a sudden with the nerves, and they were forced to hasten to a conclusion. This may be farther strengthened, by observing with wonder, how unaccountably all females are attracted by visionary or enthusiastic preachers, though never fo contemptible in their outward mien ; which is usually supposed to be done upon considerations purely fpiritual, without any carnal regards at all. But, I have reason to think, the sex hath certain characteristics, by which they form a truer judgment of human abilities and performings, than we ourfelves can possibly do of each other. Let that be as it will, thus much is certain, that, however spiritual intrigues begin, they generally conclude like all others; they may branch upwards towards heaven, but the root is in the earth. Too intense a contemplation is not the business of flesh and blood ; it must, by the necessary course of things, in a little time, let go its hold, and fall into matter. Lovers, for the sake of celestial converse, are but another sort of Platonics, who pretend to fee stars and heaven in ladies eyes, and to look or think no lower; but the fame pit is provided for both. And they seem a perfect moral to the story of that philosopher, who, while his thoughts and eyes were fixed upon the constellations, found himself seduced by his lower parts into a ditch.

I had

I had somewhat more to say upon this part of the subject; but the post is just going, which forces me in great haste to conclude,

SIR,

Pray burn this letter as foon as it comes to your hands.

Yours, &c.

AN

« PreviousContinue »