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wholly blocked up. All endeavours must be therefore used, either to divert, bind up, stupify, 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 very 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 desire 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 saints; 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 second 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 a universal agreement in opinion and form of worship; a harmony, say they, so 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 so remote from our dealers in this art, that they neither understand propriety of words or phrases 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, 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 sat upon the apostles' heads while their hats were on.
Now, the force of these objections seems to consist in the different acceptation of the word spirit; which, if it be understood for a supernatural assistance, approaching from without, the objectors have reason, and their assertions may be allowed; but the spirit we treat of here proceeding entirely from within, the argument of these adversaries is wholly 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 a convenient place.
To proceed therefore upon the phenomenon of spiritual 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 eyeballs inward, half-closing the lids; then, as they sit, they are in a perpetual motion of see-saw, making long hums at proper periods, and continuing the sound at equal height, choosing 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, the Jauguis,* or enlightened saints of India, see all their visions by help of an acquired straining and pressure of the eyes. Secondly, the art of see-saw on a beam, and swinging by session upon a cord, in order to raise artificial ecstasies, has
* Bernier, Mem. de Mogol.-Original.
been derived to us from our Scythian * ancestors, where it is practised at this day among the women. Lastly, the whole proceeding, as I have here related it, is performed by the natives of Ireland, with a considerable improvement; and it is granted, that this noble nation has, of all others, admitted fewer corruptions, and degenerated least from the purity of the old Tartars. Now, it is usual for a knot of Irish men and women, to abstract themselves from matter, bind up all their senses, grow visionary and spiritual, by influence of a short pipe of tobacco handed round the company, each preserving the smoke in his mouth till it comes again to his turn to take it in fresh; at the same time there is a concert of a continued gentle hum, repeated and renewed by instinct, as occasion requires; and they move their bodies up and down to a degree, that sometimes their heads and points lie parallel to the horizon. Meanwhile you may observe their eyes turned up, in the posture of one who endeavours to keep himself awake; by which, and many other symptoms among them, it manifestly appears that the reasoning faculties are all suspended and superseded, that imagination has usurped the seat, scattering a thousand deliriums over the brain. Returning from this digression, I shall describe the methods by which the spirit approaches. The eyes being disposed according to art, at first you can nothing; but, after a short pause, a small glimmering light begins to appear and dance before you : then, by frequently moving your body up and down, you perceive the vapours to ascend very fast, till you are perfectly dosed and flustered, like one who drinks too much in a morning. Meanwhile the preacher is also at work; he begins a loud hum,
* Guagnini Hist. Sarmat.-Original.
which pierces you quite through; this is immediately returned by the audience, and you find yourself prompted to imitate them by a mere spontaneous impulse, without knowing what you do. The interstitia are duly filled up by the preacher, to prevent too long a pause, under which the spirit would soon faint and grow languid.
This is all I am allowed to discover about the progress of the spirit, with relation to that part which is borne by the assemby; but in the methods of the preacher to which I now proceed, I shall be more large and particular.
You will read it very gravely remarked, in the books of those illustrious and right eloquent penmen, the modern travellers, that the fundamental difference, in point of religion, between the wild Indians and us, lies in this, that we worship God, and they worship the devil. But there are certain critics who will by no means admit of this distinction, rather believing, that all nations whatsoever adore the true God, because they seem to intend their devotions to some invisible power, of greatest goodness and ability to help them; which, perhaps, will take in the brightest attributes ascribed to the divinity. Others again inform us, that those idolators adore two principles, the principle of good, and that of evil; which, indeed, I am apt to look upon as the most universal notion that mankind, by the mere light of nature, ever entertained of things invisible. How this idea has been managed by the
Indians and us, and with what advantage to the understandings of either, may deserve well to be examined. To me the difference appears little more than this, that they are put oftener upon their knees by their fears, and we by our desires; that the former set them a-praying, and us a-cursing. What I applaud them for is, their discretion in limiting their devotions and their deities to their several districts, nor ever suffering the liturgy of the white. God to cross, or to interfere with that of the black. Not so with us, who pretending, by the lines and measures of our reason, to extend the dominion of one invisible power, and contract that of the other, have discovered a gross ignorance in the natures of good and evil, and most horribly confounded the frontiers of both. After men have lifted up the throne of their divinity to the cœlum empyræum, adorned with all such qualities and accomplishments as themselves seem most to value and possess ; after they have sunk their principle of evil to the lowest centre, bound him with chains, loaded him with curses, furnished him with viler dispositions than any rake-hell of the town, accoutred him with tail, and horns, and huge claws, and saucer eyes: I laugh aloud to see these reasoners, at the same time, engaged in wise dispute about certain walks and purlieus, whether they are in the verge of God or the devil; seriously debating, whether such and such influences come into men's minds from above, or below; whether certain passions and affections are guided by the evil spirit or the good:
Dum fas atque nefas exiguo fine libidinum.
Thus do men establish a fellowship of Christ with Belial, and such is the analogy they make between